Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Lovelies (1)

What am I loving about the book I tote around town and stash under my pillow at night? Stick around to find out. Don't forget to share what you are loving about your current reads!

I've been reading Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel for a little more than two weeks. Confession time: I'm still only about half way through the book. No, no...I'm not an incredibly slow reader. And it's not so bad that I never feel like reading it. My busy schedule is holding me hostage. But finally(!) some of my deadlines have lifted for a little bit, and I'm really looking forward to reading more, hopefully finishing it by the end of this week. Share time: what do I love about the book so far?

1. Cool magic.
Instead of telling you all about it, why don't I show you with an excerpt:

     Will placed the tip of the stele against the dirty floor, and began to move it. Broad dark lines flowed from the tip, and Tessa watched in fascination. There was something particular and beautiful about the way the stele scrawled--not like ink flowing from a pen, but more as if the lines had always been there, and Will was uncovering them.
     He was halfway through when Jem made a noise of realization, clearly recognizing the Mark that his friend was drawing. "What do you--," he began, but Will held up the hand he wasn't drawing with, shaking his head.
     "Dont," Will said. "If I make a mess of this, we could well fall through the floor."
     Jem rolled his eyes, but it didn't seem to matter: Will was already finished and was lifting the stele away from the design he had drawn. Tessa gave a little cry as the warped floorboards between them seemed to shimmer--and then became as transparent as a window. Scooting forward, forgetting entirely about her dress, she found herself staring through it as if through a pane of glass.
     She was looking down into what she realized was the library. She could see the large round table and the Enclave seated at it, Charlotte between Benedict Lightwood and the elegant white-haired woman. (excerpt from pg. 211)

2. Snappy dialogue.
I am sooooo tired of reading books with boring conversation between main characters. The sort of conversation someone has, in my opinion, tells a lot about their personalities. It's writer's job to convey their characters personalities every chance they get. Clare does an excellent job of this!

So, I wish I had been recording my thoughts about this book more faithfully. Then, I would have the perfect scene to share with you. The scene I'm choosing is a pretty good example but maybe not the best. So, Again, allow me to show you:

     "But the books are all behind bars!" she said. "Like a Literary sort of prison!"
     Will grinned. "Some of these books are dangerous," he said. "It's wise to be careful."
     "One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."
     "I'm not sure a book has ever changed me," said Will. "Well, there is one volume that promises to teach one how to turn oneself into an entire flock of sheep--"
     "Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry," said Tessa, determined not to let him run wildly off with the conversation.
     "Of course, why one would want to be an entire flock of sheep is another matter entirely," Will finished. "Is there something you want to read here, Miss Gray, or is there not? Name it, and I shall attempt to free it from its prison for you."(excerpt from pg. 87)

3. Excellent World Building
Alright, so I think 2 excerpts is quite enough for this post. So, I'll skip it for #3. What I will say is that Clare's world building is one of her strong points. In many of the YA books I've read lately, world building seems to be a low point.

For example, in Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, I never had the sense of the fallen angel's way of life, who they are, and how they live. In Twilight (by Stephenie Meyer, as if I needed to remind you), the world building was adequate.By the end of the first book it was clear what life was like for the Cullen clan and how they differed from the red eyed vampires. Clare surpasses them all.

She is a detailed world builder. For those of you who don't know this, Clockwork Angel is the first prequel (part of a series) to Clare's The Mortal Instruments. I haven't read The Mortal Instruments, and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I was worried starting with the prequel because I thought there would be a lot I wouldn't understand about their world. Nope, so far I don't feel like I've been whacked over the head with too much information. If there are references to the other books in the series, I don't pick up on it, and it doesn't seem to get in the way.

*All excerpts taken from Clockwork Angel and written by Cassadra Clare*