Thursday, October 25, 2012

[Review] Crow Girl by Kate Cann

Title: Crow Girl
Author: Kate Cann
Published: September 29th, 2005
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Books.
Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Goodreads: There's no light... without the dark.
Lily is an outsider. Girls bully her, boys don't know she's alive. She begins to hide from her troubles at the nearby Wakeless Woods. But she is not alone. The crows are there. Watching. When she finds the crows, she finds herself -and a burning need to show everyone at school the new Lily. Will this Halloween be a night to remember?


I received this book through in exchange for an honest review.

General thoughts: This is a short story, you can read it in half an hour, and it has a beautiful message behind it. Especially these days where bullying is out in the public light and we have a name for this kind of abuse. Crow girl is a natural fit to all the anti-bullying campaigns. 

About plot & characters: In this book our protagonist, Lily, has suffered bullying from the popular girls in her school. And after a horrible year, she has to fight for her place in her world, fight against her own insecurities and learn to love herself and to see herself as someone who deserve the same respect as anyone else.

About the writing: It is a good story and it leaves a message, although it has several aspects that a grown-up could find a little hard to believe. For example, the sudden change of attitude from Lily or the thing with the crows. The writing is good, but it is just that. I didn't find any mistakes or misspelled  words, but neither did I find some unique writing style.

About the ending (contains spoilers): It's a happy ending, as expected given the message this books is trying to send. It suits the story and if you're a believer of the saying "Good things happen to good people", you'll find it very nice and heart-warming.

I would recommend it for: I think is a good book for middle school age, even if it has a couple of bad words, because it is a great message that every kid should receive at one age when it can pass through them and stay with them and it's a good way for the kids to have fun while learning a good lesson for the present and the future.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

[Review] City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: March 27th, 2007
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: The Mortal Instruments (Book #1)
Source: I purchased a copy from a bookstore.
Blurb from Goodreads: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -not even a smear of blood- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

General thoughts: This is one of the best first-books-on-a-series that I've read. In most of series it takes a while to reach the good parts and it isn't uncommon to see a huge portion of descriptions and world-settings. City of Bones mix the exciting moments with the informative ones (so you don't get info-dumped) creating a sublime harmony. The author gives you information through jokes and quotes that you can't forget even when you're done with the book and she inserts fights and critical turns in between, which makes the reading very light and fun.
I loved it, this is the kind of book you can't stop thinking about once you've read it.

About the plot: Thousand years ago, Angel Raziel combined his blood with human's to give birth to the Shadowhunters race. They have to take care of demons and keep the world safe. No human knows about their existence, at least until the night when Clary -a girl who is about to turn sixteen- sees them in Pandemonium, the trendy nightclub. Since then, nothing will ever be the same in Clary's world. Everything the girl had believed her entire life has turned out to be a lie. On top of that, she found out there are all kinds of mythical creatures, her mom has been kidnapped and Luke (the closest thing to a father she has) seems to be done with her. Now, with the help from Simon, her best friend; from Jace, the most frustrating person and the hottest guy she has ever seen; and from other ShadowHunters, she will have to figure out who her mother  really is and will have to find herself in the meantime.

About the characters: Clary is the girl who finds out everything she believed in was wrong and all the mythical creatures she knew from fairy-tales are real. She is an emotional teenager -as expected since she's only sixteen- but she's brave. Clary is willing to do whatever it takes to save the ones she loves most. 
Jace is a boy who's beautiful like an angel and deadly like a dagger. God, he's like every girl's dream. I'm just so in love with him that it hurts. He's the best Shadowhunter of his age, tough on the surface but behind his I-don't-give-a-crap act he has a huge heart. He obviously has a thing for Clary, there's something about her that intrigues him and annoys him at the same time. Even when he pretend he's all calm and indifference, at the end of the day he's just a boy seeking answers. 
Simon, the human or "mundane" -as Shadowhunters call him- is Clary's bestfriend and the only normal person she can count on since her world has turned upside down. He's a real geek and kind of clumsy, but he'll do anything for Clary.
Alec and Isabel are siblings, both Shadowhunters and Jace's best friends. At first they seem  reluctant to take Clary in, especially Alec. But after a while they get used to her and start treating her better. 

About the writing: Being a first book on a series, its goal is to catch the reader's attention and I must say: That's exactly what this book does!
City of Bones is a urban-fantasy book and what can be more urban than New York!? This story is set on the Manhattan streets and aside from the fictional creatures and paranormal features from this kind of genre, the scene is pretty believable.
It's fast paced and contains just the right amount of details so the reader is able to picture the settings, the voices and even the smells, all this without taking over pages and pages for description purposes. Once you've started it you can not put it down!
It is narrated in third person, however, we don't get to know everything before hand. We can almost see the world through Clary's eyes and we don't have much more information than she has. We learn about the other characters through the dialogue which is good, because we don't get info-dumped. 

About the ending (contains spoilers): The ending is clearly open. You can tell there's a lot that hasn't been solved. Most of the characters are not fully developed and some essential part of them is still missing. Valentine is gone -for now-, Clary's mom is still asleep, Jace has a lot to make sense of, Alec is struggling with his sexual orientation and I could go on and on listing things that still need an answer.
However, the story has a begging, development and ending well built, like an episode from a TV show that is just starting.
When you're done reading, you still have a lot of doubts about what comes next. You feel the need to start the next book right away.

I would recommend it for: Everyone who loves paranormal books. This is one of the funniest reading I've had in a while.



"Is this when you start tearing strips off your T-shirt to bind up my wound?" she joked. She hated the sight of blood, especially her own. 

"If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked." He dug into his pocket and brought out his stele. "It would have been a lot less painful."

"Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?"

Jace said, "Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself."

Dorothea roared at that. "At least," she said, "you don't have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland."

"Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting."

"No," Jace said crossly. "The Mark are only part of it. There are tests, ordeals, levels of training -look, just forget it, okay? Stay away from my blades. In fact, don't touch any of my weapons without my permission."

"Well, there goes my plan for selling them all on eBay," Clary muttered.

"Selling them on what?"

Clary smiled blandly at him. "A mythical place of great magical power."