Unexpected Odes to Literature

June 10, 2014 at 11:19 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

City of Lost Souls 2Title: City of Lost Souls

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy

Length: 534 pages

For me, what makes the writings of Cassandra Clare so captivating isn’t the fairy tale romance, the paranormal elements, or the bad ass fight sequences… at the heart of it all, it’s the way Clare manages to make a young adult fantasy saga an sequence of unexpected odes to her favorite pieces of literature.

“No man chooses evil because it is evil.  He only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Love is familiar.  Love is a devil.  There is no evil angel but Love.” – William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

“I love you as one loves certain dark things.” – Pablo Neruda, “Sonnet XVII”

“All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.” – William Butler Yeats, “Easter, 1916”

Whether the story was constructed around these quotes, or the quotes City of Lost Souls 1were slipped into the story, the two halves were beautifully married together.  Just as Clare always manages to do.

If you recall my review of The Book of Secrets you should be well aware of how much I cherish this particular aspect of storytelling.  I love peeping into the mind of the author and what they’ve read before – what work we may have both cherished.  I love to see how others acknowledge how literature builds a soul.  Even if that soul is an imagined character in another book.

A reviewer on Goodreads mentioned they thought it was silly that all these Shadowhunter kids were completely oblivious of what went on in the mundane world half the time – Jace completely misses references to Madonna or Dungeons & Dragons games – but are well versed in William Shakespeare and Dante.

As a classical book geek it makes perfect sense to me.  I was raised on Charles Dickens and the Brontes, not the latest boy band or pop culture trends.  Poetry is timeless.  New Kids on the Block obviously not so much.

One doesn’t expect these odes and references in a paranormal teen romance.  I suppose that’s what makes them so stunningly lovely.

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Lost in Morton

June 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

dISTANTTitle: The Distant Hours

Author: Kate Morton

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Length: 562 pages

Kate Morton writes my favorite general fiction sub-genre.  Did you grow up reading Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and the Mysteries of Udolpho? Just before your reading level allowed the immersion into those worlds were you held captive by The Secret Garden, gothic ghost stories, and possibly some Anne Shirley who was a hopeless book-nerd and romantic?  Kate Morton writes these tales, all grown up and contemporary.  And they put me out of commission from line one until completion.

I have loved every story I’ve read by Morton. They are each one incredible and amazing, riveting and beautiful.

The Distant Hours was no different.

Except I figured it out far too soon.

I spread a lot of work out by authors to keep this from happening.  I have a rule about Morton, that I must give at least a 12 month break between books (which works out well because she takes just the right amount of time to write them and makes this not only possible but necessary).  This rule also keeps my husband sane, as I get completely lost in Morton and am completely gone from this world until her stories have ended; and even when they end, I have a nostalgic resignation that is hard to kick.

Morton’s layers are deep and onion-like, piece after piece of the puzzle is laid out for you over the course of the book.  Always leading up to the moment when you are presented with the facts of the matter, revealed to you with a shudder of lovely understanding of everything all at once.

But I figured out The Distant Hours too soon, I think around the the two hundred page mark or so rather than the typical five hundred mark.  Of course, I still had to read every word after my realization to be sure I was correct.  I half expected her to shake me up a bit, and she tried! But in the end, I was right!

I still LOVED this book.  It is highly recommended to any gothic loving book fiend, or even World War II reader… if you love castles, are a British bibliophile, or just plain love a good story about people.  I recommend ALL Kate Morton books.  If I could write half as well, I’d consider myself a success!

I just also had to note that this being the third book I’ve read by her, I felt like I figured her out.  Still, looking forward to The Secret Keeper.

Kate Morton Blog Pic

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