Review: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

silver mask So what do you do when you have the soul of the enemy of death even though you have no memory of his past life and now everyone else knows it and blames you for the death of your best friend but your innocent?  For Call it means you get thrown in jail, broken out and then kidnapped by the very people who’ve been trying to avoid the last three years.  Call’s luck is almost none existent.  Call is also full of self doubt and guilt.  He wasn’t the one to kill Aaron, that was Alex but he still feels responsible for it.  If Tamara had chosen to save Aaron instead of Call it would have been Call who died and not Aaron.  Does Tamara regret that choice?  Call had always assume that Tamara liked Aaron more than him and like most people tolerated him because Aaron did.  Now that Tamara, Jasper and Call are kidnapped by Master Joseph and his crew things get a little hazy.  Call is not Constantine despite having his soul but he’s been having trouble convincing others of this.  He may not be him but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t share some of his ambitions.  Without Aaron, Call feels a little lost and maybe all would be forgiven and go back to what they were if Aaron was alive again.  Master Joseph gives him the chance.  Raise Aaron back from the dead and you can decide whether you want to stay or not.  The Enemy of Death was called that because his obsession with defeating death.  I’m not sure I buy that if Call is able to bring Aaron back that all would be forgiven and that all of a sudden there would be so much support for his cause but we need to find the conflict.  Of course Call is able to bring back Aaron by doing the one thing that Constantine was never willing to do, give apart of himself to do so but you can never go back.  Aaron is not as he was because he was dead and should be dead.  Call’s plan to bring Aaron back and things go back the way they were goes sideways immediately and battle ensues.  If I didn’t know that there is one more book left in the series, I would almost think that this was finale because there was a lot of loose ends tied up.  I’m not sure where they go from here but there is still one bad guy still out there.

This is part of my Diverse Narrator challenge.  Call is disabled with a bad leg from when he was an infant.  While his lifelong injury played more of a roll in previous books it is still a big part of who the character is.  His bad leg has always made him think that he was less capable then those with two good legs and he’s felt this way because of most of his life that’s what people have told him.  Throughout the series, Call has persevered despite being slow to run or walk.  He’s been able to use his other skills and wit to get in and out of  trouble and prove he is just as capable.  May that be a lesson for us all.

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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