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To everyone who recommended Cassandra Clare

You were right! I'd been putting off reading CITY OF BONE for months because it's a thick book, and I can't read contemporary anything while I'm writing, so I tend to read contemporary non-fiction books at night while I'm working on a book. So the first draft of BLOODHOUND is done, I'm about to start the rewrite, and I thought I'd give the book a try yesterday.

You heard me. Yesterday. I picked it up at 11 AM or so.

I finished around 10:30 PM, and that's only because we watched "The Illusionist" last night. I would have finished much sooner otherwise.

What a wild ride! Some parts I suspected in advance, but others came as complete surprises. A couple of things were a bit derivative, but I really liked what she did with them. I loved Clary and Simon, perhaps because I understood them best (and they had senses of humor). The Nephilim were very sexy, but they were also dramababies--though to be fair, raised as they are, with the lives they have, how can they be otherwise? In other words, I found them believable. I'm sorry we didn't get to know Jocelyn's mother better, and I hope we get to do that more in the second book (no, don't tell me! I'm picking it up at Wiscon this coming weekend!). And I really liked Magnus Bane. Hodge, of course, broke my heart.

I also love the way she makes New York City such a major character in the book. She catches beautifully the mystery, magic, and promise of all those tucked-away corners and tumbledown buildings, the hidden cemeteries and the questions they pose. I love her descriptions of everyone and everything, which are beautifully vivid, but I love her descriptions of the city the best.

So, Cassandra, if somebody tells you about this, thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful read! I look forward to CITY OF ASHES!


( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 19th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised you like it. I liked her voice and some of the dialog, but I think her logic and plotting needed a *lot* of work.

One of the elements I didn't like was how stupid the characters were. I'm specifically talking about when the two of them go to the vampire nest. Two agains a whole nest. And the deus ex machina way they were rescued.

And why would two people who really have the hots for each other only indulge in *one* passionate kiss? I kept wondering that until the ending. So that was totally fake.

And then the plan to get the cup to use it to ransom the mother. There was NO plan! How could they possibly use it as a bargaining chip against someone all powerful?

And the ending was just a contrived setup for another book.

I had many other objections to the plotting, but its been months since I read it, so those are the only ones I remember.

The writer shows promise, but again, she seriously needs to tighten up her plotting.
May. 19th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
I'm going to second pretty much this entire comment, except add "a LOT" at the end.
(no subject) - tammypierce - May. 21st, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 19th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
City of Bone, eh? Well, that's going at the top of my reading list...
May. 19th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I was turned off of Cassandra Claire back in her fanfiction days, namely the plagiarism 'scandals'. I mean, to be fair, everything I've heard about her books has said that there's nothing plagiarized in the books (though she reuses a handful of passages from her fanfiction), but I guess she left a bad taste in my mouth.
May. 19th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, same here. I tried reading the book, but realized I couldn't do so objectively and just kinda stopped. From what I saw, everything she did with NYC was done better by Holly Black in her Modern Tales of Faerie series. And other than that it was mediocre urban fantasy.

But that's totally just my read on it. Like I said, it was hard for me to be objective, so take it all with a grain of salt.
(no subject) - forever_fallyn - May. 19th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - lizzybees - May. 19th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - avengangle - May. 19th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Agree - runa27 - Mar. 28th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC) - Expand
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May. 19th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
I didn't know about the whole fanfic "scandal" that everyone is talking about. I absolutely loved City of Bones. It's one of the few books that I actually put down out of anger, begging her not to do what she was about to do. But I picked up a few minutes later. I had to finish it.
I enjoyed City of Ashes as well. Then she had to tease by putting Chapter 1 of City of Glass on her website! Oh well. Patience is a virtue.
(Deleted comment)
May. 21st, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
In addition to the really great writing, also she is a total sweetheart

I met her only briefly at World Fantasy, so I didn't get to know her well. Your assessment is good enough for me, though!
May. 19th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
I love City of Bones!!! :D
May. 19th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
So glad you liked it, and I'll definitely pass the word along to her...she'll be tickled!

And I'm really looking forward to seeing you at WisCon!
May. 21st, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
I'll definitely pass the word along to her.

Thanks--I really appreciate that!

And I'm really looking forward to seeing you at WisCon!

I look forward to seeing you, too!

May. 19th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
I actually just started reading City of Bones yesterday as well, although I'm only about halfway through it at the moment. There must have been something in the air locally this weekend. ;)
May. 21st, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Must have been!
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May. 21st, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
Honestly, when it came to CoB Cla(i)re's wording was frequently what stung more than its derivative nature. The descriptions tended to be exceedingly purple or just flat-out nonsensical, she's got a terrible habit of stuffing metaphors into the blender, and a good part of the wording clunked like badfic. There are so many things wrong with the second page alone that it made my inner editor want to curl up and cry. I knew what she was trying to say, but that's frequently not what was actually said--and that loses major, major points in my book.
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(no subject) - randomsome1 - May. 21st, 2008 04:22 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: fave - tammypierce - May. 21st, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: fave - (Anonymous) - May. 22nd, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 20th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
I read City of Bones when it first came out and really enjoyed it. I wasn't too sure I'd like it at first. I'm a new convert to urban fantasy. Her second book was less twisty (?) than the first and of course now I'm looking forward to the third. enjoy it!
May. 21st, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
I'm a new convert to urban fantasy.

It affects me differently than historical fantasy. It lends an air of magical possibility to everything, which is wonderful, but when I was younger it used to drive me crazy because I'd return to RL and I couldn't actually find it for myself (and I really needed it).

Hm. New convert, you say? Have you read Holly Black's teen books--TITHE, VALIANT, IRONSIDE? There's also China Miéville's UN LUN DUN, and Charlie Fletcher's STONEHEART (set in what the author openly admits is an "unLondon"). All these are incredible books. And if you read adult books, there's Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS.
(no subject) - niamhaevalnimue - May. 22nd, 2008 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Recs - (Anonymous) - Apr. 26th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 20th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
I had about the same reaction to it as spiderweb888 did. It was a decent first published novel, but definitely with flaws. I still haven't picked up the sequel, but I'm hoping it will show some improvements. I've enjoyed Cassie from her days of doing "The Very Secret Diaries..." for Lord of the Rings (cassieclaire) and love seeing her in the publishing world.

Not sure if anyone's recommended Libba Bray to you, but she has a very awesome trilogy that's out beginning with A Great and Terrible Beauty. She quickly jumped into my list of favorites with a nice mixture of historical fiction (they're set in Victorian England) and magic. They're a lot of fun, and from what I've read in Libba's LJ it sounds like she's good buddies with Cassie!
May. 21st, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Of course I've read Libba's books! How could I not! But she started publishing long before I started journaling. I tend to journal on what I'm reading right now.
May. 20th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
I know, amazing!
May. 20th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
Book publishing
I know this is off topic, but does anybody here know if there is a young adult or teen specialty in book publishing or editing? Also how does one get a job in book publishing?
May. 21st, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Book publishing
if there is a young adult or teen specialty in book publishing or editing?

Mostly you just get work in children's publishing, by applying for work in the children's or teen division of the publishing house. The only major publisher that does kids' books is Scholastic. You could look for work with them first.

Also how does one get a job in book publishing?

First, you need a Bachelor's Degree. They like people who are good with language.

Next, your best bet, in the U.S., is to live in or near (as in commuting distance) New York City. 95% of the major publishers are based there. Boston has a few, but New York is the hub. Go to the publisher's human resources department and fill out an application, or go to a job agency that specializes in jobs in publishing, or both. I signed on with an agency that had both temp and permanent jobs in publishing, and worked as a temporary secretary for two publishers before I got a job in a literary agency. You can specify you're only interested in publishing company work.

You need good word processing skills, because when you start you'll be doing a lot of secretarial work. And then you move up, watching for openings in the department you want and learning how the business works.

THE WRITERS MARKET, a reference book that comes out every November, will give you the addresses for the publishing houses if you go to them direct. It will also tell you who publishes teen/YA.

Does that help?
Re: Book publishing - (Anonymous) - May. 22nd, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 20th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed her books very much and am glad to hear you are enjoying them as well. I didn't know about her fan fiction before reading them, and read said fan fics later and well, her writing has improved by leaps and bounds. The writing and plotting in Draco Dormiens(?) was awful. So here's a rec: don't read her fan fics. lol.

Also, have you read Holly Black's Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside yet? If not I recommend them.

Can't wait for Bloodhound!
May. 21st, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
her writing has improved by leaps and bounds.

This is true of every writer as they grow older--they also grow better. The good ones do it in large chunks, because they learn volumes from each thing they finish.

don't read her fan fics

I don't read fan fics as a rule. I don't want to risk inadvertently copying someone else's work.

Of course I read Holly, the minute she publishes everything! I adore her work!

Can't wait for Bloodhound!

Me neither!
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
Authors should start paying you for your recommendations - your review for City of Bone was the soul reason I high-tailed it to my local bookstore and gobbled the book up.

Now I just need to get City of Ashes... *Contemplates route to bookstore*
Jun. 3rd, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
I just figure that if I like a book, it's fun to say so. Enough people share the books they like with me that it's fun to do the same for them.
Jun. 4th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
i had NO idea that she had published an original novel... i used to read her fanfic! wow! i'm gonna have to check that out.
Jul. 22nd, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
Finally got around to reading this novel, and honestly, while there were some good parts, I mostly disliked it.

Well, more like I disliked Clary's characterization. It seemed pretty inconsistant at times, and while she is a teenager (like me), some of her behavior was mind-boggling. While I understand why she called Isabelle a bitch and behaved the way she did, I wish the author hadn't thrown in that line about Clary being supposedly 'shy'. She doesn't display that quality at all during the book, and it's a little annoying. A word like 'reclusive' or something might've been better.

It was pretty funny in some places, and I really loved Magnus and really wish that he had gotten a bigger part in the book: he was the best character, in my opinion, even if he did remind me a bit of my manga. I probably will read the sequel, and hope that Clary's characterization makes more sense later on.

I don't know about her fan fiction or what happened, but plagerism isn't easy to apply to any kind of fan fiction case, and it's all in the past any way. I also write fan fiction, and I hope to write novels when I really learn how to write well.

Really, as a first novel, it isn't horrible. But she has a way to go.
Jul. 25th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
Holly Black
I liked the book and really liked the fact that she added in two of Holly Blacks characters in one of the chapters. I read somewhere that Cassandra Clare and Holly Black are friends so it makes sense.
Mar. 25th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
Cassandra Clare and her forerunners
I was reading Tamora Pierce and other YA/fantasy back in the 80's and early 90's. I think as a result, I've been a bit irked to see the sudden hype over so many new authors--I'm incapable of evaluating them solely on the basis of their own work, but rather wind up comparing them to Pierce and others, and failing to find them at all interesting and innovative in comparison.

The issue with Clare's work and her "mistakes" is this: she typed in beautiful turns of phrase, witty dialogue, and creative descriptions that had been written by other creative, talented authors word-for-word. I can't reconcile my admiration for authors like Tamora Pierce, Pamela Dean, Douglas Adams, and Tanith Lee with acceptance of an author whose merit has been determined by her use of someone else's words.
( 71 comments — Leave a comment )

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