Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Falling Under, Book 1

Title: Falling Under- Book 1
Series: Falling Under

Author: Gwen Hayes
Publication: March 1st, 2011

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

Ashley's Review:

From one chapter to the next I really was unsure as to what my final thoughts would be on Falling Under. The first 100 pages I was doing a lot of questioning and it reminded me of a cross between Twilight and Fallen. I then began to worry because Twilight is very high on my list and Fallen is at the very bottom. There were a couple of times when Gwen Hayes made a reference to Twilight and even in my opinion to a classic-Little Red Riding Hood and very strong similarities to Alice and Wonderland. I have to say I was very worried it was a knock off per say of several titles and smashed together. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes there were the references, but I think they were more used in a joking manner than what I initially thought when the worry set it. They really set the mood for the book and made the setting of the book feel more in the present time than a lot of books that are supposedly set in the present day. I believe the main character Theia speaking about her iPhone really makes the reader relate to the story given that everyone has some sort of smart phone.
I really enjoyed the characters and the strong personalities each possessed. Each character seemed to really stand out on their own. The personalities were very realistic in the aspect of how teenagers really are….flawed, worried, excited, happy, sad, hopelessly in love…obviously a range of emotion with a front on the outside for the most part trying to not show anyone for who they really are. Anyone who has been a teenager can relate to all emotions these kids were having, especially being dramatically in love and feeling like nothing else matters. I love the way the more popular football/cheerleader types were called sneetches, very funny description. I hope in the next book we will get to know the subtle characters better and they will be more concrete throughout the story.
Having preconceived notions during the first 150 pages that it would be a total train wreck like Fallen may have twisted my initial take on the book. Luckily the second third of the book resolved several of my concerns so I was able to get past my initial regret. Although I did struggle through a lot of it, I still found the concept interesting and certain changes in the narration towards the end recaptured my attention. If only the entire book held my attention as well as the last 100ish pages. The ending really made me interested in the sequel and hopefully the up and down lulls will be mostly eliminated in the next addition.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

City of Fallen Angels, Book 4

Title: City of Fallen Angels - Book 4
Series: The Mortal Instruments

Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication: April 5th, 2011

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Ashley's Review:

Something Cassandra Clare does very well is keep you interested in her characters. There is a constant need and want to know what will happen next, how will this story end? With all the anticipation and what will/has happened comes disappointment as well. I very much wanted to love this book. I even pre-ordered it, which I must say is the first time I have ever done that or even spent as much on the book as I have on any other book. I HAD to have the letter from Jace to Clary that was referenced in City of Glass and now I have it. After being so in love with books 1-3, I was really expecting greatness. That page turning effect that makes you feel like you cannot get enough of it. I don’t know maybe the anticipation of the release of this book and getting my hands on it totally killed my opinion of the story itself. Maybe I will read it again and think it’s a better story, but as of now I am just happy I finished it.

I did like the spin of adding Simon’s point of view in the mix with Jace and Clary, but I felt the other character’s point of views were too random throughout the book and needed more consistency. Having Isabelle, Alec and even Maia’s point of view at one point would have fit better with the story had they been heard throughout the entire book, rather than towards the end. I felt like that jumped around a bit too much. That being said, I did really like being more inside their head, knowing what was going on with them.
The character development and the storyline are definitely there and in some aspects a little over the top. There is a constant over explanation of every situation and even referencing past situations as if the reader has not read the previous 3 book in this series. I wish the book would have just picked up right where City of Glass had left off. I understand attention to detail and it being necessary for certain scenarios', but not for each and every one. I found myself, reading past certain long paragraphs of descriptions and skipping straight for the action or dialog. Not because I didn’t like it, I just felt it was not necessary.

I know it sounds like I hated this book, but really I didn’t. I did like it very much, but I think a lot of it could have been tweaked to an extent. One thing I love about reading Cassandra Clare’s books is playing the guessing game. What’s happening in the next addition? How will these series correlate together? What did that phrase mean? She is very, very good at keeping you guessing and wanting to know what is going to happen next. I guess you could say I have a love and hate relationship with her books, enough to read the next one and maybe one day reread the ones I already have.