Thursday, January 9, 2014

   Man, oh man, so much to say here. Where to begin?

   I've just gotta say that I've seen been seeing this cover in my local library and bookstore for years now, and I was never really able to gather the courage to pick it up??? I think those giant nipples were part of it. But then I started watching booktubers, and a lot of the really fun people seemed to enjoy this book, so I mistakenly decided to watch the movie while toying with the idea of buying a copy for myself. 

   The movie was pretty bad. Not the worst I've ever seen, but cringe-worthy. But for some weird reason, it managed to embed within my tiny Neanderthal brain the idea that I needed to read the book now. It might have been a misplaced sense of duty or honour or something, but in the end, I wound up ordering a paperback copy of this sucker for 6 bucks online. It took around two weeks to arrive, and during that time, it was like a dam had been put up between me and my reading. I just couldn't read anything else. This goddamn book and its horrible movie adaptation haunted my every waking moment, and I have no idea why, so I'm assuming it was a terrible curse. 

   During this time, I made the mistake of also reading a lot of the reviews for it on goodreads, in a weak attempt to satiate my maddening inability to stop thinking about it, and there is so much bullshit in there that it almost put me off of reading it forever. I don't mean bullshit as in bullshit against the book itself, but bullshit as in bullshit spread by both the people who loved it and hated it. There's basically no in between. You either really fucking adore it or you don't.

   So, yes, I know all about Cassandra Clare's Harry Potter fanfiction escapades, and I honestly don't even give a shit. If you don't know the whole story, apparently Clare wrote quite a few popular fanfiction works back in the day, but then got busted because she plagiarised some of them. I'm really firmly against plagiarism, but honestly, I don't really think the author's muddy history is an excuse to completely trash a book she wrote years later. And for those of you who are wondering aloud if the paragraphs she 'borrowed' from her previous works and stuck into this one were in fact stolen words, are you really fucking suggesting that she would a) be stupid enough to repeat a mistake that got her in a shitload of trouble in the past, and b) had an editor stupid enough to let her? You know that, fanfiction aside, plagiarism in published works can get you into some really severe legal trouble, right? 

   Then we have the more common issue that arises with these books–people going through and comparing Clare's work side-by-side with things like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and even the motherfucking X-Men, apparently. 

   As dear old Jim Jarmusch says, 'Nothing is original.' So, let's say Clare did rip off Harry Potter. But didn't Harry Potter borrow from Lord of the Rings? And didn't Lord of the Rings borrow from the Bible, which borrowed from Greek mythology, which borrowed from nature? The truth of it is, everything's been done before, you guys. All we authors can do is kind of mash things together and hope that they don't end up too similar to someone else's combination. And from a technical standpoint, you can compare the stupid little details in Harry Potter and the Mortal Instruments all you'd like {such as Church being similar to Mrs. Norris because they are cats. This was literally on one of the idiotic 'comparison lists' I saw.} but if you boil down to the basics, man, they're two really different books with quite a bit going for them each way. So stop your useless chart-making and comparison-creating because you have so many other, better things to do with your time. {I mean, it's not like Rowling will ever sue Clare for the superficial similarities racked up between the two series. Get your head out of your ass.}

   Well, I'm done defending CITY OF BONES. Time to take the offensive.

   This was one of those books where I was highly aware of all of the problems and mistakes, but I still managed to enjoy it anyway. I honestly rate my own personal level of entertainment higher than anything else, but oh boy, was there was some shit in this thing. 

   Characters are always my favourite thing to discuss, so why don't we go ahead? 

   Alright, well, even I can't avoid the terrible truth: Clary is kind of a Sue. I really don't throw this term around lightly, either, because my definition of a Mary Sue is pretty strict, and I don't like just tossing the label onto any old female character that I don't happen to like. 

   Here, I'm sort of on the edge. I'm aware that there's a ton of a way to go for Clary yet, since the entire series is supposed to be six books long}, and I'm really hoping that she'll develop along the way. But first impression? Not so great. The similarity of her name to the author's name really got to me, because it's sort of like, did you even try? Then there's the whole thing with all the guys who aren't gay falling head over heels for her, and the dear old thing being completely unaware of her own beauty and specialness. Oh, and don't forget the fact that she's kind of a bitch to other girls. Like, whoa there, calm your crazy girl hormones. It's obvious that the guys are all pining after you, you don't have to defend your territory of anything.

   But then again, she had a personality. It was definitely there, too–strong-willed, fiercely independent, and a fairly realistic teenage girl, with parental issues and a yearning to know who she really is. This is all if you overlook all the stuff I mentioned in the previous paragraph, of course.

   So yeah, I'm stuck. How do I feel about this girl. Where do I stand. WHAT ARE MY EMOTIONS DOING.

   But that aside, I basically loved everyone else except for Jace. {I'm not entirely sure why he didn't appeal to me, but I think it might be because he reminds me uncannily of someone I once knew and strongly disliked. But who knooows.} Simon was precious, and Isabelle was kick-ass, whatever Clary says. I'm fond of Alec, but I'm a little nervous, because I always get that way when I read about gay characters for the first time. Mostly because I'm always scared that the author's gonna fuck up somehow and make them a ridiculous stereotype or dead or whatever. {I've actually read a lot of nice things about Clary's depiction about homosexual characters, though, so A+!} Luke is my favourite, though, because I have a weakness for large strong furry sweet men. 

   Also, Magnus Bane. My twin and I found the name 'Chairman Meow' to be deeply amusing. {Did you know that the Chinese word for cat sounds really similar to Mao? Because I didn't, and it makes the joke EVEN FUNNIER.}

   Say what you will about Clare, her sense of humor and snark is pretty much perfect. Seriously, this book has got some funny shit in it. Not to mention some disturbing shit. Allow us to discuss.   

   Can we talk about how obvious it is that Valentine Morgenstern's whole story is based off of Lucifer? I'm mostly saying this after getting about halfway through the second book, in which he goes on for quite a while about his thinly masked admiration for motherfuckin' Satan, but hey. Lucifer was a well-written villain. Plus, about 90% of literary baddies are based off of Lucifer to some extent, but I don't see a problem with it. 

   Also, what the fuck, incest. {I'm kind of getting rambly and off-the-rails-ish here, so bear with me.} I watched the dumb film, which revealed to me *SPOILER! they're not actually related. I'm not sure if I should feel grateful for this or annoyed, because on one hand, part of me knows that they're not being incestuous and weird. But the other part of me is still skeeved out. 
   I'm not entirely sure what it is about incest that grosses me out so much {almost as much as old guys doing young girls!} but it always manages to strike a nerve with me. Therefore, not my favourite plot device ever. Most of these thoughts are coming from ASHES, since that's where the Jace/Clary scenes get super weird, but this one still had enough weird to make me uncomfortable. I don't think I could ever really ship the two of them {And yeah, I see some definite room for shipping in this series} but hey, I hear the cast gets really massive, so I'm sure there will be other opportunities.

   On a final note, is it just me, or are the Shadowhunters kind of like the KKK? I don't know, I guess I just look at any group of people that's after genocide of some sort and see the KKK and/or Nazis. I know it's different because the demons are 'evil,' but the whole weird racist thing against Downworlders also kind of frightens me. They even have their own racial slurs {see: bloodsucker} that make me feel uncomfortable. {see again: bloodsucker} AND THEN THEY GET THE MAIN CHARACTER TO START SAYING THINGS LIKE 'SLIMY DOWNWORLDER' tO HER OWN FREAKIn' FATHER FIGURE. I mean, these are supposed to be the good guys. Anti-heroes or no, I'm tired of racism. I don't care if it's supposed to show that 'racism is bad' because I feel like it doesn't push the point hard enough.

   SO YEAH I don't know what this rating is. I don't know what three stars means anymore. I had an awesome time reading the book, even though there were uncomfortable moments, and I'm definitely going to try to read the rest of the series. I've already shoved it into the faces of my friends, in a desperate attempt to see if they enjoy it as much as I did, because what. And as you can probably tell, I might be going kind of insane with this blog, but hey! I'm having fun.

OVERALL RATING:  ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆