A Bundle of Books Posts

At the beginning of this year, I set a challenge for myself – to read all of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter novels. There are over ten books within this world, separated into a collection of three series and a few short story bind-ups. I have always been fascinated by the Shadowhunter novels but also quite intimidated since there are so many of them! Seeing how much other people love these books made me even more interested. But what ultimately sold me to the idea of reading them was how the books interlink. I love following an author’s work when they weave their various books together, whether via Easter Eggs, characters, or plot lines. An example of this would be Brandon Sanderson who has many Easter Eggs scattered throughout his Cosmere universe. Despite being a bit hesitant about vampires, werewolves, and the like coming together in this world, I wanted to give the Shadowhunter novels a try.

In this challenge, I will be reading Cassandra Clare’s three Shadowhunter series – The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and The Dark Artifices – as well as one short story collection, Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy. The only two books I decided to leave out of the challenge are The Bane Chronicles and The Shadowhunter’s Codex, both of which I have been told are not entirely necessary to read. Clare recommends reading the Shadowhunter novels in a peculiar order, starting with the first three books of The Mortal Instruments. Today, I will be discussing my experience reading these books, marking the start of my journey into the Shadowhunter universe!

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Publication Date: 10 September 2013

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Where To Purchase: Takealot, Exclusive Books, Book Depository

Rating:Star2 Star2 Star2 Star2

 

Fangirl is a novel I immediately knew I would relate to before even opening to the first page. I saw a lot of myself and my own life in the book’s synopsis and was confident that I would empathise with the experiences that the main character, Cath, goes through. However, I also knew that I do not tend to enjoy YA contemporary novels as much as other people, so I went into this novel slightly hesitant. By the end of it, I really enjoyed following Cath and her journey in what is ultimately a coming-of-age story. I gave Fangirl a 4-star rating based on the characters and the focus on family dynamics. However, I do not think that this is a 5-star read owing to the fanfiction elements and the underwhelming ending.

Becky Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, tells the story of Simon Spier, a sixteen-year-old gay teenager who has yet to come out to his family and friends. It’s not that Simon is necessarily afraid to come out, he’s simply not ready to do so. Yet, the one person who does know about Simon’s sexual identity is his anonymous gay pen-pal, Blue, who attends Simon’s school and with whom he develops a close relationship with despite not knowing who he is. However, when one of their private emails falls into the wrong hands, it is used to blackmail Simon into doing their bearer’s will. Should he not do what is asked of him, Simon’s sexuality will be revealed to the world – and Blue’s privacy put on the line.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda became a staple read in the bookshelves of contemporary book lovers everywhere in 2015. When the film adaptation, renamed as Love, Simon, was announced the YA contemporary world went absolutely wild. I’ve owned the novel for a couple of years now and hadn’t gotten to it just yet but the excitement around the film’s release made me want to read it immediately! I wish I read this book sooner because it is such a heart-warming and funny read despite the serious topics it deals with. There are trigger warnings for bullying, outing, and harassment in this story yet these, as well as the complex themes, are dealt with gently in the novel and the film. Being a straight woman, I cannot speak for the queer representation but what I do know is that this is a light-hearted and positive take on the coming out narrative. But this is not the main focus of the novel. Rather, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda focuses on the convention of coming out and subverts this by emphasising the importance of being who you are unapologetically.

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks

Publication Date: 5 August 2012 (First published 27 September 2011)

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

Where To Purchase: TakealotExclusive BooksBook Depository

Rating: 

Laini Taylor is an author who is known for her strange and enigmatic stories. Her books have always intrigued me with their unique synopses, but also intimidate me immensely with just how vague they are. I’ve been unsure about giving Taylor’s books a try for years because of these contradictory feelings but I decided to finally take the plunge and read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. All I knew going into this novel was that the main character is a talented, blue-haired artist living in Prague, leaving me absolutely clueless about what the story is. However, I’m quite happy that this was the case! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a mystical, spellbinding novel that takes your imagination for the ride of its life! Taylor’s writing is absolutely exquisite, the perfect fit for this transcendent story. Whilst I enjoyed the novel overall, I did have an issue with the way other storylines were incorporated into the main plot arc, making the reading experience feel quite disjointed. Otherwise, I gave Daughter of Smoke and Bone a well-deserved rating of 4 stars!