City of Bones and Beyond the Black Door

Hi, welcome to my blog. This is a review post of the two novels I read this week: City of Bones and Beyond the Black Door. City of Bones is the 1st book from a 6 book series named The Mortal Instruments series and Beyond the Black Door is a standalone YA Dark Fantasy.

I loved Beyond the Black Door and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, actually 4.5. I’ll explain the reasoning behind that below in this post. I have mixed feelings about the City of Bones and gave it a 3.5 rating. So let’s begin with my least favorite book from this week’s reading.

City of Bones

Genre – YA Fantasy
Author – Cassandra Clare
Series Name – The Mortal Instruments (6 books)
Book number in the series – Book One
Goodreads rating – 4.11
Rrkreads rating – 3.5

This is a story of a teenage girl named Clarissa Fray who one day witnesses a strange murder committed by three teenagers. A murder that leads her to stumble upon an unbelievable world. A world of Monsters, Demons, Vampires, and Shadowhunters: the ones who protect humans or mundanes in this case, from the creatures of the dark world.

This book starts well, in fact till about 3/4th of the book it’s unputdownable. It’s super-fast, interesting and well written. I couldn’t care much for the characters though, I disliked Clary or Jace as the main characters. Luke was likable but the rest of the characters were unremarkable. This is a proper YA fantasy which is to say I probably would have liked it better in my teenage years than now. This book distinctly reminded me of my age and how I am not the target audience of this book. So if I am not raving about this book it’s partly because of that.

This book has a lot of themes similar to Harry potter. Saved by mother/her love. Close relative/friend a werewolf. An institute/learning center. A muggle in the Harry Potter world is a mundane here. Somebody even turns into a mouse just as in Harry Potter! But the similarities end right there.

While Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone (Btw Harry potter is Middle grade it’s not even YA) is intriguing enough to warrant a read multiple times, this might not even entice me to read it a second time. The supposed twist near the end is what killed this book for me. I detested the twist and I was surprised by the ending, not in a good way but in a way where I was turning the pages to see if they are torn out/are missing. The ending felt incomplete and was dissatisfying. I agree this is a part of a series, but even in a series, every book has a logical ending. A story is completed with some cliffhanger/s left for the readers to continue from in the next book. But this book’s ending was anti-climactic and very disappointing so much so that I am not sure if I’ll continue with the next book in the series.

Two conflicting opinions are playing into my decision of continuing with this series. One, this book felt quite juvenile to me, even by YA standards. Second, I have heard and continue hearing good things about this series in Social media. So, I have decided to put this series on the backburner for now. I am planning to read quite a few series in 2020. (Expect a post on it soon!) hence I currently don’t have the bandwidth for this series but it still will be on my TBR list owing to its popularity and cult status.

Rrkreads verdict: So-So, give it a try if you are a Cassandra Clare fan or are a YA reader.

Beyond the Black Door

Genre – YA Fantasy
Author – A.M. Strickland
Goodreads rating – 3.68
Rrkreads rating – 4.5

Oh Boy! this was an amazing story. It kept me on tenterhooks the entire time. I loved this book and it was so much fun reading it.
This is a story of a girl named Kamai who shares the talent of soul walking (i.e. she can glimpse into souls and learn their secrets when they are asleep) with her mother. The action begins, when during one of her soul walking stints, she opens a dark door that she was expressly forbidden from doing and unleashes something that she is ignorant of.

This story is fascinating, the writing style is crisp and clear. The world is awesome, filled with loads of mythical elements. It has asexual and trans representations and that’s done in an unapologetic, excellent way. I loved the characters. Kamai was cool and Oh! Vehyn, he’s definitely one of my favorite MCs this year, God! I loved him and the way his character’s been fleshed out. Razim and Nikha are formidable but sadly underused characters, not the author’s fault, the nature of the story might have been such that they couldn’t have been in, as much limelight, as they deserve. I wouldn’t mind a spin-off novel with Razim, Nikha and other cool characters from this novel though.

I couldn’t find any fault in the plot, characters or treatment. The only thing that irked me a little was the way Jidras was treated. I hated the way every fault under the sun was dropped at his feet and how everybody else’s faults, nay, even crimes were forgiven but his one fault’s so big that he’s demonized the entire novel. I didn’t like the double standards in judgment. I feel he deserved better treatment. If he was at fault, even Kamai’s mom was at fault. She too deliberately kept Kamai away for so many years and finally dumped her at his feet when convenient without so much as a courtesy letter. How come Kamai’s mom’s actions can be explained away with the excuse of love and not her father’s? The worst thing was that even in the end Kamai sits on the virtue-signaling high horse claiming she forgives her father and nobody bothers to correct her! This one peeve made me cut half a star from the rating, but if this doesn’t bother you as much, then, this book is a definite 5 star read. Also, who else felt the book cover could have been much better? Let me know in the comments section if you have any thoughts on this book or the City of bones.

Rrkreads verdict: Pick. Pick it up now, you won’t regret it.

So these were my two reads for this week. I am planning to take time out this weekend and next week. A vacation is long overdue so I may not get any reading done even if I would like to, but I’ll keep my eyes out for interesting books as usual. I am planning some book series related posts soon so do keep an eye out for them. Till then, stay blessed and happy. Om Shanti.

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