Monday, February 28, 2011

Harry Potter, Twilight, Toy Story 3, Social Network Autotune - Music : Academy Awards 2011 Oscars


Sunday, February 20, 2011


I could feel everyone looking at me, but I was used to it.

It was on the internet about a new movie named Beastly, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer(who on a side note i would like to say would be a great Jace for the Mortal Instruments series movies). The descriptions everywhere said that the movie is a modern re-telling of the age old fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, a YA book. At the time when I watched the trailer I had no notion that it was actually a book that was being made into a motion picture. It was actually on a book of month poll in one the reader groups that I came across the book. So I went an got the book and it was actually very good. A really enjoyable book.

As the Summary of the book goes,

Kyle Kingsbury is a gorgeous high school freshman, spoiled rotten by his famous anchorman father, a man who'd rather dole out cash than affection. Kyle attends the exclusive Tuttle School in New York City and torments those poor unfortunates who lack his looks and wealth. When he humiliates a girl at school, she transforms him into a horrific-looking creature. Kyle's only hope for breaking the spell lies in finding true love-as he reports online in meetings of the Unexpected Changes chat group (other members include Froggie and the mermaid Silent Maid).

Beastly as I had already stated above is a modern day retelling of the fairytale “Beauty and the Beast.” Kyle Kingsbury is a sixteen-year-old at a private high school. He’s everything that every girl wants, and every guy wants to be: rich, gorgeous, charismatic. When he plays a nasty prank on an ugly girl at school, he gets the shock of a lifetime when he discovers that she is a witch. She puts a curse on him, making him as beastly on the outside as he is on the inside. He has two years to break the curse, two years in which he must find a girl who will look beyond his horrible exterior and love him.

Alex Flinn has taken the typical tale we all know so well, and dolled it with wonderful characters and the story of a shallow young man finding out that there is more to life than beauty and money, that there is value in kindness and intelligence and self-sacrifice. Kyle’s transformation goes so much deeper than his change on the outside. He is helped along the path by his blind tutor, Will, and his housekeeper, Magda. They show him how to love unconditionally, how to become a person that a girl may find worthy of love.

The contemporary style of the novel was definitely up to the mark and the modern dialogue delivery was perfectly done. and that it was from the Beast's point of view. Kyle really does change from a beastly rich boy (Kendra, the witch who curses him, calls him this the first time he's mean to her) into a smart young man who can love someone other than his own reflection. I liked the fact that Lindy, his "Belle," isn't actually a Beauty - she's just a normal girl. The online chat group (run by a "Mr. Anderson") was a neat touch. I think the thought that you could find a chat group for even magical changes in this day and age is rather an enchanting thought.

Flinn captures the cocky male adolescent voice really well. The meanness is there. The sex obsession is there, but we're not forced to read about it, making it appropriate for young readers. (When Kyle has sex with the rich chick, it goes on behind closed doors, so we just read that it happened, not the play-by-play.)

And she does a terrific job working the fairy tale into modern life. How she handles the rich father, the witch, the girl whose dad easily trades her for his freedom, the roses, the mirror, the servant, and the benefits for the others in the "castle," etc. are all skillfully worked in. I can't see that she misses anything at all. Flinn even includes fun little interludes of internet group counseling with other "transformed" creatures: the little mermaid, Snow White and Rose Red, the Frog Prince.

Above all the retelling business is that it is all believable - loved the believable way she showed us Kyle changing, transforming. And of course there's the wonderful blooming of true love. All this adds up to a truly delightful book that I hope will become wildly popular with teens. The book does a solid job of giving us a fresh perspective to the original in keeping with the drama and the element of intrigue high.

At the heart of it, the tale of the beauty and the beast goes back hundreds of years. But people understood the effects of testosterone long before anyone had a clue what hormones were or what they did. Hormones haven't changed, so human nature hasn't. That's why the story still works today. Even the girl Flinn puts in the story to save the Beast, although he overlooks her at first because she wears unstylish clothing, turns out to have a hot figure as soon as he sees her dressed up.

The Magic is real and it is there, but tis a modern setting. And even though the story was predictable, how could it not be? I was turning the pages faster and faster as I came to the end. This is a wonderful re-imagining of a tale that has much to teach us about what true beauty is.

And any adults, who will admit to enjoying Twilight, let me urge you to give Beastly a try, as well as those who love to read YA and fairytales.      


Saturday, February 19, 2011

"The Dinner Party" hunting extravaganza

Here we are folks. Now, typically The Vampire Diaries saves its biggest cliffhanger for last. On "The Dinner Party," however, there were twists and turns around every commercial corner, from a shocking death, to an afterlife lesson from an unexpected source, to a witch-on-witch attack, to a naked bathroom surprise. Lets face it people a TVD episode without its ginormous twists and turns is not TVD at all. So, it is expected.

Stefan and Elena are still tucked away at the lake house, being all angsty and reading books. Well,book – Jonathan Gilbert’s journal. It seems Stefan killed him once up on a time. Angsty, angsty, folks. But even better – after a brief sojourn into the tale of how Lexi (remember her?) saved Stefan from the dark side, Elena reads some more and learns that if a vampire uses the dagger-and-ash against an original vampire (i.e. Damon against Elijah), both vampires will die.

Damon is currently dining and absolutely whining with Elijah (with the help of Alaric, Jenna, John and his new gf *fingers crossed behind back*) with the intention of killing him. A hurried phone call later and Damon’s plan is thwarted. But when Jenna goes to check on dessert, Alaric hastily kills Elijah himself. This pleased me. There is little more awesome in TVD than seeing Alaric being a badass.

But hold up, there’s more. If the dagger is removed, the original vampire will awaken– Oops, too late. Elijah heads to the lake house to get Elena, but it’s Elena’s turn to show how badass she can be. She threatens to kill herself if Elijah doesn’t promise to protect her loved ones (again), he calls her bluff, and she, uh, stabs herself. But her badassness does not end there, oh no, she then stabs Elijah with the dagger-and-ashes. He dies (dead-dead this time, they kept the dagger in) and Stefan saves her life.

"I just want you to fight for it." So said Stefan to Elena, following a detailed account of his dark past and how Lexie swooped in, saved the day and played amateur psychologist in the subject of vampirology to both Salvatore brothers. And goody-good another flashback filled episode. taking viewers further and further into the complicated history of Stefan and Damon. Just great stuff all around, especially the way Stefan relayed the advice given to him and applied it to Elena's desired i repeat unhealthy martyrdom.

"Leave the dagger in." A lesson well learned by Damon regarding how one kills an Original. I'm not too ashamed to say I yelped out loud at Elijah's death. I did not see that coming.

Well, his first death. When I thought he was actually dead. You've gotta love how The Vampire Diaries is so enjoyably chaotic that it kills off the same character twice in a matter of minutes. If this is the last we see of Elijah (and is anyone willing to take that bet? I predict they revive him when Klaus arrives cause they'll need the dagger to kill the big boss and there's only one dagger). Even Daddy Warlock addresses the same question i asked just now.

Another plot thread this week was of Bonnie and Jeremy. Now she's worried Elena might get freaked out about herself dating her little brother? Considering Elena’s with a vampire, I think who Bonnie's dating ranks pretty low on the freakometer. Really enjoying Bonnie and Jeremy’s sheer adorableness and then look – Daddy Warlock had to turn up and ruin the mood. Not only does he burst into their non-date and assault Jeremy, but he takes away Bonnie’s powers. How strong is this dude? Whatever, I don’t mean to be a bitch, but considering he and his son manipulated Bonnie and have been working for the big bad Elijah (however good their reasons are), I think it’s out of order to go around violating her.

And last but not least – Katherine’s back! I spent the whole of her first scene thinking ‘wait, why would the compulsion hold if Elijah was dead?’ Turns out it doesn’t. Damon got owned by Katherine yet again and so came home to find her all up in his shower. Katherine is clearly an intriguing character, played impressively by Nina Dobrev. But it's almost impossible to keep track of her plots, schemes and allegiances at this point. 

Upcoming next week is "THE HOUSE GUEST" - It's a night of confessions: Katherine makes one to Damon and Alaric makes one to Jenna.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Comeback: the power of the biebs certainly did not turn me on but the "RENT" diva-off certainly did

With a not so much of my favourite tribute, this COMEBACK episode Glee staged the Bieber fever, when Sam turned to the pop sensation’s music in order to save his romance with Quinn. Along with the “sugary sweet jolt of the Biebs,” Glee also took on songs from Rent and My Chemical Romance, which added up to quite an eclectic mix…and some really odd fashion choices.

And on an installment aptly titled "Comeback," I can pinpoint a few reasons as to what they might be:

Sam and the boys formed the Justin Bieber Experience to shake the girls out of their post-Valentine’s Day lull. Sam’s version of “Baby” was fun mostly because it drove the girls crazy while the guys’ reaction was confused. I had hit my Bieber limit by “Somebody to Love,” but I’m sure his fans loved the performance as much as Quinn(to think the boys sounded much better than the kid does when he opens his big mouth to sing). After a talk with Santana, Sam came to his senses and realized Quinn had been cheating on him with Finn. And just as quickly as he could dump Quinn, he hooked up with Santana, who has been deliciously evil these past two episodes.

It took one and a half seasons, but tonight we were finally treated to the first duet by Glee divas Rachel and Mercedes. And it was to “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent, a song originally performed by Idina Menzel, who plays Rachel Berry’s bio mom. I’ve been dying to see Glee do some of the music from Rent, so this was easily my favorite performance of the night. I also loved how Sue’s plan backfired, and Rachel and Mercedes are now closer than ever. Rachel’s on the road to a comeback, and it looks like it will come from making friends and writing an original song rather than starting a “sexy schoolgirl librarian chic” fashion trend. (having a comeback from an angle of fashion........well we all know how rachel sucks in the fashion department)

Now if we are to compare Santana and Sue. Well i will outright say i'm a bigger fan of the latter. But the show veers toward the ridiculous when too much attention is focused on the cheerleading coach's schemes (shooting girls out of canons, dressing up like The Grinch, etc). Santana is actually a far more logical villain, as she's a member of New Directions and can worm her way into relationships and situations. See tonight, for example. She's no slouch in the one-liner department, either, telling Sam that he has "full visitation rights" to the twins that "reside on her rib cage" and thinking James Earl Jones shot Martin Luther King. Moreover, this episode actually incorporated Sue into the bigger picture, doing it realistically and intriguingly: she's the vocal coach of Aural Intensity?!? 

Guys what about Puck's hair? That definitely was ridiculous........with him flipping his hair after every 1 sec.

 I could question how Finn immediately went from being the inspiring leader of the football team on the post-Super Bowl episode to someone unabashedly trying to steal a fellow student's girlfriend... but I'd rather pretend that episode didn't exist and just take in the feud between this pair. There's no lesson trying to be taught here. It's just an enjoyable back-and-forth.

Another first in this episode was a solo from the newest member of New Directions, Lauren Zizes. The funniest visual in “Comeback” was during her version of “I Know What Boys Like” when she imagined everyone in their underwear. Sue was in a dominatrix outfit, Will was wearing a vest and shorts, and Finn was sporting a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

Lastly that hospital visit was just mesmerizing. Because most of the episode was filled with jokes that addressed serious issues (i.e. Brittany stealing Rachel's comeback thunder via her unique style choice), Will and Sue's singalong with the cancer patients came across as adorable, rather than preachy. It was a beautiful respite from the laughter and a reminder, as Will himself said, that glee club can be very weird at times, but it can also do a lot of good.

Next tuesday is the episode "Blame it on the Alcohol" where the gleeks get drunk on wine coolers at Rachel's house party.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Infernal Devices : Clockwork Angel

After City of Glass, I (and a lot of you guys out there fresh out of reading City of Glass and waiting for the fifth one)still have some appetite for some more shadowhunter stories. Well, Viola here we have it......along with the Mortal Instruments series, Miss Clare is also writing a prequel series The Infernal Devices........and it is the first book in this series that we are going to review, #1 Clockwork Angel.

Summary on the book jacket:

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. 


This book certainly doesn't need any word on how excellently manipulated the plot is that it gives enough space for future development in the upcoming books. Miss Cassie Clare has definitely come far from City of Bones, where the pacing was a bit sloppy but she has definitely improved......Clockwork Angel definitely left me speechless towards the end, with such a well developed plot and those unexpected twists and turns.

The story’s main protagonist is 16 year-old Tessa, a seemingly normal girl who after journeying from New York to London to be reunited with her brother, finds herself kidnapped upon her arrival. Held captive by the Dark Sisters, Tessa is forced to access hitherto unknown shapeshifting abilities by the Sisters, who threaten the life of her brother Nate. There are some obvious parallels to Clary from the Mortal Instruments here – once again we see a girl who thought she was completely normal suddenly exposed to a hidden supernatural world when she finds out that she’s got supernatural powers. Like Clary she ends up with no one to turn to except for the Shadowhunters, who offer her refuge and explanations for the world she’s suddenly found herself in. 

So, then a super sexy dude, definitely not trying to desolve any book secrets but still......It say’s it in the product description! Anyways, the super sexy dude saves her. After a little probing, she finds that his name is Will (who graces the book cover), and that he is among a league of warrior fighter sexy people who kill demons, the Shadowhunters. His sexiness isn't the only detail that makes us want to compare him to Jace the male protagonist of the Mortal instruments, but further reading the book sprouts the one detail that he is a Herondale, a possibility that he may actually be Jace's ancestor so we can't help the comparision.

Now, lets look towards Tessa. Well she sure is a bad-ass character.  She may not be able to fight, and she may be a sweet lil’ girl, but if you get all up on her bad side...well she will retaliate. At first, I thought “Damn, Tessa is going to be un-original and exactly like Clary.” But she was so totally not. I saw something in Tessa that I had not seen anywhere else: spunk. While  Clary is badass in her own ways that don’t take no crap from nobody, she didn’t have the sassiness that Tessa had. Tessa was very classy and well mannered… but if you pissed her off… well your in crap loads of trouble.

"Will is Sexy. Jem is Sweet". Both of them totally swoon-worthy. To be honest i'd choose Jace any day but these two get high points for their originality.Will is a rebel, with a super-exclusive secret and tendency to push away the one’s he loves. And then there’s Jem, the hot asian! Jem has a terrible addiction and a frustrating family past.

Unlike Clary and Jace I just didn’t feel that Tessa and Will worked that well together as a potential couple. Indeed the Shadowhunter group as a whole in Clockwork Angel seems more socially awkward and far less cohesive than Clary and Jace’s friends from the Mortal Instruments books. This maybe due to the social restrictions and customs of the era being reflected in the character’s relationships but, whatever the reason, the Clockwork Angel characters just didn’t seen to gel together too well for me.

Miss Clare has totally conquered Steampunk. Henry, one of the adult Shadowhunters in charge of the Clave, has an absent-minded mad inventor vibe going on, with a laboratory in the crypt of the Institute and a constant stream of bizarre inventions that may, or may not, work as advertised. It is also indicated that Henry may well be the one who invented those sensors we see in the Mortal Instruments series. 

The mystery/adventure part of the plotline revolves around a nefarious plot to build an army of clockwork automatons (robots). Naturally because this is an urban fantasy story part of that plot involves stealing the skins of dead humans to clothe the machines and super-charging them with demon energies to give the automatons unnatural intelligence. It’s certainly chilling and fantastic enough to satisfy any urban fantasy fan – although any self-respecting mystery fan is probably going to see the plot-twists coming a mile off.

And the OMG!! totally forgot the Villians. You just gotta love Miss Clare's style. She can make you fall in love with a character, and then reveal that that character is a conniving bitch/bastard (definitely not giving anything away). Cassie takes the reader through many loop-holes, and then you find out all that you thought was true was really completely wrong.

A well-written and well-paced story. Vampire fans should enjoy the vampire arch-villain and there are some great nail-biting action scenes when the Shadowhunters clash with the vampires. Fans of the Mortal Instrument books may find Tessa and Will lacking protagonists by comparison to Clary and Jace. They are similar enough to Clary and Jace to be a constant reminder that they are not them, but there’s plenty of potential in Tessa and Will. All-in-all there are more than enough intrigues and unanswered questions in Clockwork Angel in hold a reader’s interest in the Infernal Devices and the next part of Tessa and Will’s story. If that wasn’t enough the cliff-hanger ending is guaranteed to whet appetites further, it certainly did mine.

P.S. we also meet two much loved characters from the Mortal Instruments - a certain warlock and a certain feline (definitely not spoiling anything).


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass

#3 City of Glass is the third and final part of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy.......Well it used to be the final book of an initially intended triology which has now become a series and the fourth book is about to release in April. So no question asked................ before you pick up this book to read you better read its two predecessors - #1 City of Bones & #2 City of Ashes, if you want to make a head or tail of the book.

(before you proceed further i'd like to inform you readers that this review might contain a lot of proceed at your own risk)

Where the first book has Jace on the cover, the second one with Clary, now this one has a new character on the cover, Sebastian (who may well have his own secrets that are dangerous for the everyone.....).

The Mortal Instruments series has followed the story of Clary, an average New York teenage girl, whose mother suddenly disappears at the same time that she starts being able to see things, such as demons, that most normal people can’t. Clary’s mother had been hiding her from her demon hunting heritage in an attempt to protect Clary from the machinations of Valentine, the evil father Clary had never known. The previous books in the trilogy have followed Clary on her journey from mundane (non-supernatural) teenager to rune-wielding Shadowhunter, introducing the reader to a magical world, populated with werewolves, vampires, faeries and mages along the way.

Losing no momentum from the ending of City of AshesCity of Glass opens up full throttle and gets faster and more thrilling with the passing of each chapter. With Valentine now in possession of two of the mortal instruments necessary to call down the angel Raziel and request that the power of all his fellow Shadowhunters (at least, the ones who don't fall in line behind him) be revoked, and that Valentine be allowed to shape a new race that will not only answer the original charter to hunt and kill demons, but also be allowed to do away with Downworlders -- vampires, werewolves, and fairy creatures -- with whom the current Shadowhunter Clave has developed a fragile truce.

In the opening pages of City of Glass readers leave the mundane world of New York completely behind. Previous books have changed, or revealed, all of the story’s main characters to be to be either Downworlder or Shadowhunter so with no mundanes left in their group they travel to Idris, the homeland of the Shadowhunters. The rest of the story is set there and with its magical protections, towers, forests and horse-based transport the Idris setting has more in common with classic epic fantasy than with the urban fantasy landscapes of a magical New York that were a striking feature of the previous Mortal Instruments books.

Now with Jace and the Lightwood family making their way to the hidden country of Idris, to share with the Clave what they've discovered, Clary is left behind in New York, fuming at Jace's attempts to shut her out. But Clary isn't without her own resources -- she's just discovered that, like other Shadowhunters, she can create runes of power, etchings done with a device called a stele that function like magic. Unlike other Shadowhunters, however, Clary has also exhibited the ability to create new runes, something absolutely unheard of in Shadowhunter culture, and which the Clave would be very interested in seeing.

Her determination to be a part of the fight, and to achieve the magical cure for her mother's otherworldly coma, leads her to make her own way to Idris, which nearly costs her her life. Upon arrival, she finds that her best friend Simon (the vampire who inexplicably can walk in the daylight, unlike his other kin) is imprisoned and tortured, and that Jace is apparently entering into a relationship with a new Shadowhunter girl, leaving Clary open toward falling into the arms of the suave and charming Sebastian, the only one who rivals Jace when it comes to abnormal strength and fighting skill.

Of course their is also the one question of exactly what type of experiments did Valentine perform upon his progeny, that made them so special, and that's certainly explored. But more thrilling is the introduction of a newer, deadlier player to the game. Valentine is a monster, but unlike other villains of fiction, Clare presents him as a man who truly believes he is trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. This newer villain has far darker motives, and the means to carry them out, and soon the capital city of Alicante is left defenseless to an invasion force of demonic strength, bringing a heart-rending tragedy to the Lightwood family.

"The Forbidden Fruit tastes the sweetest" 

The most pressing part of the story though is the tortured relationship between Jace and Clary. Originally this pair of would-be young lovers looked set follow the time-honoured tradition of sniping at each other until they realised how attracted they were to each other before falling into each others arms. Unfortunately by the time they got to realize their attraction to each other it was also revealed that they were actually brother and sister, secretly separated since birth. The whole forbidden love plotline is enough to keep reader engrossed and drives the story forward even without the threat of war and imminent death.

City of Glass has more twists and turns in it than pretty much any other book I have read. I would think one thing, just to have the opposite proved to me. I'm ending it here because well i don't think that there is anything left for me to mention and those who think this is the final book and well want more of Jace and Clary do not worry as The Mortal Instruments triology is now a series of 6 book with the 4th book City of Fallen Angels releasing on 5th April this year. Eagerly awaiting that book.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes

Continuing after a successful read after the City of Bones, comes the #2 City of Ashes in The Mortal Instruments series (used to be a triology but now a series). 

Let us just first re-cap what we read in the first book - Clary Fray’s world is turned upside-down. She has never thought of herself as being anything other than ordinary, until she sees a group of teenagers kill a demon—and finds that no one else can see them. Soon after that, Clary’s mother mysteriously disappears, and she is plunged into a world in which vampires and werewolves are real. She discovers that she is a Shadowhunter—a race of demon-slayers. To top it all off, she finds herself caught in a nasty love triangle with Simon, her best friend, and Jace, an arrogant, handsome Shadowhunter. Just as she seems to be falling for Jace, she finds out that Valentine, the villainous man who kidnapped her mother* is her father, and Jace is her brother. *CRASH* that's gonna hurt!!

The book begins with these 2 blurbs. "A Gorgeous Fantasy that is so good, its dangerous" - Holly Black. "The Mortal Instrument series is a story world that I love to live in. Beautiful" - Stephenie Meyer. And with a cover showcasing Clary we can guess what we'd find in the book.

The book opens up with Valentine summoning a demon to be at his beck and call and a murder. This demon plays against a person’s worst fears.  You would need a protection spell if you want to ward off the advances of that kind of demon. Should I name the demon...............should I??? Well it AGRAMON.......*SCARY*

Once again Valentine is up to no good – no surprise there.  At the end of the first book, Valentine gained control of the Mortal Cup, which can only mean trouble for….everyone.  What is the hell is he up to anyway?

Clary’s mother is still lying in the hospital in a coma, the Clave (the big guys are involved now) suspects that Jace is a spy for his father, and Clary is very much romantically confused. Valentine goes after the second Mortal Instrument, the Soul-Sword, and is more of a bastard than ever. Jace is an angry, angst-ridden teenager. Simon seems to be becoming more than a friend to Clary, but she’s still struggling with her feelings for Jace and MY........Alec gets a boyfriend (in a certain rainbow clad Warlock). Ok i know I'm dropping a lot of spoilers for those who still need to read the first book.....*Sorry couldn't control myself*

Clary is not the only one to go through personal upheaval.  Jace is devastated that he is not who he thought he was.  Nothing good can come out of being Valentine’s son which he learns when his “mother” returns home full of accusations. Soon he is cast out from the one place he can call home. The Inquisitor, a real peach of lady, holds Jace’s fate in her hands.  Believe me there is no love lost between his adoptive parents, his real father and her. Needless to say the meeting between them doesn’t go well and he is sentenced to prison in the Silent City.  Prison turns out to not be the safest place for Jace as dearest daddy pays him a visit there trying to get him to switch teams.

On top of all the aforementioned drama, Clary and Jace seem to be some discovering mysterious powers. But of course, there is still the lingering question of the century: are they really siblings?

The story is told in third person and mostly from the perspective of Clary, which for the most part works very well since it means that the reader can share Clary’s sense of bewilderment and wonder at the secret world that is revealed to her.  Her confusion over her relationship with her new found brother (the boy she wants but can’t have) and her feelings for Simon (her lifelong best friend who she wishes was her brother and not her boyfriend) make for compelling, if soap opera-ish reading.

Did I mention that Simon is now a vampire. 

City of Ashes shows its popular culture roots. Even the description of Simon crawling out of his shallow grave – “The grave was roiling like the surface of an unsteady ocean. Ripples appeared on its surface. Suddenly it burst apart, clods of dirt flying. A small mountain of dirt, like an anthill, heaved itself upward. At the center of the mountain was a hand, fingers splayed, clawing at the dirt.” – conjures an image that has seen countless times in nameless horror films as zombies, vampires and the evil undead arise to wreak havoc.

 I like the complexity and the diversity of the characters. Ultimately, City of Ashes adds up to more than the sum of its parts, so there is really no cause for complaint. A fast paced and engaging read, City of Ashes is well written and a much stronger novel than City of Bones.  Summing up, if you liked City of Bones, you will love City of Ashes.


Friday, February 11, 2011

So it seems : Elena has to die

Well well well, talk about a TVD episode with a lot of heart. Or hearts, should I say. Torn out of the chests of werewolves. Many, many hearts were torn out of the chests of werewolves.

But, aside from a few violent deaths, "Crying Wolf" crammed a great deal into one hour,  from a life-altering decision by Tyler to numerous planted seeds that will grow as the season progresses. But into what? Now that is the question which can only be answered in future episodes. 

By far this is the best episode of Season 2. What started out as a moderately slow episode, complete with a boy’s wet dream of Elena (Nina Dobrev), Caroline (Candice Accola) and Bonnie (Katerina Graham) in bed together, quickly evolved into the pivotal turning point of this season’s story.

Elijah is finally exposed. We now knew that Elijah was up to no good when he made a promise to protect Elena’s friends. However, we didn’t know what Elijah’s end game was. Now we know. In order for Klaus, the leader of The Originals, to be defeated, Elena must first die so that Klaus can be weakened. That explains why Elijah isn’t in a rush to destroy the moonstone and eliminate the curse. First, he has to kill Elena and then Klaus.

Stevie laid out the issue of the moonstone rather well for Tyler. I know I'm supposed to hate these wolves, but I find myself understanding their point of view. Let's face it: most vampires are NOT like Stefan, or Damon when he's in a sensitive mood. These wolves have been feuding with their rival species for centuries, so it's hard to blame them for wanting to get the upper hand here. That said, I pumped my fist and chest-bumped my wife each time Elijah sent a wolf to the Great Jungle in the Sky. I don't want them to win, I just appreciate a well-layered villain.

Elena Has to die. Let's see what happens with getting some answers from Luca arc - What does it mean when a girl you like comes bearing frappuccino gifts? How about, don’t drink it! Bonnie decided it was high time she figured out the truth behind Jonas and Luca’s relationship to Elijah. She drugs Luca and puts him in a trance to expose the warlock family secrets. It seems that Klaus is holding Luca’s sister hostage so Jonas and Luca have teamed up with Elijah to take down Klaus. Unfortunately for Luca, Bonnie goes one step too far and forces Luca to divulge the secret behind killing an Original. This is a definite “No, No” for Luca and will surely have negative ramifications if Jonas finds out. Well, anything Jonas says will pale in comparison to Elijah.

The challenging question now: what do the core characters do about Elijah? They clearly need him in their battle against the werewolves, as he proved once again by coming to Damon's rescue. How jarring was it, by the way, to see this Salvatore brother dominated so physically?

Say is it me, or are all the werewolves on The Vampire Diaries are unlikable? While Tyler may be the howler to root for, he’s always been a jerk. It’s just that in his recent developing relationship with Caroline that we’ve begun to cheer for him. He drew a brief moment of sympathy after his father died, but that was short lived. Alas, he’s gone from the picture for now. In a failed attempt to capture the moonstone, Elijah murders Jules’ team of werewolves. Brady, surprisingly, lasted an entire two episodes before being betrayed by Tyler and killed by Stefan. Now, Tyler is off soul searching with his new partner Jules.

Also, good to see Bonnie and Jeremy finally get over all the tension and lip-lock. YAY!!!!

Considering all the answers revealed in this episode for the rest of season 2: Jenna has suspicions about Alaric. Can she remain in the dark about all the happenings in Mystic Falls forever? Elena's parents were hunters considering all the weapons in that hidden room, and I somehow doubt their game was venison or wild boar. What might those journals reveal? How might those weapons come into play? What about her mom and dad will Elena discover next?

And, most pressing of all: the turn. Stefan and Elena touched on their future for the first time this week, referring to it as a "box" that Elena wasn't ready to open. Stefan later found out why, of course. Does she really have a future? Assuming the answer is yes, and Klaus doesn't get to make his sacrifice, Stefan and Elena are headed toward the question that plagues all vampires and their human partners: To turn or not to turn? All this, and we haven't even touched on the road trip Tyler is taking with Jules. When will we see him next? How else might she mold her friend's nephew into a vampire hater?

Well this much done the next episode is "The Dinner Party" (the title kind of makes me remember of this short story of the same name by Katherine Mansfield)


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Can anything that seems to be a complete waste of time prove the opposite. Well in this case with The Mortal Instruments series #1 City of Bones it sure does the trick. Well i've been postponing getting this book for a long time unsure of what i might expect from here but after seeing a lot of praises for the series both on youtube and goodreads(although i basically check about new stuffs from amazon but i'm not adding it to the list because all the negative reviews put me off a little bit). So, i thought well why not, since i only concern myself with the plot and not with the genre.

Well, here goes nothing i believe;

A blurb on the back of the book from Justine Larbalestier, Magic of Maddness, claims that City of Bones has it all. While Holly Black, Valiant, says this book is ‘Funny. Dark. And sexy.’ Can one book live up to all this great press? With a cover that sexy.........well yes it sure can.
Clary Fray, short for Clarissa, is a normal girl in a normal world. When she sees a blue-haired boy in a night club attacked and killed by a group of three strange-looking teenagers, things change. But when a bouncer is called and no one can see the three but her, Clary starts to wonder what exactly is happening. When Clary receives a strange phone call from her mom she rushes home to make sure that everything is alright. What she finds is an apartment in ruins and a demon waiting to eat her. But Clary isn’t a normal girl and she is able to, barely, hold her own against the demon. Soon enough she is rescued by one of the strange teenagers. Jace takes her to the Institute, a place of safety for his kind.

What is happening is that Clary is starting to regain her ‘Sight’, the power that enables her to see the world, and the things in the world, as it really is. Soon she learns that the three teenagers are Shadowhunters or the nephilim (who are shown in differnt light in the Christan Holy Bible): men, women, and teenagers created by mixing the blood of angels with that of men so that they can hunt and kill demons. Alec and Isabelle, the other two strangers from the club, are brother and sister, and Jace came to live with their family when he was ten years old, after the horrific death of his father.

A lot is happening in City of Bones. Featuring a full cast of characters, twists jump out with every turn of the page as Clary moves through the discovery of herself and the truth that is locked in her memories. Now, Clary’s best friend Simon is one of the more human and believable characters in this novel; his awkwardness is easily recognized from any boy you went to high school with, making him even more lovable. The Shadowhunters and their world is fantastic. Clear and all very much so believable.

City of Bones is a thrilling ride that has you sitting, waiting, and wishing. You are rooting for the characters as the battle an evil that hits close to home, so dangerous that you would rethink your family’s dynamics. The characters are full of life, and although we might have a few things figured out before them they are still a joy to read about. A story full of secrets and hidden agendas is bound to hold you, captivating your imagination. Not to mention the complex and utterly fantastical world Cassandra Clare has created. 

For a debut novel for a fan fiction writer the novel provides us with all the entertainment we book lovers need. The adventures get only more interesting as the series progresses. It's good that i didn't re-think my decision of reading the book or i would have missed out on a lot. 

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