Review: Misrule

3/5 stars

I put off reading this for three years, omg.

This was not my fave in the series. Maybe because it’s been so long since I adored the earlier instalments. I didn’t like that there was a greater focus on Phil, Phil’s mother, a funeral, etc. Like it felt like there was a lot of ‘waiting’ for things to happen– which, yes, adds to the tension, but not for 300/400 pages of the finale. Boo.

I wish there was a greater presence of Finn, he v much pulled a New Moon Edward and was like “to save you, I’m peacing out, goodbye” and then at the end was like “oh HeyYYyYYY.”

I loved when Finn called Pearl his “Pearl-friend” (not girlfriend haha).

I was so psyched to get into the fairy realm and explore all of the fairy-ness. But we hardly got any. It was a whole lot of blacking out. AHHHH.

What I did appreciate, as a NSW young adult: there were so many references to the HSC and it was gr8. I related. It was cute.

I feel that the first 250 pages should’ve been cut, and more should’ve been extended from the ending. I feel ripped off.

Review: Chain of Iron

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours, #2)Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read my review of Book 1 here

I don’t know where to start for this review. This book is worth 4.5/5 stars for me. It does not exceed my love for TDA, but it is a close match. 

Why this book is better than Chain of Gold:  
When I first rated Chain of Gold, I gave it a 3/5 stars. Then after some consideration, I upped it to 4 stars. I recognised that I had been exposed to so much hype and tidbits, there wasn’t much for me to grasp onto as the story unfolded. There wasn’t anything I hadn’t already predicted after reading all of Cassie’s other publications, as well as the family tree. 

Book 2 was widely ‘unknown’ for my expectations.

Though, I did make a list of predictions in my review for book one. Let’s review them: (view spoiler)

In my opinion, there’s only one element of The Last Hours that beats The Dark Artifices. And that is the friendships. TLH has the strongest, most likable friendship group in all of the Shadowhunter series. TDA obviously has a greater focus on family (in particular, siblinghood), but I think I still prefer to look at the chosen family (aka friendship group) over the Blackthorn siblings. TMI ranks last in everything in comparison, as usual lol.

Overall, I really did enjoy ‘the bracelet’ issue. It doesn’t trump the angst of being in love with your parabatai, but y’know…… close second.

I love how much Cassie writes, I do. But only because I love staying in her world, surrounded by her characters.

My GOD: pages 200-400 were stale as fuck. We were stuck in a loop of the same cycle:
1. A murder happens
2. James sees it
3. James lives on with the rest of his day, typically falling a bit more in love with Cordelia
4. Repeat x5

Where was the unpredictability??? For TDA, I was constantly on edge, I didn’t know who or where or what half of the Shadowhunters were truly up to. It felt uncertain at every point.

Perhaps this isn’t fulfilling my need for ‘surprise’ as much because of the damn family tree. I’m not sure.

So, although Chain of Iron is better than Chain of Gold (IMHO), it should have progressed a bit further than what was given. Because there was already so much that we could predict and expect for 70% of this book (due to publicity beforehand, and common sense as a reader of the previous Shadowhunters books): 
Cordelia and James get married. *Cue the angst.* Lucie schemes behind everybody, and falls in love with Jesse. OBVIOUSLY, both of these major plot points will be complicated and then converge. James will confront the issues with the bracelet, and perhaps the love triangle issue will fester. There are peripheral characters (all who are the ‘diverse’ ones), who rarely serve any purpose to the overarching issues in this series. Then there is a big battle, but it’s not damaging because: 
a) Book 3 needs to happen. 
b) The. Family. Tree.
 

As I said to a friend: I am not concerned about James x Cordelia, or Jesse x Lucie, because I can SEE the family tree. I think of their future generations. I think of Jace with his gold eyes, or the Blackthorns with beautiful blue and green eyes. So there isn’t a doubt in my head: these characters will live, and live long enough to have SEVERAL children. 

The only ‘unknown’ lineage is the Fairchilds. Who is Clary linked to– Charles, or Matthew? And who are their counterparts? 

I loved Matthew’s character the most, and it’s a shame. Because he fades away in this book. He is hardly noticed by James or Cordelia or even Lucie, unless he is used to help THEM progress to the next part of the book. I understand that’s his function as a supporting character– but it also has left him being more two-dimensional than the first book, where he felt like he was ‘his own’. And how OUT OF CHARACTER is it that the second he (view spoiler) Why? What about the whole parabatai loyalty thing that we’ve had harped on to us since the novellas? Was it to show that Cordelia is REALLY worth it?

Here’s what I would have loved to have seen in Book 2 instead:
(view spoiler)

I am really excited for the final book! I think this will be the only one that I can’t predict much for. Here’s what I think will happen:
(view spoiler)

I forgot to even predict a single thing to do with Tatiana– and what does that say??? She’s the villain. And I don’t even worry for her. She’ll be squished within the first half of the book, and the REAL issue will stand (view spoiler). As a quick thought, do I really care what happens to Inquistor Bridgestock either??????? Probs not. But I’m going to predict that the Bridgestocks, the Highsmiths, all of those unimportant Shadowhunter families will be important for the final Shadowhunters series (set post TDA).

I still wish (but no longer believe) Magnus will be of much of a presence in this. I realllyyyyy want to see him mentor Matthew tho argh.

Best and Worst of My 2020 Reads

Long time, no see! 

The last time I posted was in September 2020. I’d apologised for my absence, but who cares. I hope you’ve all had a great year despite our universal challenges. When lockdown hit, I (eventually) thought (after the seven stages of grief, naturally): yay, cozy. Time to stay inside for the year, focus on my studies and just keep reading. 

 

For some reason, my university thought “you know what? Here is an unprecedented amount of work and expectations for you all. Enjoy ‘staying at home’, you bludgers.” 

And to top it off, I began my year-long journey for Honours. I can positively say: I hated 2020’s impact on my learning at uni. But that’s over, and I’m not going to think about it again until mid-Feb. 

 

Since I was in my fourth year of university, I’ve had to complete a lot of readings. As in, seven days a week, 9am til 11pm, researching and reading. As you can imagine, I was fatigued on reading, and I didn’t want to spent my breaks picking up an anticipated YA novel or non-YA literature, including SJM and Cassie Clare’s newest releases– who am I? What has uni done to me??? 

 

Here are fave books of 2020: 

The Runner Ups (3 or 4 stars): 

The Perfectionists 

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Published: 7/10/14

Format: Audiobook 

Rating + Review: 3.5/5 stars 

Yes No Maybe So 

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Published: 4/2/20 

Format: Audiobook 

Rating: 3/5 stars (no review because I got distracted for 6 months) 

The Wicked King 

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Published: 8/1/19

Format: Audiobook (even though I pre-ordered a copy) 

Rating + Review: 3/5 stars — this was the worst instalment IMO

The Evil Queen 

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Published: 20/7/19

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars

The Hand on the Wall 

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Published: 21/1/20

Format: Audiobook 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars 

Four Dead Queens

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Published: 26/1/19

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars

Queen of Air and Darkness 

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Published: 4/12/18

Format: Hardback 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars

 

And now… for the 5/5 stars: 

The Fountains of Silence 

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Published: 1/10/19

Format: Paperback 

Review: Read this even if you hate historical fiction

Happily and Madly 

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Published: 21/5/19

Format: Hardback 

Review: If you loved We Were Liars and Gossip Girl’s Season 2 Premiere, READ THIS 

Red Hood 

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Published: 25/2/20 

Format: Hardback 

Review: FEMINISM. SO MUCH FEMINISM. I FEEL SO EMPOWERED. READ IT. 

House of Salt and Sorrows 

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Published: 6/8/19 

Format: Audiobook 

Review: Gruesome and picturesque. Gothic with pretty girls. 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely 

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Published: 29/1/19

Format: Paperback 

Review: THE SECOND BEST BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING AFTER ACOTAR. 

The Queen of Nothing 

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Published: 19/11/19

Format: Audiobook 

Review: I’M RUINED. RUINED. 

The Grace Year 

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Published: 10/10/19 

Format: Paperback 

Review: I told all of my friends to read this. FEMINISM. SEXY CHARACTERS. DYSTOPIA. LOVE. 

 


Here are some of the books that I simply ‘did not vibe with‘: 

Call Down the Hawk

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Published: 5/11/19

Format: Audiobook 

Rating + Review: 2/5 stars

DEV1AT3

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Published: 25/6/19

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 2.5/5 stars 

The Lady Rogue 

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Published: 3/9/10 

Format: Hardback (disappointingly, I own this) 

Rating + Review: 2/5 stars

King of Fools

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Published: 30/4/19 

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 2/5 stars


What were your hits and sh*ts of 2020? 

Review: The Betrothed

I’VE GOT A RANT FOR YALL, BUCKLE IN

Header credit: @xenatine

Rating: 4/5 stars

Overall thoughts:
Picture yourself a slice of white bread. Then dip that piece of bread into a bucket of bleach. Let it dry. Then add some white-out ink on top. THAT’S HOW WHITE AND UN-DIVERSE THIS WORLD IS. Cass and publishers; you fail at the modern demands and expectations of 21st YA culture. It wasn’t that this book is overtly saying “Anglo-centrism or die” (though the undertones of the ‘darker, less creative’ nation really do emulate a LOT of eugenics ideology from the early 20th C), it’s that it was so… frustratingly… offensively… so one-dimensional. In every single aspect. The characterisation, the relationships, the world, the descriptions. They do not explore a single thing. It felt lazy. It felt harmful. Everybody is Anglo, everybody is hetro-normative, everybody is very conservative. The only ‘adverse’ character is Hollis, and that’s through her own rebelling to choose her own life. It has nothing to do with the production of this text.

What made this book worth 4 stars:
Rant out of the way, I thoroughly enjoyed this book from 60% onwards. The first 60% are just a refined, less painful version of the Selection. From 60%, the romances amp up, betrayal is cut-throat, and there is so much gore I actually cried on the bus from how horrific it was.

Something that makes this book unique/interesting:
This book has something so unique, I do want to promote its single redeeming feature: girl-power. Women in this story are the heart of our MC’s eyes. It begins with her stupid love triangle, but soon you realise— much more of this story is monitoring and exploring how each woman is interacting in this novel. We have the villains, the ‘more than meets the eye’, the suffering, the love, the trust, we have it all. The women in this book are the most multi-dimensional feature of this book. It improved dramatically once Hollis was out of the castle, and interacting with grown women. It felt empowering to read.

Something I’d have like to have seen go differently/improve on:
F*cking hell. Cass, publishing team, ANYONE. I don’t have a track record of reading even ONE lgbt story per month. I don’t go out of my way for marathons on say, a race/nationality readathon. But I’m also not somebody who is looking for white, Anglo-centric, Christian, metro, cis, rich cultures to be represented in every story. In fact, I detest it. We (readers, writers, and the industry) are so far beyond that. We were beyond it before The Hunger Games or Harry Potter. THEY for Gods sake have fictional allusions to the deeper issues in our society, such as colourism, racism, and poverty. This book and everybody involved should be ashamed of how poor effort this book was. It’s down-right oppressive in a very hidden manner. You should all know better, especially when you’re sending subliminal message to the YA audience.

If anyone is wondering what these covert meanings could be, have a look at who are the heroes and victims of this story; name one character’s life struggle that DOESN’T have to do with personal issues regarding wealth or legacy; tell me which characters find happiness and desire in their romantic relationships., and who suffers?

These are the messages they are telling young adult readers. If you are not Hollis, or Delia-Grace, aka white girls from the nobility, who conform to their romantic’s expectations, then you are the ones who will suffer. Who will not get your true love. And even so drastically so, not be significant or valid enough to have representation in a well-funded publication.

It’s infuriating to say the least. But I gave it a higher score because I thoroughly enjoyed the loops and twists by the end, to the point I was sitting on the edge of my seat. It was a comfort read for me, as a white girl from Anglo culture. I can only imagine this will be troubling for anyone else.

PS — I think the major plot twist for next book will be that the people who died in the fire aren’t really dead. We didn’t see their bodies, there’s no sure answer!!!

Review: Ruthless Gods

I finished this on the 6th of August… then wrote a review 2 weeks later… then never uploaded it (out of laziness!).

Header credit to OwlCrate (FB)

Overall thoughts:
This book was everything I anticipated it would be! It had the yearning, the angst, the romance, and the gore!!! I loved it. It sorted out a LOT of loose ends from Book 1. I look forward to the finale, though I can’t imagine what the heck will continue on for more than 3 or so chapters.

What made this book worth 5 stars:
If you enjoyed Book 1 as much as I did, you know what makes this story incredible. My favourite element of this book was the romances unfolding; Mal x Nadya, and Serevin with ……. (I won’t spoil). The writing is soothing to me, but it is extraneously long. I think this could easily be further cut down, but that’s my general opinion for most epic fantasies.

Something that makes this book unique/interesting:
You’ll love this book if you’re into blood magic, demon possession and villains. There’s also a great exploration between divine beings, fate, and your own consciousness. It’s deeply philosophical for a fictitious world, yet completely encapsulates prevalent issues that we see continue into present day.

Something I’d have like to have seen go differently/improve on:
The length. The G-D length. My (ruthless) GOD. It took 30% just for the gang to be re-united. I was no long anticipating it, I was just trying to marathon as much as possible so the plot can actually progress. Progress into something I didn’t already foresee. The length in this has impacted how strongly I remember the storyline (newsflash, it gets very murky!).

My First Ever Book Unhaul (18 Books Purged!)

As I grow closer to ending uni, and my new beautiful New Adult hardbacks find a temporary-home on the floor, I find myself needing to rid myself of books I bought back in 2015. It’s time to let go of some classic YA paperbacks, as well as some double ups, as well as 1/5 starred disappointments. 

Continue reading “My First Ever Book Unhaul (18 Books Purged!)”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: The New and the Notable | Quick Lit #4

This is a monthly book meme hosted by Anne. It’s also known as “Quick Lit”. Bloggers share what they’ve been reading recently, on the 15th of every month. YES, I’M LATE, I’M SORRY! I WAS MARATHON-WATCHING BROOKLYN NINE-NINE!

Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately: The New and the Notable | Quick Lit #4”