Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices Book 2) by Cassandra Clare

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TMI fans, here is the next book in the installment!

Emma is struggling with her love for Julian, and so, unknown to him, has begun a fake relationship with Mark. Mark himself is struggling whether to love his past, Kiernan, or his future, Christina. Christina is struggling with Diego and Mark. Diana finds a love interest of her own. Kit “Herondale” is struggling with his new name and the legacy of it, while also finding some new friends with the twins. We also see some TMI characters like what we saw with Lady Midnight– Clary is unsure of whether to marry Jace or not, and Alec and Magnus play a big role in helping Julian, Emma, and the gang with issues such as the concern of Downworlders with the Clave. The Clave itself is being as stupid as always, as there are many Downworlder haters there. Oh, and did I mention that we haven’t seen the last of Malcolm?

Of course, Cassandra Clare still works her comedy within the story, as shown when Ty is amazed that Kit knew about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, even though Kit laughs at how did no one in the Shadowhunters knew who they were.

Additionally, there are, of course, secrets providing twists and turns to the plot, especially when the Blackthorn family finds out a secret of Julian’s.

However, despite all of the positives and the things I was happy with in the sequel, I was quite disappointed with a few things. First of all, Magnus and Alec appear a little too much in the book, making the spotlight go to them instead of the Blackthorns. Secondly, one can’t read the book without reading the TMI series. Robert Lightwood references what happened with Michael Wayland, making the context only relevant if one read what happened to him back in The Mortal Instruments. Additionally, the issue of Malec, one making immortal and the other not, is referenced too, making it necessary to read The City of Heavenly Fire. It is also required to have read The Infernal Devices. Kit is asked whether he is going to be a Jace, Will, Stephen, or a Tobias, requiring the necessary background information in order to understand. Additionally, we meet a ghost named Jessamine Lovelace, and if one hasn’t read The Infernal Devices, one does not know what she is all about.

However, despite all of these negatives, it is quite an enjoyable  book, one worth reading.

Megan V. Eleventh Grade

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive.

Genre Introduction: Paranormal Romance

Paranormal romance novels seem to be all the rage in the teenage reading world right now and, in this case, I am no exception to the norm.  I mean, seriously, what isn’t awesome about paranormal romance?  You get adventure, action, romance, fantasy, mystery, mythology, realistic fiction; pretty much all of the genres rolled into one!  Some series of this genre that have joined my ever-growing bookshelf are Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls series) by C.C. Hunter, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and City of Bones (Mortal Instruments series) by Cassandra Clare.  All of these series are, as I like to refer to it, realistic fantasy.

born_at_midnightBorn at Midnight is the first novel in the Shadow Falls series.  If you can look past all of the grammatical and spelling errors, (and there are A LOT – she should seriously fire her editor) this series is a gem.  You’ll love the characters from the start and there definitely is a Team Edward, Team Jacob situation going on.  In this case, Team Lucas, Team Derek is the ongoing debate.  I consider these books to be a mix between The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan due to the supernatural camp setting and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer because of the romance triangle and similar paranormal creatures.  If you enjoyed either of these books or any of the books listed above, I am betting you will appreciate this series.

vampire_academyVampires.  These supernatural beasts seem to be filling the shelves and theaters everywhere.  From Twilight to Marked to Vampire Academy, vampires are everywhere.  Vampire Academy is the first in a series of six novels, all centering around Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir who is training to be her Moroi best friend’s bodyguard.  Dhampirs are half-vampire, half-human and walk the earth for one purpose; to protect the Moroi royalty from Strigoi and other evils.  Moroi are full vampires who are living.  Each Moroi develops their own form of an elemental magic while in their teens, with a few exceptions.  Strigoi are the evil form of vampires.  Dead, inhuman, impossible to kill, and willing to kill to survive, these vamps are made when a Strigoi drinks blood from a human, Dhampir, or Moroi and the human, Dhampir, or Moroi, in turn, drinks Strigoi blood.  A Moroi can also turn by choice if he or she kills a victim while drinking their blood.  These books take place at St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for training young Moroi and their Dhampir counterparts.

city_of_bonesThe Mortal Instruments series is one of my absolute favorites.  I have read all of the books four times and am psyched that they are making a movie out of it (though I’m not so sure about Lily Collins as Clary.  I mean, COME ON, she is supposed to have flaming read hair! Not black).  The first book takes place in New York and at the Institute, an old, dilapidated church that was converted, to the oblivion of the mundanes (humans), to a Shadowhunter stomping ground.  Shadowhunters, also called Nephilim, are half-human, half-angel and are, like their name hints at, demon hunters.  They still bleed and die like humans, so they use a stele to draw runes on their bodies.  Runes are markings, some temporary, some permanent, that are somewhat similar to tattoos and give powers based off of the rune that was drawn.  This series centers around Clary Fray who was hidden from the Shadowhunter world by her mother and, until she has to get her mother back, knows nothing about supernatural creatures or demons.  When her mother disappears and she is attacked by a Ravener demon, Clary is thrust into the world of the Nephilium where she finds she should have been all along.  With the help of Jace Wayland, Isabella and Alec Lightwood, and Simon Lewis, she begins to study the Shadowhunter ways and searches for her mother, all while encountering what her life could have been like, as well as some romance along the way.

-Kaelyn L., 10th grade

Book Review: City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare

city_of_bonesHave you seen “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones?” Well, the movie is based on a saga of six books. These books and soon-to-be movies, are written by a famous author named Cassandra Clare. She has also another series called The Infernal Devices. They both are based in a world within our own. There are half human, half angel people named Shadow hunters, there are also Warlocks which are magical beings like wizards. They also have demons, vampires, werewolves, and a whole bunch of other creatures.

City Of Bones is about a young girl, Clarissa Fray, who collides into this other world. Clarissa, otherwise known as Clary, meets up with her friend Simon to go to a club named The Pandemonium Club, in New York, and she witnesses something no ordinary human would see. She saw three people- or she thinks are people- kill a boy or rather, a demon with strange weapons. She thought she was having a mental breakdown, because nobody else can see them. When she sees one of the three people, she questions why she can see him and nobody else can. He tells her that he is a shadow hunter: half human, half angel. He was made to get rid of the demons that are coming into  Earth. Clary goes home and her mother has disappeared and the house is destroyed. Clary has to team up with a group of shadow hunters to find and get her mother back at all costs.

This series is my personal favorite series. The characters are perfectly thought out, the scenes are amazing. This book is also great for guys, because it has a lot of action and it’s not about the love. My mother told me to read the books because she said I would like them. So I read them and I totally loved it! I told my friends about the books and they love it. My friend said that “The one thing I loved about the books is that you never really know what going to happen next, so you get pulled into the book and you feel what the characters feel during the time. I loved it and I couldn’t put the book down.”

The books are truly amazing and well thought out. I highly recommend this series!

-Meagan R., 8th grade

Series Review: The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare

infernal_devicesThe Infernal Devices is a series written by the well known and loved author Cassandra Clare. A sister to The Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices captures the lives of the ancestors of the characters we know and love.

This series is about a young woman named Tessa Gray, a New Yorker who moved to England to meet her brother. Tessa is on a mission to find her true identity, and find the truth about the life she lived before coming to England. Tessa also falls into a love triangle in which she must choose between the overconfident yet charming Will Herondale, or the sweet and caring Jem Carstairs.

The reader takes an adventure through Tessa’s Victorian England and falls in love with each and every one of the characters. Through clockwork angels and partying with demons, the books contain adventures in every chapter. Not to mention that we get to see what the well known Magnus Bane (from The Mortal Instruments) was like when he was still hanging with the Lightwoods before Alec and Isabelle.

Overall, I would definitely say this is my favorite book series I have ever read, and Cassandra Clare never fails to please her fans with her spectacular writing.

-Sara S., 10th grade

Book vs. Movie: The Mortal Instruments

tmi_book_movieAll my friends and I are major fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, so it was no surprise that when The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie came out, we were thrilled. Despite the awful reviews of the movie, we decided to see it soon after it was released. I had expected the movie to be horrible based on the reviews, but it exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t as good as the book, but it was still an average movie.

The book tells the story of a girl living in New York named Clary Fray. She’s an extremely artistic girl with a sensitive best friend named Simon. One day, Clary and Simon go to a club. Clary sees a boy being murdered by a vicious girl and two other boys. No one else can see the murderous trio. Clary tries to forget about what she saw, but she sees one of the boys at a coffee shop the next day. At the same time, she gets a call from her frantic mother. Her mother tells her to stay away from her home.

Clary runs home to find her house completely ransacked; her mother gone. She encounters a crazed animal-like creature, which she manages to kill. She finds out that the boy she saw in the coffee shop is named Jace, and that he’s a Shadowhunter. Shadowhunters save mundanes, or regular humans, from demons that roam the world. Clary discovers that the most dreadful Shadownhunter, Valentine, has captured her mother. She is thrown into a world of vampires, Shadowhunters, demons, warlocks, werewolves, and faeries and needs to rescue her mother and a special cup that Valentine is after. The cup can create Shadowhunters but is very dangerous.

The movie was similar to the book, but there were some differences that can’t be ignored. The actors all fit the character descriptions very well. However, I wish the movie had been a bit more lighthearted. The book was really funny and had several light parts, but the movie was way too fast paced and serious. The romantic tension in the book was extreme in a good way, but in the movie it fizzled out quickly. I really liked the costumes that the characters had, and the man who played Simon (Robert Sheehan) acted really well.

Overall, the movie differed a bit from the book and was a little too gray, but for a diehard fan like me, it was enjoyable enough to recommend it to others.

-Rabani S., 9th grade

Event Recap: Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess Tour

This is the final entry in our series of Cassandra Clare Clockwork Princess Tour recaps. Click here and here for other perspectives on this bestselling author’s visit to Mission Viejo.

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I could feel the excitement building up as I walked through the various doors to finally reach the busy hall. The room was full of fans, unable to keep from talking about the person they had been waiting to meet for so long. And when we found out she was running late, it was obvious that the anticipation was killing everyone. But the wait was not in vain. Two lucky girls rock-paper-scissor battled for a Jem poster. We also found out people came from as far as Northern California to the book signing, so the person that traveled the farthest won a poster of one of Clare’s popular characters, Will Herondale. (We were all pretty jealous!)

When the one and only Cassandra Clare finally arrived with her allies, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan, everyone exploded with happiness. And they were right to do so, because the three authors were extremely funny and charismatic, eager to answer the endless questions.

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The waving of hands in the air never seemed to finish, so we all learned so much. Just to mention a few:

How do you feel to know that you are influencing people everywhere?

Cassie’s first reaction was to say it’s “terrifying” because she is influencing people with her “strangeness,” but she loves how she comes together with readers with her books.

Where did you get your inspiration for your series?

Cassie’s tattoo artist friend told her about how in the old days, people thought that tattoos gave them protection. So Cassie thought that it would be really cool if there were a whole race of people that had that.

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Event Recap: Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess Tour

cassandra_clare_mariah_picIn March, authors Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson made a stop at the Mission Viejo Library for Clare’s latest release, Clockwork Princess.

I was extremely thrilled to meet all of them, and the feeling was definitely echoed throughout the room. As we waited for the authors to arrive (they got caught up in LA traffic), we watched the book and the movie trailer, and in two contests, fans competed for posters of, Will and Jem, popular characters from Clare’s books.

Once the authors arrived, they jumped right into answering our questions about their books and the upcoming City of Bones film.

Here are a couple of them:

Cassandra Clare, where did you get the inspiration for your books?

She got the idea of Shadowhunter from one of her friends who was a tattoo artist and talked to her about the history about tattoos. They were believed to give people strength in battle and during journeys, and Clare thought that it would be cool if there was a race of people for whom these tattoos would actually work.

What characters are the three of you most like?

After thinking the question over for a moment, they agreed that Sarah is like Magnus Bane because of her fiery personality, Maureen is the most similar to Alec, and Cassie was compared to Jace because of her ability to “have a little faith” like he does in times of trouble.

They then moved on to lightning round:

Who do you like more: Tessa or Clary?

She couldn’t decide between the two. Tessa is more like her, but she admires Clary for her bravery and recklessness.

Do you all eat, or do you survive solely on the tears of your readers? (This seemed to be a recurring question.)

Clare responded by saying that she likes to take the hearts of her readers and put it in a cocktail glass and make a heartini.

How much involvement do you, Cassie, have in the film adaptation?

She has had a good amount of input into the film. She answered questions that the production team had, and she had a heavy involvement in the casting process.

Once the Q&A session was complete, we were able to get our books signed! Overall, the event was one of the best signing that I’ve attended. All three of the authors were incredibly funny and kept me laughing the entire night. They joked about the ways they toy with our emotions and all of the wonderful boys in the Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series. It was an honor to meet all three of the authors, and I want to thank them for visiting Mission Viejo.

-Mariah W., 11th grade