Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Truth About Twilight

I love when new Twilight movies come out. Everyone gets so... defensive. Both sides. You either love the books and movies or you hate them it seems. Then everyone attacks each other. How dare you question these books!? How can you love something that promotes what is basically pedophilia of the vampire kind?! Edward is the most romantic man in the world- the way he cherishes Bella! Edward is a stalker who controls the woman he supposedly loves. Bella is a weak excuse for a modern woman. Bella is finding herself and becoming the woman (er...vampire) she was always meant to be. It's preaching about premarital sex and abstinence. It's promotes bad and unhealthy relationships. It's the best book ever written. It's the worst book ever written. 

I get it. I do. I'm a Twilight Mom and a Library student. I also spent most of my undergrad tearing books apart trying to analyze every last bit of meaning. Between Lit classes and History classes and deconstructing music for choreography purposes I know how to rake a piece of work over the coals. I get why it's done. This need to understand everything is something that I think we all have. I've heard just about every argument you can think of. I made most of them myself. I agree with 90% of them (Yes. Both sides) They all make sense and hold weight. I think what people forget though is that books reflect the reader. You get out of it what you put in. Were you a Bella? A Jacob (I was)? Did you hope for an Edward to come walking into your life? Maybe you were a child of divorce who just wanted a chance with their father. Or a soon to be Mom who had a bad pregnancy and was terrified that this thing, this child, might kill you (me again).  Maybe you were the opposite of some of the characters and that fact grated on you because you thought they were making all the wrong choices. How you view a book like this is directly connected to who you are. I think that is true of most books. 

Do you want to know why I am team Twilight? I love these books because I don't think they were ever intended to be as big as they have become. I think they were, at their heart, just a story that the author wanted to read and felt compelled to write and share. Are they poorly written and full of weird story lines that make me cringe sometimes? Sure. (looking at you vampire birth scene, which frankly, so much better in the movie.) Are they hopelessly cheesy? Absolutely (now I turning my gaze on your sparkly vampire skin Edward). You know what else they are? Fun. Entertaining. Addicting. That's what I was missing in books when I picked Twilight up almost 3 years ago. Reading had become a chore. I was analyzing everything and not enjoying the ride. At what point did every book have to change the world? They don't all need to be literary classics on par with Shakespeare and Dickens. They don't all need to teach a lesson and make us better people. Sometimes a book is just a book. It let's us escape into it's pages and experience something we've never seen before. Reading should be fun. These books, for all they are not, are fun. 

They also changed my life. They changed a lot of people's lives. Books can do that you know. Just when you least expect it, there they are, surprising you in ways you might not have been ready for. They opened my eyes to the wonderful world of YA and some of the most amazing books I've ever read. They brought some of the best friends I've ever had into my life through TM's and EFG. They forced me to take a hard look at my life and what I was doing. I wasn't happy, I hated my job and I needed something new. Thanks to one of those friends (my Fairy Threadmother Lauralee) I was introduced to the idea of being a librarian. So I quit my job and went back to school. I'm  one semester away from graduation. All in the matter of 3 years- a complete 180. All because I found a book that reminded me that reading could be fun again. That is, after all, what reading is all about! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Ramblings on Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Good gravy it's been a while since my last post. I confess that between homework and fieldwork for school and then the required blogging for school each week has totally sapped my book blogging energy. Every few days I think that I'll blog a review, but then something else (read as homework, which will get me good grades, which will hopefully get me a job that pays real money) comes up and this blog slips back through the cracks. Until today. Yesterday I finished an ARC of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I can't stop thinking about it. It was amazing, so here I am, shirking my school work, because it was that good. Let's do this thing.

Clockwork Prince
By: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Author Website

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart. (from

My Ramblings:

So first the tiny issue I had with Clockwork Prince and then I will commence with as non-spoilery a review as I can muster. If you don't want to know ANYTHING about CP then I suggest you stop reading now though. No promising I won't say something that you might view as a spoiler even though I don't. You've been warned. 

My issue (prepare to eye roll). A few times in the story Tessa holds hands with a boy (I'm not saying who). It's said that her skirts are able to cover the hand holding so that no one else sees it. I cringed a teeny tiny bit when I read it. Have you ever worn victorian garb? I have. I've made a few dresses in that style, one being my wedding dress... and, well, the skirts are not that voluminous. In fact, besides the bustle, they are rather form fitting. No massive layers, no hoops, not a whole lot of extra fabric. I had trouble with the idea that the entwined fingers of our girl and her beau were able to be hidden from the people sitting directly around them. Is this a big issue? No. Is it one that bothered me due to years and years of creating historically accurate costumes being ingrained in my mind? Yup. So there you have it. My one issue. A matter of skirt volume. Moving on now. 

The rest of the book. Wow. Loved it. How to best share my thoughts without giving it all away? Well, if you are a fan of Cassie's books then you know that life for our Shadowhunters and the girls at the heart of the stories are never simple. There are miscommunications, moments when you want to shake the characters and broken hearts. You are able to see the mistakes they are making as they are happening and you know that they probably won't realize it until it's too late. It's draining really, but the fact that it's paired with great action and humor makes it all balance out. It makes it all worth it. 

For me this book was all about finding out more about the characters. 

Why is Will the way he is? I was shocked by the story that we got here, but then it all started to make sense. The way he pushes people away, the sarcasm and hurtful words. The fact that he lets Jem in anyways. It revealed so much about Will that it seemed totally obvious and unexpected at the same time. 

We also get a window into the relationship between Charlotte and Henry and why their relationship has played out the way it has. In a sense I see Charlotte and Henry as being a bit of a lesson to Tessa and Will (and everyone else for that matter). They waited so long to clear the air and make their real feelings known that they might have missed out on so many moments together. 

I'm trying very hard to not give anything away here, but it seems like timing and honesty are big themes here. We see so many things left unsaid, or held in for just a moment too long. We see people not trusting themselves and others with these huge secrets that, if people had shared, might have changed everything. We see our characters making decisions based on wanting to make someone else happy without really considering the ramifications. Sometimes without even considering whether it's what they want. There were a lot of times I wanted to yell "Just say it already!!" at the book. The fact that I'm so invested in the decisions these people make is a testament to how well Clare writes. I want them all to figure it out and be happy. 

You'll notice that I haven't really talked about the actual plot of the book. I can't figure out a way to do it without giving it all away. So I'll just say this.... the Magister is still deliciously evil and bent on getting Tessa and ridding the world of Shadowhunters. Automatons are still being creepy and working at the Magister's bidding. We get to see what really happened to Will's family and how they might factor in his future. There is an unlikely spy within their midst and an even more unlikely ally that steps forward. So basically, evil villian, creepy henchmen, mystery and new alliances. And of course lot's of action and romance. Pretty much a perfect book. 

Oh yeah... and there's a Masquerade Ball. No good ever comes of those things.