Friday, July 28, 2017

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh no she didn't! ...oh, yes, she did.

Cassandra Clare is known for star-crossed love-affairs that have the entire universe working against them and this 2nd installment of the Dark Artifices series does not veer from that formula. Clare is also known for scenes that punch the reader right in the feels- taking the plot in a direction that is emotionally devastating. Cassandra Clare does not write easy, feel-good stories with minimal conflict, and minimal sorrow. She goes for it. She takes that leap. She does not rest until you cry!

The Lord of Shadows continues the story of the Blackthorn children and their lives in the wake of betrayal, and loss. For their safety, the family has to relocate to the London Institute, so much of the story takes place there (Yay!). This 2nd book in the series gives us a chaotic ride from danger to danger. Malcolm Fade is gone. Anbabel, the Lady Midnight, has been resurrected. The Black Volume is coveted by the Unseelie King. Julian and Emma are doomed by a curse that threatens their very sanity. The Cohort wants to spread bigotry against Downworlders similar to that of Hitler's Germany. The Blackthorn Family is being hunted. Things are NOT going well.

Then, just when things are coming to a head, Cassandra Clare brings down the hand of destiny and leaves us with a tragic, heart-wrenching, and infuriating ending (but she is not done yet!).

Once, I emailed Cassandra Clare and asked why she always makes it so hard for our protagonists to be happy. She replied that a good story has conflicts. Well, this certainly has that.

If you are a fan of the Shadowhunter books, you MUST read these. If you have never read any of the Shadowhunter books, read The Mortal Instruments series, then the Infernal Devices series and then start the Dark Artifices series. They make for delicious reading.

Ages 13+ for content.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The Glass CastleThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


So many Americans take for granted the food in our pantries, the electricity running through our homes, clean water, and relative safety. More than that, we take for granted that parents want these things for their children. To go without these things, in America, one would think, would be the result of desperation, deep poverty, and a complete lack of advanced education. Certainly no one would choose to live this way, if they had a way out...would they?

The Glass Castle is a memoir about a selfishness so intense that two educated adults delude themselves into thinking that their gross neglect of their 4 children is actually some kind of liberated, free-spirited lifestyle. Rex and Rose Mary Walls are two of the most self-indulgent, self-centered, self-deluding, and negligent parents I have ever read about. Hiding behind the mask of "sticking it to the system" and "living off the grid," these parents placed their children in mortal danger and destitution, despite having the means to do otherwise.

Rex Walls was a genius, a con artist, a gambler, and an alcoholic. Rose Mary Walls was an artist who only wanted children in order to have people to love her. She felt NO compulsion to actually take care of them. She'd rather paint and write novels and let them fend for themselves.

Rose Mary inherited enough from her parents to give her children a wonderful life, but through mismanagement, addiction, and apathy she and her alcoholic husband pilfered it away. As a result of financial and physical neglect, Rex and Rose Mary's children suffered burns, broken bones, starvation, sexual molestation, filth, and ridicule. The only things Rex and Rose Mary did give their children was a strong appreciation of learning, and a twisted sort of love.

This memoir was gorgeously written and captivating. It makes you feel so many things- disgust, fear, hope, and resignation. The Glass Castle demonstrates how children can love their parents through the worst but do not come out unscathed. Some may escape and turn their destiny around, while others succumb to pain. This is a story worth reading.

Ages 13+ for content.