Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


Wow... Yeah, still trying to absorb all of that. SO MUCH HAPPENED IN THIS BOOK! Seriously, I don't think I've ever read a book where a plot twist lurks on the corner of every other page.

After the first few chapters, I thought "meh, this really isn't anything new, just another naïve teenage girl who is completely oblivious to the fact that her best friend has a crush on her." Then the conversation with Robbie happened and she found out about the fey, and I was still like "meh, read this conversation a thousand times before in some form or another (the most epic of those being "Yer a wizard, Harry.") And then they entered the Nevernever. And it was just like COLOR EXPLOSION.

Really, I love this world Kagawa has created. It's so alive and full of dangers lurking everywhere. Treacherous yet beautiful, colourful and wonderful (as in full of wonders) and there's always something in motion. I'd love to go there if it weren't for the fact that there's something waiting to kill you behind every tree you walk by. It's a brilliant world, one that I'm eager to revisit in the next book in the series.

Meghan was... well, I'm sort of torn. She seemed a bit naïve and immature at times, but then she was also wonderfully down-to-earth and direct at other times. All in all, I think I liked her. I looooved the two male leads, though. Ash is absolutely swoon-worthy. He's dark-haired, conflicted, and good at sword-fighting; three of my favourite things combined! And then there's Puck, who is funny and light-hearted and the life of the party. Scratch that, he IS the party. And then there's Grim, and I just can't resist a talking cat. He's cryptic and lazily sarcastic and does whatever he wants, as cats are wont to do. My inner crazy cat lady was just leaping with joy whenever he appeared in a scene. I loved to see Meghan, Ash, Puck and Grim all together, they make an awesome badass adventure team.

The romance was sweet and there was just the right amount of it, although it was rather stereotypically YA, as in, we can't be together but we're so in love and always have been from the moment we met. But like I said, I have a soft spot for Ash, so I generally enjoyed it.

To conclude, The Iron King is an adventurous, colourful, action-packed novel. It's a light, fun read that you can easily get lost in. I promise, you won't be bored.

My rating: ☆(☆)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving


After seeing the movie trailer, I expected Warm Bodies to be a comedy. It was not. I found this story to be full of deep thoughts about civilisation, humanity, hopes, dreams and what makes us want to stay alive.

I loved seeing the characters develop throughout this story. R, who goes from being really indifferent and slightly cynical to actually wanting things and chasing after them. Julie, who goes from being "messed-up" to actually standing up to her father. And the supporting characters were great, too. Nora, Julie's friend is really badass, and M, R's zombie friend is both loyal and funny.

I thought the love story between R and Julie was really sweet. The plot kept steadily moving forwards, although whenever R had one of his flashbacks (when he eats a brain, he experiences the memories of that person) and also the collective voices of humanity he "heard" were sometimes a bit stalling. A further issue I had was the use of the pronoun "I". Sometimes, "I" was R, and sometimes, when he had flashbacks to Perry's life (who is Julie's former boyfriend) "I" was Perry. At times, this could get a little confusing.

While R's inner life with all the flashbacks and collective memories he kept "hearing" was sometimes a hindrance to the plot development, it certainly is a great platform for reflecting on human society. Thus, there were a lot of images and symbols and quotable passages that enriched the novel and made it more than just another boy falls for girl and they eventually get together story. Take for example R, who, in the beginning, waits until the elevators turn on in the abandoned airport where he lives. He rides up and down those elevators, not going anywhere, but there isn't much else to do. In the end, he climbs a ladder, trying to reach the light. This is an example that shows how Marion's writing style is laden with metaphoric images. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, but I guess it might be lost on the impatient reader.

Another aspect I highly enjoyed was Marion's portrayal of a post-apocalyptic society. I think the setting was really smart and well described, with all of humanity living in their stadium cities, building walls around themselves just to survive a little bit longer...

All in all, an enjoyable read that was both tender and sweet, but also raised a lot of big questions and made me think.

My rating: 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.


This book made me laugh. And this book made me cry. THE FEELS, GUYS!

As far as plot goes, there was definitely less fighting and action-packed scenes in the sequel compared to the first book in the series, Clockwork Angel. And this is really the only criticism I have. It was, at times, a bit slow moving and I was sort of fighting my way through some passages.

But then the drama! I think this is the first time I can't decide on a team because Will and Jem... We definitely find out more about Will's past in this book, and while I first thought his curse was extremely cheesy, Cassandra Clare managed to make me see past that and just... it was heartbreaking! And then Jem is so good and so much in love and how can you deny a dying person anything? I really can't see how this epic love triangle will be resolved, and I simply can't wait for Clockwork Princess to come out!

This book definitely lives off character development and romantic tension. I loved how much more depth Clare added not only to the three main characters (Tessa, Will and Jem), but also to Sophie, Jessamine, Benedict Lightwood, Charlotte and Henry. And while the beginning and middle where sometimes lacking in action scenes, the last third definitely kept me on my toes.

As for the laughing part... There's one scene with Will that literally made me laugh out loud. I somehow wished there had been more of the light banter between Will and Jem, but I also enjoyed the more dark, lonely path Will took in this book. As for Tessa, I can't say I liked all of her choices, but I can see why she made them.

All in all, a worthy sequel to Clockwork Angel that set up one of the best love triangles I have ever read. The writing is, as always, flawless, and I can't wait to read the final instalment in the series!

My rating: 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.


I've had Imaginary Girls sitting unread on my iPad since last summer. I admit, it was the cover that drew me in. And after having read the book, I think the cover is even more amazing because it fits the story so well. It's absolutely beautiful, yet somehow eerie, and picks up a lot of elements from the book, like the white dress and the red ribbon.

I'm having a hard time making up my mind about this book. Maybe that is because it was so different. Usually, you can draw a clear line between contemporary and paranormal/fantasy in YA fiction. With this book, you can't. While there are supernatural aspects, they are neither explained, nor the main theme of the story. The main themes in my eyes are such things as trust, manipulation, loss... It is a character-driven novel that revolves all around Ruby, who is beautiful and captivating and bursts with energy and can make everyone do whatever she wants. Sometimes, she is such a sweet older sister to Chloe, looking out for her and having fun with her, but then there's her other, manipulative, selfish, and sometimes downright evil side. Chloe, on the other hand, trusted her sister blindly at the beginning, and only slowly came to question her behaviour.

None of the characters were particularly likeable, but that did not stop me from being fascinated with their twisted, rotten relationships. This novel often made my skin crawl with unease, it made me shiver, and it was delightfully eerie. Until the end, you could not really know what was real and what was just in Chloe's mind, whether the stories Ruby told her were true or just invented. It is for the reader to decide what he or she wants to believe because Chloe is not the most reliable of narrators.

One issue I had was the lack of plot. In this respect, it is very much like a contemporary novel; it focuses on relationships. And while those evolving relationships were sometimes enough to pull me in and keep on reading, I also felt like sometimes (especially in the beginning) it was a bit repetitive. The underlying creepiness and mystery was definitely there, but sometimes, I wished it had been even creepier and more mysterious.

To conclude, this is definitely a different book out there amongst all the YA fiction, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys character-driven, eerie and dark books. I would not recommend it for those who need romance in their YA, because the romance stays very much on the sidelines.

My rating: 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

* * * * *

So for those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series, and I have no idea why I didn't pick up the Infernal Devices series sooner... because man, I've been missing out. Clare writes my favourite love interests ever, and she has the uncanny ability to make me care deeply for all of her characters... Except, that is, if they're super evil villains which we all love to hate.

The characters are, in my opinion, what make this book. I love tiny, tough Charlotte who runs the London Institute, I love her bumbling, awkward husband Henry and his malfunctioning inventions, I even love vain Jessamine who made me giggle with such comments as "I hate witchlight. It makes my complexion look absolutely green." And then there are Will and Jem. Both have a dark, mysterious past and are equally alluring. While Will is like the little devil on your shoulder, keeping up a very enjoyable bad boy facade (awesome sense of humour included), Jem resembles the little, reasonable angel on your other shoulder (who happens to play the violin!). I very much enjoyed the banter between the two boys, and generally the family dynamic of the Institute inhabitants.

Tessa, the main character, is likeable enough, but in my opinion, not outstanding. She shines the most in the scenes with Will because next to Jem, she is the only one who knows how to handle him and occasionally, she can even shut him up. However, I did like the mystery surrounding her heritage and her past.

The writing is beautifully done and I rather enjoyed the setting of Victorian London. I have a weakness for luxurious dresses, carriages and men fighting with swords. What is more, the steampunk elements (the book is called Clockwork Angel, after all) gave it a dark and creepy edge, which I very much enjoy. It was a well-paced book, only at times a bit slow moving.

Overall, I enjoyed Clockwork Angel very much and am looking forwards to reading the sequel. I'd love to find out more about Will's past, which stays in the dark in the first book. I'd recommend this book to anyone  who enjoys the YA genre and irresistible, intriguing male leads.

My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

My Rating System

Hi! My name is Marlin, and this is my book blog. I'm a first year English student at university, and I've always loved to read. I'm also a three time NaNoWriMo winner, a scarf collector, a cat lover, a TV shows enthusiast, a lazy person and occasionally a songwriter.

I will mostly be reviewing Young Adult books on this blog, simply because that is what I mostly read. If you have any requests for reviews, feel free to drop me a comment!

So I quickly wanted to introduce my rating system. I will be awarding the books I read stars, depending on how much I enjoyed them. Yes, I stole this idea from Goodreads, and I will also be sticking pretty close to what the ratings signify on Goodreads.

☆ - I didn't like it. I wouldn't recommend it.

☆☆ - It was okay. This means I didn't like it, but it was readable because it had at least one redeeming quality.

☆☆☆ - I liked it. This means the book was overall enjoyable, but it had some flaws.

☆☆☆☆ - I really liked it. This means I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

☆☆☆☆☆ - It was amazing. I reserve this rating for my absolute favorite books.

Of course, this rating system is overly simple, and usually matters are more complex than that. But if you are not in the mood for reading the entire review and just want to know my basic judgement on a book, you can just have a look at how many stars I awarded it and roughly know how I felt about it.

Also, a quick note about the summaries that I will post of books. They are all copy and pasted from Goodreads, unless I state otherwise. Goodreads is an awesome website that helps you to discover books, keep track of the books you're reading and have read, and find other bookish people. But I'm sure you all know about it, so no more on this subject. If you want to add me as friend on Goodreads, you will find me here:

That is all. Have a wonderful day, and happy reading!