Clockwork Angel

So, I’ve finally finished reading the first book in Cassandra Clare’s prequel trilogy to the Mortal Instruments series.  The prequel trilogy is referred to as The Infernal Devices, and book one is Clockwork Angel.  I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite some time since I am a huge fan of the Mortal Instruments series.  I was not disappointed.  Clockwork Angel was just as action-packed as any of the books in the Mortal Instruments series.  I was invested in the characters, Clare’s attention to detail again amazed me, and I was bummed when the book ended.  I am eagerly anticipating the next book in this awesome series, as well as any other book that Clare publishes (and that includes City of Fallen Angels, released April 5, 2011).

Clockwork Angel takes readers on a journey to Victorian London.  Tessa Gray has just arrived from America to look for her brother, Nate.  He has disappeared, and she just knows that something bad has happened to him.  (She’s not wrong.)  Almost immediately, Tessa is spirited away by the Dark Sisters.  These two creepy women force Tessa to face what she truly is if she ever wishes to see her brother again.  And what is Tessa?  No one really knows, but it seems she has the power to transform into another person.  Tessa did not realize she had this power, and she does not know how it relates to her parents, her brother, or what is happening to her now.

Just when Tessa is ready to give up all hope, she is rescued and taken in by a group of Shadowhunters, or demon killers.  These fierce warriors agree to help her find her brother if she will use her newly discovered ability to help them uncover the evil at work in London’s Downworld.  Tessa agrees, and during her time at the Shadowhunter’s London Institute, she grows closer to those who have taken her in:  Will, the arrogant, beautiful boy who keeps everyone at a distance (sound familiar?); Jem, the silver-haired, silver-eyed boy with a mysterious secret; Jessamine, who sees her life as a Shadowhunter as an unbearable burden; Henry, the “mad scientist” of the group who is always tinkering with new inventions; and Charlotte, the head of the Institute, who is fighting for her own measure of control in a world where women must battle for a voice.

As a mysterious plot is uncovered that could destroy the Shadowhunters forever, Tessa must make some tough decisions.  Will she try to remain the girl she once was and deny her new-found powers, or will she embrace what she is?  Will she succumb to those who wish to use her abilities for evil, or will she help the Shadowhunters?  The choice may not be as simple as Tessa, or anyone else, thinks.  Tessa may even have to choose between the only family she has left and the new friends who have given her sanctuary in her time of greatest need.  What will she do?  Read Clockwork Angel to find out.

It should come as no shock to anyone that I loved this book, especially since, at some points, I was able to draw parallels to that masterpiece of cinema, the Star Wars saga.  (Mainly the original trilogy…I’ll be the first to admit that the Star Wars prequels were less than spectacular.)  Anyway, I really hope you’ll read this book as well as the Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and, coming soon, City of Fallen Angels).  I just wish the next book in the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Prince, were being released tomorrow.  I can’t wait to see where this story is going.

For more information on Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments, and The Infernal Devices, visit http://cassandraclare.com/cms/home.

Bewitching Season

Well, I’ve finally finished Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve been trying to finish this book for about two months.  It’s not a book I would generally pick up, so I wasn’t really motivated to finish it.  (I finally did because it’s nominated for my state’s young adult book award for next year.)  While it took an exceedingly long time to get interested in this book, once I got about halfway through, I couldn’t wait to finish it.  The action really picks up in the middle, and I could finally say that I was invested in the story.

Persephone and Penelope are about to be launched on London society.  The year is 1837, and the twin sisters are preparing for their first London season.  These aren’t two ordinary sisters, though.  They are witches.  For years, they’ve been training with their governess, Miss Allardyce, who not only teaches them writing and math but also how to use and control their magical gifts.

As the season is set to begin, however, Miss Allardyce goes missing.  Persy and Pen have no idea where to find her.  The two sisters must also deal with unbelievably tedious dress fittings (at least, I found them to be tedious), a nosy little brother, and the inevitable husband hunting of the season.  Persy wants little or nothing to do with the season and would love to devote all of her time to finding her missing governess, but her plans are complicated when she catches the eyes of two potential suitors.

As events unfold, Persy and Pen learn of a foul plot to control the Princess Victoria, heir to the throne, and their missing governess is somehow involved.  Can they thwart this evil plan while maintaining their decorum in London’s most prestigious ballrooms?  Is this even possible?  And how can Persy concentrate on rescuing Miss Allardyce when she’s trying to decide who she should marry or if she should wed at all?  Read Bewitching Season to learn how truly magical Victorian London can be.

While I admit that it took me forever to finally finish this book, I do plan to check out the sequel, Betraying Season, soon.  Now that I’ve read Persy’s story, I’m eager to see how things develop for her sister Pen.

Devil’s Kiss

My latest read is Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda. This book was an uncomfortable book for me to read simply because of the subject matter. Religion plays a big part in this book, and many of the events of the book sort of flew in the face of everything I’ve ever been taught as a Christian. That being said, the book was a good one with a strong plot and sympathetic characters.

Bilqis SanGreal is the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, a group of warriors charged with protecting the world from the Unholy. Life, as you may imagine, is no picnic for Billi. In addition to attending “normal” school, where she has to dodge questions about bruises, cuts, and other injuries, she must endure rigorous training to prepare her for her battles against creatures who wish to spread evil and fear in the world.

Billi’s only real friend is Kay who has just returned from his year-long training as Templar Oracle in Jerusalem. Billi is a little bitter that Kay never tried to contact her during the past year. She also notices some changes in Kay that she’s none too pleased with. Where is the boy she used to call her best friend? And who is this new guy, Mike, who seems to be ready to take Kay’s place in Billi’s life? (Hint: Mike is not who–or what–he seems.)

As Billi deals with many changes in her life, she struggles with her place as a Templar. Does she want to spend the rest of her life battling the Unholy? She knows her lifespan is drastically reduced if she remains.

As events unfold, it becomes clearer and clearer that Billi’s destiny lies with the Knights Templar. It is up to her to fight against one who would unleash the Tenth Plague on the firstborn of London. Can she do it? Will she be able to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to save millions?

I highly recommend this book to fantasy fans, especially those who like their fantasy with religious undertones. If you like Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda may be the book for you.

If you would like more information on the Knights Templar, the website below is a good place to start.

http://www.templarhistory.com/