March Reading Wrap-Up/April TBR 2016

As can be seen from my March TBR, I intended to dedicate this month of reading to the first books in new YA series but, I think I tried to start a few too many series, so I got halfway through my TBR and then got a wee bit slumpy, so I decided to change things up a bit.

March Reads – Least Favourite to Most Favourite:

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Anthem for Doomed Youth – Wilfred Owen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 – Review – This was a collection of the war poet’s greatest poems so I thought I’d stick this at the top as it isn’t really comparable to my other reads from this month. Wilfred Owen is one of my favourite poets and this mini anthology really did not disappoint. It had all the greats (Dulce et Decorum est, Futility, Strange Meeting, etc) and had a few I wasn’t so familiar with that have become new favourites of mine (Mental Cases). If you’re a fan of war poetry, I would wholeheartedly urge you to check this out.

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Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare – 🌟🌟🌟.5 – Review – I liked a lot but also I disliked quite a lot, too. Hm. I could not connect to Tessa. I SEVERELY disliked Mr. William Herondale. The plot twists were a tad predictable. But, I adored the Shadowhunter world and I really admired the rest of the supporting characters. Especially Jem ❤ He is everything.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling – 🌟🌟🌟.5 – Review – It took me SO LONG to finish this book. I was reading it in-between other books so I feel like I didn’t enjoy my reading experience of this book as much as I would have liked to, purely because it wasn’t my main focus. I still enjoyed it but I actually surprised myself and ended up preferring some aspects of the film over the book. Hopefully I’ll have more fun with Goblet of Fire.

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Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins – 🌟🌟🌟🌟 – Review – This book was so much fun! And quite different from what I usually read in the sense that it is not cliched/tropey at all. All of the characters are highly relatable, very realistic and don’t fall into any stereotypes. The narrative itself from our MC is hilarious and if you’re looking for a little something different, I’d highly recommend this read.

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The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater – 🌟🌟🌟🌟 – Review – This book was weird. But good weird. Amazing weird. With highly complex, three-dimensional characters, a brilliantly imagined world and lovely, poetic writing, Stiefvater has created an achingly refreshing story that I honestly cannot wait to continue on with. Thankfully, nearly all of the books in this quartet are already released, so I won’t have the agonizing wait of years!

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Currently Reading:
With the release of Lady Midnight and the show, Shadowhunters (which I’m not the hugest fan of, but somehow can’t stop watching 😂), I’m currently really in the mood for some Cassie Clare. I’m about 200 pages through City of Lost Souls and 100 pages through Clockwork Prince and I’m enjoying them both. I think I’m preferring Clockwork Prince at the mo – it’s already heaps stronger than its predecessor.

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What I love about the books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles is that they’re just intensely enjoyable, fast-paced, kind of light-hearted, funny reads with (mainly) great, memorable characters. The books don’t take themselves too seriously either so they’re just a lot of fun and I always find myself looking back on my reading experience of each book and feeling pretty happy.

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April TBR:
In lieu of my post concerning the reading of series, I have decided to make April a month of sequels. Especially seeing as I have just started reading 3 new series this past month, I think I seriously need to play catch-up! I don’t want to crowd my TBR with too many books for April as I want a little room for movement over the choice of what I read. So these two books I will definitely be reading and I am beyond excited to jump back into these story-worlds.

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I Might Read…

I’m unsure of what else I’ll be in the mood for this month. I kind of want to continue on with some more series but, now that it’s getting sunnier, I feel like I could possibly be more in the mood for some summery contemporaries?

If I decide to read some more sequels, I will read World After and The Dream Thieves. But, if I feel like a contemporary or two, I think I might go for I’ll Give You the Sun.

Who knows?! Maybe, if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll attempt to read all of these! 😂

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Book Review – Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

CdQbnsNWwAAP0t9Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 476
Genre: Young adult – Urban fantasy/supernatural
Published by: Walker Books Ltd in 2010
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟.5

Synopsis on Goodreads:
“London, 1878. 16-year-old Tessa Gray’s priority should be finding her brother, not falling in love with two boys. She is soon caught in a dangerous love triangle where a wrong decision could prove fatal. Tessa will need all her strength to save her brother & stay alive as she learns about what really lurks on London’s streets after dark.”

My Thoughts:
I had quite mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, as always, I loved the Shadowhunter world but on the other, I was really not that fond of our protagonist, Tessa and the rather notorious love interest, William Herondale.

I’m not sure why, but for some reason, I can never seem to connect to the leading ladies of Clare’s novels. Whilst I’m not too fond of Tessa, I really disliked Clary and it is such a shame. Espcially since it really effects the entire enjoyment of a novel for me and brings my ratings hurtling down.

But back to The Infernal Devices, I’m just not too sure who Tessa really is. She didn’t feel like a fully-fleshed-out character and thus felt quite flat and deeply fictiousess. Tessa wasn’t complex at all and, although she did develop as a character as the book progressed, I still wasn’t completely sold on her feeling like a three-dimensional person.

I particularly disliked her views of women and girls and their roles in society (and don’t even get me started on Jessamine! Although I’m sure she’ll have a redeeming character arc throughout the series). For example, towards the beginning of the novel, Tessa is practically appalled that there are female Shadowhunters that fight just the same as their male counterparts. I mean, I understand that even women were indoctrinated into having these anochronistic patriarchical views in these times but Tessa was an avid reader and, surely, if she was reading about people having all these adventures, she’d perhaps take some initiative and not allow herself to be manipulated by mainstream societal views. Thankfully, though, Tessa did manage to grow out of such horrific views as the book progressed and managed to atone to an extent.

There were a few redeeming qualities about Tessa, however. I enjoyed the way she handled Will (and Will, being the immature child that he is, most certainly needed to be handled) and when she was more or less telling him off; those were some of her best moments. I like that she didn’t always put up with his bullshit (although it does annoy me that she had any feelings for him at all the way he is with her).

But, I think, the moment where Tessa was meant to have shown the depth of her strength (chapter 19) is where, finally, she stood out for me. Her actions showed that she had courage and great potential for strategic thinking. Hopefully we’ll see more of this version of Tessa in the future instalments. I’ll definitely warm to her then.

The supporting cast of characters definitely felt far more complex to me than our MC did.

Will, irritating as he is, definitely has the whole tragically complicated backstory going on for him which automatically makes him an intersting character to read about. Although, having a haunted past in no way excuses Will’s poor behaviour. I really wanted to like Will and sometimes I did; he was quick-witted and had a great, compelling relationship with Jem. But he had such a mean streak and that really put me off of him. Maybe he’ll get better at not being such an arsehole as the series goes on?

And then there is Jem. Oh, my sweet, kind, adorbale Jem. He is the imbodiment of everything I could ever want in a partner. And the complete opposite, in some ways, to Will. Jem also has had a difficult life and has been through a lot (and continues to do so) but he doesn’t feel entitled to treat everyone else like crap. He is thoughtful, calm and precise with his words and has a wonderful way of getting the most from people by making them feel at ease. Take this dialogue, for example:

“Whatever you are physically, male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy – all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. Whatever the colour, the shape, the design of the shade that conceals it, the flame inside the lamp remains the same. You are that flame.”

Jem, also, is so respectful of Tessa and genuinely cares for her and he really does give the best advice/words of wisdom: “It is a great thing to love as it is to be loved. Love is not something that can be wasted.” I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from Jem from reading this!

Charlotte is another one of my favourites. I admire how tough she is and how strong she is for always having to prove herself, that she is just as capable as any male Shadowhunter: “As a woman, she must fight to be heard, and even then her decisions are second-guessed. […] She feels she has no freedom to make a mistake.” I felt like I could very easily relate to Charlotte and she was a much needed inspiration to Tessa to help her change her views.

In relation to the setting, I really enjoyed the Victorian London backdrop (as I enjoy reading anything from this era) but it did feel at times as though Clare was simply mentioning a particular building or street of interest in passing, rather than really describing what Victorian London felt like. Her descriptions did leave for something to be desired.

Finally, the plot itself, whilst relatively fast-paced with quite a fair amount of action, was actually kind of predictable. Particularly concerning one of the major plot twists – it was pretty darn obvious. But the Shadowhunter world, as always, was very intriguing and a lot of fun and I enjoyed the new aspects of the world we got to learn about in this book.

Overall, I would still recommend this, especially for all Shadowhunter fans. It was a fun, enjoyable read with a few flaws that didn’t really distract from the story too much. I will definitely be carrying on with this series and I have a sneaking suspicion that I will end up loving this series more and more as it goes on. Stark Reviews Logo