Re-reading Yann Martel’s Life of Pi

A couple of weeks ago, after seeing that Yan Martel’s Life of Pi was soon to be showing in movie theaters, I re-opened some old boxes and blew the dusts out of the paper back copy that was given to me a few years ago by my Canadian friend ‘Toting’. I also PM’ed him in facebook about it having already been made into a movie in case he didn’t know yet.

Thus, I broke my normal way of never re-reading any novel I’ve already read before. Other books I’ve read, also from Toting’s collection, are the books of Anne Rice and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude). Back in college, I’ve also devoured Robert Ludlum’s books. Some of these books have become movies as well but only Life of Pi motivated me to re-read.

Well, my first impression of Yann Martel is that, I think this guy, should I ever be in a conversation with him, is a very talkative one. I would expect to talk less and listen more as he would probably talk a bit too much.

Perhaps it’s just my impatient nature, but I thought he dilly-dalies to much on not very important points and elaborates on everything beyond my level of patience. But then perhaps I just wanted to get to the story of Pi being at sea already.

Inspite of that, I am pleased that he ‘dilly-dallied’ and expressed his views about some major religions- Hindu, Christianity, and Islam.

Of Jesus, he (Pi) asks ‘what kind of a god is this’? He said that this one is a god on too human a scale, having been taught about the Hindu gods who displayed awesome powers beyond human imagination. The Christian God is a pedestrian god, as throughout the bible he just loves to walk, though at some point he did splurge on transportation – with a donkey. He’s also petulant. What kind of a thing is it to wither a fig tree instantly just because it has no figs on it when he happened to be hungry? It was not the season for figs, that’s why. Poor fig tree.

But after much thought and learning about this god, he finally approached Father Martin and said “Father, I would like to be a Christian, please.”

If you’re an atheist, or if you’re someone who has yet to pick a religion, this book will give you enough to know which one to choose. Or, to choose all.

It’s also a very good book about how to deal with animals, especially the ferocious ones.

And how to change your name.

The Life of Pi

Yann Martel’s story telling is so compelling such that any reader, no matter what problem he’s facing at the moment, would be so thankful that he’s not dealing with what Pi was dealing in the story. Perhaps this is why some reader was inspired to say that the book could make you (if you’re an atheist or agnostic) believe in God.

life of pi yann martel

It’s a good thing that Pi was a zookeeper’s son. And not just a zookeeper’s son, (because the zookeeper has one other son who knows everything about a cricket game but nothing about animals), but a son who learned about the animals in their zoo and reads more about other things than any kid his age. These prepared him to face the ordeal of being lost at sea on a lifeboat, and as if this is not difficult enough, he was in the company of a ferocious animal that could tear him to pieces at any moment.

Extending Pi’s drifting to 227 days was no easy story telling feat. That’s why Martel had to insert a living algae island and a blind meeting with another drifter who not very long after became Richard Parker’s dinner. Oh, Richard Parker, that’s the Bengal’s name, by the way. Yes, I know Pi is Hindu. It’s the tiger which is Bengali.

But the living algae island is said to be a symbolism for religion. That it can give stable footing and serve us good for a time, but in the long haul we all have to free ourselves of its hold if we ever desire to attain total freedom.

And so, if you’ve reach this far, I think it’s time you either read the novel or watch the movie – The Life of Pi.

Hulbert Lee’s Ultimate Focus Guide

If you take the time to browse through this blog, you’ll notice that around a year after I started, I used to post a measly average of 8 articles per month. Compare that to some cool blogs out there that output 8 articles (some even more) per day. Later, it got worse and I posted only 1 article in some months. If there are months that show more than a couple of posts, it’s usually because some guest bloggers submitted their articles for posting.

Although I do have a day job, which needless to say, gives me less blogging time, the reason for my pathetic performance in my blogging, and just about everything I venture into, is not that I lacked time. I lack motivation and focus.

Lately, I decided I’m getting tired of this rut and wanted to free myself of my lack of motivation, absence of focus, and procrastination. I need change. God, I can’t count the number of times I’ve procrastinated to act on this need for change.

Thus, when I browsed through a bookstore, the book ‘100 Ways to Motivate Yourself’ by Steve Chandler jumped out to me from the shelf. As I was lazily surfing the net, Google presented me with the ‘[wpPopWizard item_id=kswppw_in1ine clickthru= newwindow=yes inltext=”<p>Turn time into an ally to accomplish what we want to do…</p>” ]Pomodoro Technique[/wpPopWizard]’. From my inbox popped out this book ‘[wpPopWizard item_id=kswppw_in1ine clickthru= newwindow=yes inltext=”<p>Hulbert Lee&#39;s website (not an affiliate link)</p>” ]Ultimate Focus Guide[/wpPopWizard]’.

I temporarily stopped my reading of the other book somewhere at the 11th or 12th way to motivate myself and dug into the Focus Guide when it came. (Distracted and procrastinating again?) 🙂

Hulbert Lee's Ultimate Focus Guide

The book was written by Hulbert Lee. It is a very carefully structured book that first introduces the reader with some specific pre-requisite knowledge before it lays out the steps to train oneself towards a focused mind.

What has the Reticular Activating System got to do with focus? I thought this reticular activating system was some kind of system inside a car engine. Turns out it’s one essential built in system that you can use to your advantage to focus and to solve problems.

The book elaborates on 3 focus keys that make up a cycle, the mastery of which will forever solve your focus problem.

I have just finished reading the book, but I’m going back to read it again and plan some course of action to implement what I’ve learned from it. Hopefully, I’ll be leaving behind this dry phase of my life and welcoming a new phase that’s filled with motivation and focus and awesome returns.

Lauren Kate’s Fallen

Just finished reading Lauren Kate’s book Fallen and found it quite entertaining, to say the least.
lauren kate's fallen

Although the later part of the book glued me to every page, I just felt like Lauren took her time in the first half. I mean, she took too long to get to the grit of it all. Had I a patience a few seconds short, I’d have dropped the book then and left the rest unread.

Fallen is about the story of Luce Price and Daniel Grigori whose love affair can dictate the fate of the rest of mankind.

Lucinda Price or Luce is a mere human who falls for Daniel, an angel, one of those angels who chose to depart from the presence of the almighty creator to live on earth among humans. The thing about Luce’s falling for Daniel is that this has happened more times than can be counted. Every reincarnation of Luce means another short love affair. Short, in the sense that when they meet, it would take a short while before they kiss. And the kiss meant the death of Luce. And again, Luce would be reborn. And Daniel would then have to wait another 17 years for her to come back and find him. And endless cycle.

An endless cycle indeed, except that in this particular lifetime, Luce was born to non-Christian parents who did not have her baptized. In this story, Lauren Kate states that a person who is not baptized will not be reborn or reincarnated again after his/her death. Thus her death this time, should it happen, will be final. Could Daniel survive eternity without Luce?

The story is set in a halfway house or more specifically a halfway school, Sword & Cross, where young students who are psycho challenged are enrolled. Luce got there because of an incident where a boy friend got incinerated to ashes after they kissed. She claims no clear recollection of the event, but she has a feeling that the smoke-like shadowy mist that keeps following her has got something to do with it.

Although I find that Kate Lauren may have the tendency to drag the story a bit too long at the start, I still find myself wanting to read her next book in this series.

An interesting side bit of this post is that this ‘Fallen’ book was lent to me by Joy Chan, a friend of my wife Jen. Joy has quite a collection of YA books, a room-full I would guess. But after December 17, this book which I have yet to return to her may have been the only remaining book in her collection because her house was washed out by the recent flood that hit the city.

Richelle Mead: Frostbite

I like the character of this ‘little Dhampir’ named Rose Hathaway. She’s rebellious, impulsive, and sexy. She showed promise early on and delivered in the end, earning her stripes, or rather, her first molnija* marks. Her first two molnija marks.
richellemead frostbite vampire academy

Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy

Richelle Mead’s Frostbite is the second book and a continuation of her Vampire Academy story. It tells a story, in the first person, through the main character, Rose Hathaway. Set in a remote woods of Montana is the vampire academy called St. Vladimir Academy. This is where two races of underworld folks converge to educate themselves and to protect themselves from another underworld not-so-friendly race.

These vampires are divided into Moroi, Dhampir, and Strigoi. The Moroi are vampires who prefer to feed on willing humans called feeders. These vampires are called living vampires. They can tolerate some sunshine. The Dhampir are half human, half vampire. They nourish themselves like regular humans. They are better off than ordinary humans however in terms of strength and sensitivity of the senses. They exist only for a very few reasons. Most of the men, and some of the women, are intensively trained in the art and science of protecting the Moroi royalty. Each Moroi royal is assigned at least one Dhampir guardian. And the Dhampir guard Moroi with their lives. It’s a mutual thing in that Dhampir can’t reproduce among themselves. Dhampirs need the Morois to continue their race. Morois need the efficiency of Dhampir guards, otherwise the Strigois will eat them to extinction.

The Strigoi are the strongest among these types of vampires. Strigois are considered immortal. Some Strigoi are former Moroi who turned themselves, either willingly or not, into Strigoi. A Moroi can turn into a Strigoi by feeding on a human, or another Moroi, until the victim dies. When this happens, the Moroi can totally no longer walk under the sun. While Moroi has magical gifts in the form of mastery over the elements (earth, water, air, fire, spirit), a Moroi who turns Strigoi loses all these gifts.


frostbite by Richelle Mead
Rose is a young Dhampir who is a close friend of Lisa Dragomir. Lisa is the last of the royal Dragomir line. A vehicular accident occurred a few years back where only Lisa and Rose survived. Technically, only Lisa was supposed to have survived, but because of Lisa’s gift of the mastery of spirit, Rose came back to life shadow-kissed. Rose got connected to Lisa through a one-way bond where she can sense Lisa’s feelings. This developed further where Rose can get into Lisa’s head and see and feel Lisa’s experiences at the moment.(This bond thing gave Mead great leeway in her first person story telling style for this book, I suppose).

The book follows the adventure of these young vampires with a few twists and turns in terms of their love interests, which, by their standards, are off line.
Richelle Mead author Vampire Academy
Hadn’t I read books and seen movies like Underworld, Twilight, and other vampire books**/movies, I would have liked this story fully. Having been conditioned with the sterotype of vampires, the Moroi seemed tame and domesticated. It’s difficult to imagine a vampire (Moroi) who would not fight, would not hunt, and who could walk in sunlight yet not be dangerous. Well, at least there’s the Strigoi, but they’re not the focus of the story.

I suppose this could be told as a regular story, without the vampire element, about regular human royal folks and their people and their royal enemies, and still sell. Okay, I’m no novel writer, nor am I a prolific novel reader, so I honestly wouldn’t know if it will sell.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading the two books, The Vampire Academy, and its sequel, Frostbite. Richelle Mead is one cool first person story teller.

Vampire Academy

*molnija marks are small x-like tattoos at the back of a guardian’s neck – one molnija mark for each Strigoi he/she has killed.

**Thanks to Joy Chan.

The Secret Circle

the secretcircle ljsmith

The past few books I’ve read e.g. Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, and L.J. Smith’s Dark Visions, always seem to have heroines that are incognizant of their hidden talents before they are then plunge into some conflict in which they then find out about their real selves and had to learn to use their ‘abilities’ without the benefit of prior training or at least some kind of manual. The Secret Circle is no different.

The Secret Circle Part I & II by L.J. Smith

In The Secret Circle (published around 1992), L.J. Smith writes about a teenager by the name of Cassandra Blake, Cassie for short, who also lives a ‘normal life’ in a normal world. As usual, most characters of this kind defines normal as living like a less than regular teenager… few friends, playing ‘tag along’ with a dominant friend whose every wish is a command. Her dominant friend here is Portia, who appears in the early part of The Secret Circle Part I and in the later part of Part II.

Cassie is a witch. She didn’t know it at first. She only learns about it later when she and her mother had to move, by some unforgiving reason, grudgingly to New Salem. There she finds a group of high schoolers who are called by the name of ‘The Club’. The Club enjoys all the top privileges in the campus – a private room in the cafeteria, immunity from school rules, etc. Her first day at school was the worst day a new student can have, courtesy of some members of The Club. Of course, a few days later, by virtue of her residence’s address, she somehow became a ‘member’ of The Club and enjoyed all the privileges that comes with it.

Gradually, she realizes that she is part of the club because she is a witch. All the members of the club, both male and female, are witches and borne of witch parents with witch parents before them, and witch ancestry.

I find that the later half of Part I is dragging especially since I know it’s going to be incomplete because there’s a part II. Part II however makes up for whatever shortcomings it has in Part I. It builds up until it climaxes at the end and you find all threads closed and justified.

I thought the ‘villain turns out to be the heroine’s father’ routine is old. But it obviously still works, at least for me, in this story.

I however find the part where Diana ‘turns over’ Adam to his soul-mate a little shallow and not so elaborated. The ease of the transition is not so realistic as LJ Smith did not dwell even for a few moments on the agony Diana must be silently enduring. You just don’t let go of someone you love like that and smile a true smile. I mean, it was probably implied and left to the reader to imagine, the way it made me. Well, writing a long story isn’t easy. Perhaps LJ Smith was tired and wanted to wrap things up quickly at this end point of the story, and provide closure as well specifically to this angle of the love triangle (another over-used cliche).

the secretcircle 1
secret-circle 2

Dark Visions: L.J. Smith (Author of the Night World series)

I got a respite from the build up of ‘The Infernal Devices‘ trilogy in that after reading the first book, I did not get to go ahead with the second because ‘Dark Visions‘ by L. Jane Smith came along and I just can’t wait to dive into it.

L.J. Smith is the author of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘ which was later developed by Kevin Williamson into a very successful drama-horror tv series aired on the CW Television Network which received several award nominations and won awards e.g. People’s Choice Award and Teen Choice Awards.

The short of it is it’s a story about a teenager, a lovely girl called Kaitlyn who grew up in a small town in Ohio. She has eyes that are too lovely for the taste of her neighbors that they began fearing her and calling her a witch. No one wants to associate with her. She never has any real close friends and never gets invited to parties, etc. She also has this gift of drawing and sketching. But aside from drawing what she sees, she also draws things that are yet to happen, usually ominous events of impeding accidents or something to that effect. No wonder they called her a witch.

Then, something happened that gave her a chance to get away from Ohio and into a place where she gets to be part of a group of students all with extraordinary gifts like her. There she experiences things that she longed to experience – friendship, acceptance, and things she not anticipate. She is thrown into and adventure that takes her to places she did not dream of going, and places she ‘dreamt’ of going. And adventure that tested her and her friends’ resolve to survive. She also gets to meet the boy that would nourish her lonely heart – or, rather the boys, for there were two of them. And she experiences being torn between two guys, who have powers – one who can feed her life, and one who can feed off hers.

Again, I am not a qualified critic of any author’s work; I’m just a reader. But I know when an author succeeds in entertaining me. I don’t need to use extra imagination to see what L. Jane Smith paints in her chapters. In fact, in one part I have to distance myself and try to read and see from afar in order to avoid getting overwhelmed with claustrophobia. The part where Kait gets isolated in a dark ‘Ganzfield’ water tank was just too vivid I had to put down the book for a while.

Looking back, the first pages almost convinced me that this story would be something parallel to the x-men. But while the x-men story was cartoonish, the kids in this story are more real in that their powers are within the believable range. I like most parts of the book. The end part however, in my view, has been just a wee bit overly done – too ‘feel good’. All in all, I was entertained and would like to read some more L.J. Smith books.

L.J. Smith has a website at where you can get updates of her books and download lots of free stories. If you’re into urban fantasy, then you’ll certainly like L.J. Smith.

Cassandra Clare: The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel)

| London, April 1878.

| The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

Thus the story commences. The Clockwork Angel (the first book under the trilogy called The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments by the same author. While it was Clary in The Mortal Instruments (TMI), this time it’s Tessa Gray. As far as I’m concerned they just got too many things in common I almost thought Tessa was Clary’s previous incarnation.

Tessa, like Clary, was also brought up not knowing who she really is. And when they were awakened to their true selves, they almost always did not have time before they are flung into some conflict their innocence can barely catch up with. And while there’s a Jace in TMI, there’s a Will in TID. Again, these guys always are gifted with super good looks, have an air of too much confidence, and always with some kind of pain hidden inside. And sidekicks who are equally good looking but with some form of weakness, e.g. being gay (pardon me if this is not supposed to be a weakness), or having an irreversible illness.

Having read 4 of Cassandra Clare’s books, I have now began to wonder how other readers are imagining how the characters look. Of course, Cassandra Clare has commissioned an artist to paint the characters (the book covers themselves are not much of a help as they don’t show the faces). There’s a site called,, that showed some artworks (by Val Freire) of how the characters look. Here are some of his works.

Will, Tessa, and Jem.

Jessamyn, George, and Charlotte.

See more of Val Freire‘s art here.

I hope though that if ever these novels are given a chance in the movies, the casts would give justice to the good looks that Cassandra gave them. The artworks just seem to fall short of what I imagined these guys should look. But I do have suggestions.

Tom Welling of Smallville seem cool enough as Will. What do you think?

Would Emma Watson be good enough as Tessa?

I also found that some enterprising folks have created pendants, rings, and other jewelry based on Cassandra Clare’s books. Shown below are just some of them

If you are interested, you can check them out at

Also, The Mortal Instruments is not a trilogy as I earlier thought it to be. There are 3 more books coming out sometime this year in the mortal instruments series.

Cassandra Clare: The Mortal Instruments (City of Glass)

I knew it! There’s something more than the obvious between Jace and Clary in Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments trilogy. You find yourself heaving one huge sigh of relief when the long hidden facts are divulged. Early on in the story The City of Glass), there have been a few instances where the truth were almost spilled out, even as early as the second book (City of Ashes) in this trilogy, but Cassandra Clare kept it from the readers until the last.

After reading the first two books, I was also hoping that Valentine would turn out to be someone not as monstrous in the end as he is painted out to be. I thought the third book would somehow justify Valentine’s action; that there’s actually someone more evil behind him; that his purposes are really noble and not that selfish altogether.

In an earlier post where I gave my reaction to Cassandra Clare’s ‘The City of Ashes’, I enumerated a couple of questions that were left unanswered in that book. I expected these to be answered in ‘The City of Glass’, and sure enough, I found closure there.

  1. What ‘experiments’ was the Queen of the Seelie Court referring to that Valentine did on Jace and Clary?
  2. [tip]
    The experiments were responsible for the exceptional abilities of Jace and Clary. It is these experiments which made Jocelyn, Valentine’s wife, when she accidentally discovered his secret ‘laboratory’, to finally see beyond the facade that Valentine was displaying to her and to everyone.

  3. What did the Inquisitor (Imogen Herondale) whisper to Jace at her final breath?
  4. [tip]
    Jace did not give it another thought, as at the time, he misinterpreted it as an insult. Had the Inquisitor lived through that battle, Jace’s identity would have been settled early on. But that would mean one less surprise to anticipate in the final book. Cassandra thought it best to hold on to it a little longer.

You will find the answers in ‘The City of Glass’.

Personally, the book is indeed enthralling as the reviews point out. Cassandra Clare masterfully weaved the story such that the readers are never disappointed in anticipating for a climactic finale in the trilogy.

Sometimes I think Clary is not using her abilities the best way she can. Anyone who can effectively replicate the biblical ‘writing on the wall’ and ‘the mark (on Cain’s forehead)’, to me would be like God himself. She could conquer any obstacle, solve any problem, etc. But I think Cassandra Clare gave her just enough warrior intelligence and more of innocence and other human weaknesses to keep the story less predictable.

Vampires in Clare’s world are given less stature than those in Meyer’s Twilight world. With the exception of Simon, werewolves are more interesting and less disgusting than vampires*. And I think I’ll need to re-read the part of the story where Valentine tortured Simon for his blood. I still can’t see where in that ritual did Simon get his daywalker (daylighter) power. I still think it’s Jaces’ blood somehow, because Jace, after all, is not an ordinary shadowhunter. He’s got purer angel blood circulating in there, like Clary’s.

Fight scenes? Gosh, again, I’d say a movie battle choreographer would find free reign in this story. It would be violence at it purest. The lucky team of movie artists and designers would be competing for the ugliest, scariest, most gross looking demon they could imagine. There would be no empty space on the big screen as the sky, the ground, and underground would be filled with shadowhunters, downworlders and demons spilling each others’ guts and blood. It would be like Buffy the Vampire Slayer many times over. And it must be fun watching long-time arch-enemies fighting side by side (with their abilities shared equally) against a common enemy instead of against each other. Whew!

* If given only two options, becoming a vampire or a werewolf in Clare’s world, I’d probably choose to become a werewolf. I only wish it doesn’t come with the dog smell though.

The Mortal Instruments is not a trilogy after all, as I earlier thought it to be. Cassandra Clare is set to release 3 more books under the mortal instruments series this year.

The Mortal Instruments: Cassandra Clare (City Of Ashes)

It just keeps getting better and better. I have just finished reading the second of Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments series called The City Of Ashes. The story picks up where The City Of Bones left off. Valentine, having the Mortal Cup (one of the mortal instruments) in his possession wasted no time in using it for his own ends.

It is here where Valentine shows no mercy and unleashes into the world, well at least in the world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves and faeries, his ‘God-assigned’ plan of ridding the world of all forms of demons and evil beings. This plan is supposed to succeed and be irreversible especially when he also succeeded in stealing (with much bloodshed) the second mortal instrument – the Soul-Sword or Mortal Sword. With two mortal instruments in his arsenal, he is virtually undefeatable, almost like a god.

I can imagine the artistry and effects of the battle sequence where the shadowhunters (lead by Jace, Alec, Simon, Luke, Magnus Bane, and Clary), with the help of some downworlder folks, battle the legion of demons from hell itself. The roles of the battle choreographer and director, should this book be considered for movie production, are enviable.

This second book springs a lot of minor and major surprises. Clary has finally seen Simon not just as a childhood friend but as someone she can finally get intimate with, though she still helplessly entertains the thought of Jace in her mind. Evidence of this is when the Queen of the Seelie Court threatened to hold Clary captive unless she (Clary) gets ‘the kiss she most desires’. Thus, the (seemingly taboo) kiss happens. I say seemingly because I have a feeling that the third book is yet to spew out some more surprises. I have a feeling that some past event is yet to be revealed that will drastically change things between Jace and Clary. Otherwise, why would Cassandra Clare keep on broaching the idea of a Jace-Clary love affair, unless Cassandra has some hidden taboo desires herself. EwEW!?.

Simon, previously considered by Jace as nothing but a nuisance, now ‘rises’ to the ranks, having become a vampire (due to a previous mis-adventure). He even became one of Valetine’s tools because of his blood which Valentine needed for a ritual for turning the Mortal Sword from plain lie detector to something more demonically useful. Thus, Simon, previously refered to as ‘this mundane’ by Jace, is now ‘this bloodsucker’, though Simon thinks he prefers the former. Another big surprise is the transformation of Simon from plain vampire to daywalker, thanks to Jace’s generosity. But, what do you think will happen to Jace? One would think shadowhunters are impervious to the vulnerabilities of common folks. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Luke was once a shadowhunter. What is he now? Would something similar befall Jace?

Clary and Jace, by the way, began to bloom ability-wise, after a little revelation from the Queen of the Seelie Court. Jace started to become more and more like Twilight’s Edward. Clary started showing her special ability over the ‘unspoken words’. And speaking of Edward, this is what Stephenie Meyer, Twilight’s author and creator of the Edward character, has to say about Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments:

“The Mortal Instruments series is a story world that I love to live in. Beautiful!”


  1. Is there something more to the ‘experiment’ beyond Clary’s and Jace’s abilities ?
  2. What did the Inquisitor whisper to Jace before she expired?

Have I missed something or will I find the answers in the third book?

Tip For Guys

Is Cassandra giving us guys a tip with this dialogue between Maia and Clary?

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, you know. Jace reminds me of an old boyfriend. Some guys look at you like they want sex. Jace looks at you like you’ve already had sex, it was great, and now you’re just friends – even though you want more. Drives girls crazy. You know what I mean?”

Yes, Clary thought. “No,” she said.


You can get the whole set of the The Mortal Instruments trilogy. Click on the picture below for details.

Cassandra Clare: Mortal Instruments (City Of Bones)

I am not a good judge of novelist’s skills (I’m just a reader, not a critic) but I can say this early that Cassandra Clare is one good novelist to watch out for. I just finished reading the first of her Mortal Instruments trilogy series, the City of Bones. The other two books I have yet to read are The City Of Ashes and the City of Glass.

Having read and seen the Twilight series, I’ve known about vampires and werewolves. Then, with Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, I got introduced to shadowhunters. Looks like we humans are not that helpless against demons, vampires, werewolves and other faerie folks after all. We’ve got the Shadowhunters (nephilims) who are secretly watching our backs and protecting us all along. These breed are like humans (just as vampires are like humans) and they live among us, unseen or camouflaged. That old abandoned church in your street may just turn out to be one of their abodes – actually castle-like and magnificient. The ‘old abandoned church’ you saw was just ‘glamour’ cover.

Clarissa Fray is the teenage star of this movie, err, story. Why not? I’m sure some producer will soon see that the Mortal Instruments trilogy is one feasible movie project that can fetch him loads of money, too. After all, all those Twilight viewers are also surely going to fall for this. Why? Because it’s got all the ingredients that they like: a love story, good-looking teenagers, villains, vampires, werewolves, and a world in the fringes of reality.

Clarry is a shadowhunter who was raised as a human – a mundane (or mundie). After a fast-paced series of events, she was rudely awakened into the realization of her true self – that she’s a shadowhunter, with a shadowhunter mother, (and revealed later in the story) a shadowhunter father, and a shadowhunter brother. Unlike regular shadowhunters who are trained warriors, Clarry lived through the whole story, untrained, and seemingly very weak and vulnerable. She’s like Bella in Twilight (before she became a vamp). She had to be accompanied and protected by Jace, another cool shadowhunter teenager, in all her adventures. The two of them seems headed towards a Bella-Edward like relationship. But…

While readers of the Twilight series had to hold their breaths until the last book to see large-scale violent conflicts and flesh-shredding fights, the City of Bones (being only the first book of the trilogy), offers it up to you right there. I can’t wait to see the next two books. (Now, why do most novels nowadays are trilogies? This year, among the multi-volume books I’ve read are the Twilight series and the books of Kristin Cashore).

What books have you read this year? If you haven’t read Cassandra Clare’s books, you should check her out.

UPDATE: August 20, 2013

The City of Bones Movie’s Finally Out!

Finally was able to watch the movie. All in all, I consider it a satisfactory rendering of the novel. I think I agree with most of the casting. I guess though that they could do better than Jamie Campbell Bower to play Jace. Or, if not, at least he could have sported hair that’s a little bit longer. I also imagined Valentine to be a little bit more mature and older than Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

It’s been quite a while since I read the City of Bones, but bits and pieces of the story started to come back as I watched the movie. And since I’ve already read City of Ashes and City of Glass, it was sort of disappointing to know that I have to wait for part 2 and 3 of Mortal Instrument to see the juiciest parts of the whole story. Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching the movie. My 14-year-old son, who watched the movie along with me and my wife, also expressed an interest in reading the other Mortal Instruments books. Guess I’ll be purchasing the Kindle version of the books from Amazon soon.