October and November TBR (a.k.a. P. Pufferfish’s first ever TBR)

For the past 18 or so hours, I’ve been reading fanfiction and hemming and hawing, trying to decide what to read next now that I’m done with Lady Midnight and won’t be getting Lord of Shadows anytime soon ’cause I was a fool and didn’t bother putting it on hold until 2 days ago. I’m listening to The Clockwork Dynasty, by Daniel Wilson, on audiobook (read by David Giuntoli and Claire Coffee of Grimm fame!) so I’ve been walking around with it playing on my phone, listening while I do laundry, brush my teeth, etc. I have Son of Neptune on CD to listen to in my car. I’ve been slooooowly making my way through Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren, but I usually only read a chapter or two of that in the morning or afternoon ’cause it’s nonfiction. I need a different fiction book to read, though, and I have a stack to pick from, but which one to read first?!

I can’t choose, so I’m just going to set an overambitious goal and say I’m reading ALL of them. I finally get why people do #toberead posts. I’m one of those people who read whatever they see that catches their eye regardless of what they currently have in their stack of unread books already. I also read whatever book gets automatically checked out to me next on the holds list, so any TBR list I create would have to keep shifting and be pretty much unpredictable, unless I want to sit down and calculate which book I’m most likely to get based on where I am on the holds lists. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s, what, October 23rd? That’s one week till the end of the month, so this TBR will have to be an end of October/November TBR. Fall TBR? I guess. Anyways, here’s what I have:

  1. American Elsewhere, by Robert Jackson Bennett. I’ve heard this book reminds people of the Nightvale podcast, which I’m a fan of, so I checked it out on e-book. It’s due in 2.5 weeks, I think.
  2. The Black Witch, by Laurie Forest. There was a LOOOOOOT of controversy surrounding this book, which is how I first heard about it, although many people say that it’s very good. I read some of the passages that were considered problematic and, while the language makes me uncomfortable, I’m pretty sure it’s fucking supposed to. The point of the book is to show what it’s like to move from your stuffy, conservative, racist hometown to a diverse area where you’re forced to interact with those who are different from you on a daily basis and how that can change a person, especially a young person. It makes sense to me to show the level of ignorance and intolerance the protagonist has been exposed to all her life so that we get where she’s coming from and can see why these beliefs are wrong. Anyways, I HAD TO KNOW if complaints were justified after I read some articles about people hating on this book, so I checked it out…. aaaaand left it on my couch for 3 weeks. I managed to renew it, so now I have 2.5 weeks left to read it. Do I read this one or American Elsewhere first? I kind of want to read this, ’cause I just read Lady Midnight and am in a supernatural, elves-fey-vampires kind of mood, BUT… it’s in print. I’m too lazy to read books in print nowadays. I don’t like carrying the book around and it makes it harder to read in bed. I still read print books ’cause sometimes, the library only has the book in print or Amazon sells the print book for the same price/for a LOWER price than the e-book, for some inexplicable reason, but I greatly prefer e-books.
  3. Dracula, by Bram Stoker. It’s Halloween, which means it’s time for my annual reread of one of my favorite novels! It’s been unseasonably warm this year, so I feel like I forgot it’s October and have been procrastinating on starting this. In fact, I didn’t remember until last night that there’s only a week left in the month. Shame on me!
  4. Prince Lestat, by Anne Rice. Last night, when I was lying there in the dark waiting to fall asleep, I randomly started missing my old friend Lestat. The Vampire Chronicles ruined me for all other vampire novels (aside from Dracula), so I occasionally reread them, but I’ve never managed to finish Memnoch the Devil. Anne Rice says Memnoch is her favorite book, so I should really try to finish it, but in my head, The Vampire Chronicles ends with Tale of the Body Thief. Wha’s all this other crap I hear about Lestat falling in love with a witch from a crossover story? Nope! Nope, nope, nope! I think I’ll just skip however many books and jump straight into Prince Lestat, which I’ve heard good things about. Can I do that? Can I make-believe books 5-whatever don’t exist and still have the story make sense to me? Anyone know?
  5. Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy, by Cassandra Clare. Apparently, I was supposed to read this BEFORE Lady Midnight? Oops. I saw that the library where I work has a copy, so I ran upstairs to grab it, and it WASN’T THERE. Now I have to put it on hold and have it sent from another library. Damn. Hate it when that happens. This one should be a quick read, though, so I’ll probably read a story per day when I get it.
  6. The Crimson Campaign (Book #2 of The Powder Mage Trilogy), by Brian McClellan. I’ve had this book on my couch for 1.5 months. I kept forgetting to read it. I just checked it in and checked it out to myself again today. Thank goodness no one had it on hold. I’ll have to read it asap. I don’t even know why I’m lagging– I loved the first book.

All right, that’s what I have for now. Wait a minute! Now that I’ve listed this out, I only have 6 books! I can get through these in 2-3 weeks! What was I even freaking out about? Oh yeah, library due dates. Hmm. I also have a ton of children’s books on my TBR list, but I’ll put those up when I finally start updating the Children’s Reviews page. I’ll do it… soon. Next week. Next month. Someday…

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P. Pufferfish’s heart is aching (a.k.a. P. Pufferfish Reviews Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare)

ladymidnightcoverToday’s featured book: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1), by Cassandra Clare.

Format I consumed it in: E-book, from the library near my house.

The premise: Another book that makes you go, “man, if only Clary hadn’t done that stupid thing she did 2/3 of the way through City of Lost Souls…”. This takes place 5 years after the end of City of Heavenly Fire, so the protagonist, Emma Carstairs, is now 17, along with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn. Emma has spent the past 5 years investigating her parents’ deaths, which she doesn’t believe were caused by Sebastien Morganstern, ’cause their bodies were found with weird dark magic type runes all over! With the Blackthorns away visiting relatives in England, Emma enlists the help of Cristina, an awesome foreign exchange student from the Mexico City Institute, to track down leads and– wait, hold on, Imma let Amazon summarize for you, ’cause I’m too lazy to type this up:

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering who killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her battle partner Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

BASICALLY: string of murders in LA area; bodies of mundanes, Faeries, etc., found with the same markings on their bodies as those found on Emma’s parents’ bodies (hey, could this have been done by the same serial killer?); creepy supernatural cult; secret agreements drawn up between the Blackthorns/the LA Institute and the Faeries of the Unseelie Court, who want to investigate the murders of their own kind and are willing to allow Mark Blackthorn to return home in exchange for the Shadowhunters’ aid; BETRAYAL; LAW-BREAKING (there’s a line about the Blackthorns having trouble with the law in the past that I completely sympathize with, especially today, ’cause I’m being forced to go to a mandatory meeting tomorrow because of what I deem unnecessary red tape and prying on the government’s part); COMPLICATED ROMANCE; PINING– SO MUCH PINING. Oh, and the strange, inexplicable ability to use technology. The Shadowhunters of LA regularly use the internet for research, are caught up on their pop culture references, and drive a lot ’cause it’s So-Cal (WOOOOO!) and nobody walks here.

My thoughts: [BIG SPOILERS] HOLY COW, this was hard to put down after about 40% of the way through, when Cristina walks in (out? She technically ran out of the Institute) on Mark and Kieran making out in the parking lot and the plot FINALLY begins to pick up after that. Before that, it was plotty enough that I kept reading to find out what would happen (plus, my sister read it first and told me I had to keep going ’cause of how good it gets), but I just couldn’t get into it the way I wanted to. Julian is just so EHHHH… Emma’s fine, but I had trouble sitting through pages and pages of mutual pining and teen angst. Yes, we get that you’re parabatai and it’s forbidden love and that sucks and all, but Julian was so grouchy and serious, and for a large chunk of the first half, he was nothing but a love interest with a lot of baggage; he didn’t really do much for the plot. A pair that I found way more compelling was Mark and Cristina. I shipped them up until we were hit in the face by Mark/Kieran (but I ain’t complaining about that– Kieran is very sexy and otherworldly), and then I was just confused, ’cause I still liked the idea of Mark and Cristina as a couple, but I also really wanted Mark/Kieran to work out. Then Perfect Diego appeared! Diego and Cristina are obviously soulmates/endgame, but there’s still *sexual tension* between Mark and Cristina, and even though Mark breaks up with Kieran at the end of the book, I still have hope that they’ll get back together. CAN’T WE JUST HAVE A LOVE SQUARE? A FOURSOME? They’d be the most beautiful foursome ever. Good god, if you’d told me half a year ago that I’d be shouting that by October’s end, I would’ve never believed you. Life is so unpredictable.

I wasn’t really big on Cassandra Clare creating so many Blackthorn siblings and having them all be named and appear in so many scenes that we’re all forced to learn their names. But I ate my words later on, ’cause they have very different personalities and I was able to tell them apart pretty quickly. I grew fond of them, especially Ty and Dru. I also liked that the key to the whole puzzle was in a children’s storybook and Tavvy, who’s like 7 years old, was the one who made the connection in the end. To be honest, I think Julian is my least favorite Blackthorn sibling. I understand it isn’t fair of me to keep rolling my eyes whenever he’s being his party pooper self ’cause he had no choice but to play the guardian role and be responsible for a bunch of children when he isn’t yet 18 himself (I admire him for being able to do what I never could have done), but I couldn’t help but cackle out loud when he ran to his studio and dramatically tried to paint a portrait of Emma, but couldn’t because he ran out of yellow paint or whatever. I also laughed when Kieran was eavesdropping on Mark and Cristina outside the window and crushed that acorn in a fit of rage. Oh geezus, Cassandra, couldn’t you have spared us the melodrama?

I will give props for the Malcolm thing, ’cause up until they mentioned belladonna and Cornwall, I had no clue it was coming, although I’m sad, ’cause I genuinely liked Malcolm and when he told Emma that he hated the Blackthorn kids the entire time he was helping babysit them and watching them grow up, I went “NOOOOOOOO!!!” It majorly sucked. Lady Midnight, more than the other Shadowhunter novels, reads like a “villain of the week” case, like a two-episode arc in Criminal Minds or Grimm or some other crime procedural. Plus a ton of teen angst revolving around romantic relationships. The Mortal Instruments books read like 2 massive volumes and The Infernal Devices is more like 1 big book, with the happenings all blending together. Not so with Lady Midnight. The ending was weird, though– I found that it didn’t fit in with the solemn tone of the rest of the book, having Julian distract ROBERT LIGHTWOOD by having him arrest Anselm Nightshade for using dark magic to sell pizza, WTF. That’s like a Kingsman-type ending (I just saw Kingsman: Golden Circle), not meant to be super realistic or even make perfect sense.

My rating: 4.5/5. I didn’t like this as much as Clockwork Princess, but liked it more than the individual books of The Mortal Instruments. It’s probably on par with City of Glass, quality-wise, but I liked City of Glass more.

P. Pufferfish can’t decide which book to talk about (and ends up going with City of Heavenly Fire)

Ohhh gaawwwd, why did I eat so much? I ate KFC two days in a row, ate roast duck for dinner last night, and went out for KBBQ tonight with some friends. I don’t remember having ever consumed so much meat in one week, EVER. I tried to eat most of the salad bowl they provided for us and ordered vegetable platters along with the meat ones to make myself feel better (and because I like the taste of lettuce, bell peppers, and mushrooms), but I still feel like a massive artery-clogged lump. *GROOOAAAAAN* I think I’m actually sick of meat. *SHOCK*

Anyways, because I continue to be a bad person, I read 3 more books in a row without reviewing any of them, and now I’m stuck, once again, writing about 3 books in a row before I forget their plot details.

cityof

Today’s featured book: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6) by Cassandra Clare.

Format I consumed it in: E-book, from the library near my house.

The premise: In City of Heavenly Fire, the final book of TMI, we see the horrible consequences of Clary’s stupid, stupid decision from the previous book! Demon and brainwashed-Shadowhunter attacks on Institutes everywhere! The soon-to-be protagonists of The Dark Artifices trilogy appear (well, in Julian’s case, he makes a reappearance)! Sebastian’s creepy, incestuous obsession with Clary crosses over into whole new territory! But hey, at least Jace is back and normal again. Things aren’t SO bad.

At least, not for some. Alec is still heartbroken over his break-up with Magnus. Simon and Izzy are having trouble defining their relationship. Raphael is stuck working under Maureen, the new clan head (my god, it’s true after all!), and is very displeased (I wonder where this is heading? *Chortle*). Everyone is forced to Alicante for an emergency meeting after Sebastian takes over the aforementioned Institutes. Things are a-stirrin’ in the Downworld. Clary gets a new sword (this is a bigger deal than it seems)!

CoHF is a very action-packed, fast-paced book, so I actually can’t say any more without spoiling things (at least, until I get to the next section), but basically– A LOT OF SHIT HAPPENS, AND YOU WILL LOVE IT.

My thoughts: In this book, more so than in any of the others in TMI, I really felt that there was a gap in understanding between Clary/her peers and their parents/the adult Shadowhunters. There was really this feeling of “we’re on our own with this one”. Clary and friends’ top priorities and the Clave’s haven’t usually lined up in previous books, and more often than not, Clary just goes ahead and does whatever she wants without approval, but in CoHF, with most of them on the cusp of adulthood, we get a clear idea of what these kids will be like once it’s their turn to take over as leaders in their community, and how attitudes and values can change within the span of a generation or two.

My favorite things: When Jace forces his way into Magnus’s house to speak on behalf of his bro Alec and finds out from Magnus that the others have all been there before him, to no avail (I love Jace and Magnus’s interactions with each other). Emma. Raphael. Maia and Lily working together to gain power. The way the Seelies’ betrayal is written– it was done very believably, imo. The whole bit in Edom, especially the Alec-Jace moments and all the stuff with the Heavenly Fire. SIZZY. Malec. TESSA AND JEM.

Things I wasn’t a big fan of: UGH, MAUREEN. But at least she was only in there for a little while. The Bat/Maia relationship– it just felt forced to me. Clary and Jace having sex one cave away from where the others are sleeping in Edom– I get that they’re teens and they’re in love and they think they might die any minute, but geez, guys, timing!

ALSO! My god, Simon’s amnesia! I felt SO BAD for Izzy! I was mentally on my knees, fingers crossed, hoping that they’d somehow get around it and he wouldn’t lose his memories after all, but then it happened and I actually thought Cassandra Clare was going to end the series in a bittersweet way like this, but THANK GOODNESS she decided to give Izzy a happy ending. The poor girl deserves to be happy like everyone else!

Rating: 5/5.

 

 

P. Pufferfish is a good person (a.k.a. City of Fallen Angels gets a review)

Okay, I sat for about 3 minutes and remembered the majority of the plot of CoFA, so here is the review for that, posted AFTER the review of CoLS (could I have done a double-review instead? Yes, but I didn’t think of that till now, so too bad). cityoffallenangels

Today’s other featured bookCity of Fallen Angels (Book #4 of The Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare.

Format I consumed it in: E-book, from the library down the street from me.

The premise: Camille Belcourt, Magnus’s ex-girlfriend from The Infernal Devices, tries to recruit Simon to her side (against Raphael Santiago, who is now her rival/enemy). Simon is hesitant, but doesn’t outright tell her no. He goes home and pretty much gets kicked out by his mom, who has found his bottles of blood and thinks he’s a monster. Kyle, the new lead singer of Simon and friends’ awful little band, offers Simon his spare room to stay in. Simon continues two-timing Isabelle and Maia, which he and Clary both acknowledge is a terrible idea. Random people with Simon attack him as he moves around the city, but the Mark of Cain on his forehead causes them to be blown into smithereens for trying to harm him. So far, CoFA seems to be about Simon more so than anyone else.

Meanwhile, Jace has been having nightmares about killing Clary, so in a fit of noble self-sacrifice/machismo or whatever, he decides to keep away from Clary, who starts to wonder if he really loves her after all. One of Jace’s tactics for avoiding Clary is to play bodyguard to an unwilling Simon, showing up at Kyle’s apartment, staying overnight in Simon’s room (this book is the first time I’ve seen what Jace/Simon shippers have been on about for years), coming to Simon’s shows, etc. Unfortunately, Jace and Clary show up at the same show, and Jace gets distracted from his bodyguarding duties by Clary (of course), and Simon, who’s been going without blood for days, loses control and attacks Maureen, a 14-year-old girl with a crush on him who hangs around his band and is “his only fan”. Man-pain abounds and a ton of bad shit happens.

Simon teams up with the Clave at one point to help capture Camille. Magnus and Alec are called back from their European vacation so that Magnus can interrogate Camille. Alec, upon finding out about his boyfriend and Camille’s past *history*, starts to get super jealous and suspicious about Magnus’s history with everyone from his past that they encounter. And through all of this, Jocelyn and Luke are planning their wedding and even have their engagement party right when things REALLY start to go wrong!

My thoughts: Not gonna lie, I wasn’t going to read the last three books of The Mortal Instruments at all because some friends who’d read it advised against it. I’m glad I read the sneak peek that was included at the end of City of Glass (the one with Camille and her minions and Simon and vampire politics– I’m a huge sucker for vampire stories/lore, with the exception of Twilight), because it got me interested enough to give CoFA a shot. Because my expectations were so low, I wasn’t as bothered by some of the things that happened as I would have been otherwise. Simon’s dilly-dallying in regards to his future as a vampire and his romantic relationships with Izzy and Maia would have normally bugged the hell out of me, but instead, I was much more patient about it.

So, things I liked: Camille. Raphael. Vampire politics! Kyle and Jace’s bromance. Clary playing more of a supporting role in the first half of the book (don’t get me wrong– I like Clary, but having as the protagonist for a while was awesome). How Izzy and Maia handled their discovery of Simon’s two-timing. Izzy and Clary’s growing friendship. The awkward engagement party scene. The evil plot that gets revealed in the second half of the book.

Things I disliked: The characters’ inability to think about the end result at critical moments. Simon’s wishy-washiness. Maureen. And why the hell is Alec trusting Camille? What a horrible idea!

My rating: 4/5. Tbh, I didn’t like it as much as CoLS, but I also didn’t spend as much time groaning during slower parts as I did during CoLS, so I’m going to give them identical ratings. I also can’t remember what I originally rated this as, so this will have to do.

P. Pufferfish Plays Catch-up (a.k.a. Reviews City of Lost Souls)

Work has been busy and the job hunt continues at its sloth-like pace (I’m at a grand total of 3 applications). I’ve binge-watched Luke CageIron Fist (bleagh, don’t do it, guys– see this article for further dissuasion), and The Defenders, along with a whole season of Grimm (which I started back when the show first premiered, btw), and read four books, none of which I’ve reviewed. Damn, and I had so many thoughts on them, too. Anyways, here’s my attempt to get back into the game (how many times have I said that before?). cityoflostsouls

Today’s featured book: City of Lost Souls (Book #5 of The Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare.

Format I consumed it in: E-book, from the library down the street from my house.

The premise: Yes, I am aware I have no review up for City of Fallen Angels, and I don’t know if I ever will, because quite frankly, I don’t really recall where it starts and ends. I’ll think hard about it after this review is done and upload it right away if I’m able to remember. SO, CITY OF LOST SOULS… the Clave/Council announces that they’re putting the search for Jace on the back burner ’cause let’s face it, more important shit is happening. For example, the wards over Moscow are being destroyed. Wards over other major cities are at risk. Alicante’s wards still need to be reinforced! Clary, predictably, doesn’t take this very well, so she makes up her mind to keep looking for Jace on her own. Fortunately for her, Izzy, Alec (and by default, Magnus), and Simon agree to continue searching. Clary makes the terrible decision of going to the Seelie queen, her most trustworthy and helpful highness, for assistance, and things really kick off from there.

MEANWHILE, Camille is still lying low around New York and trying to persuade Alec to help her with her nefarious plans by talking to him about Magnus’s past and offering him ways for him and Magnus to be together forever. Simon continues to deal with the negative consequences of being a vampire. Jordan and Maia try to enlist the Praetor’s help. And Mr. Creepy McCreeperson (a.k.a. Sebastien a.k.a. Jonathan Morgenstern) is being the absolute creepiest person ever for a YA novel villain. YEESH. You’ll see when you get to his part. My goodness me.

My thoughts: I truly believe my enjoyment of this “sequel trilogy”, as I’ve labeled it, has been greatly enhanced by my reading of The Infernal Devices. There are some TID easter eggs in this second set of Mortal Instruments books that got me way more excited than they should have, let me tell you that.

Things I liked about CoLS: Aline introducing Clary, Alec, and Izzy to her girlfriend Helen and thanking Alec for inspiring her to come out (awww)! Simon’s new status as voice of reason/comic relief in the group. Magnus’s apartment being turned into a halfway house/safehouse for shadowhunters and other non-humans who are on the move. Simon and Izzy! The more intimate glimpses into Magnus and Alec’s relationship. Jocelyn and Marys trying to be good moms/partners/shadowhunters/action-takers/role models.

Things I disliked about CoLS: All that time wasted describing Clary and robot-Jace’s dates in detail. Clary’s terrible, reckless choices. Okay, so she eventually redeems herself, but who the fuck thinks it’s a good idea to do what she did during that very crucial moment about 2/3 of the way through the book? Alec and Magnus’s lack of communication, although that didn’t bug me as much as it should have until THE VERY IMPORTANT, INFAMOUS MOMENT NEAR THE END WHEN IT TRULY MATTERED. The rehashing of the Lilith plot– good god, is this Supernatural? She needs to go. And finally, MAUREEN. I cannot stand her. Perhaps I’m biased against annoying 14-year-old girls; I don’t think so, considering I work with them quite often as a teen services-oriented library person. But the thing at the end with Camille? What the fuck? Did anyone else think that was a WTF moment? ‘Cause I most certainly do. I hope Cassandra Clare explains it in a way that makes sense in the last book so I don’t feel ripped off.

My rating: Overall, a 4/5. I quite enjoyed reading this book. Sure, I was creeped out and spent more time cringing and yelling “OH, COME ON!” at the characters than I would’ve liked, but it was still a pretty good book. Half a star off for the ending (the last 20 or so pages) and half a star off for Clary’s *MOMENT* that I mentioned earlier.

P. Pufferfish has mixed feelings about the ending of an otherwise fantastic trilogy.

clockworkprincesscoverToday’s featured book: Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare (Book #3 of The Infernal Devices trilogy)

Format I consumed it in: E-book, from the library near my house

The premise: The book opens with Tessa trying on her wedding dress, ’cause in case you forgot what happened in Clockwork Prince, she and Jem are about to get married! Of course, since they’re living in the London Institute, where all the action happens, they’re interrupted by Gabriel Lightwood running in to inform them that his father’s morphed into a giant, murderous worm. The gang immediately rushes off to help Gabriel reason with Benedict Lightwood (if still possible) or deal with him (if necessary). Without spoiling anything, the rest of the book continues in a similarly fast-paced fashion. There are countless automaton attacks, Jem’s supply of yin fen, which he is dependent upon to live, runs out unexpectedly early, Tessa finally learns the entire story behind who/what she is, Charlotte faces incredibly sexist and therefore unreasonable and frustrating challenges to her leadership from Consul Wayland, who had previously supported her, and that’s only in the first 60% of the book!

My thoughts: [Spoilers] I am inordinately pleased with this book. It was by far the best of the three Infernal Devices books, and I thought the other two were pretty good. Tessa is a damn good heroine/protagonist, and I get why Jem and Will both love her so much. I also get why she loves them and has trouble choosing between them, AND! I really see how much they love each other and am surprised they both ended up loving another person in addition to each other. I jumped ships not once, not twice, but THRICE over the course of this trilogy. At first, I shipped Will/Tessa. Then I shipped Jem/Tessa. Then I shipped Will/Jem. And finally, I decided it had to be a perfect triangular romance between the three of them. Will/Tessa/Jem. Will/Jem/Tessa. Jem/Will/Tessa. Whichever order would work. Normally, love triangles are more like love carets (this symbol: ^^^^). They meet in the middle but that last line that would make it a true triangle is non-existent. NOT SO HERE! There is even a line at the end about how half of Jem’s heart belongs to Will and the other half to Tessa, and half of Tessa’s heart belongs to Jem and the other half to Will or something like that, but I read it as Cassandra Clare canonically declaring that Will/Tessa/Jem is a thing, and YOU CANNOT CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE.

I was surprised by what happened to Jessamyne. I thought that she would be given a redemption arc, like the one that Gabriel Lightwood got, but guess not! Speaking of Gabriel, he is a treasure. Like a more awkward version of Will. He actually reminds me a lot of Alec (from The Mortal Instruments, who is his descendant). Izzy is more like Cecily, who is very, very free-spirited and independent for a girl from a proper “mundane” Victorian home; I kept remembering when Tessa first came to London and was more reserved and conservative– not so with Cecily, who is a force in and of herself. Gideon and Sophie’s romance was like romance novel fare, but so entertaining to read, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief that they both survived to the end. CHARLOTTE AND HENRY– my god, Henry gave me such a heart attack during that big battle in Cadair Idris. I thought he was a goner for sure! And Charlotte! That woman is the queen of my heart! And pretty much the queen of the Institute and later on the Clave as well. There’s an actual line comparing the male Shadowhunters of the London Institute pledging loyalty to her the way Englishmen pledged loyalty to Queen Victoria. I also liked that Bridget, the cook who sings tragic songs about love, death, and murder all day, is an insanely talented fighter and almost singlehandedly kept them all from being overwhelmed and crushed by automatons during the final battle.

I thought the book should have ended with the Christmas party, where Jessamyne’s ghost makes amends with Will and pushes him to propose to Tessa. It was unnecessary to do an extended epilogue with Tessa dealing with Will’s death, but I wouldn’t have minded the book ending in a bittersweet way like that. The Jem ending, though? What the hell? I felt like Cassandra Clare started flip-flopping and being indecisive about Jem’s fate. He doesn’t want to be a Silent Brother ’cause it would mean no more music. He decides to become a Silent Brother because he doesn’t want to die and leave Will and Tessa behind. He is a Silent Brother, but apparently he gets to ignore the rules of Silent Brotherdom and even gets to come back as his young self (albeit as a mundane) to live with Tessa decades after Will’s death? He mentions the reason for all of this having something to do with Lightwoods, Herondales, and Fairchilds, but I don’t remember anything like that happening in the first three books of The Mortal Instruments, so it must have happened in books 4-6, which I haven’t read (don’t plan to read?). I guess it’s nice that Tessa gets to not be alone for another 60 or so years, and it would support the Will/Tessa/Jem thing, but ehhhh, I wasn’t a fan.

Rating: 4.75/5.

By the way, did anyone read the preview for The Last Hours? So THIS is the Downton Abbey-esque series that everyone was talking about. I ended up reading the entire preview, and it’s not really working for me. Magnus is great. I love Magnus. But this James kid…… ehhhhhhh…… and the whole Tatiana Blackthorn-in-her-crumbling-manor-with-her-beautiful-bitchy-ward thing just reminds me too much of Great Expectations, a book that I HATED. I don’t know if I could read a whole trilogy about James-Pip pursuing Grace-Estella but with supernatural stuff thrown in (if that’s the angle Cassandra Clare’s going for). I’d rather read the three remaining Mortal Instruments books I’ve been avoiding.

P. Pufferfish loves Shadowhunters, steampunk, and Victorian England, but hates love triangles.

I’m writing book reviews out of order today because I did what everyone told me not to do and immediately started another book after finishing one yesterday. So now my head is filled with nothing but Victorian England and gray and rain and clockwork apparatuses. Guess what I was reading?

clockworkprincecover

This is most definitely NOT how I pictured Jem in my head.

Today’s featured book: Clockwork Prince, by Cassandra Clare (Book #2 of The Infernal Devices trilogy). I realize I don’t have a review of Clockwork Angel to link to; that’s because back then, I wasn’t as responsible when it came to recording/logging books I completed as I am now. Do I really need to go back and review it, though? I don’t think so– there are a GAZILLION reviews of Cassandra Clare’s books out there, 90% of them better than mine.

Format I consumed it in: E-book, from the library next to my house.

The premise: This is a sequel, so if you’re looking at it, I’m assuming you’ve already read the first book. This one picks up right where the last one left off, with Tessa and Will still being all awkward around each other ’cause he had to be all dumb and cruelly reject her right after they had their *moment* and kissed in Clockwork Angel (*whispers* but don’t worry, he has NOBLE REASONS for doing what he did!). The Shadowhunter world is still in mortal danger, though, so no time to dwell on feelings! Charlotte and Henry (the latter in name only) are at a hearing(?) to decide whether or not they (read: Charlotte) are suitable to continue running the London Institute. Sexism abounds, and that old git Benedict Lightwood offers himself up as a better choice as Institute head. Some other important people agree with him because Charlotte is young and female and supporting her is riskier and comfortably ensconced people don’t like taking risks. Also, conservatism and sexism and all that. The Consul, who is the head honcho/the man who appointed Charlotte as her father’s successor in the first place (the Head of Institute title isn’t hereditary), gives her two weeks to find/capture Mortmain and “redeem herself”.

And yes, this means the rollercoaster of feelings, confessions, meetings, comings, goings, revelations, etc., all happen in TWO WEEKS?! I’m having trouble absorbing that myself– perhaps my timeline is off? Hmm. Anyways, Tessa is still torn between her feelings for Will and her feelings for Jem, the Lightwood brothers get more screen time, a pairing that I saw coming from a mile away becomes a thing, Charlotte and Henry continue to be adorable, and Nate Gray is still a complete asshole. Oh yeah, and Tessa learns one more tiny thing about what exactly she is and how she may have come to be.

My thoughts:

On the romance: I really enjoyed this book aside from one rather large factor: THE GOD-DAMN LOVE TRIANGLE. I can’t stand triangles. They’re not so bad when they’re fleeting or more one-sided. For example, there was technically a little triangle thing going on with Tessa-Jem-Sophie, but Sophie had more of a schoolgirl crush on Jem and it was clear that Jem only cared for Tessa in that way, so it was all right. Even the Jace-Clary-Simon triangle in The Mortal Instruments was better, weird incestuous situation aside, since no one fricken believed that Clary would pick Simon in the end (they even set things up for Simon to eventually move on with other potential love interests popping up all over the place!). The triangle in Infernal Devices is more along the lines of the one from Hunger Games— all-consuming, annoying, and completely unnecessary! Just once, can’t a female YA protagonist have nothing but pure friendship with a YA male protagonist? She can get with one male protagonist in the end, but why do they BOTH have to vie for her affections? I want more close male-female friendships in YA novels! In any novels!

I suppose that in this one unique case, there is an added tragic element to the triangle because Jem’s dying and Will and Jem are closer than brothers and all that (to me, being parabatai sounds a lot like being married), but I still spent half the book groaning aloud and wondering why Cassandra Clare couldn’t have just made Jem and Tessa become drawn to each other like brother and sister, since he’s an only child and she just got betrayed by her “brother” and is all alone as well? OR! She could have completely flipped the script and made Jem and Tessa get together in the ultimate tragic way and Will and Tessa could be best friends, bonding over books! IN ANOTHER UNIVERSE…

[BIG SPOILERS] I also disliked the Jessamyne/Nate thing because I can’t imagine someone being that stupid, but hey, what do I know? Charlotte and Henry… AWWWW, just AWWWW… I shipped Sophie and Gideon as soon as they met, so I was very happy about that; the whole class lines thing was done pretty well, imo.

On the rest of the book, like the plot and all that: It was still fast-paced SOMEHOW, despite all the pauses in-between for Tessa or Will to lament about their feelings. There were seriously paragraphs/pages of nothing but pining/anguish/making out, but things still chugged along smoothly. Most of the other characters who appeared are pretty memorable, and Mortmain remains a frightening and sinister force despite not once making an appearance in this book. The clockwork automatons are also largely absent, so the focus is more on the investigation. I did have a problem with the Gideon/Benedict Lightwood thing and how it played out. I just thought the way Gideon defects is done too easily. And how the hell did Benedict throw a huge, expensive party for denizens of the Downworld without SOMEONE from his world catching wind of it? Sure, he threw it in his family’s mansion away from the city, but these are still wealthy English families living in Victorian England– word gets around. How the hell did he manage to keep everything a secret? THESE ARE THE MINOR THINGS THAT I WONDER ABOUT WHEN READING OTHERWISE GOOD STORIES.

Rating: 3.75/5. I think that if I were to give a fair, unbiased rating, it would be a 4/5, but this is MY rating, so I’m taking a whole star off for the love triangle and an additional quarter of a star for MINOR PLOT THINGS.