“City of Ashes” by Cassandra Clare

So, I realized recently that I have a terrible track record when it comes to talking about book series. I always have the best intentions, I start off with the first one, promise to talk about the others and then I forget or get distracted by something shiny and then never come back to it. I’m gonna try to be better. So, in the spirit of that, here is my considered opinion of the second book in the Mortal Instruments series- it’s awesome. This should come as no surprise.
So, it picks up not long after the first book ends and everyone is still trying to come to grips with the fact that Valentine, not- Voldemort, has returned and Clary and Jace are trying to cope with the fact that they are brother and sister, which I cannot stress enough isn’t true, but they don’t know that yet. So, they’re still Luke-and-Leia-ing it up, which honestly is really sad. Like, I enjoy a good romance as much as the next girl, maybe more, but this is still just kinda sad. And weird. Definitely weird. Because, I mean, what are you supposed to say? “Oh I wish they could be together”? “Those siblings would be such a cute couple”? Because at this point the reader isn’t supposed to know it either. I just cheated and peeked at a later book. I’m really not sure the author thought this thing all the way through, to be honest.
Anyhow, so the whole Shadowhunter world is in chaos as everyone tries to figure out what Valentine will do next, and what he does next is kill a bunch of people, rather predictably, to be honest. But still, it all is very cool and fairly cinematic the way it is written, it’s very easy to imagine it and the way it will look on screen, whenever it is the second movie comes out. The part on the boat in particular is very, very cool and how Magnus spells Luke’s truck so that it can just drive across the water? Awesome. I want my car to be able to do that. And how Clary uses that rune to completely destroy the boat? Girlfriend packs a mean punch. Oh, yeah, uh, in case you haven’t read the books, or don’t intend to, there are these runes that the Shadowhunters can draw, mostly on themselves, for things like healing, balance, strength or endurance and they’re basically magic. Well, Clary, because she’s awesome and the main character, can pack a whole lot more juice into your average rune than anyone else. She can also create new runes, which no one thought was possible before she started doing it. So, to destroy the boat, she carved the one for “open” into the hull and poured as much as she had into it. The boat was torn apart. Even the rivets flew out, that’s how big of a wallop she has. So, very cool. Makes up for the fact that she still doesn’t really do much fighting and in battle she mostly gets kidnapped and hit upside the head. But, that’s not really her fault, she wasn’t raised as a Shadowhunter, she didn’t even know she was one until recently, so she’s never been trained. You can’t blame someone for not knowing something they never thought they’d need to know.
And then there’s Simon, Clary’s best friend. This is where things get a bit tricky for me. See, this is where the series has me on shaky ground, as there is definite shades of Twilight in that particular storyline. That whole “love triangle, one of whom is her best friend and loves her deeply and faithfully from afar” thing. That is always super annoying. Especially since they’re following the Twilight tradition of the best friend being the one who loses out. Though, I will grant you, watching her genuinely try to be with him was a nice change of pace. You can’t really blame the poor girl- her mom is in a coma, the guy she’s in love with is apparently her brother, her home and everything she owns is destroyed, she’s found out her life is based on a lie and then her best friend leans over and kisses her. What’s she supposed to do? Shove him away? So she tries and it’s sweet and sad that she just can’t be that for him, that all she can think about and all she wants is Jace. And poor Jace, he just fell so hard and so fast. She’s the whole world for him and he can’t have her, and now she’s with this other guy. It just kills him. Honestly, it’s crazy how much he cares about her and worries about her- at one point he runs into the demon of fear, which kills by showing a person what they fear most in all the world. Apparently that much mind- bending terror, magically amplified no doubt, will kill a person pretty quickly. Anyway, what he sees when he sees the demon is Clary dying. Seriously, that is the thing that he is more afraid of than anything else in the world. Well, that and his father, since that’s what he sees the second time he runs into the demon.
Anyway, there’s a nice change of pace from that stupid trope when Simon breaks up with Clary, instead of the other way around. And there really aren’t any bad feelings, he just tells her that he knows it’s not working, he knows she doesn’t feel that way about him and that he would rather have what they’ve always had, a true friendship, than pretend at anything else. He would rather have that truth than a lie that would twist everything about them. So that was nice. Oh, and Simon is turned into a vampire, which I’m not sure how I feel about. I mean, cool, he’s now fully a part of that world, yay awesome, but I’m not a huge fan of vampires. And I don’t really understand those who are. So… neutral. Neutral I suppose.
As I said, I think this book was awesome and it ends on a little bit of a cliffhanger, as someone announces to Clary that they know how to get her mother out of her magically induced coma, so that leads quite nicely into the third book.

“The Bourne Legacy”

I have deep and abiding love for this series. I saw the first one when it came out in theatres the first week it came out, cuz it looked awesome, and was just blown away. Just completely blown away. I left it and didn’t say anything to my friend for a full three minutes before saying “I had no idea you could do that with a pen.” So I was nervous about the new movie. I mean, I get that Matt Damon can only do so many of these movies, they’re very physical and he’s in his, what 40s? Also, for the most part, Jason’s part of this story is over. He might need a small part later on, but mostly, his part is done. So I got why they were moving on to another character, especially since there’s so much more story to tell, but I was nervous. I mean, a lot of perfectly good series, both book and movie, have been ruined by this sort of thing. But, when I saw it, I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Especially since pretty much everything I’d read online was complaining endlessly about it. I don’t see why. I mean, okay, so yes, the first hour is kind of slow and you do find yourself going “Geez, we’re still in Alaska? Really?” But they’re building a story here, you have to be patient. Especially since the first part of the story is taking place concurrently with “The Bourne Ultimatum”. But that’s the cool part! It’s like they’re taking you by the shoulders and going, “Okay, yes, all of that has been happening over there, but if you’ll look over here, you’ll see all of this.” Which I thought was really, really awesome and a great way to lead into this part of the story and introduce us to our new guy, Aaron Cross. Who, btw, is really cool, fully as capable as Jason, and appears to actually have a sense of humor. He’s also played by Jeremy Renner, who I now officially love. He’s an incredibly likeable actor and and a really good actor period. He does a great job. Playing, I can’t say opposite so let’s say beside, him is another of my favorite actor’s, Rachel Weisz, whom I’ve loved since “The Mummy”. She’s a really great, smart actress and pretty much always plays great, smart characters and this time was no different. Her character, Marta, is very cool and she actually saves Aaron at least twice. She isn’t just a damsel. I really, really hope that they don’t kill her off like they did Marie.
I won’t give anything else away, since I want everyone to go see so that it makes lots of money and they keep making these movies, just rest assured that I tend to be kind of picky and I’ve seen it twice.

The Bourne Legacy (Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)

“Demon Moon” by Meljean Brook

Okay, so if you’ve read my earlier post listing the authors that I love, you don’t really need to be told that I love this book. But I did. I totally loved this book and it’s one of my favorite of all time. It advanced the over- all story arc while still telling these people’s particular story, while not forgetting everyone else in the storyline. It was fantastic.

The characters are flawed, very much so, while remaining completely awesome. There’s no Mary- Suing, thank god, and while they have their talents and beauty,and all the things about them that make them very cool people, there is never any doubt that they are real people. The only part that I found outside the realm of believable is how smart Savi apparently is, and since they kind of come out and say she’s like a super genius, and considering how many tv shows and movies pull that same kind of stunt, I’m calling it within bounds.

I will be honest and say that when I stop and think about it while not reading the book, I don’t really see how Colin and Savi work as a couple, since they have little in common and are very different people, but while you’re reading the book it never feels like an issue. I guess that one can be chalked up to one of those things, since there are real life couples that don’t make any sense to other people. And they do seem like the kind of people that would genuinely enjoy each other’s company and take it from there, so I suppose I can let it go.

And once again, it seems to be a specialty of Meljean Brooks, it did seem genuinely impossible for them to be together. Unlike in other books, I’ll say it again cuz it’s irritating, where you just want to yell through the page for them to get over themselves and they can live happily ever after, perhaps accompanied with a nice smack upside the head, in this book the deck really did seem stacked against them, completely impossible for them to be together. Admittedly, a little of that did come from Savi being unwilling to stand by Colin as his blood lust, what with him being a vampire and all, forcing him to have sex with a different woman every night since Savi couldn’t supply all his blood needs, but I’m not gonna blame her for that one. What woman, or man, would want to stand by and watch the love of their life do that? None that I can think of, and none that wouldn’t end up hating their love and themselves in the end. But the way she worked it out was simply awesome and the moment at the end, when they decided that they would rather risk taking each other’s blood and dying of it than live apart was simply beautiful. I tear up every time I read it. Typing it now, it sounds really melodramatic and overwrought, but in the moment it felt very right and honestly, the whole book was leading up to that moment, when they chose each other over everything else. But I’m a romantic.

Elsewhere in the book, the Guardian corps’ war against the demons is heating up, and there’s a very cool/deliciously creepy thing with the Chaos realm in the book, which I won’t get into since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else. Also, Michael as a leader and a person is getting more rounded out and realized which comes in handy for later in the series. He’s clearly very much a work in progress for the author. I don’t think she had a real good grip on him early on in the series, and that kind of shows, but she’s obviously working her way inside his head, slowly but surely as the series goes on, and this one starts to give us some nice insights.

All in all, I totally, obviously, recommend this book. It’s a little long and the mythology of the series is not for the faint of heart, since it’s almost ridiculously complicated, but it’s a great read and a great series. You should totally read it.