Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Characters of All Time

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish. Check ’em out! 😉

There’s something you should probably know about me before you start reading this post.

I LOVE characters (which is probably a good thing for my writer-brain), and I get attached to them in ways that are probably unhealthy. I weep for them, I laugh with them, and I mourn them when they’re gone. Don’t get me wrong– I love “real people” too. I just have a fangirl problem.

So be ready. There will be MASSIVE fangirling ahead. MASSIVE. (Also, it’s a darn good thing this one is limited to books/graphic novels– I have half an hour to jot out this post and if I had TV/movie characters in there as well, it might literally take me all day. :P)

1. Crowley (Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett, Good Omens)

Yeah, Crowley gets top billing here. Badass Angel-Who-Sauntered-Vaguely-Downward who has a weakness for good food and classic British cars? Me likey.

 

 

2. Aziraphale (Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett, Good Omens)

Annnd I couldn’t mention Crowley without Aziraphale, now, could I? I appreciate his book obsession, and also the strange balance of utterly selfish and pervasively GOOD that Gaiman and Pratchett have achieved within his character.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Remus Lupin (J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series)

I try not to play favorites with HP, since I love all the HP characters, but Lupin has always been and will always be a character that I really appreciate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Katniss Everdeen (Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games)

Katniss is a badass with a heart of gold. ‘Nough said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Daine Sarrasri (Tamora Pierce, The Tortallbooks)

Daine was always a girl after my own heart, and her character progression throughout this series is FANTASTIC.

 

6. Numair Salmalin (Tamora Pierce, The Tortall books)

Part of what drew me to Numair is that he is a TOTAL DORK…. but he’s also a badass who could kill you with his pinky finger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Jem Carstairs (Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel)

Plays violin. Kicks demon ass despite his physical limitations. Kind, generous, and loving. Yeah, Jem is my favorite.

8.  Death (Markus Zusak, The Book Thief)

Doesn’t look like this. Also, BEST NARRATOR EVER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Anna Korlov (Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood)

I just love her so much, both as a vengeful ghost and as the girl Cas falls for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Juushiro Ukitake (Tite Kubo, Bleach)

I’m cheating a little, because he is actually from an anime/manga, but whatever. At first, I kind of hated him because to me he broke the flow of the whole Soul Society arc, but he grew on me as time went on. What can I say? He became one of my all-time favs. Funny how that turns out.

 

 

 

 

What are your Top Ten characters? Let me know in the comments or link me back to your own TTT post! 😀

Freeform Fridays: A Love Letter to Cassandra Clare’s “Clockwork Prince”

(Hope you guys like this! You can check out my reviews of Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince by clicking the links.)

Dear Clockwork Prince,

You are the second book in a series. I, as a general rule, have an extremely hard time with second books. So when I finished Clockwork Angel, I was almost certain that I could wait for you to come out in paperback, allowing me to enjoy your story without laying down $19.99 on the hardcover and causing my poor bank account ultimate pain*. Duly, I shelved CA and moved on to the next book in my TBR pile.

However, you pursued me most aggressively. You enlisted the help of my friends, who told me tales of your exploits with great verve. You wooed me with your lovely cover featuring—who else? Only my favorite character in the entirety of the first book, possibly in the entirety of the series. Your 4.51 star rating on GR is what finally convinced me; still, I exercised ultimate caution for your first hundred pages, played the coy and collected one to your hopeless romantic.

Until I realized that I could not avoid your advances any longer. Until Jem started speaking Mandarin and telling Tessa she was beautiful and loved, until Will’s darkness threatened to engulf his soul, until Sophie became a badass little warrior-mouse-girl. You left me breathless and uplifted, tormented and twisted. I felt every pleasure and every pain as your characters did, and I could not avoid swooning into your arms.

And I, as a general rule, DO NOT swoon.

Also, you are never to tell anyone about that.

My point, dear CP, is that while I may have started out indifferent towards you—even cold at times—your charm has proved the winner over my cynicism. It gives me pain to shelve you, to move on to another novel, but I will do so because that is my way, and we are who we are, are we not?

Know only that I will always return to you, and when CLOCKWORK PRINCESS comes out later this year**, I will surely be torn between the two of you, even as Tessa is torn between Jem and Will.

You have my heart. You may now proceed to break it.

Sincerely,

Em

*Note: this account has been somewhat dramatized for the purpose of good storytelling. CP was actually 13.59 on Amazon, making it something of a steal :3

** Now the release date appears to have been moved to 2013.  😛

Book Review: “Clockwork Prince” by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, #2)

(In case you missed it, my review of Clockwork Angel is here.)

 

Title: Clockwork Prince (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Available In: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook for Nook, eBook for Kindle

Maturity Level: 14+. Lots of some makeout scenes, quite a lot of violence, and disturbing imagery. Magnus Bane still exists, and Jem has  a steamy side. :3

You May Like This Book if: you like gothic romance, steampunk, or YA; if you want to read a really good portrayal of an awesome love triangle; if you’re a fan of Cassie Clare’s other work.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you will not read a love triangle NO MATTER WHAT; if you’re averse to romance in general; IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK ONE, CLOCKWORK ANGEL (I cannot stress this enough!). [Though I would like to include a shout-out to those who, like me, were not really impressed with The Mortal Instruments—THIS SERIES IS UMPTEEN TIMES BETTER. CC has really grown up as a writer and it shows.]

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND EXCESSIVE FANGIRLING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Clockwork Prince. Hmm. I have a hard time being eloquent about this book—usually I dissolve into meaningless sounds and massive amounts of hand-flailing—but I’m going to try.

Clockwork Prince picks up a little after the events of Clockwork Angel. Tessa has had some time to settle into her new life at the Institute, and indeed London, and she’s beginning to find some peace. However, that peace is abruptly shattered when a plot emerges within Shadowhunter society to unseat Charlotte as the head of the Institute. The Consul gives Charlotte and her followers an ultimatum—find Mortmain and bring him to justice in the prescribed amount of time, or lose her position, leaving Tessa and the others without protection.

Overall, I really, really, REALLY loved this book. The romance/love triangle was wonderfully handled, and there were so many scenes that either made me laugh out loud or made my throat close with tears. Occasionally, Clare over-describes, but for the most part, she appears to have attained a certain degree of proficiency in her craft that she simply didn’t have when she started out. If you’re still on the fence about this series, please do read this book; it’s definitely worth your time. 😀

Pros

  • Jem/Tessa/Will. This is quite possibly the best love triangle that I’ve seen in YA for awhile—neither of the dudes are jerks*, they both appear to truly love Tessa, and Tessa kind of truly loves both of them. And also? All three of these people are sexy as hell. I can’t help but wonder if Clare intends to make this less of a triangle and more of a threesome**, which would be awesome but might make it less marketable as YA.

*Well, Will. But there’s a story behind that. I will try not to spoil too much.

**Quick scan of the GR reviews for this book shows me that I’m not the first person who thought of this. HMM. There’s also a tweet that I remember but cannot find, where Clare actually mentions threesomes. I AM SEARCHING.

  • the humor, particularly any scene with Henry :3
  • details on Ascension and parabatai. I’m guessing some of these topics are covered in TMI, but I’ve only read the first book in that series, so I appreciated the detail.
  • Sophie and Henry becoming badass.
  • DEMON POX 😀 If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then I am saying NOTHING. Find out for yourself 😀
  • Magnus! (with Camille. And Woolsey. Oh, Magnus. I love you.)

Cons

  • Occasional over-description.
  • Unwieldy exposition in places.

Favorite Scene (s)

  • Page 63, where Henry simply forgets what he was about to say. ❤
  • Page 202-205. No explanation required. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about.
  • Page 327. I’m pretty sure the everyone-thinks-Will-is-a-lunatic meeting is a thing 😀

Favorite Line: “If you will not help me, I swear I will change into you and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress.” Tessa to Jem, pg 193 of Clockwork Prince.

Star Rating on Goodreads/Final Grade:  4.5 stars. A+.

~Can You Feel the Love Tonight?~ Favorite Book Pairings (Of All Time)

So, this is the first in my Love Week series of posts, and since it is Valentine’s Day and this is a mostly book-focused blog, I thought I’d go ahead and make a list of my favorite book pairings of all time. However, I wanted to do something to make these posts kind of special, so I thought, why not make a video to go along with it?

Without further ado, allow me to present : Can You Feel the Love Tonight? Favorite Book Pairings (Of All Time and In No Particular Order)

Beka Cooper and Farmer Cape (Tamora Pierce’s Mastiff): Beka and Farmer are a recently new addition to my favorite pairings list. When Farmer first showed up, I thought for sure that he and Beka would never get along, but by the time I was halfway through the book, I was rooting for them wholeheartedly, and I cheered when they finally got together. Farmer is such a sweetheart, and Beka deserves to have a lover who will a.) not crowd her and b.) still show her kindness.

Alec and Seregil (Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series): This relationship starts out a friendship, and that is something I appreciate very much. It’s two or three books before they even kiss, and another short story before they have a sexual encounter, but the slow-burning tension and tenderness between them is palpable from the beginning. Despite the later books taking a much darker turn, Alec and Seregil stay very sweet and beautiful– friends in love, and bonded for life. Me like. 🙂

Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster (John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars): And this pairing, which makes me completely incoherent 95% of the time. They are tragic, they are sweet, they are PERFECT. That is really all that needs to be said.

Daine Sarrasri and Numair Salmalin (Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series): I’ve come to the conclusion that Tamora Pierce has been almost solely responsible for raising my expectations in men. Numair was one of my first “book crushes”, and when I read Emperor Mage for the first time, I realized that there was a pretty real chance that Daine was kinda smitten with him too. As a pair, these two have a lot working against them: the age difference, the fact that Numair was a serial womanizer until he settled down with Daine, Daine having her own issues to work through. However, they manage to make it work. 🙂

Alec and Richard (Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint): This pairing is definitely my favorite of Kushner’s. The dynamic between these two is by turns amusing and heartbreaking, and this is possibly the only pairing to ever make fish romantic. 🙂

Cassel and Lila (Holly Black’s Curseworkers series): Here’s one for the angst. Cassel and Lila’s star-crossed romance is complicated by emotional manipulation, Cassel’s lost memories, and the fact that it appears they will be on opposite sides in Black Heart. I’m still holding out hope for a beautiful ending for them, though.

Jem Carstairs, Tessa Gray, and Will Herondale (Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series): Yes, I know. This is a triangle, not a pairing. But I couldn’t resist, simply because I love them so much and — if I were pressed– I would say that the only good ending for ALL of them would be… well, being less of a triangle and more of a threesome. I sincerely doubt that will happen– this is YA after all– but a girl can dream.

Howl and Sophie (Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle and sequels): Howl and Sophie are the least romantic couple ever, but their sparring and playful romance (followed by an equally playful marriage) is dear to my heart. The movie plays up the romanticism of their story, but it’s still a lovely thing, in my eyes; they have seen the worst of one another and they love each other anyway. 🙂

What is YOUR favorite book pairing? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day! 😀

Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Available In: eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio CD

Warnings: PG-13 for violence, sexual content, and Magnus Bane’s existence.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND STRONG, HONEST OPINIONS. ALSO, DECLARATIONS OF LOVE FOR CERTAIN CHARACTERS.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

When I first picked up Clockwork Angel, I had not yet realized that this book was a prequel to The Mortal Instruments series. I’m kind of glad I didn’t; since I’ve only read City of Bones, my inclination would have been to put the book down and read the rest of TMI first. I kept going, however, and was pleased to discover that my very basic working knowledge of the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders was enough to carry me through this book.

The story opens with our heroine, Tessa, sailing from the familiar streets of New York City to the unfamiliar atmosphere of London Town at the behest of her brother Nathaniel and in the wake of her beloved aunt’s death. Tessa’s already nervous enough about leaving the city that has been her home, and when she is met at the docks by a sinister pair of women who claim to be acting on Nathaniel’s behalf, she is understandably perturbed. She goes along with it, however, thinking that surely Nathaniel knows best. It turns out, however, that the Dark Sisters are interested in her for their own reasons– particularly, her strange power to Change into others at will.

And when Tessa meets Will Herondale, a young Shadowhunter, she discovers that the Dark Sisters aren’t the only ones intrigued by her…

Overall, I really thought this book was much better than City of Bones. I liked Tessa more as a main character than I liked Clary—mainly because there is no reason for Clary to be as passive as she is given that she’s a modern gal. Tessa, on the other hand, is very much a classical Gothic heroine, bound by society’s expectations but determined to fight back, and towards the end of the book, she really has started to grow a backbone of steel. I am also completely in love with Jem, and the love triangle that Clare has set up is delicious. Throw in the lovingly researched alt-London setting and the demon-killing badassery that characterized TMI and we have a real winner here. I’m definitely looking forward to Clockwork Prince.

Pros

  • The clockwork angel pendant is such a lovely concept.
  • Henry. I adore mad scientists, and Henry’s ineptitude makes me snicker.
  • The fact that Tessa is a book lover. Rock on, bookworm girl. Unfortunately, the real world is not like the novels, which sucks.
  • JEM. ❤ I just cannot get over how much I love this guy. He’s just so sweet, and brave, and so DEAD at some point in the future. I always go for the doomed ones.
  • Sophie. I love her as a  character, and should Will/Tessa become a thing, I would love it if Clare threw in some Jem/Sophie—if it weren’t for the fact that Jem is so DEAD.
  • Jessamine’s killer parasol,  which is badass.
  • Henry/Charlotte. They are just so cute together, regardless of what people say about the reasons for their marriage. I do think they truly love one another, under all that—at least they’re happy.
  • The Institute’s family dynamic. I loved reading the bits where the “children” were spying on the Enclave meeting and Jessamine and Will’s brother-sister bickering.
  • Magnus Bane. Who needs no explanation. All I can say is, the Victorian era suits him. AND CHURCH! ❤
  • Jessamine clonking Nate. I was cheering for her. Out loud.
  • Tessa’s London is lovingly researched and beautifully portrayed. It’s a world I would love to take a holiday in, and I applaud Clare for her efforts to make it as historically accurate as possible while still adding enough twists to make it just a little bit steampunk.

Cons

  • Tessa’s kind of passive in the early parts of the book, almost in a bodice-ripper heroine sort of way, which always makes me cringe a bit. She gets better as the book goes on, though, so I’m hoping to see her gain even more awesomeness in book 2.
  • Occasionally, the exposition in this book is rather unwieldy, with long portions of dialogue that are nothing more than one character telling another how the world works.
  • Some descriptive words are used repetitively, i.e. Jem’s silvery eyes.
  • The prose could be made a little tighter and neater, by cutting unnecessary descriptors and sentences, especially when they do nothing but reiterate what a character has just said/done.

Star Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars out of 5.

Final Grade: A. Would reread, will definitely read other books in series.

(My review of Clockwork Prince is now live! Click to read….)