I had a hard time coming up with an assignment for Kate. My originally thought about assigning her first books in four different series but I had a trouble narrowing it down and most of them are series that she would totally have read if she hadn’t been so busy the last couple of years working on PhD. Which kinda defeats the purpose since the assignments are supposed to be of books that we normally wouldn’t read on our own. So I decided on four different standalone horror and suspense novels. All four of these books I enjoyed for different reasons. I think it’s good to have a scare every now and then but also like how genre can comment on social issues without being in your face about it but also to an audience that normally wouldn’t seek out such material on their own. So I’m excited to see how she like them.
I’m starting off Kate with Cryer’s Cross. I would say is kinda of a ghost story. Kendall loves her small town in Montana but she has dreams of going to school in New York. When tragedy strikes and her friends start to go missing, she teams up with the new boy to solve the mystery. Race, mental disorders and small town secrets all come into play in this well written mystery.
Holly Black is a master story teller and this is in my opinion one of her best books. She takes the vampire genre to a new level with this one. I have to say it’s right up there with Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Cities have been walled up to quarantine off vampires from the regular populations. Tana wakes up the day after a party to find herself the only survivor of a vampire attack with the vampire and her ex-boyfriend both tied up. She must make the decision to take them to a Coldtown. Depression and the search for fame are also examined as they make their journey.
They called it the Killing Day when regular citizens go on a killing spree out of nowhere in a small town in Kansas. Five teenagers from different parts of town are thrown together as they try to survive the night and the mysterious virus goes through the town. Social classes, privilege, abuse all play apart of the narrative as they figure out what’s going on and how they can escape it.
I changed my final book. I originally was going to have Kate read another Holly Black novel but it didn’t really fit the whole horror theme. This one kinda gave me nightmares. So good Luck, Kate. Ry and his mother and sister are trying to save their Iowa farm when a meteorite hits nearby and their past comes back to haunt them. Their abusive father is on the loose and Ry must rely on his old imaginary friends to helped him survive his father before. Can they do it again?
I hope Kate and everyone who chooses to read along will enjoy their Summer of Horror and Suspense.
For the last 10 months, Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan have been treating us with Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. A set of short stories that follows one of Clare’s heroes, Simon Lewis, as he tries to learn how to be a Shadowhunter. I wrote about it a little but after the first book, Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy, came out. This week marked the release of the tenth and final story in the series. For those who are not familiar with Simon or Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, let me catch you up. *Spoilers* When we first met Simon in City of Bones he was just a normal teenage boy in love with his best friend Clary. Throughout the series, he goes from normal boy to normal boy among supernaturals beings to becoming a supernatural being himself, a Vampire, saving the world and then returning to a normal teenage boy with no memory of the supernatural world or his friends. That is where we are now. Simon, has been once again become aware that vampire, werewolves, warlocks, fairies and Shadowhunters exist. After the wars of the two Mortal Instruments books are over, the Shadowhunters are depleted in numbers so they have reopened their academy and invited children of Shadowhunters as well as a few Mundanes to Ascend and join their ranks. That is what Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is about. In 10 shorts stories, we follow Simon and his fellow students as they learn how to fight like a Shadowhunter and how to be like a Shadowhunter. Special appearances from other characters from the Mortal Instruments as well as Clare’s other series, The Infernal Devices and upcoming series’ The Dark Artifaces and The Last hours, we learn more about the history of the Shadowhunters but also clues into what to expect in her new series. It’s really just a good excuse to fill in a few gaps between the end of The Mortal Instruments and beginning of The Dark Artifaces. Also to give Clare’s readers something to read since the last book, City of Heavenly Fire came out last year and Lady Midnight doesn’t come out until Spring of next year. However, I don’t think you are going to hear much complaining from fans. They were fun, quick reads that give more insights to how the Clave, who govern Shadowhunters work, also gave us more time to hang out with one my favorite characters, Simon. As expected with a collection like this not all the stories were good. I felt some they didn’t know what to they put together a quick story with a couple of fan favorites and call it a day but others I felt were worth it. One story I liked a lot was Bitter of Tongue. In it, Simon is kidnapped by fairies and is saved by Mark Blackthorn, who has been stuck with faries since the last book. Mark, who is half Shadowhunter and half fairy and because of this and what happened in the last war, the Shadowhunters have left him there and banished his sister, Helen to exile. When Simon comes back he goes to Helen’s wedding. It’s a heartbreaking story as they are being punished for no other reason then an accident of both. Truly relevant to what is going on in the world. It also gives Simon more motivation to become a Shadowhunter and make a change from the inside. You can buy all 10 stories individually as ebooks or you can wait until next year where they will be combined together but for fans for Clare’s work it’s a must.
In an older post, I talked about the trend of YA authors who write novellas as an add on to their series. Last year Cassandra Clare took it to a whole another level with The Bane Chronicles. With the help of fellow authors Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. Clare wrote a series of ten novellas about everyone favorite Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane. Over the 10 stories, they wrote about Magnus’ past that is often hinted out in both of Clare’s The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments series. It was fun to read about Magnus adventures before he met Tessa, Will, Jem and later Clary, Jace and Alec. Of course the series also served as a introducing characters of upcoming series and fill in gaps between series as well.
This year she is doing the same thing but with another fan favorite, Simon Lewis in the Tales from Shadowhunter Academy. This time she is joined again by Breenan and Johnson and also Robin Wasserman. Now the following is sort of a spoiler to those who have not finished City of Heavenly Fire, the last book in the The Mortal Instruments series. Simon is attending the newly reopened Shadowhunter Academy as the Clave tries to add new Shadowhunters to their numbers after the loss of life in the last war. Those who have finished City of Heavenly Fire will know why Simon can attend the academy in hopes of becoming a Shadowhunter himself and for those who haven’t finished will want to before reading. Personally, I thought the last three books of The Mortal Instruments were three too many but I am looking forward to several Simon centric stories since he was easily my favorite character from that series. Also it gives us something to read while we wait for Clare’s next shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifaces about Shadowhunters in LA.