Review: City of Heavenly Fire (#6) by Cassandra Clare

Review: City of Heavenly Fire (#6) by Cassandra Clare
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Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

What an ending to such a beautiful, absorbing series. I’m so sad to leave Clary and her story behind, but so satisfied to look back on all that has happened in this 6 book journey!

Firstly, I can’t believe I really didn’t feel the size of this book at all. At 650 pages, it’s quite a big one, but the pages flew by and I barely noticed it. The part that took me longest to read was actually the prologue, as we were suddenly introduced to new characters, Emma Carstairs and her story. However, I pushed on through and found I loved having Emma mentioned throughout the book. Due to her presence, I feel ready to go and read her story in The Dark Artifices. 

“We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us.”

Due to the changing scenery, the pacing was excellent. The books contained so much emotion between different scenes and different characters, and over and over again I was faced with a sense of loss. I adore how Clare works with so many characters and I honestly believe it’s one of her greatest gifts. However, her writing greatly improves throughout The Mortal Instruments and I felt the difference here compared to City of Bones.

I did find the plot a little predictable, as most of the books in this series follow a similar plot, but it was filled with enough small twists and surprises to keep me on my toes.

“As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.”

I have to also praise Clare for the incredible extended magical world she created. I don’t feel like she’s writing too many books set in this universe, which considering how much she is writing, is crazy. Most worlds have their limits, but this one does really feel limitless. I’m so excited to continue with her books, including The Dark Artifices, The Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and many more as they are released! I cannot get enough of this world, and I adore how the characters are interlinked between the series in some small way, leaving me emotional reading mentions of characters from other series.

Overall, what an incredible end to The Mortal Instruments, leaving me feel satisfied but also wanting more from this world.

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Lost Souls (#5) by Cassandra Clare

Review: City of Lost Souls (#5) by Cassandra Clare
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When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

I can’t believe I’m about to start the last book of The Mortal Instruments, as it’s now gotten to the point that I cannot imagine leaving Clary, Jace and their friends and families behind.

It took me only four days to read this wonder, as the pages just flew by. Once I’d gotten into this story, there was no way to get me back out again. I’ve loved all of the books so far, but again, this one stood out for me. Like City of Glass (which still stands as my favourite so far), City of Lost Souls is set in places other than New York. And it fits the story so well to travel, to see these people in beautiful places all over the world.

““I never cared,” he said.”

Again, the characters did not let me down. I’m going to guess that I’m not spoiling things for anyone if I say I ship Magnus and Alec. Honestly, those two have become one of my favourite couples of all time, and I loved their scenes in this book.

I adored how deeply the plot was interwoven with the characters and their relationships. I think that’s the reason why I flipped through this one so quickly, because I couldn’t help but need to know what was going to happen to the characters. Clary, once again, grows and matures in this book and I found she came across as such a strong young woman. I loved the emotional scenes between numerous characters, especially a specific scene between Clary and ‘real’ Jace which brought tears to my eyes.

““I wanted you anyway. I always wanted you.””

Overall, this book had so much substance and complexity that made it so compulsive! I’m definitely hyped to start City of Heavenly Fire despite it’s size and the smaller size of the text in my copy!

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Fallen Angels (#4) by Cassandra Clare

Review: City of Fallen Angels (#4) by Cassandra Clare
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To love is to destroy… 
The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and – most importantly of all – she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But her happiness has come at a price…

I found this book so different and refreshing! It really surprised me that these get shorter in length before getting longer again, but it’s actually just what I needed. Being able to speed through this one has given the series a new lease of life for me, and it’s introduced a new plot so well.

Given the size of the book, the pacing is also really good. It was such a page-turner for me and I couldn’t stop reading. The ending was so tense and enjoyable! Each little twist and turn had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen.

“”Hearts are breakable,” Isabelle said.”

I don’t want to include spoilers, so I’ll just say we meet a few new characters in this book that really elevated the story for me. I had so much fun finding out more about Simon, and he made a great focus for the book. However, I think without the introduction of these new characters, it could have fallen a little flat for me. Instead, I found it really interesting.

I also have to mention that I’m really glad I read The Infernal Devices before these! I did regret it a little at the start of The Mortal Instruments because of the drop in writing standard, but now it’s made me so much closer to some of the minor characters, and I get so emotional whenever they’re mentioned!

“”And I think even when you heal, you’re never what you were before.””

A few people have mentioned that this book is an ‘in-between’ story, and I do understand what they mean. It just focuses more on the characters themselves than the plot, but still with a good amount of action and plot twists for me. I actually really liked this and felt like it was needed, as I’ll go into the next 2 books feeling even closer to these beautiful characters.

Overall, definitely loved this book! It’s probably my second favourite so far, because City of Glass is hard to beat.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Glass (#3) by Cassandra Clare

Review: City of Glass (#3) by Cassandra Clare
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Amid the chaos of war, the Shadowhunters must decide to fight with the vampires, werewolves and other Downworlders – or against them. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary have their own decision to make: should they pursue the love they know is a mortal sin?

City of Glass is definitely my favourite book of The Mortal Instruments so far, and I finally started getting the same emotional feelings I did with The Infernal Devices! One of the best things for me was the writing. I love some of the quotes from this book, and just looking at them makes me realise how much Clare had developed as a writer by the time this book was published. After having adored The Infernal Devices so much, I feel like Clare is really coming into her own here. I can’t wait to see what Fallen Angels has to give!

My favourite thing about this book honestly could be the setting. I loved reading about New York but setting City of Glass in Idris just took it to the next level. The world description was absolutely beautiful and is the perfect magical setting.

“There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity.”

All of the characters really develop in this one, and I loved reading about the ways they bounce off each other. I’ve always loved Clary as a protagonist, and seeing her become stronger and grow into such a headstrong young woman is brilliant.

I love the differences in each character and they really have their own personalities. Of course with this book forcing everyone together we had even more people to focus on but it still worked! I’ve read a lot of bad reviews criticising the characters but let me tell you something. Sure, they’re flawed. No ones perfect, and they are HUMAN. We all have our flaws, make our own mistakes and deal with things differently. Writing good characters isn’t making them perfect. It’s making the reader be empathetic and sympathise with them, and forgive them for their mistakes. And maybe other readers just didn’t feel that, but I did.

“I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.”

Anyway, let’s talk about the plot! Fast paced, and made the pages fly by once the plot really kicks in. The second part of the book was just glorious for me, and I sped through it. There are so many twists and turns and I was constantly shook. Even though I guessed some of the bigger plot twists, I still found it enjoyable to read and had other surprises along the way!

Overall, I want to finish off by saying that I’ve read enough YA to realise this book isn’t perfect, and neither is the series. Of course it could be said to be similar to other books, we’re all inspired by each other in this world and that’s okay. Clare’s writing isn’t always the best but is definitely improving.

But personally, I loved it. It’s emotional, cheesy and flawed. But also fun, intriguing and beautiful. I’m so glad I gave this series a go, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Ashes (#2) by Cassandra Clare

Review: City of Ashes (#2) by Cassandra Clare
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Love and power are the deadliest temptations. Haunted by her past, Clary is dragged deeper into New York City’s terrifying underworld of demons and Shadowhunters – but can she control her feelings for a boy who can never be hers?

This book actually pleasantly surprised me! I liked it just a touch more than City of Bones and it felt like a perfect sequel to explore the Shadowhunting world further.

I just really feel like this book had everything, and it’s even more diverse than the first book. Firstly, we have this great mix of characters. Complicated families, complicated romance, complicated friendships. They’re all so real and relatable and I love that. Only certain authors can create such a big and diverse cast of characters and still have each and every one mean something in the story.

” “I’ve been thinking about you, too.”
“I really was sick. I swear. I almost died back there on the ship, you know.””

The thing I really felt was missing in City of Bones was here in City of Ashes. BIG action scenes with tons of Shadowhunters working together and blowing things up. These end up being some of my most memorable scenes and I just love them. The pages fly by!

Something else Clare is amazing at: making me not feel weird about the relationship two of these characters have. (I’m not going to say who because of spoilers for City of Bones, but think of the Lannisters and you’ll know who I mean). But honestly, hats off to her. I didn’t think anyone could make me read these private thoughts and not be sick all over the pages.

“”I know. Everytime you almost die, I almost die myself.””

I have one, tiny problem with this book though, that stopped it reaching 5 stars for me. I want to know more about the characters inner-workings. I feel like Clare is focusing so much on the bigger picture, that she’s missing so many gems that I think came with time and experience for her (as I didn’t feel like it was missing in The Infernal Devices). I wanted to see more of the thoughts/characteristics of side characters like Alec, that would just make me sympathise with everyone a little more!

Talking of Clare’s writing, it has definitely improved in this book! I have to say, this was also a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting it to improve so rapidly, and it’s made me even more excited to see what’s to come in City of Glass.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Bones (#1) by Cassandra Clare

Review: City of Bones (#1) by Cassandra Clare
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When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

This was actually my second read of City of Bones. I met Cassandra Clare years ago and read it for the first time then! But unfortunately, I wasn’t a massive fantasy reader and I didn’t quite click with the book. This time was definitely an improvement!

However, I did find it strange going back to The Mortal Instruments after The Infernal Devices. I wanted to read the prequels first as I’ve been told I’d understand TMI more by doing so, but I did find it difficult seeing Clare’s change in writing style. She definitely improved as she wrote, but I’m sure her writing will also improve throughout this series.

“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned:”

Of course this was still a brilliant book, and I really enjoyed it. Usually with fantasy, we discover the world after the protagonist. Discovering this world alongside Clary has a very special feel and made her and her friends very easy characters to relate to. Having Simon in the mix also made for a gentle transition into this new world.

“that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”

I’m really excited for the rest of this series to play out, it’s definitely a page-turner and I’m enjoying it so much so far. At the moment I feel like The Infernal Devices is likely to hold a very special place in my heart, but The Mortal Instruments is sure to be up there too.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: My True Love Gave to Me – Various Authors

Review: My True Love Gave to Me – Various Authors
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On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

As this book is full of little stories, I’m going to review them all separately! This was such a fun read and it was perfect for the festive season.

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell – 5 out of 5 stars
Let’s start this on a high! I’ve read this short story before and it’s honestly brilliant, 26 pages flies by with this year-by-year tale. It’s so simple but focuses on the characters which I adored, the ability to build characters in such a short amount of time is incredible. Perfect for New Year, as it’s set on New Year’s Eve hence the title!

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link – 2 out of 5 stars
Honestly, this one really didn’t do it for me. The only real positive is that it did have a Christmassy feel, but otherwise it was downright confusing and a little weird. I’m all for a little weird, but I just didn’t know what was going on. At all.

Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena – 4 out of 5 stars
This story was so cute! I’m all for Christmas fantasy, but adorable festive contemporary romance is where its at. This story is one of Shy and the girl upstairs over Christmas, and it manages to not only be cute but be raw and honest and kind of beautiful in such a short amount of pages.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han – 4 out of 5 stars
This story was so overwhelmingly Christmassy! You can’t get much better than a story set in the North Pole for Christmas, surrounded by elves. I liked the protagonist, Natalie, who was the only human to ever live in the North Pole. It made such a unique story which was so fun to read!

It’s a Yuletide Miracle… by Stephanie Perkins – 5 out of 5 stars
Perkins does it again! I remember this from Summer Days and Summer Nights – if anyone can write an amazing short, it’s Perkins. This story was unique, with likeable characters and a beautiful backdrop. I would read a whole book about these two happily.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan – 4 out of 5 stars
I always find levithan a little hit and miss, but I really enjoyed this story! It’s about a guy called Connor who asks his boyfriend to dress up as santa to keep Christmas magic alive for his little sister. It was a really cute contemporary with a cast of different characters who I enjoyed reading about, however I do feel like too many conversations with different characters were fitted into a very short story!

Krampuslauf by Holly Black – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m really not sure how to feel about this one. Build up a quirky contemporary with a group of friends and a New Year’s party on a trailer park, throw some drama in and then sprinkle it with magic. I think the magic was my main issue, because it just felt forced and like a last minute edition. It threw the story off kilter and threw me off too. Very weird.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman – 4 out of 5 stars
Contemporary romance definitely suits festive short stories better than contemporary and a weird mix of fantasy. I’m still holding out for a full on fantasy though? Anyway, Forman really brought out holiday cheer with carol singers and pie and a little twist with Hannukah which I loved! It’s the story of (surprise) Sophie Roth, a college student who isnt yet home for Christmas. Its about new discoveries and making mistakes, and although it wasn’t perfect, I damn well enjoyed it!

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I can’t say I disliked this story, it was Christmassy enough and enjoyable. But I just found it strange and I felt so disconnected to the characters! It followed a guy who had to do community service for a church at Christmas, which was an interesting concept but it just wasn’t all there for me!

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten white – 5 out of 5 stars
Yes! I didn’t think I would find another story to match Stephanie Perkins, but this one sure did. It follows the story of a girl who lives in Christmas, CA and their Christmas traditions. It was heartwarming, heartbreaking and heartfelt. All in 40 pages.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter – 4 out of 5 stars
Another story, another Christmassy town ! I really enjoyed this one too, although it lacked the depth that made me love Welcome to Christmas, CA so much. Still a unique and heartwarming tale of a girl trying to escape her life and ends up finding a family of her own.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 2 out of 5 stars
This was so weird?? I don’t even know what was going on? I stand by the fact that fantasy doesn’t work as well as contemporary in these kinds of situations usually – world building just isn’t possible in 30 pages. I didn’t properly understand the world or the story, therefore I didn’t enjoy it. The pages were used to explain the town rather than the characters, and I related only to the protagonist. It didn’t feel Christmassy either! It did have a satisfying ending, however.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it was perfect to start the New Year with. Although the stories are very mixed, it’s great to give new authors a chance with books like this one. Sure, I didn’t enjoy a few but that’s bound to happen. And I loved a number of stories enough to rate this book highly! I’ll definitely be giving some of these a re-read next Christmas.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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