Tag Archives: cassandra clare

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (unabridged audiobook read by Daniel Sharman; 15.5 hrs on 13 discs): And here we are at the end of the trilogy. I have thoughts and they are all disjointed, so, bottom line up front: I really enjoyed it. I found this trilogy to be far better, both in story and in mechanics, than The Mortal Instruments. The characters have far more depth, and thus are far more interesting to read about. However, I do still believe it was helpful to read The Mortal Instruments first because of how fun it was to see the origins of many things that pop up in that series.

I didn’t think I could love Magnus any more than I already did, but clearly my affection for him knows no bounds.

The revelation about Tessa’s talent was satisfying, as was the defeat of Mortmain and the truth behind Tessa’s clockwork angel. I felt the resolution of the Jem/Tessa/Will love triangle to be a little too convenient, however, despite how much I loved all three characters. Jem’s epilogue was generally unconvincing as well, but perhaps Clare has another book in store for these characters. I kind of hope so, actually, because I love this universe, though I like it better in Victorian times than modern day.

A note on the audio: Finally a good narrator! Why couldn’t they have Sharman narrate the other two books as well? Stupid stupid stupid.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (unabridged audiobook read by Ed Westwick and Heather Lind; 15.5 hrs on 13 discs): The story of Mortmain and his clockwork soldiers continues with the angst of Will. Amazingly, Will’s jerkface tendencies from the last book are actually explained realistically here, with a twist that did not surprise me but was still pleasing in how unusual it was. Will’s character in general is given a surprising amount of depth; that plus the secrets revealed and exciting battles and romantic shenanigans made this my favorite Shadow Hunter book so far (including all of Mortal Instruments, which really isn’t anywhere nearly as well-written as this). I’ll be curious to see how various issues are cleared up in the final book: the love triangles, the unrequited loves, the terminal illness, the villain’s mysterious motives, etc. All around a fun ride.

A note on the audio: While these narrators are a huge improvement over the one from the previous book, it’s disruptive to constantly be switching readers. I do not understand why anyone would have thought that was a good idea.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (unabridged audiobook read by Jennifer Ehle; 15.5 hrs on 13 discs): When Tessa travels from her native New York to London to meet up with her brother, she is greeted by the Dark Sisters, strange women who hold her captive, forcing her to master a talent she never knew she possessed: shape shifting. She soon finds herself in the company of shadow hunters, those half-angel humans who uphold the law among the supernatural. Unlike the modern Mortal Instruments series, this takes place in Victorian times. There’s a bit of a steampunk vibe, what with clockwork critters and all that, but it’s not overbearing or overly unrealistic (for a story with demons and warlocks, that is). I like Tessa; she’s smart and confident without being reckless (using “character is too headstrong and doesn’t listen to reason and gets herself into trouble” as a plot device is a pet peeve of mine). The shadow hunters are also pleasantly individual: surly Will, kind Jem, prissy Jessamine, determined Charlotte, flighty Henry. I liked that I couldn’t predict where everything was going, but also never felt like things were plucked out of thin air. I don’t know if I would be enjoying it as much if I hadn’t already been introduced to the shadow hunter universe through the Mortal Instruments series, though I do feel the characters and story are much stronger here. The book ends on a slight cliffhanger, but that’s okay because it’s the beginning of a trilogy. Game on.

A note on the audio: When only a couple of the characters are American, it is best to get someone who can pull off a decent British accent. This reader, alas, cannot.

Beyond Words: A Fantasy Author Charity Calendar Project

Lauren Zurchin, professional photographer and managing editor of the SF/F blog Lytherus, contacted me the other day about a new project. Basically, she wants to dress up fantasy authors in custom-made costumes and photograph them for a calendar. She has a decent roster of authors lined up, several of whom I’ve read or at least heard of: Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, Christopher Paolini, Gregory Maguire, Tad Williams, Patrick Rothfuss, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Lauren Kate, Lauren Oliver, Maggie Stiefvater, Gail Carriger, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.

Ms. Zurchin explains further:

This project is huge, and with the support of these authors I’ve taken to Kickstarter to raise the bare-minimum funds needed to make this project a reality. Every author involved in the project has offered limited edition exclusive items up for grabs — prizes that are only offered this one time and never again. Kickstarter contributors can find limited edition prints of their fantasy calendar photo (signed), wall posters (signed), “personalized packs” (containing prints, autographed calendar, and more — personalized and signed by the author), and calendars signed by all fourteen of the project’s participants. There are several high-end prizes up for grabs, including Skype chats with a few of the participating authors. […] The Kickstarter runs through the end of February and aims to raise $15,000.

Enough to pique your interest? Visit the Kickstarter page.

And here’s where things get interesting (aka, the “why you should care” bit): proceeds from the calendar are going to support the charities First Book (which donates books to schools and children’s programs) and WorldBuilders (which raises donations for Heifer International through auctions of author-donated goodies). Worthy causes both. Ms. Zurchin goes into more detail on her website.

I contributed. I don’t have any particular attachment to any one of the authors but I like fantasy photography and the fact that it’s of fantasy authors is a cute idea. And raising funds to make a product that will ultimately be sold for charity sits well with me.

P.S. – For those of you with an interest in seeing authors being awesome, I still have a few of these left.

P.P.S. – I have absolutely no idea how Ms. Zurchin found me. I’m just pleased she did, because otherwise this never would have appeared on my radar.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (unabridged audiobook read by Natalie Moore; 15 hrs on 13 discs): Most of this tale takes place in Idris, which is a nice change of scenery. Otherwise it’s more or less more of the same: Valentine is evil, Jace and Clary are conflicted, Simon is awesome. I did have a couple of “noooo don’t die” moments, even during those times when I knew that particular character could never in a million years get killed off, so that was refreshing. All in all, I really enjoyed this world and these characters. I know there are more books in this series, but this ended in a satisfying place.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (unabridged audiobook read by Natalie Moore; 13 hrs on 11 discs): It’s difficult to give a synopsis of this second book of the Mortal Instruments series without completely giving away the first one, but suffice it to say that Clary remains conflicted about Simon and Jace, Magnus remains fabulous, adults still are generally not to be trusted (gah the Inquisitor made me so angry), and Valentine continues to be awful. The plot is once again very easy to follow and predict, but like the first book, I enjoyed the world and its characters enough that I had a marvelous time all the same. Looking forward to the third installment. I understand the series began as a trilogy, so it should have a good solid ending.

A note on the audio: I have no idea why they changed narrators, but it’s not too jarring, as Moore’s voice and inflection are actually pretty similar to Graynor’s. I imagine they switched because Graynor is a Hollywood actress and had other commitments. That’s fine. Moore is quite good, and in fact I prefer her version of Magnus.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (unabridged audiobook read by Ari Graynor; 14 hrs on 12 discs): Clary is an ordinary teenager living an ordinary life until the night she meets a trio of demon hunters. They are just as surprised to see her as she is, since they are usually invisible to mundanes. She barely has time to get used to the idea of demons being real before her mother is attacked by one. With the help of shadow hunter Jace, Clary begins the search for her mother and answers to questions about her past. The writing is nothing special – things land “with a dull thud” and people let out breaths they didn’t know they were holding – and I saw every single plot twist coming a mile away. But the characters are fun and the world building clearly extensive. I admit, I was a little put off at first by the main character sharing a name (and hair color) with the author. Luckily, Clary didn’t come across as too glaring of an author insertion. I’ve heard the series goes downhill after a few books, but I think I’ll at least give it one more volume. This world is way too much fun to give up just yet.

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