Quick Review: The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

bronze-keyI’m a fan of both Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s work so I was pretty stoked about their collaboration.  I just wish it was better.  It’s fine but not great.  Someone pointed out to me that it’s a book meant for middle schoolers so I’m not the targeted audience but Rick Riordan writes for the middle schoolers and those are fantastic.  Holly Black’s Spindlewick Series are also great.  So I don’t think it’s the genre, I think maybe it’s the story itself.  We are now in the third book and Call, Aaron and Tamara are now being honored for killing the Enemy of Death, even though they know the Enemy of Death’s soul is in Call’s body.  Things get complicated when someone tries to kill Call and successfully kill a fellow student.  There’s all the typical kid lit traits.  The adults are clueless.  True, they don’t know Call’s secret but pretty much every time they tell Call he’s going to be safe, he’s attacked.  They allready have had one student and one teacher end up in cahoots with the big bad and they didn’t know it.  Is it any surprise that there would be someone else also in cahoots living right under their noses? No, of course not.  Typically, the kids feel they have do things on their own and typically it gets them in more trouble and typically when the real culprit is revealed the adults aren’t there so they get blamed for everything.  At moments I really enjoy this book but at most times I think “is something going to happen soon?”  I felt like there was a lot going on of nothing really happening until you get to the ending and then there’s yet another big cliffhanger.  I will say this about this series in general, the cliffhangers have been first class.  Too bad the rest of the book don’t live up to them.

Scary and Spooky books to read before Halloween.

 

With Halloween just a few days away, I thought I would revisit some of the more scarier and spookier books I’ve read.  For all the books that I read that have vampires, witches and werewolves in them, not many fall under the horror genre.  So some of my picks don’t really fall into the typical Halloween fare but they are scary nonetheless.

scowler Scowler does fall in the horror category as it was super suspenseful and scary.  I picked this book up because I knew that Daniel Kraus was working with Guillermo Del Toro on Trollhunters.  The fact it takes place in Iowa an added bonus.  Ry and his mother and sister are barely scraping by on their farm and Ry is doing everything to distract him from the pain of the physical and emotional abuse of his imprisoned father.  Everything starts to fall apart when a meteorite falls and his father returns to the farm. Ry must defeat his father with the help of his imaginary childhood friends, including Scowler.  This book is super super creepy. With a scene at the end that still sort of haunts me when I thing about it.  It’s not just a great scary read but also delves into the effects of abuse has on it’s victims.  The fear of facing is ones abuser maybe as terrifying as taking on a monster but being able to face that fear takes real strength.

the-strain I admit that I still have nightmares from this series.  Particularly since I live in New York City and ride the subway through many of the same stations that they talk about in this book and I can’t help but wonder if they are vampires down there.  You may have seen the show. I haven’t so I don’t know how it compares but I can’t imagine it as scary or creepy as the book because I’m pretty sure most of the book is not cable ready material.  New York because the epicenter of a virus that turns people into vampires. Instead of the traditional being bite on the neck by a vampire to be turned, people are turned by little worm like things.  Gross.  Eph and his team at the CDC investigate several mysterious illnesses only to find themselves in the middle of a epidemic that deals with ancient vampires.  As they try to stay alive and figure out what’s going on and how to stay alive and not to mention dealing with family drama.  It’s the perfect scary series to read for Halloween. The ending of the series is truly heartbreaking.

coldestgirl Holly Black is one of my favorite authors.  She’s never boring.  Her books are never the same and truly original.  In the The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, whole cities have been quarantined off because of vampires.  Vampires have let’s say got out of control and in these Coldtowns vampires and humans leave together.  Some humans more willing then others as some had the misfortune of getting stuck inside when the walls went up.  Tana’s mother was bitten by a vampire and later died. After a wild party, Tana wakes to find that only she, her ex-boyfriend and a tied up vampire are alive.  The vampire virus takes a couple of days before it takes hold and Tana is determined to save herself and her companions by going to one of the Coldtowns away from her family.  It’s not your typical vampire story.  It was truly refreshing read and Gavriel is a vampire worth crushing on.

unfortunate-events Ok, so this is scary or spooky as the others but the make no mistake the story of the Baudelaire siblings is truly terrifying.  When their parents tragically die and they are sent to live with Count Olaf. Things get worse from there.  A Series of Unfortunate Events is truly an understatement as the unfortunate events are usually the faults of the adults they are put in the care of.  Violet, Klaus and Sunny are put in one bad situation after another from the very first book when Count Olaf tries to marry 13 year old to get a hold of their fortune.  Is there really anything more horrifying then that?  The first couple of books are a little formulaic but once you get to book five things really start to pick up and things get really scary.

What are your favorite Scary or Spooky books to read?

 

My To Read List Just keeps getting longer

So I haven’t been reading as much lately because well life and Gilmore Girls.  I’ve recently just finished watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls.  I know it’s weird it’s taken me this long to watch the show but what better time to do it then right before the new season, right?  Anyway, while I was binge watching several books have come out and now I’m hopelessly behind.  I’m still reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas.  I have waiting in the wings

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan just came out.  The latest in his Magnus Chase series with Norse gods.  Then there’s Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo the sequel to Six of Crows. And then The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Also The Midnight Star by Marie Lu the finale of The Young Elites Trilogy.

I have also recently picked up The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, the sequel to Scorpion Rules.  I had no idea there was a sequel so I’m super excited for that. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin are two books that were impulse buys.  I have so much to read but what else is new.

What books are on your t0 read list this month?

Quick Review: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

cooper gauntletI often forget about how dark children’s literature can be.  Take for instance, Matilda or any Roald Dahl. Harry Potter, The Series of Unfortunate Events and Alice in Wonderland to name a few. Black’s and Clare’s Magisterium series is no exception.  It started with the ending of the first book where *Spoiler Alert* one of heroes turns out to be the bad guy and just continues from there.  Call, Aaron and Tamara are thrown into situations that are really well beyond their ages but do it anyway.  They all young and just coming into their own, discovering who they are and learning to control their powers.  They are trying to learn who they can trust because even the adults are a bit sketchy.  After the big reveal at the end of the last book I had big expectations for this one and for the most part it lived up to it.  I still felt that it started off slow, much like the first one did but once it got to the mission it was a fast read.  If only the whole book was like that.  I like the debate of nature vs. nurture that is being played out with both Callum and Aaron’s characters. I have a feeling that we are about to see a little role reversal with those too.  It’s a solid second book and I look forward to see what happens next.

There are just so many good books coming out!!!

I was looking at all the new books coming out in the next couple of months and THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS THAT I WANT TO READ!!  I’m already behind because The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare came out earlier this month. I have to get myself in gear.  Here are just a few titles that I can’t wait to read this fall.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, 9/29/15

Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan, 10/6/15

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, 10/6/15

The Rose Society (Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu, 10/13/15

Dark Tide (Waterfire Saga #3) by Jennifer Donnelly, 10/13/15

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One by Daniel Kraus, 10/27/15
The Iron Warrior (Iron Fey #7) by Julie Kagawa, 10/27/15
Manners and Mutiny(Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger, 11/3/15
Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer, 11/10/15
Frozen Tides (Fallen Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes,12/15/15
Endure (Defy #3) by Sara B. Larson, 12/29/15
I’m sure I’ve missed a few but one thing for sure, I’m going to be busy!  What books are your excited to read this fall?  Let me know in the comments if they are any I need to add.

Review: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Magisterium: The Iron Trial is basically Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s Harry Potter.  It might be unfair to say so but let’s face facts.  It’s about a boy, Callum or Call as he likes to be called. Who gets into a mysteries school, the Magisterium, for young Mages.  He becomes friends with Aaron and Tamara that will help him on this journey.  Oh and there is a mask wearing villian that is out to destory death.  Sort of sound familiar? Similiarities in literature is nothing new and may not be surprising considering that Cassandra Clare wrote Harry Potter fanfiction before she started writing about Shadowhunters but for everything that is the same they are enough differences to make it worth reading.  There is going to be a lot of spoilers after the cut. Continue reading

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Featured imageHolly Black is no stranger to Fairies.  This is her third foray into the world of the fair folk.  She first co-authored the Spiderwick Chronicles with Tony DiTerlizzi and then went solo on Modern Faerie Tales, Tithe, Valiant and Ironside. She knows her fairy mythology.  The Darkest Part of the Forest is a return to her fairy roots, so to speak.

Sister and Brother Hazel and Ben live in a strange town of Fairfold, where humans and fairy live side by side.  They have sort of agreement where the fairies leave the townspeople alone but can do what they want to the tourists.  Nice, right? In the center of the wood, lays a glass casket that has an attractive horned fairy inside, sleeping.  Never waking.  Both Hazel and Ben are in love with him and one day are going to wake him and save the town.

Hazel knows to fear the fey.  They may seem harmless but they are not.  She and Ben used to hunt faeries.  Ben has a gift for music, blessed and cursed by a fairy when he was a baby. Ben would lull the faires with his music and Hazel would strike them down.  The Bard and the Knight.  All went well until Ben couldn’t control his gift and got scared.  Hazel makes a bargain with the Alderking, who rules the fairies in the forest.  If Ben gets a scholarship to a music school in Philadelphia, she’ll give seven years of her life to them.  Ben did but things didn’t turn out as planned, as often it does with fairy bargains.  Back in Fairfold, Hazel throws herself at boys to distract her from troubles, while Ben desperately tries to escape Fairfold and be normal.  Everything changes when the mysterious horned fairy boy is freed from the casket and awakes.  Hazel and Ben must finally face all of their secrets and fears and do what they did as kings. Hunt down fairies and save the town.

I liked this book but it wasn’t my favorite.  I don’t know how to explain it but it seems to not have the spark of her other books.  Or maybe since I loved her last book, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown that I just expected more.  The characters are all likable. The most likeable is Jack, the changeling boy who is also Ben’s best friend and Hazel’s long time crush.  I liked how that Ben is gay but it doesn’t define him. It’s not a obstacle he has to overcome or come to terms with, it’s just a fact and accepted.  Or the fact that Jack is a changeling.  People just seem to accept him as is, until things start to fall apart of course.

So really the story isn’t about fairies at all but about finding yourself and being honest with yourself and others. In like most novels, the conflicts could have all been avoided if they didn’t keep secrets from themselves but I guess that wouldn’t be much of a story.  All and all, it was a good but not great.