Tag Archives: fangirling

Review & Giveaway: “Clockwork Angel” manga adaptation

So you guys might remember that I basically threw my hands up in the air and let The Infernal Devices fandom suck me in. I regret nothing. But thanks to the talented artist Hyekyung Baek, they’re making a manga adaptation of the series, starting with the first book, Clockwork Angel. This volume covers the entire plot of that novel by Cassandra Clare.

It goes without saying that fans of the books will love the manga. The illustrations by Hyekyung Baek are gorgeous and the story remains true to the plot, managing to somehow get a lot of side-plots into the book even though it’s necessarily shorter. The manga keeps a lot of Clare’s jokes and wit, too, and they’re actually funnier with the visual aid. This cuts both ways, of course, and things like Jem’s illness are more striking with illustrations. But it’s a really fun way to reread the books and relive your love of the characters.

The best thing about the manga version is that it might appeal to people who otherwise won’t read the book, either because it’s in the YA section (don’t get me started) or because they prefer comics (nothing wrong with that). It’s a story that lends itself well to a visual format

Jem and his violin are my OTP.

The plot is, obviously, the same as the novel: Tessa arrives in London at the behest of her brother, or so she believes. But she’s taken by the Dark Sisters, who reveal that Tessa is a shape-shifter and they plan to use her for their own nefarious purposes and then marry her off to someone called The Magister. She’s rescued when Will Herondale and other Shadowhunters end up at the Dark Sisters’ house during a murder investigation. She stays at the institute where she meets Jem, the violinist with a secret, and Jessamine, who doesn’t want to be a Shadowhunter at all, as well as Charlotte and Henry, who run the London Institute. She agrees to help them and they agree to help her track down her brother. Turns out the Magister is trying to build an army of automatons which are very creepy and faceless.

Did I mention it’s gorgeously drawn? And that Will and Jem were basically born to be manga-bishounen? Because they were.

So if you haven’t read The Infernal Devices and you like manga and comics, you should check this out. If you have read them, I assume you’re already a rabid fan of Will or Jem or Tessa or Magnus Freaking Bane, and therefore I don’t have to tell you get yourself a copy. You probably already have 50 and are now using it to wallpaper your room. I mean… I’m certainly not doing that….why do you ask? That would be insane. Speaking of, I HAVE AN EXTRA COPY! You know what that means! GIVEAWAY!

To enter to win one (1) new copy of the Clockwork Angel manga vol. 1, just leave a comment on this post by Wednesday, Oct. 31st. I will have Magnus Bane use his warlock magic (and/or use a Random Number Generator if he’s unavailable) to pick one winner.

Rules: Winner must live in the US or CA. The winner will be drawn on Thursday, November 1st, and posted here in the afternoon. The book will be happily shipped to the winner as soon as possible after they send me their address. Void where prohibited and all that jazz. Entries must be posted by midnight PST on Halloween, 10/31/12. Any comments after that are not eligible. If you comment and do not wish to enter, please say so and I will merely draw a new number (or have Magnus pick a new winner) if it lands on you.

Good? Good.

FTC Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. Nothing else was exchanged.

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Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

It’s no secret that I love vampires and always have, and will basically devour anything about vampires at all* but there is so much vampire media out there, I have to draw the line somewhere or I would never sleep again. So I never picked up Vampire Academy. Because.. I mean.. I’m sure it’s great, Mead is awesome and hilarious, but the name put me off. I don’t really care for the vampires-in-school thing. Suffice to say, it’s on my reading list now, so mea culpa.

Bloodlines  drew me in because it was about an alchemist and I love alchemy. Bonus vampires? Sold. That was all I needed. And then I met Adrian.

Adrian Ivashkov is like if Daniel Molloy and Will Herondale somehow combined their DNA. He’s sweet and caring deep down, sure, but he’s sarcastic, doesn’t seem to take anything seriously, and lives on gin and cigarettes. (And blood. Obviously.) *waves fangirl flag*

The story is about Alchemist Syndney Sage, who has to go to a boarding school with a vampire princess, Jill, to keep her safe, since alchemists in this world live to cover up the existence of vampires and nasty things from mundane people. Jill is also being threatened by vampires for political reasons. And Adrian is just there as far as Sydney knows, at least at first, because he has nothing better to do.

Syndey is book smart and OCD and happy to go to this boarding school posing as a senior, because she’s never been to real school and it’s as close to college as she feels like she can get. She is less good at fitting in with other students, particularly when one of them thinks her golden alchemist tattoo is making her smarter, because there’s an illegal tattoo operation in town that’s giving students unfair advantages for the right price.

I did take issue with a scene in beginning where Sydney is fitted for a uniform and spends a lot of time whining about her size. She’s like.. a four I think? She talks about how fat she is, and I really loathed that. I get that teenagers (hell, people) can obsess about size, and it’s in character for her being so OCD and perfectionistic, but all the same it really bothered me at the time, because man, if she’s a cow then I’m like a Humpback Whale, so thanks there, chica. However, it’s sort of forgivable because it is so much a part of her character, and in the second book [spoiler] Adrian even calls her out for having a serious eating disorder, which we see in glimpses as the series continues, so it’s not treated as a healthy behavior but all of the same[/spoiler].

I have no idea how this stacks up to VA since I haven’t read any of them, but I enjoyed both this and its sequel, again, because Adrian makes me giggle like a mad person. It does sort of run on vampire politics which can get old quickly, but I don’t know if there’s much I can’t forgive for Adrian, particularly maybe the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time, which was [spoiler]The Adrian Hunts for A Job Scene… just.. I was in stitches, especially when he drinks the martini at the bar interview… such a bad idea but so hilariously played, Adrian![/spoiler]

I also liked that Mead has clearly built an in-depth vampire world, and then writes stories from the perspective of Sydney, who isn’t really keen on magic and whose up-brining makes them weird about vampires, even the good non-murderous ones. It’s an interesting twist to have a YA heroine who not only lacks magical powers but would not take them if they were offered.

*Not Twilight. But then, to be honest, I did read Meyer’s short novella about Bree Tanner, in which the titular character thought she was a real vampire and not a sparklepire, and it wasn’t terrible, so… you know. Also Vampire Baseball. That will never stop being hilarious to me.

Recommended if: You like supernatural stories set in boarding schools, and/or can forgive that for a handsome, snarky, gin-drinking vampire. Which, I mean, what can’t you forgive for that?

Review: Blackout by Mira Grant

I’d kind of like to take a photo of my stunned, tear-streaked face and just post that but I’m terribly unphotogenic, so I will have to use my magical writer skills and explain my feelings about Blackout in words.

SPOILER-FREE (For Basically the Entire Trilogy, Because I Am Awesome Like That)

Because if anyone had spoiled me, I’d have locked them into that bee cage from Red Seas Under Red Skies and laughed while they died in agony.

Blackout picks up where Deadline left off. Where that is is a massive spoiler but it was the kind of kick in your teeth spoiler that makes you drop the book and sit slack-jawed in a semi-comatose state while you absorb it. So that was fun. I was on a plane at the time and I spent the rest of my flight poking at ice cubes in my empty cocktail and trying to make my brain stop hurting. Since in this section, I can’t tell you much about the plot, let’s just say this:

Blackout is the perfect ending to a stunningly original and rich series about a group of bloggers living in a zombie world where the virus is meticulously explained and justified. There are multiple first person narrators and it works because each character has a distinct voice. The narration is supplemented with snippets of blog posts and unpublished musings from various characters, which helps to give the reader insight into minor characters we don’t hear from directly. If you haven’t read the Newsflesh trilogy and you like virology or zombies or blogging or dystopias or conspiracies, then basically you’re missing out.

I can also tell you this. Blackout came out right before my birthday Hawaiian vacation. I read a good chunk on the plane until my stress levels got so high from worrying about these characters that I had to stop and do something else, like a crossword puzzle. That’s right. I was so worried about fictional people that it gave me a stomach ache. And to me, that’s about the best compliment I can give Mira Grant. The characters are so well-developed and so independently themselves that they felt like real people I knew and I was worried for their happiness and safety. I feel like that’s true of all good books, but somehow I just got pulled into these characters more than usual, and I credit Grant’s writing skills for that.

Around three-forths of the way in, there’s this point where Grant lets the reader relax and take a breath. Things aren’t perfect or settled, but there’s a point where things are temporarily okay for ten minutes, and I totally stopped at the point for a while for fear of what might befall our After the End Times crew next. (Then I just got busy and distracted.) But I am glad I finished it and soon I intend to go back and reread the entire series in quick succession. Fabulous end, not a disappointment at all. Ten out of ten stars, or whatever. You get the point.

And now! SPOILERS. BIG ONES. MASSIVE CRAZY SPOILERS SO DO NOT CLICK HERE IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED.

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Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

This is less a review and more of an epic fangirl flail, because you guys, I have it bad. And not just for the snarky boy, Will, who is charming and beautiful but pushes everyone away. Of course, let’s face it, he had me at his line about how the person rescuing you is never wrong, “even if he says the sky is purple and made of hedgehogs”. HOLY BOOK CRUSH. But I love everyone, from Jem, to Jessie, from Henry to Tessa. 

Clockwork Angel is the first book in Clare’s Infernal Devices series, which takes place in the same Shadow Hunter world as her Mortal Instruments series. This is set a hundred or so years sooner and has some cool steampunk like elements, including an evil plot with clockwork automatons.

After Tessa Gray’s aunt dies, her brother sends her a steamer ship ticket across the Atlantic to join him in England. But when she arrives, she’s taken by two women called the Dark Sisters, who reveal to her that she has a very special power – she can shapeshift into anyone after holding something that belongs to them. Of course, they torture and abuse her and plan to marry her off to some mysterious Magister, at least until Will comes along to the rescue. Then she get caught up in the world of the Shadow Hunters, demon-fighters descended from angels, and a plot to destroy them.

The world building is immersive and vast, on par with people like Scott Lynch and Seanan McGuire. And that’s nothing compared to Clare’s detailed and incredible character creation. Everyone, even the minor characters, are fleshed out into real people, and it’s easy to imagine Clare could tell you their life stories if you asked. No one is one-dimensional. And even the most tragic of circumstances, like Jem’s, who is always sick, feel real and not forced.

Tessa herself is likable, smart, witty, and tough. She starts to rescue herself before Will interrupts and is perfectly capable of being clear-headed in sticky situations. And while she tries to determine her feelings for Will, who is hot and cold, she doesn’t spend pages and pages pining for him. It’s not annoying, is what I’m saying, when so often it can be in paranormal romance. Tessa is also fond of books but unlike, say, Bella Swan, she’s also constantly quoting from them, and trading snippets of poetry with Will, who pretends to think it’s all sentimental nonsense.

And let me declare right here, right now: Magnus Bane is basically amazing. He’s a flashy bastard but he rocks so hard.

Characters and world-building aside, the story is incredibly crafted. It barely has a dull moment. There’s action, mystery, and crazy plot twists that I didn’t see coming. I’ve already started the second book and I cannot get enough of it. So crap. I guess I’m a Shadow Hunter fan after all. My only complaint is that I wish I’d thought of it first.

Recommended for: People who like October Daye and Harry Dresden will find this similar but different enough that it’s still new.

Review: Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Basically this review should be a video of me doing a fangirl flail, but I don’t feel like putting on make up, so just picture a big pink Kermit flail of joy. That would be me.

I’m going to post most of this review after a Spoiler!Cut, so if you’ve read it and want to chat, please go there and comment, because I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS. It’s really hard to put my reaction to this book into spoiler-free words; basically it was happy happy crack and I am happy. Also 😀 Seriously, I still grin so hard my face wants to fall off when I think about it.

I’ve been waiting for Destined for so long. I read Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series last year, under the impression that it was a trilogy, only to reach the end of Illusions and freak out because talk about your cliff hanger.

Short spoiler-free version: Fans of the series should be satisfied with this conclusion. It ties up loose ends and everyone gets some closure. It’s also super-intense and stressful from the constant danger our heroes find themselves in. Chelsea especially continued to knock my socks off, with her determination to help. It was awesome and I feel happy with it as a ending.

SPOILERS BELOW. BIG ONES. Proceed with caution. (Spoilers probably in the comments, too, but if you’ve read it, let’s discuss. What your feelings and thoughts?)

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My October Daye-themed trip to Golden Gate Park

This might surprise you guys, given that I write for a geek girl blog, but I’m kind of a huge nerd. Like, gigantic. And I’m not afraid of making a fool of myself. Besides, if I’m honest, I’ve been searching for a secret door to Narnia since 3rd Grade.

This weekend I went to San Francisco, a place I’ve been many times and adore. But it was the first I’d been back since reading Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series, which largely takes place there. As you may remember, I am a HUGE Tybalt Fangirl. My travel buddy, Ben, just finished the second book and suggested we take a can of tuna down to the park. We also went to the Japanese Tea Garden.

Surprisingly, no one questioned why I was walking around the park with an unopened can of tuna calling for a cat.

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2011: The Year of The Faerie – A Retrospective Extrodinaire

I ❤ Silly Hats & Champagne. And my Surly Geek Girl Necklace 😀

FIRST! Some acknowledgements: 2011 was the year this blog started. It began because my friend Jon and I had a conversation during which I realized the best way to be a part of an awesome Geek Girl Blog was to create one. I’m a huge geek. And I have lots of lady friends who are also geeks. Thus, Chicks With Crossbows was born. I need to say a sincere and awesome thank you to people who’ve made this blog possible through their support and friendship:

Defective Geeks, which is the most rocking geek lady blog around. They’ve existed for five years! And they’ve been nothing but awesome to us. Thanks, ladies! Glass of Win, where my friend and globe-trodding geek girl Rachael talks about food, geekdom, and takes gorgeous food porn photos. We met at a con and were able to reunite in person for another con this year. Which leads me to Geek Girl Con. Who rekindled my love of conventions and celebrated lady geeks in all forms. It was a rocking time and I look forward to next year.

And of course, there are the lovely ladies who work on this blog: Autumn, Claire, Anji, and Alex, and Janiene who will contribute in the future. You are all awesome and someday I will make you all tee shirts and bake you cupcakes. (If you want to contribute, go here.)

I Read a Metric Ton of Faerie Books This Year:

Long live the faeries! From faerie romance (Wings) to faerie dystopias (Bones of Faerie) to faerie detectives (October Daye), there are a ton and I loved them all.

Faerie novels also led to my biggest squeeful fangirling moments: Tamani of the Wings series is the handsome smoldering green-eyed faerie boy. And then there’s Tybalt from the October Daye books. How do I describe Tybalt? He’s like walking sexuality in leather pants with a snarky attitude. Team Tybalt, for the win.  Someone get me a tee shirt. And possibly a life-sized cut out.

I Went to a Lot of Cons – Here Are My Favorite Panels: 

Are Faeries the New Vampires?Copper Con – With Faerie Experts David Lee Summers, Janni Lee Simner, and Aprilynne Pike.

Young Adult Authors Geek Girl Con – With Hope Larson, Nancy Holder, Scott Westerfeld, and Phoebe Kitanidis

Steampunk!Geek Girl Con – With Claire Hummel, Belle Holder, Erica Johnson, and author Cherie Priest (who liked my clock socks).

Playing God: Apocalyptic Storytelling – OryCon – Victoria Blake, author Daniel H. Wilson, and author E.E. Knight

(I just realized I still haven’t written up the Nerd Burlesque panel from Geek Girl Con, or that would have made the list too. Darn it. For shame, me!)

My Favorite Post of the Year By Me: 4 Obvious Things I Always Forget About Travel

Things By Amazing Ladies I Discovered This Year:

Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. Best zombie series in the world, if you ask me. Witty, funny, smart, amazing world building, with genre-savvy characters set in the not too distant future, where news comes from blogs and zombies are a constant danger.

Feminist Frequency – a video blog that discusses and breaks down examples of tropes that affect women in media. Entertaining, educational, and awesome.

My Drunk Kitchen – Hannah Hart is hilarious, drunk and sober, as she drunkenly tackles recipes and cooking goals.

Amy Roth and her Surly Ceramic Jewelry. Bought so many of these my wallet wept and still want more.

SkepChick – Critical thinking lady skeptics who love science, reason, and facts.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of awesome things. I hope you all have a happy, fun, and safe New Year’s Eve, and I’ll see you in 2012.