Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – Book Review

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Lady Midnight is a young adult urban fantasy novel by Cassandra Clare. The book follows the events that occur in the Los Angeles area in 2012, focusing on the residents of the Los Angeles Institute. ~ Wikipedia

Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal fiction

Review: The title is apt as it points to the central mystery that is unfolded throughout the book.

Cassandra Clare’s writing style is engrossing and seamless but her plot suffers from repetition of patterns that the reader has already witnessed in The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. The ideas of being ‘cursed’ and ‘forbidden love’ are used again and again till they become wearisome and bring down the level of the book. Most of the motivations and fears she’d used in her previous series appear again and create patterns that make the story lag. As The Odyssey writes, “Clare writes heroines as strong as they are stubborn, and boys as tortured as they are handsome.” I rated this book 3.5/5 stars.

While the story arc has always been a problem for Clare, her character building is stunning yet again, she makes the reader care for and fall in love with the characters. The side characters have their own quirks, issues and personalities which stand out distinctly. This book has autism and body image issues (possibly BDD) representation.

Julian and his parent’s love for art makes this book more humane and endearing.

“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.” 

As with the Infernal Devices, family bonds are shown in a raw and unflinching manner while true friendship is also portrayed beautifully. The loyalty that Shadowhunters show to their own is heart-warming and heartbreaking in equal parts.

“You belong where you’re loved.” 

Clare does not shy away from showing the true dysfunctional, chaotic side to families or the bittersweet relationship of siblings. The way responsibility and confinement of a family are shown makes this book cherished and true to life.

“When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins. Their touch stays on your skin and their voice stays in your ears and their thoughts stay in your mind. You know their dreams because their nightmares pierce your heart and their good dreams are your dreams too. And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows of all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them.”

Themes:

  • Urban Fantasy
  • Paranormal
  • Family & Friendship
  • Forbidden love
  • Action & Adventure

Get it on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2xFi7Ti

Happy reading and have a wonderful day

~ Saadia

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri – Book review, Plot Summary, Themes and Rating

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Heidi is a children’s book written by the Swiss author Johanna Spyri. It was initially published in 2 parts and written in German. It is one the best-selling books ever written about the childhood years of a girl living with her grandfather in the Alps.

Plot Summary: The book opens with Heidi being taken to the Alps to live with her grandfather by her aunt Dete. Dete has cared for Heidi since she was a baby as both of her parents had died under grievous circumstances but now she had a job offer and could no longer take care of her. The villagers are unsettled by this decision as Uncle Alp, Heidi’s grandfather, is known to be resentful and solitary and had renounced religion. However, after some initial reluctance, they form a close bond. Heidi loves living in the mountains and holds the beauty of nature and its vibrant colors close to her heart. She befriends Peter and his grandmother and brings joy to everyone she interacts with by her simple and unaffected behavior.

Aunt Dete appears after having left Heidi for a good while. She comes with the news of having found a job in Frankfurt for Heidi as a companion to a physically-challenged girl, Clara. Dete claims that this experience would be valuable to Heidi as Grandfather hadn’t  sent her to school or church. Heidi’s departure leaves Grandfather and Peter’s grandmother in dismay. In Frankfurt, Heidi learns to love Clara and Clara’s grandmother, who teaches her about the importance of prayer and submission to God. On the other hand, the forbidding Miss Rottenmeier makes Heidi unhappy. She starts missing the mountains quickly and grows more miserable by the day. Phantom occurrences are revealed to be Heidi in a state of sleepwalking because of her homesickness. A kind doctor advises that Heidi must return to the mountains to restore her health.

She returns to the ever-sprightly mountains and its people and brings more light into their lives while gaining happiness herself. Due to Heidi’s words and encouragement, Grandfather returns to religion and they go to Church together. He also renounces his solitary ways and makes peace with the people of the village.

Clara visits the Alps later and is nursed back to color with the help of Grandfather’s hospitality, the nutritious homemade food and the mountain air. She starts getting healthier and stronger by the day. Peter, being envious of her monopolizing Heidi’s time,  causes her wheelchair to break. Surprisingly though, with help from Heidi and Peter, Clara begins to walk. Clara’s father promises Grandfather that he will take care of Heidi when the old man dies.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: Heidi is written in a freely flowing, imaginative and well-paced style. The author has successfully portrayed a child’s character as unaffected and simple, yet kind and empathetic. The character building is effective and true to real life. Even though it is a children’s fiction, it can easily and competently be read by people of all ages with immense enjoyment. It stays snug within its genre yet manages to push the boundaries and become something more. This is the reason why it has become the symbol of Swiss folklore around the world and stayed alive for 138+ years. The language is lucid and immersive. The author intermixes humor and important, valuable lessons throughout the second half of the book.

Heidi’s character is relatable to anyone who has experienced homesickness/ lived away from home. Reading about her thought process and unending sympathy is refreshing and rejuvenating.  This book would be perfect for anyone, at anytime. It is incredibly relaxing and great for a weekday afternoon.

Scholastic edition: https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/9352755758/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=3638&creative=24630&creativeASIN=9352755758&linkCode=as2&tag=saadia-21&linkId=005328c94c32bd531287aa64c22441ec

 

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Themes: 

  1. The healing power of nature.
  2. Family and relationships.
  3. Empathy
  4. Religion (Christianity)

“I’ll always say my prayers… and if God doesn’t answer them at once I shall know it’s because He’s planning something better for me.”

“The happiest of all things is when an old friend comes and greets us as in former times; the heart is comforted with the assurance that some day everything that we have loved will be given back”

”It’s the sun’s way of saying goodnight to the mountains” he explained. ”He spreads that beautiful light over them so that they won’t forget him till he comes back in the morning.”

~ Saadia

A Torch In The Night

IMG_20171231_132642_625.jpgShe looks at fireworks
And the child in her resurfaces
I watch her, my stomach twisting
And despair creeping up my throat
She’s silhouetted against the night
And the skyline of this city
She’s beautiful
And I am afraid
For her, for what comes next.
She’s the torch in the night
And I run my way back
Skipping a step at the stairs
To the dark that feels familiar.
She’s alive
And I envy her
She’s brimming with delight
And I feel like my insides
Are burning and curling
I run my way back
So that I don’t run into decay.

~Saadia

This Story

tumblr_oovcdyaCVb1v2b1lto1_400.jpgFlipping through the leaves

Of all the times I’d still been here,

And thinking of what went wrong,

but my mind is as blank

As the sky after snow,

Intersected by the dead, cold branches.

And the book snapped shut

I blinked at all it truly was,

And saw that after all,

The story ends with us.

– Saadia

Inspired by All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. ❤

Aura | Part 2 of Dusk and Darkness

Read the first part of this story here :Dusk and Darkness

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Xavier had shot his first arrow at 5 years of age and today, after 13 years his iron tipped arrow didn’t fail him. In a clean swish, it buried itself into Digon’s chest and he disappeared in a swirl of black fragments , a sign of wreckage.

Xavier looked paler than usual, his coal black eyes rimmed with scarlet , the red of sleepless nights, strain and sometimes, of nightmares.

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“He wasn’t the last one. They won’t stop till their dimension finally spreads into ours. The Dark is coming and that too, faster than I expected it to” said Xavier rubbing his eyes.  I swatted his hand away, one of the many times I had to remind him not to rub them raw.

A bell rang somewhere in my mind and I thought of Frank, the head of the Department of  Investigation and Assistance.

“Has Frank found any clue of the movement of the Ethereal?”

The Ethereal were a tribe of half-Assassins born from supernova , who appeared to only those in need of heavenly assistance . While Assassins controlled the spread of the dimension of Dusk, the Ethereal helped them here and there. By here and there I mean once in maybe a decade.

“The Ethereal aren’t showing themselves at the moment. They tend not to mix with Dusk slaves, it pollutes them, just like it sucks out the human parts of our being, slowly but surely. Frank needs to think of a different line of attack,” claimed  Xavier.

The Ethereal were meant to help us and they were hiding their faces like we were not a bunch of Assassins in need of life saving but a handful of kale needing a massage. That too quite literally.

“ Over 35 Assassins need his help as of now and he can’t help himself or in this  case, any of us.”

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This was the thing about Xavier; he tackled problems like one might deal with mathematics, analytically and unemotionally, like any of it didn’t have a power to affect him. But I wasn’t him, this scenario daunted me in the least but I silenced my fears. Xavier hardly associated with people who suffered from scareius infectius and I didn’t want to be one of them.

…………………………………………

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Xavier sat, polishing his arrows while I searched the Dursen manor. It was a neatly kept house with no hint of suspicions but then again, reality is almost always wrong. I looked through the drawers, the kitchen cabinets, under the chimney , behind the fireplace but found nothing that would suggest alignment with the Dusk Queen. Perhaps , the deal was made shortly before we’d arrived. The only thing I did manage to do was to get a considerable amount of soot on my clothes and some on my face. Good going.

I stepped outside and a muscle in Xavier’s face quirked .

‘What’s so funny?’

“You can’t seem to undertake a task without severe repercussions.”

“Haha. Very amusing.”

I began to rub at my face, trying to preserve a bit of dignity in front of Xavier. He never looked disheveled and scars only gave him substance.

“Let me do it,” he said, standing up and plunging something into the fountain water. It was a crimson bandanna . He began to dab the grime on my forehead , my jaw and my chin. I tensed . Xavier never did these kind of things , he liked to be free from care but who knew how many days we were going to have . It could be a month or maybe a few weeks.

 

He leaned in suddenly and a breath hitched in my throat . But he pulled away just as suddenly, seemingly regaining poise. I shrugged off the hesitation, remembering that  Xavier had always been the withdrawing kind, distancing himself from all things ‘attachment.’

“Let’s run down to Poppy’s,” he was saying now .

I said something like “Uh-huh”.

God.

to be continued…

~ Saadia

P.s. My blog has been unresponsive for weeks now- some technical problem, but I think that I’m finally figuring it out . Please don’t lose faith in me just as yet. Hope you enjoyed this 🙂 ❤

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