by Mary Saums
I hate romance. In books, I mean, if it's too much a part of the story. When the whole book is about a romantic relationship, there's nothing to grab on to, for me anyway, or to look forward to.
I prefer regular novels with their large story or stories, characters who play big parts in those stories, with romantic relationships a part of each character's story. That's a real book.
That's what I look for in the bookstore. Not those book covers with flames and hearts around hot bare-chested guys, like medieval lairds, smiling cowboys, secret service agents, and rowdy chemistry professors.
No, I don't look for those. I don't have to since I already own a number of medieval laird, cowboy, time-traveling body-builder and the like romantic, uh, entertainments.
But what I want to talk about today is the huge accomplishment of successfully merging "real" novels, romance novels and YA novels.
Something about Cassandra Clare's book Clockwork Angel grabbed my attention when it came out in hardback a year or so ago. I picked it up and gave it a once over every time I passed it in the bookstores, Walmart or Target.
The sight of Big Ben got me, I suspect. And it's an interesting cover. London, Victorian times, paranormal aspects - all great. But two big downers - it's written for young adults and it's a romance. Even despite the outstanding reviews, I waited. Silly me.
The young man on the cover is Will Herondale one of the heroes who is part Nephilim, a descendant of a human and an angel, and trained as a Shadow Hunter.
Next came Clockwork Prince.
Another great cover, this time I believe the background is of a castle in Yorkshire that figures into the plot. When it arrived in the stores, I knew I had to give the series a try in spite of my anti-romance, anti-teen book preferences. Still I had some doubts.
Instead of buying, I decided to try them on audiobooks through the library first. I'm so glad I did. They are read by two narrators, Ed Westwick and Heather Lind, who both do excellent jobs.
This cover shows Jem, another Shadow Hunter and Will's closest friend.
Clockwork Princess will be the third in the series and is expected to come out in 2013.
Can I wait that long???
I don't think so. Clare has done such a magnificent job in intertwining the lives of Will, Jem and Tessa, the third side of the triangle and the young woman on the cover of this book. I cannot wait to see how they defeat the bad guys. Will they all survive? Will enough survive to have a wedding?
What amazes me is how Clare shows these kids struggling as young adults. I love how she is teaching young readers to grow through these characters. Another thing I like, she begins each chapter with snippets of English romantic poetry and intersperses it through the book, too. So she's teaching our pre-teens and teens to appreciate the music of poetry, and the 'love-y' part of love.
The romance between the characters feels realistic. Everything feels authentic. Am I just a novice here? Are all YA authors so adept with romance and history and everything else? Because I'm blown away by Cassandra Clare's vision and her writing skill.
I've requested the first audiobook of another series, City of Bones. Maybe that will hold me over until Clockwork Princess comes out!