Review Post: TMI 6 – City of Heavenly Fire

The Mortal Instruments : City of Heavenly Fire
Title : City of Heavenly Fire  (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
Author : Cassandra Clare
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry
Pages : 725 Pages
Year of Publication : 2014
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Bought from : Periplus, Plaza Senayan, Indonesia
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

***

Finally, after waiting for like ages, I get to read the very last installment of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, City of Heavenly Fire. I was kinda annoyed with the fact that I could not have it at the very time the book released in Indonesia due to some issues of my life, like joining a 10-day experiential learning program from office, having some face treatment after struggling so much there, and finally after having time to go to Gramedia, I didn’t find this book there. It was not until I went to Periplus in Plaza Senayan that I grabbed this book and brought it onto cashier very soon. Lol

I really had a huge expectation for this book. I think Clare has done a very good job with the previous books of this series and I really hoped she would end it graciously and happily! Well, the later part was not absolute for me, as long as Clare made it reasonable not to end it happily. At least, the characters’ quality got more developed, especially my favorite ones, Jace, Clary, Simon, and Isabelle. >.<

And, if you asked me whether I got what I want, I would say YES! YES! THE END WAS AS GRACIOUS AND HAPPY AS I EXPECTED! See? And it’s written all-capital! With an exclamation mark! Can you imagine how fulfilled I am?????

So, wanna know a glance about the story and more details of what I meant with the ‘SO GRACIOUS AND HAPPY’? Better scroll down and read my entire review!! =)

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On the day Emma Carstairs’ parents were killed, the weather was perfect.

The story has some new characters and it all began with them; Blackthorne’s family from Los Angeles Institute was attacked by Sebastian Morgenstern (Clary’s big brother) and his dark soldiers, the Endarkened (the Shadowhunters who were turned with the Infernal Cup). Sebastian successfully turned the Head of Los Angeles Institute, Andrew Blackthorne, and his daughter, Katerina Blackthorne, to be the Endarkened. Sebastian caught one of his sons, Mark Blackthorne, the twin of Helen Blackthorne (Alice Penhallow’s girlfriend in City of Glass) and half-fairy, half-Shadowhunter to be handed to Seelie Queen. As a matter of fact, there were some kids left in that institute, Julian Blackthorne, the twinnie Tiberius and Livvy Blackthorne, little Dru Blackthorne and the infant Tavvy Blackthorne, and Emma Carstairs, Julian’s best friend. Sebastian knew this but was not interested because they were still too young to be turned; instead, he planned to kill them all. But Julian and Emma called for help to Idris and got out of Los Angeles Institute with a Portal sent from Idris while running from the death.

“…but goodness is not kindness, and there is nothing crueler than virtue.”

 Meanwhile, Jace and Clary still figured out ways to control the heavenly fire, caused by Glorious (Raziel’s sword), inside Jace’s body. Jace who had gotten much closer with Jordan and Simon followed Jordan’s meditation method to keep himself calm, thus leading the fire calmer. But it still didn’t show any result he wanted. He still could not feel too emotional or rage in order not to burn anything. Yes, the fire could really appear and burn what he touched so passionately. That is why Jace and Clary could not kiss too deeply. This is serious, fellas! This is the reason why there was not much intimate scene of them in this installment. =((

The other problem was Sebastian; as long as he was still around, Jace and Clary could never find their mind peaceful, let alone Clary who still couldn’t erase what her brother did to her and his obsession toward her.

Problems happening here is not only Jace’s and Clary’s. Simon struggled with his vampire’s life and now had to face a DTR—define the relationship—with Isabelle; in short, their relationship was left hung with no commitment, mainly because Isabelle didn’t seem to bother. Alec still tried to contact Magnus to apologize without harvesting anything and Maia’s attitude towards Jordan appeared too strange to ignore. But then all of them should distract their mind for awhile when news of Sebastian’s attack on every Shadowhunters’ institute around the world finally reached their very ears.

“No other family does so much for love, or feels so much guilt for it. Don’t carry the weight of the world on you, Jace. It’s too heavey for even a Herondale to bear.”

Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, Jocelyn, and Luke went to Idris to attend Shadowhunters’ meeting to talk about Sebastian. Simon was left with Jordan and Maia because he was an ordinary vampire who did not have any powerful position in The Accord. Moreover, everybody thought he was safer in Brooklyn, especially with Jordan and Maia staying beside him almost 24 hours. Before leaving, Isabelle gave Simon her pendant which could sense a dark or demon’s energy that could help Simon anticipate them. But everything was not going as expected with Simon…

In Idris, there was a meeting held to talk about the attacks. The only institute left so far with people alive was Los Angeles Institute; the kids did arrive in Idris with Portal, as I told you. And they were asked to speak in front of everyone at the moment, giving their truthful witness about the situation while holding the Mortal Sword. Julian Blackthorne, as the oldest, was obliged to do that. Some of you might have known, but some might not, that holding a Mortal Sword is so suffering and Clary had proven it. Then, Julian, a 12-year-old boy, should do that and that is so unbearable, for Emma as his best friend and for Clary who had ever been there.

“All love is precious. It is why we do what we do. Why do we fight demons? Why are they not fit custodians of this world? What makes us better? It is because they do not build, but destroy. They do not love, but hate only.”

“Have you ever felt that you heart contained so much that it must surely break apart?”

“Weapons, when they break and are mended, can be stronger at the mended places. Perhaps hearts are the same.”

So the meeting was held but interrupted in the middle because of Emma who couldn’t bear to see her best friend suffer. In short, after knowing the situation, the meeting decided that they should send some of their Shadowhunters to get the Endarkened; not to destroy them, but to bring them back to Idris and to find a cure to make them as who they were. Jace, Clary, and others who had ever fought them at the Burren knew that was impossible to do. The Endarkened was not only like being possessed by devils; worse than that, they became the devils themselves, with their human bodies. Well, I don’t know how to explain this really well but the conclusion was they could never be back to who they were before. And the Clave would only risk so many Shadowhunters only for something unworthy. Jace told his father, who was also an Inquisitor about this but he didn’t seem to buy it. His father thought Jace only feared Sebastian. At the end, the Clave sent the SHadowhunters to battle the ENdarkened and get them back, with Jace and Clary insinuating between them all.

Without Clary or Isabelle’s knowledge, Simon was attacked by the Endarkened and fortunately he could have detected their presence with the pendant Isabelle gave him so he could anticipate them, along with Jordan and Maia. Simon was asked to flee while Jordan and Maia fought them but when he’s just getting out of their apartment, he was caught by some vampires by order of Maureen, the kid who was a vampire and the clan leader of LA vampire (she had killed Camille) and liked Simon really much. She caged Simon and put on him weird clothes. Simon was almost frustrated at that time, until finally a help came from someone whom he didn’t expect at all.

“You know me. I only have two reactions to bad news. Uncontrollable rage and then a sharp left turn into boiling self-hatred.”

“You’re brave and brilliant, and you’re perfect and I love you. I just love you and I always have. And the actions of some lunatic aren’t going to change that.”

After finishing the Endarkened, Jordan and Maia looked for Simon but couldn’t find him anywhere, near or far. Jordan was frustrated and quite blaming himself, but Maia couldn’t focus herself full on the matter of Simon; she was confused of whether it’s good or not to tell Jordan the thing she hid recently, that she needed to speak up as soon as things got far. But Maia did not think that was the correct time and tried to search for Simon, until suddenly a telephone came from Praetor Lupus, mentioning something about Simon. Jordan was nearly relieved but still finding it hard to fully calm, then he decided to go to Praetor Lupus to find out more and asked Maia to join him, and she approved. They went there but unfortunately, the Praetor Lupus they last saw some times ago was not the same with the One in front of them at the moment. And without their knowledge, something awful was about to catch them and Maia never found any chance to tell Jordan what’s happening with her…

So that’s it about the story. What do you think? Interested enough after reading in a glance? =)

Well, I want to share you more things that will, probably, make you interested with this book and push you to read this…

“It’s good to have people worry about you. It means they care. It’s how you know they’re good friends.”

“I wish I had a parabatai. It’s like someone who’s your family, but because they want to be, not because they have to be.”

First, the writing style; really, Clare really knows how to present her ideas, characters, plot really well! There is something with her style that always makes me couldn’t put the book down for a while and only spent my days on reading page per page (but often interrupted for other priority). She could make me feel like I was in every where the characters are. She really could describe the setting really well, really detailed, and I could picture them well too because of her description. Not to mention the way she joked in the book through every characters, how she could picture Jace, arrkkkhhh!! I love you, Clare! =)

Then, there is the characterization. I can choose my favorite characters but I can never choose my least favorite characters, because even Sebastian actually was… arkh, I will shut my mouth! Lol. I really like the characters there, perhaps because I have some of theirs and that made me easily connected with them. I really love Jace and Simon! Jace with his angelic physics, pride, yet soft heartened and often threw sarcastic jokes which made me craaazzzyyyy and Simon with his unexpected ideas and unexpected words and jokes and how actually he and Jace had cared for each other… Arkkkh the fan girl in me was awakeeeeen. They are my heroes! Lol

Clary herself was amazing! I have really sympathized with her since the beginning of this series. She was really tough and caring for the ones she loves, her mom, Jace, Luke, Simon, everyone around her and tried to protect them. I love how she could be calm and looking for solution to make the situations better. I love how she loves her mom! Lol. She was brave and authentic, confident being who she is.

Isabelle, she was so enchanting! She was bold, strong, beautiful, a speak-up person, yet quite reserved when it comes to telling she loves someone, including Simon. She really loves her family, even though she often throws harsh words towards or about her own parents. She ever made a mistake with Max and ended up regretting the action for almost her whole life, and I think that is make her like really human to me. She was not perfect but still she was really nice and I feel like wanting to be her best friend.

And I spent more than 2 paragraphs for telling you about my favorite characters lol.

By the way, I also put some interest in Emma Carstairs. She was such a cool teen girl, so brave to protect her loved ones, so caring about Julian and his brothers, even though she was quite clumsy in terms of love (and I think it’s appropriate for girls her age).

The last is the story. Some parts of the ending were like what I expected. I don’t think I need to tell you the details, perhaps an overview. The love story is like so happily ended, with a little spicy crunchy twist, and yeah, I like it. The twist is what made the ending unusual for me. I didn’t feel like Clare just put the characters together just to make us, readers, happy. I believe that it was the best for the situation happening, remembering what type of persons the main characters are. Remembering what is actually inside their mind and heart. You may say I just bluff, act like I know what’s on the characters’ mind, what’s on Clare’s mind while she was writing this, but it’s all up to you.

The way Clare put some new characters in this series is approvable. She gave them appropriate roles that showed why these characters are important for the plot, really contributing to the development of the story, not only just an eye-service to give a variation in the story’s moods.

Other thing I love from a whole series is the message about parent-son/daughter relationship. We can see here how a crazy ambition could lead a father, into madness that he made a pact with devil, gave his own son to the darkness even before he was born, how, as a man, Valentine also has made other family and his own broken into pieces. At the end, he got nothing but doomed.

How a mother, to protect her own daughter from their dark past, had to run and run along with her daughter without telling her the truth and carried the sorrow inside her own head.

How a boy could turn into evil because his father had made him be to fulfill what his father called ‘destiny’. A boy, so innocent he should be, turned to the most vicious and heartless man in the world. He was taught love as it is to destroy, hence never he knew what love actually is, how to love someone, and it is just so sad.

I feel so sorry that I hope if I could be given a chance to be a mother, parents, never would I hurt my kids like that. And I thank God that I have the most perfect family I could ever get in this world. =)

Then almost last, and of course not the least : There are two most touching scenes that, I figure, have a deep message about love; First one is when Clary finally told Jace she was raging inside towards Sebastian not only because what’s happening but also for he almost raped her. Jace was so angry and feeling like cutting Sebastian into pieces, how he wanted to be ‘not useless’ for Clary in this situation, and how Clary thought what he said was enough for her. Then when Clary asked him whether he would think of her any different, Jace, without a doubt, answered no. I think it was romantic, how someone sees you so invaluable that even though there is something potentially ‘decreasing’ some parts of you, causing a flaw in you, the man does not care about it and has a willing to go on with you.

The second one is when Jace told Clary how she had changed himself so much, that the cold and perfectionist Jace who always tries to be perfect to be loved (Valentine’s dogma lol), could finally become the quite light-headed Jace that believes there should be forgiveness in love for the flaws in the process of reaching the perfection because Clary showed him so. Yeah, something like that. I am quite like Jace in term of this thing, like I always want to look ‘everything is okay’ with me, that ‘I’m good’ so that everyone will not feel that I am bothering, thus they will feel comfortable near me or even love me hanging around and with them. I never let myself make mistake but if I do, I will blame myself so highly and feel so much guilty. And reading this scene just encourages me to look for an appropriate people that could help me know the world.

By the way, there is also a surprise for you who might have little interest in Brother Zachariah, one of Silence Brother. There is also a character from The Infernal Devices (a prequel of The Mortal Instruments) appearing in this last installment and it kinda pushed me to read that series too. Perhaps I should give it a try. I really like the world created in this novel.

To be more complete, I like Clare’s. I thank her to write this story and inspire me=)

PS : There will be a next ShadowHunters’ adventure!!! Be ready for next year!
I bet Emma Carstairs will become the favorite new character. =)
Rating : 5/5
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Review Post : Heist Society

Heist Society

Heist Society

 Title : Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)

 Author : Ally Carter
 Publisher : Disney-Hyperion
 Pages :  287 Pages
 Year of Publication : 2010 
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Cozy mystery, adventure, Young-Adult, suspense
 Bought from :- (e-book was downloaded in a website)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

***

Not many YA authors offer cozy mystery theme, as far as I’m concerned, particularly with a young girl as the lead character. Ally Carter, with her Heist Society series, has colored YA world with the theme and has given a new perspective that digging the teenage world through YA novels is not only from love, or triangle love. Well, actually this is not the first time for Carter. Her previous works in Gallagher Girls series which offered the same theme has gained much attention and also critical success.Okay, now let’s go dig this first part of Heist Society series : Heist Society!

This story stars Katarina Bishop, or Kat, a 16-year-old girl who was struggling to change her life. She had been a thief since she was only a kiddo, because she was coming from a thief-family. Her father, her late mother, her great uncle, her cousin, almost all her surroundings were thieves. But she really wanted to live like a normal girl, that’s why she chose to go to high school; and for reaching that goal, she broke some data in a junior high school so that she could fake her own data to be submitted to her targeted high school, Colgan. She pretended to be a young European immigrant.

But it turned out that her staying there didn’t take so long as her wish. There were some problems involving the head master’s car and school’s property, those two things were crashed together that they could not be identified what they were before becoming so broken. According to the record in CCTV, the culprit was a girl, and to be more particular, a girl with the same specifications as Kat. Kat’s being suspected and accused, and because she couldn’t prove her innocence, she had to step out of that dream school.

“If Kat had stayed at Colgan long enough, a teacher might have eventually told her what her family had been saying for generations : It’s okay to break the rules, but only sometimes, and only if you know them very, very well.”

And in the middle of nowhere, a rich yet naughty boy who happened to be her best friend, W.W. Hale the fifth a.k.a Hale picked her up and admitted he was the one who did that on purpose, to dismiss Kat from school. At first, Kat was angry, but not too much I figured because she just let things go so easily. She was still disappointed that she could not go to school, and confused of how to deal with her rest of family because she had made them so shocked she’s going to school and leaving family (theft) business, and now, she was going back. But yeah, she didn’t blame Hale so much, because Hale finally told her why.

Her father was in danger. He was accused of stealing five famous paintings from an Italian millionaire man, named Arturo Taccone. Her father was not the one doing that; he had been stealing another things in Paris at the time the paintings were stolen. But Taccone did not buy his story and haunted him. Kat then tried her best to save her father. She went to Paris to meet his father to ask for his explanation, but her coming quite confused her father because he expected Kat to study in Colgan. Kat didn’t feel ready to tell her dismissal and said that she was permitted with an excuse of being sick. Her father told her his alibi in Paris, which was supported by the Paris Interpol who had been following him ever since, even right then when they met up.

“The girls looked at him. When he spoke again, his voice was soft. “Arturo Taccone is in the business of evil.””

After explaining all things, Kat and her father went in different ways. But Kat ended up meeting with Taccone and she was threatened. Taccone said he still believed Kat’s father was the thief and he wanted his paintings back within 2 weeks, unless Kat wanted to see his father and people she most cared about suffer. No better options left, Kat chose to find the paintings even though she didn’t know anything. After some ‘researches’, he finally found out who the culprit was; a guy with an alias, a sacred alias that no random thieves will use it randomly due to its historical name value; Visily Romane.

And here started Kat’s adventure in saving her father. She was helped by Hale, her best friend as well as her crush (I bet she had a crush on him!!), her sexy cousin, Gabrielle, the funny Bagshaw brothers, and the clumsy yet genius Simon. Well, I will not continue the summary. It will contain spoiler! =p

“Running a crew means delegating, knowing when to sit out and let others take the lead. Understanding what your best resources are and exactly how to use them.”

This is a funny, entertaining, and also giving you lessons. I am not confused with any descriptions there, I think Carter composited the novel proportionally; the setting descriptions, the way she introduced each characters there, the surprising part in the end, they are well arranged. If it’s not because I had to do some things else—and also be distracted by many things else—I would have kept reading the books until it finished. It was such a page turner!

Not to mention that Katarina’s character is one of a kind, at least for a 16-year-old girl. She was kinda boyish but independent, caring her father so much, even still loving and reminiscing memories of her mother. She was not defined by her relationship with boys; I am sure she loved Hale more than as her best friend or partner in crime, but she didn’t let her feeling swap her focus and keep being professional in the field—by ‘field’ I mean when they did a robbery. But she was too innocent, no, I think too ignorant about her feeling towards Hale. And for me, her characters are what I wish I had in my 16-year-old era hhi.

“The people she most cared about were depicted there in black-and-white and the message was clear : Arturo Taccon knew how to find the people and things that were important to her, and if Kat didn’t do the same, he wouldn’t be the only one to lose something she loved.”

“For the first time in Katarina Bishop’s life, she truly understood that a picture is worth a thousand words.”

And for Hale, maan, I really love this teenage boy! He’s cute , and based on Kat’s perception, I mean Carter’s description of Hale’s appearance through Kat’s, Hale is a handsome boy. And though he was rich, he was kinda lonely. That is why he had fun with Kat’s family, even joined their business kekeke. And I thought his first encounter with Kat was lovely; he caught Kat in the scene when she was about to steal his Monex’s painting lol. His calmness, cheerfulness, and brilliancy in solving problems are so lovable!!! He also cared for Kat so much. Though I was quite pissed in the beginning because he made Kat out from Colgan, then I found myself like this character. Hhi.

A little spoiler, at the end, Hale did something to help Kat gain back her place in Colgan. =)

“Hale looked at Gabrielle and gestured at Kat. “She’s adorable when she’s jealous.” Kat kicked his shin. “Hey! It had to be done, remember? And contrary to popular belief, I don’t know that many girls.” They both stared at him. “Okay, I don’t know that many girls who have your special skills.” Gabrielle batted her eyelashes. “Oh, you do know how to make a girl feel special.” But Kat… Kat felt like a fool.”

And for Taccone, he was horrible, I think. He liked Kat’s wit but enjoyed seeing her struggle to help her father. He was protected by two guards and I bet he couldn’t do anything unless his guards stood beside him all the time. He was a bad millionaire, enjoyed collecting paintings in a bad manner, and enjoyed games in which someone had to suffer. At the end, he ended up so bad. He deserved it hihi.

I had fun seeing other characters too. I was not fond of Gabrielle at first, but gradually I began to like her. Perhaps because she appeared to be so feminine and sexy and often teasing Kat by being close to Hale. Simon’s soooo cute!!! He was a cute nerd and I wanted to pinch him! Hihi. Two Bagshaw brothers are lovely, too. I really enjoyed reading this story!

“She didn’t protest as Hale slid his arm around her and pulled her to rest against his chest. It was somehow softer there than she remembered.”

I think Indonesian authors who focus on writing teenage literatures can try this genre. It’s so rare here in Indonesia to find teenage books with theme like Heist Society. Not that I support swindling or robbery by teenager, but the values inside this story, reflected by each characters’ decision and act are important for teenagers’ growth, in my opinion.

Still, don’t do robbery, kids! Lol.

I recommend this book for you who want to enjoy the light reading but still contain important messages. Like I said, Heist Society is entertaining and sending good messages for young teenage girl (particularly). 

PS : But I happened to regret that in my teenage year, I didn’t read many YA-cozy mystery stories like this. Ever since I was in junior high school, I have been reading detective, crime, and mystery novels. At that time, I still didn’t know much about YA novels and I thought there were only stories about teenage love. But I was mistaken!! Well, I enjoy reading romance but teenage love is too fishy, I reckon. T.T

=)

Rating : 4/5

Review Post : There Comes A Prophet

 

There Comes A Prophet

There Comes A Prophet

There Comes A Prophet

 Title : There Comes A Prophet

 Author : David Litwack
 Publisher : Double Dragon Publishing
 Pages :  282 Pages (Paperback)
 Year of Publication :July 9th,  2012 
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Young-Adult, Dystopian, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
 Bought from : I got the e-book version for free as an exchange for my review =)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :

A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

A restless dreamer, Nathaniel has always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for something more but unwilling to challenge the unbending status quo. When his friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds young men and women eternally to the Light—Nathaniel can barely recognize the broken and brooding young man the boy has become. And when the beautiful Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel knows he must somehow save her. But in the prisons of Temple City he discovers a terrible secret that launches the three of them on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in dire jeopardy. For a truth awaits them there that threatens the foundation of the Temple. But if they reveal that truth the words of the book of light might come to pass:

“If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

***

“May the light bless our shelter…Not the light the Temple claims to own, but the true light that burns in our hearts.” p.30

Nathaniel, a coming-of-age boy who lives in a Little Pond, one of cities under Temple City’s authority, always hopes to be a part of something big.  He is always curious of the world outside Little Pond, outside Temple City. Though his surrounding people often asks him to stop thinking about that, he cannot stop his mind from dreaming. It is forbidden to leave that city without Temple City’s Leader, Grand Vicar’s knowledge because it is stated as one of rebellion acts against ‘The Light’. Even, to have such curiosity is not welcome there.

“First, we can no longer have illusions. We have to let them fade into the thin air from which they came. Second, we have to make choices. And that will be the hardest.” p. 41

Until one day, at annual festival celebrated in Little Pond, a vicar, the junior one, pays a visit and asks the elders whoever kids have come of age and deserved a teaching. Teaching is defined as an activity held by Temple City to give a deep knowledge to the chosen one about ‘the darkness’ or ‘the dark age’ which ever filled their realm thousand years ago and what impacts it had caused them, and thus, able to prevent the chosen one to follow the darkness and be loyal to only light. The dark age is the era in which people did so many evil things and caused suffer to others.  Every year every city of Temple City, including Little Pond, has to give one kid but Little Pond has given non for some years. This year, the elders should give one or else, their kids should be taken to receive the teaching. 

Why do they avoid the teaching so much? Seemingly, the teaching gives a desirable impact the Temple City Leaders want, but it really leaves scars to those who receive it. They changed after the teaching, had an odd fear that leads them not to dare challenge and question any rules. The teaching affected the life of the receiver so badly.

“The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.” p.80

That is why finally the elders choose a newly coming-of-age boy, named Thomas, one of Nathaniel best friend. He is then brought to Temple City and receives teaching there. The teaching is so painful; he sees visions of people from the dark age dancing in dark place to the electric musics played there. He also sees some evil acts (sorry I forgot) that he can’t bear anymore and thus, pleads for the vicar to stop it. But the vicar wants some names who apparently are potential to rebel against the light; having dreams, questioning rules, anything similar. As it can give him freedom, he finally gives his best friend’s names, Nathaniel, whom he knows always hopes for an adventure and  Orah, who  is so knowledgeable of rules and obeying The Light. He then goes back to Little Pond with an unease and fear, leading to a behavioral change that affects his relationship with both of his friends.

“Eventually, the bad outweighed the good. There was a revolt against unfettered thought, and the wonders of that age were destroyed.”p.103

Nathaniel cannot feel calm seeing his friend so anxious after coming home. He knows what Thomas did and understands why. Though it will make him a main target for the next teaching, he worries more about Thomas and tries to ensure him that everything is alright. But fearing that the teaching will change himself also disturbs quite much that he chooses to disappear for a while when the vicar pays a second visit to take one more coming-of-age kid to a teaching. Unexpectedly, the vicar takes Orah. Fear of losing one more of his friend, Nathaniel chooses to come to Temple City to set Orah free and make him the one to receive it.

Well, it’s not as easy as it seems. The Temple City Leaders deliberate about this while making him a guest of them, who lives in a dark room nearly like a prison. In fact, it is actually a prison. There is also a room near his inhabiting by an old man named Simon, who’s been a lifetime prisoner due to a rebellion act against Temple City. The old Simon tells Nathaniel about the hidden secret of Temple City; that it’s not the darkness that The Temple City Leaders want to prevent. That there are so many good things actually existed in the age called the dark age but being kept by The Leaders only to maintain control and uniformity. And for these things to stop, Simon begs for Nathaniel’s help to restore the things that it used to be, to help improve the world and take down the control of Temple City.

“I know what they show in teachings-yes, it’s evil and true. But I also know what they don’t show, the good they’ve erased. Like a foolish parent, to save us from wickedness, they’ve given us a world of limits and not a world of possibilities. Do you understand what I’m saying?” p.63

And this is the beginning of Nathaniel’s dreaming adventure, along with his two best friends, Orah, and Thomas.

I got this novel from one of groups that I join in Goodreads, YA-Dystopian book club. They offered some free ebooks, and There Comes A Prophet was one of them. I should have finished reading and reviewing this novel within three weeks, but for some reasons I failed and I am really sorry. T.T

Honestly, I can’t say I had a good time reading this book. This book is not bad, I like the premise and how the author tried to focus on Nathaniel’s adventure and makes the love story between him and Orah only as an additional flavor. The world building is understandable and clear for me. The words, especially ones in characters’ conversation, sounds beautiful and quotable. But I could not connect with everything, like feeling the fear of Thomas, the fluttering feeling Nathaniel shares when he is about to decide to start his adventure, even I didn’t develop any tense feeling, which I think I must have because the plot is set for it. I also happened to feel confused of why Thomas tells that Orah is one of potential rebels. Or am I mistaken?

The characters are well-developed and in some way inspires me. Like Nathaniel with his indomitable efforts to be optimistic and encourages his friends to be when situations doesn’t seem nice to them, also his bravery to take risk for what he believes in. Orah with her smart brain and wise thought which helps those three friends to solve any problems in their way and thus leads them to achieve their destination, and Thomas, though he is naturally a coward and only thinks about fear and staying in his comfort zone, finally chooses to get rid of it for reaching a betterment of other people. But yeah, it stops there. I don’t feel any emotional attachment to them. They are just like a smoke who is blown by the wind in my mind. 

And those three remind me a lot of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I mean, each of them kinda has similar roles with those HP characters.

What bothers me most is the ending. There is a twist in the middle of the story and the pace runs smoothly fast. It makes me genuinely interested and expects for more interesting acts, like a rebellion movement by all people in Temple City. It happened, but ended soooo disappointing for me. I don’t want to share any (more) spoilers so I’d better ask you to read this Litwack’s masterpiece your self.

And oh, by the way, I was quite mislead by the title. Though there does mention about a prophet and anything related to him, I don’t think this story is about the prophet. I don’t know, I might be mistaken. Well, just my personal opinion =).

For final statement, this is a light dystopian story and interesting enough for reading in your spare time. But don’t think it will be full of action scenes like in Hunger Games or Divergent. And anyway, I like the advanced technologies created in this story. I hope someday those things will really exist. Lol

 

PS : I wrote this review in present tense on purpose, because I like how sentences in present tense sound hehe. But when I explained about the moment I read this book, I used past tense. =)

This is the debut of David Litwack. Though I am still far from satisfied of this, I still have a willingness to read his other masterpieces. The second book of his is more of suspense, I heard. Perhaps, I should give it a try =). Hopefully, he can be more well-known, especially in my country.

=)

Rating : 3/5

Book Review : Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns
Title : Paper Towns  
Author : John Green
Publisher : Speak
Pages : 305 Pages
Year of Publication : 2009 (First published in 2008)
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Adventure
Bought from : Books and Beyond (SunPlaza)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
***
Of five John Green’s books that were displayed in the bookstores, I chose to read Paper Towns first. Actually I was more curious about The Fault in Our Stars, since this has gotten so famous that the movie adaptation was made and gonna be aired around July 2014. But the book was about 0.99 cent more expensive than Paper Towns so I thought I just tried the later. Yeah, money talked. Lol.I did not expect too much for the first time of reading Green’s But the title itself quite made me wonder when reading the prologue, like what is paper town? Does it has anything to do with the ‘me’ (who is Q, the main character as well as narrator of the story)? or Margo? And it pushed me towards the next page.

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a smal nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this : out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.” Q

I can say I enjoyed reading this novel. Green’s writing style seems to suit my taste, to the point, detailed about the setting, but entertaining. I also love the jokes in this books, told by some characters in this books. It’s so teenagers.

The story itself is interesting, the ideas, the characters, settings. Quentin or Q, as the main character as well as narrator of the story, was shown as a boy who was comfortable with his own life, a good boy to his parents and never made a trouble. Perhaps, the flaw in his life was being bullied by Chuck Parson ever since they knew each other. Also, he had this secret feeling with his childhood friend as well as neighbor, Margo. But he always thought she’s beyond his reach, even though they used to be so close until age 9, because she appeared to be so sociable, popular, but adventurous. She was completely different and in a different world with him. Eventually, an event got him close again with her, which made him able to know her more. But when he thought they could be like they used to be, Margo suddenly disappeared. Only leaving him some clues, which led to the title of this book, Paper Towns.

The searching of Margo didn’t only involve Q alone. Two Q’s best friends, Ben and Radar, and also Margo’s besties and later became Ben’s girlfriend, Lacey, joined Q’s journey. I really like Q, Ben, and Radar’s friendship. Each of them has different character. Ben’s somewhat silly, quite obsessed to have a prom date, often talking about ‘balls’, but fun to get along with. While Radar’s a genius in technology, smart, able to give way out to problems, though he can be dramatic when talking about his parents’ obsession. At first they two had different opinions with Q about Margo’s leaving. Q even happened to have an argument with Ben. But the fight didn’t last long and finally, they voluntarily joined Q and skip school graduation. With Lacey.

“You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpuctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend — but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you…I’m too obsessed with a reference web site to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.” Radar

Though Q and Margo are the centre of this story, I prefer Radar and Ben. Radar is so nice and wise as a friend, and quite useful too in technology Lol. He is matured enough in dealing with people though he can be so absorbed when being around his reference website. He is also a good listener and good advisor. While Ben, though he is quite childish and silly, but he could cheer his friends up and a kind that would apologize once he knows he is wrong. And though appear ignorant, he can become the savior of his friends! Just read the book and you will see!

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I wasn’t thinking about none of y’all. I. Wanted. To. Save. My. Ass.” Ben (he said this in one of my favorite scene in this book. So funny Lol)
The characters that are so unpleasant to see is Margo’s parents. I am really grateful that I have parents that are happy to have me around though I make troubles so often. 

Well, the process of finding Margo finally makes Q realize that she may not be who she is known as all these times. Their previous conversation and the clues about paper town(s) helps Q not only finding where Margo is, but also getting close to understand who the real Margo is.

“I didn’t really look down and think about how everything was made of paper. I looked down and thought about how I was made of paper. I was the flimsy-foldable person, not everyone else. And here’s the thing about it. People love the idea of a paper girl. They always have. And the worst thing is that I loved it, too. I cultivated it, you know?” Margo

John Green through Paper Towns is kinda telling us that sometimes people can be mistaken in judging others. They may appear too unreachable for us, because of their status, their unique hobbies that differ from us, or the different peers each of us join. Even I myself often think that people that seem to be so sociable and obnoxious never feel lonely or hurt. Yeah, that makes us forget that they are also a human, who, like us, can also feel facing this world alone. 

Sometimes they become like what we think because we make them to. 

“Margo Roth Spiegelman was a person, too. And I had never quite thought of her that way, not really; it was a failure of all my previous imaginings. All along– not only since she left, but for a decade before– I had been imagining her without listening, without knowing she made as poor a window as I did. And so I could not imagine her as a person who could feel fear, who could feel isolated in a roomful of people, who could be shy about her record collection because it was too personal to share. Someone who might read travel books to escape having to live in the town that so many people escape to. Someone who–because no one thought she was a person– had no one to really talk to.” Q

Also, it’s good to realize the capacity we have to support the one we love, like Q towards Margo. He really loves Margo but he knows who he is and who she is, finally. And that makes him feel sure if he could stay with Margo or not.

“I can’t be you. You can’t be me. You can imagine another well– but never quite perfectly, you know?…”
Well, despite all the goods, I happened to feel so bored in the middle of the story and I was like ‘when will this Margo show up? When will this Q finally find her?’ And after all the enjoyment I got, the ending pissed me off. Quite. It’s not that disappointing actually, but It left me hanging, wondering about the conclusion. I kinda figure it out but still, I want Green to make sure it is like what I am thinking of. 

Yeah, but still, this book is worth your penny. =)

PS : I am sorry if my English is not so good and probably quite difficult to understand.

Rating : 4/5

“When did we see each other face to face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out”