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The Wingmaker

This is a short story I wrote when I was about 14. Read at your own risk for it is lame.


The Wingmaker


The old man was bent with age, his head so crammed with brilliance and cogs and whirs that his hair had fallen limply out long ago, leaving a small, wispy whiteness like the feathers of a baby bird. The girl knew him to be a genius, brilliant in his eccentricity, and no matter how the villagers jeered at him, the madman on top of the hill, she never once listened to their ridicule.


She had long since forgotten her relation to the old man. He had been there, a kindly, warm presence forever on the edge of her being like he was always close by, smelling of warm feathers and graceful aging and pipe tobacco.


He was a wingmaker, he had told her when she was small, and he made fairy tales come alive, he made beauty and poetry into reality.


Away with reality! he had always said to her, pacing about and waving his arms in a fantastical manner. Yes, away with narrow-minded ignorance and petty disagreement and away with the grown-up tendency to see only what one wishes, to want nothing more than is necessary for life. Foolish, hopeless creatures grown-ups are, he would add to her disparagingly. They see nothing on their horizons, my girl, nothing at all but the next day’s work and toil and pay. Hah, them and their money! I ask you, m’lady, who needs money?


All of the world is ours, without those little bits of copper and silver and gold, the food grows and the sun shines and there is cotton and wood to make a loom, and there is water everywhere, my dear, and people to talk to, and the means to make anything in the world in the palm of one’s hand, and still they see the need for money! And what is more, they think money is their happiness, their freedom. Their idea of freedom is the few hours they can sit and do nothing, sit inside and stare at the wall, or sleep, my dear. They are deprived of the goodness in life—adventure! True freedom, in flight and fight and poetry and the beauty of the earth!


Details, details, my girl, he would then mutter. They worry of details. Now, /I/ worry of details as well, m’dear, but I remember the general idea of things. The general idea of things, my girl, is life itself! Live to one’s fullest! Taste the air, breathe in the sunlight, and live! And whatever you do along the way, my darling, is useless and pointless if you never stop to enjoy the sun. Because we were given an Earth, m’dear, and we were not meant to ruin it with our ideas of progress and technology and all this garbage.


And then, saying awful things under his breath that she knew not to repeat, he would bow to her, and she would bow back, and he would return to his work.


The old man was awfully strange compared to other old men. He interrupted his impassioned speeches often with little insertions of “my dear,” or “my lady,” or “my darling.” He never called her by her name. In fact, she did not know that she had one. On the first day of school, which her old man had insisted that she attend, they had asked her what her name was, what they should call her. She had thought about it; they had suggested kindly if it was Amber, like her eyes? Or maybe Cherry, from her cherry wood curls? But the teacher had grown impatient, and the children had become unkind, so she decided to tell them her name: Missy, because when the old man spoke to her with that tone, that was what he called her.


Of course, the old man was never angry with her. How could he be, when she always did as she was told, never dropped a glass, rarely spoke? He was angry at the world, angry at grown-ups. I never wanted to grow up, he told her. Never. And I never have. This she did not understand, nor why the old man bowed to her before he left her room or the dinner table, nor why no one in the village liked him or his ideas.


But she did understand his inventions, what he was trying to accomplish.


He wanted to fly. His entire life, from the moment he saw a bird, he both loved and hated them, both understood them and their small victories and plights, and envied them with a terrible, powerful envy. He had once healed birds with broken wings and ravaged insides and many other bird-ailments, and he fed them and kept them warm and talked to them with his slow, deep voice. Birds were forever swooping around their house, sleeping in the rafters of the attic, making their cacophony of birdcalls in the morning light, and their quiet hoots and rustlings above her head lulled her to sleep every night, after the old man had finished reading a fairy tale from a book or from memory. She sometimes left the window open, and birds swooped joyfully into her room, eating her birdseed and settling comfortably on any perch they could find.


She loved birds as much as he did, she thought. The way they hopped so adorably with both feet at once, or hobbled drunkenly on their silly little yellow talons, but then in a moment they turned from oddity to poetry, spreading their wings and soaring, flapping, diving in the most beautiful way. Her old man always said that nothing personified grace and beauty as well as a bird.


When the old man grew older, and started to fear that he was growing up, he decided he wanted to become a bird.


Of course, birds are rather like grown-ups as well, he would tell her sometimes. They think only of danger and food and mating and nesting. They do not lament when another dies, they do not empathize or understand. All they know is fear, and peace. Fear and peace dancing a wild little dance around their minds, my dear. And yet, they have not made the mistakes that humans have made. And I felt, my darling, as I still feel, that if one free, beauty-loving human could take to the skies, become one with the birds and the sky and the heavens and the stars, the world would then become a better place.


I dream that people will not clamor to purchase wings and seek to make them cheaper and seek money and fame through flight. I dream that people will gaze up at the lone bird-man flying high above the ground, and watch, and make dreams of their own. I dream that they will hope to achieve their dreams like I have done, and they will hope that someday, when the time is right, they too can fly. That is my dream, above all dreams. Above even my dream to fly.


And yet, the old man wanted to fly. Day after day he took notes on bird behavior and flight, drew wonderful pictures with inks and different papers and charcoal from the unlit fireplace and he would color with ink and with water and with his old, brilliant mind. Then after dinner, after she had had her bath and he had tucked her in and read her a story and gave her a whiskery, warm-feathers-and-old-men-and-pipe-tobacco-scented kiss on her forehead, he would work on his wings. She could hear him, humming to himself in the next room, in the room that was both their kitchen and his workroom, banging on things, sometimes making a happy sound, sometimes swearing.


Once he had told her that no matter what he said about grown-ups, they did make some very nice swear words. Then he added sternly that she was never to say them until she too was a grown-up, which he hoped dearly would never happen to her.


One night it was different.


She was playing with a sparrow outside when her old man called her in for dinner. The dying sun lit their plates, along with old-fashioned candles in metal sticks. Everything in their old, rickety house was old-fashioned. The old man said he liked these things better than whatever rubbish grown-ups came up with. They ate, and to her the old man seemed jittery, nervous, somehow. She asked him what was wrong and he said that everything was fine. She took a bath, and he tucked her in.


That night he read her the story of Icarus and Dedalus, the two men who tried to fly. One fell. The other did not. She thought he read it for himself, to give him hope—Dedalus was old, and yet he flew, didn’t he? He could fly, high into the sun and the skies and the stars. Icarus was foolish, and the old man was trying to persuade himself that he was not.


She told the old man, after he had kissed her goodnight, that he was not foolish in the slightest for following his dream. He looked back, and a tiny smile curved the corner of his old, wrinkled mouth. And then he softly closed the door and went to work.


Moonlight poured into her bedroom, and a nightingale swooped down upon her windowsill and sat there, gazing out at the world. Where the hilltop ended, there the sheer cliff met the sea. The whole scene would be lit by moonlight, she knew, like the angels had poured silver over the world and into the sea. Seized with a sudden desire to sit with the nightingale and gaze at the water, she hopped out of bed, and with a quick, birdlike movement, she flung her blanket over her shoulders and wrapped it around her like a cloak.


The bird did not move as she climbed out the window and sat beside it on the ledge.


Twenty or thirty feet below was the ground. Sitting here on the ledge, she felt like she could fly, just by letting the cool, crisp, clean night air expand her lungs and fill her up like drink. The cool air whipped her glossy curls around her face, and she felt that she was not tired in the least. She wanted to sit her on her window ledge, facing the east until the sun came up, never leave this silver-coated paradise. The nightingale made a soft sound, and she stroked its head with a finger. It did not fear her.


Suddenly, there came a cry—the old man’s voice.


She stiffened, listening hard. It came again…a cry of passion and feeling, and then a sound that filled her with fear, the sound of the old man sobbing….


She leapt inside and ran to the door, taking the steps three at a time.


The old man looked up as she came in, wild happiness transforming his ancient features. I have done it, m’dear, he told her, choking a little on his sobs. I have at last figured out the secret…what makes one stay up in the air while they flap and flap. I will finish the wings tonight, my darling.


You’ve done it! she told him joyfully, running over to him and hugging him tightly. You’re a genius, I knew you could do it!


He smiled down at her. You may stay up tonight, if you wish, he told her, and then he went back to work, still crying, just a little. She sat in her corner and watched him do odd things with wax and wood and paper, curled up in her blanket. The hours wore away, and she was not tired at all. She felt a warm excitement fill her up from top to bottom, a longing to see the wings, to see the old man fly like he had always wanted.


The sun began to rise, and the old man stiffened, taking hoarse, ragged breaths.


I have done it, he told her, in a voice that was soft and remarkably calm. Look, my darling, look!


And he held them up in the light of the morning sun, and they sparkled tawny and white and black like gold and silver and ebony:


Wings of spun gold and paper machê

Risen to the air in the hands of the joyous maker,

Both rich and poor,

Beautiful and ugly,

So free, yet so against the rules of God

That we think they will never take flight.


And her heart and her hands shook with a nervousness that she could not explain.


My darling, he told her, his eyes filled with tears, I don’t believe you shall have to attend school today.


She did as she was told to do: go upstairs and put on her best clothes, and meet him on the hilltop. She did so; her best clothes were also her most comfortable, a red-gold tunic and soft white pants with a belt. She thought it made her look rather like a robin, or a phoenix from ancient legends. She ran back downstairs, to the old man standing on the cliff side, gazing out at the fire-gold sea.


She stood beside her old man and waited for him to put on the wings. But instead, he spoke, gazing out into the sea.


I have worked my entire life on these, my darling, he told her solemnly. Ever since I was your age I wanted to fly. I spent years studying flying birds, dissecting dead birds, doing all I could, and in return I gave up a proper life, the kind of life I have always told you to lead, milady. A life where one basks in the glory of the world without seeking to fix it in any way, a life where one sits in the sun and in the shade and enjoys oneself without worrying about grown-up things. My dear, in my journey to never grow up, I have grown up much too fast.


I have tried to make up for it since I took you in, my dear, by taking care of you and doing nothing else until you fell asleep. But it has made up for nothing, for my mind is filled with too much of the annoying things grown-ups worry about so much. Details, my darling. Too many details. I have forgotten the big picture. I only wanted to fly, but even that has been forgotten in all the little details of making a human fly. My dream has been ruined by none other than myself.


But you, my darling…you want to fly, too. And you dream of it. But you do nothing to achieve your dream. You make me wonder if one is supposed to achieve one’s dream at all. Maybe dreams are just that, fantasies that can never really come true, like fairy tales and hopes to one day fly like a bird. Maybe dreams are to keep one focused on life, to have something to look forward to, but not things to actually reach.


My dream has come true, my darling, and I fear that it was never supposed to. I fear that I was never allowed to defy God and give humans wings. No matter how much I hope and pray that someone will look up and see the bird-figure and try to make life better for themselves and others, just by that one simple thing, I am forced now, at the brink of success, to admit that it cannot happen. I have changed no one’s life, and I will not. I will never be the bird-figure in the sky.


But you can, my dear.


She stared up at him in confusion and complete awe, not yet understanding what his purpose was. He knelt down and set the wings in the grass, grasping her shoulders and looking into her amber eyes with his misty blue.


My dear, you can look up into the sky and see sky, whereas I only see failure now. You can look upon the world and see it for itself. You are a child, and with any luck, you will remain so without repeating my own horrible failures. I want you to be my muse, my girl—my bird, my angel in the sky.


He picked up the wings and held them out to her, smiling slightly with just the corners of his mouth. Will you do it? he asked.


The girl thought about it. She loved her old man, and she knew his dream was not really to fly, but to change the world by flight. It was a beautiful ambition, and he had dedicatedly worked his entire life.


But /her/ dream was to fly.


Slowly, she looked up into his eyes and nodded.


He smiled. My darling, he said, you have a good heart. You deserve to have your dream fulfilled. Only angels and birds may roam the skies.


He beckoned her closer. Come, my dear, before the wax cools.


She came; he held up the wings and there they were, beautiful, tawny, longer than her arms—and yet she felt as if they had been made for her all along. How strange.


My life’s work, said the old man with a smile. Two small golden wings. And then he suddenly grew a little anxious, saying, My darling, I will have to put this wax onto you…it will only hurt for a moment….


She nodded and smiled, hardly caring about that. She had dipped her finger in candle wax many times, and it had never hurt much. She held out her arms obediently as he slipped the two arm-holds, like small belts, under each shoulder, above her elbows, around her wrists and torso.


A little child,
Curly cherrywood hair and bright amber eyes,
Solemn, respectful,
Waiting as the wings are fastened;
She does not wince
As a line of hot wax joins feathers to skin.
Unaware of the abomination,
Only seeing the fixation
Of wings on shoulders,
Clouds and sun in sky,
Birds on air, free to fly.


As she had suspected, the wax did not hurt. She was too distracted, excitement blooming in her like a rose after a long, cold winter, by the thought of it: /She was going to fly today/.


The old man smiled, a little sadly, as he led her to the edge of the precipice. You must be brave, he told her, as she watched the waves crash onto the rock below. You must believe in yourself, in your dream. Nothing on earth can stop you if you have a dream, my darling. You must trust in your wings, and in yourself.


She smiled up at him and hugged him tightly, and he kissed her forehead. Goodbye, my darling, he said quietly.


The wings are fastened tight.
He says they will come off
when she is done,
she replies that
that will never come.
And before he can do more
Than stare in slack-jawed silence,
She takes one step, two, three.


The cool air whipped around her the minute she was in the air, and for one frightfully exhilarating moment, she felt that she was going to fall, to plummet down, down, until she splattered onto the rocks. But then—


One step is too far, takes her over the edge.
Two, the wings push upon the air like feet upon the ground.
Three, and she’s free,
She’s a bird on the wing,
She’s an angel,
Made of riches and rags,
Newspaper and threads of silver and gold,


And then she was flying in the air, and the old man became a smiling, crying, wonderful little speck, and the sun grew warmer and larger as it rose, and she with it, and the clouds touched her face with gentle playfulness, and birds swooped around her and with her and she with them….


Flying into the sun,
Feeling the sweet heat on her back,
The air on her cheek,
The song rising in her breast—
And she sets it free,
A long, pure note
Like the call of some exotic bird,
That she has now become,
Poetry in music,
Music in the air,
Air from the mouth of heaven,
And heaven is in the air.
She is an angel,
No longer of the earth;
She will never fall,
She will never return.


She took one last look at the old man, sweeping low to see his face, and tears were in his eyes and a smile was on his face, and he put up both arms and he waved them frantically back and forth. And she was content, because she knew he was happier. She knew his dream of changing people had happened, even with just himself.


And then she soared up, up, up…and was gone.


And the wingmaker looks up,
Stares into the sun where she disappeared,
Hears her cry of joy,
And knows that she is gone.


And all throughout the village, people cried out and pointed up at the sky as a dark shape obscured the sun, and they shaded their eyes and peered hard through their telescopes or the bottoms of glasses or through their disbelieving eyes. And then they recognized the shape—a human with bird wings, flying through the air!


And they began to think that the wingmaker was not so crazy after all.


And yet, through his tears,
A sweet taste, uplifting his heart:
For he has created

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So let’s start simple: the Multiverse Theory.

I am a scientist so you’ll have to just bear with me okay.

If you’ve played Bioshock Infinite or read The Subtle Knife you know the Multiverse Theory as well as anyone. If not, a summary: there are a million billion other universes interconnected with ours, with their energy and matter folded up into teeny tiny dimensions that we cannot perceive or measure. (“But then how do we even know they exist?” Shut up if you can believe in Santa for ten years you can believe in this for five minutes). You cannot reach these universes by any means we currently have; you could travel billions of lightyears into space and you’d still be in our universe and no nearer to the parallel ones.

These universes follow Shrodinger’s laws (yes, the guy with the cat), and to put it simply, they are created whenever someone makes a choice like flipping a coin. If you flip heads, another world is created where you flipped tails. And that’s how you end up with so goddamn many. You see?

The COMPLICATED version is that Shrodinger’s laws involve electrons, which, like most things involving electricity, can be either “on” or “off”, one or the other. Electrons rotate into one of the two positions, and according to Shrodinger, they are in a quantum state of being BOTH on and off until you observe which it is, collapse the wave function, and force it to be one or the other. He got frustrated with idiots who don’t understand physics and described it thusly: “Imagine you have a cat in a box, and you have a vial of cyanide with a detonator. It has a 50% chance of going off. Before you open the box, you don’t know if you have an alive cat or a dead cat; it is only when you open the box that you know which it is.” From then on he has been known as a cat killer which is unfortunate.

ANYWAY. What does this have to do with writing?

Well, when you write, you build a world. And that world has at least one element of suspension of disbelief. For example, if you had to describe your world, you’d say “everything’s the same, BUT___”

And USUALLY that “but” is “everything isn’t the same at all it’s a completely different world”. But sometimes it’s as simple as “demons are real” (City of Bones) or “the Catholic Church never lost its influence” (Golden Compass) or “This very specific God is the right one” (The Bible, the Torah, the Qaran, etc) “this thing that could have happened but probably didn’t actually happened” (any book about anything that maybe could have happened but was still fictionalized, like Maniac Magee or Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda or Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist or any of thousands of other books.

In worldbuilding, it is EXTREMELY important to know your elements of suspension of disbelief. The reader is very good at absorbing these elements without even noticing and will hold you to them. But it is up to you to understand the full ramifications of these elements and keep things consistent.

Let’s use a classic example: Narnia. In those books, the element is “there is another world hidden in a closet and some children climbed in and got lost”. Okay, cool. But could anyone enter, or just them? (Anyone). Could they get in through any closet, or just that one? (Just that one). What makes the closet so special? (It was made from wood from that universe instead of ours).

This can be a lot harder than it looks. I’m working on a series right now where the main turning point from our world is that when people started switching over to monotheism, they believed that God was a woman instead of a man. So what would that effect? They can’t say “oh my God” anymore, they have to say “oh my Goddess”, right? And what about the men/women power balance? Would women be considered more powerful? Would there be male priests anymore? Whether the answer is “yes” or “no”, I have to justify it. I have to build lore. I have to understand how everything works. I may not have to explain it to my readers, but I do have to explain it to myself in order to make sure that everything is consistent.

Everyone says the nice thing about fantasy is that you can do whatever you want. Well, spoiler alert: you can’t. If people want “magic and coolness and shit just for the sake of being cool”, they will play Pokemon or something, I don’t know. People read fantasy for the world and the characters. And the characters ARE the world, and the world is what MAKES the characters. So building a solid, believable world is very important!

If you ever need examples of how to do this right, check out the following books:

Lord of the Rings series

Wheel of Time Series

His Dark Materials Series (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass)

Harry mothafuckin’ Potter

Pick up any Neil Gaiman book and see how he does it because his worlds are all different but he’s a fantastic architect.

Game of Thrones I guess

Seriously, if you want to see how to do this in the extreme–with EVERY DETAIL of EVERY SENTENCE conforming to that world, and with so many unique details that suck you deeper in–read Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. They don’t believe in any gods in the traditional sense, but have a complicated belief system involving Light versus Dark in a very literal sense, as well as Time as a spinning wheel that blends all the threads of human life together to make a pattern beyond mortal understanding. It’s REALLY COOL, REALLY COMPLICATED, and it would be super weird and boring for him to just sit there and explain it all to you, so he doesn’t. He just tells the story and has the characters live and breathe and speak their belief systems in the same way we do ours. Instead of curse words based on our own belief of hell, for example, they curse based on the Darkness and the Wheel. They use absolutely NO idioms or similes from our world (not even “we’re in over our heads” or “like a fox in the hen house”); instead they have their own, and it varies wildly depending on what region they live in. They have a completely different view of history than we do; they believe that they’ll be reincarnated in a new Age, and then a new one after that, and they’ll remember a tiny bit each time, but the world in general will slowly completely forget each Age as each new one comes to be. Does this sound like the sort of thing you study in a class about another culture that you’ll forget immediately? WELL TOO BAD because he doesn’t LET you forget it. You’re in their world and you follow their rules and it’s fucking fantastic.

Don’t even get me started on his magic system. It’s beautiful and complex and absolutely flawless. God I love that man so much.


As a writer it’s your job to make sure you don’t take life for granted. Be aware of every device you use – every bit of slang, every idiom, every simile, the origin of every word. Know which words are Latin or Greek (or look it up). For example, what is the proper plural of “octopus”? It’s a Greek word in origin, so should it be “octopodes”? Or since it was adopted into English at a time when people were still deciding the rules and it was decided that “octopus” would follow Latin rules, should it be “octopi”? Or since it was adopted into English at all, should it be “octopuses”? It can be either one! They’re all correct! But if you build a world where Ancient Greece took over Ancient Rome, and nobody ever really spoke Latin, then you can’t use “octopi” anymore, you see?

So pay attention to what you do and say. Make it your job to find out why. And then fold all that knowledge into your writing. And that is Lesson 1 of Building a Whole Motherfuckin’ World.

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REVIEW: The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

So Imma have a lot to say about this series in general, but we can take it book by book. Follow me on instagram @theorphanscode if you want to see my Readalong for City of Bones.

Book One: City of Bones

“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…”

Okay so this book was a pretty light and fun read from the start and I’d heard a lot of good things about it, but it was really irritating at first because Clare just isn’t that great a writer. She was clearly going for a certain vibe with Jace, Alec, and Isabelle, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; Clary and Simon, on the other hand, were pretty well-done from the beginning. I think she was trying too hard to make Jace aloof and sexy and mysterious but then he would randomly break out of character and not be an asshole and I honestly hated him until like page 300.

The interesting part is that basically the second I started liking Jace I started hating Clary. I don’t really hate her now but I do find her deeply disappointing. She’s just so USELESS until like book 5 and her stupid obsession with Jace screws everyone over so much and I just agh. Clary. Get your shit together.

Anyway there’s this scene where she and Jace flirt super hard in a rooftop garden and round about there I became kind of addicted to this book and bought the whole series immediately (I later regretted this for reasons you’ll see later). And then suddenly I loved Jace and wanted him to be my boyfriend. I’m way too old for that shit but here we are.

So the plot kind of rambled all over the place and then ended TERRIBLY and I was SO DISAPPOINTED and it was obviously not going to be a standalone. So on with the next book…

City of Ashes

Does anyone know what the fucking deal is with the titles BTW? Because none of them make sense except City of Glass. The whole fucking series takes place in either New York or Alicante and I just agh. Where are the bones in the city of bones? Where are the ashes in this one? It seems so forced.

Anyway if you don’t want any spoilers stop here.

Soooo. This book starts off with Jace and Clary being super awkward around each other because they just learned they’re brother and sister. There’s a lot of weird tension where Jace is into Clary and Clary is squicked out and then Simon gets turned into a vampire and Valentine is conjuring a fuckton of demons and Clary develops a new weird power and it was a lot going on and honestly it was one of my favorites in the series. Couldn’t tell you why, it was just good. It ends with Valentine suffering a minor setback but still owning 2/3 Mortal Instruments, with Clary deciding to tell Jace she loves him even if they’re siblings (ew) and with Jace preempting this by telling her he’ll finally respect her wishes to be just her brother, and of course she’s crushed. It’s a little annoying how the whole series revolves around their romance instead of all the MONSTER KILLING AND DEMON WARS, but at least it isn’t as bad as Twilight. I just wish they’d bang and shut the fuck up about it.

City of Glass

This one was BY FAR my favorite in the entire series.

There’s a super important meeting in Shadowhunter Land (Alicante) and the entire crew minus Simon is planning to go, but then Jace tries to manipulate Clary into staying home so she’s safe (barf) and Simon ends up going instead and getting arrested or something and Clary turns up and loses her mother’s stele and we never hear about it again because steles are apparently interchangeable not like wands in Harry Potter so idk why they even bother it’s basically a pen to them.


A lot of shit happens and then a lot more shit happens but let’s talk about the end, shall we? Maybe about the part where, oh, I don’t know, CLARY HAS THE CHANCE TO PICK ANYTHING SHE WANTS AND SHE BRINGS JACE BACK FROM THE FUCKING DEAD. NOT MAX. NOT EVERYBODY. JUST JACE. She could have had A N Y T H I N G aagh I’m still pissed off about it. Why couldn’t the Angel have just raised Jace and been like we’re even kthxbai I mean that sounds Angely enough to me and then Clary wouldn’t have had the chance to be such a COLLOSAL FUCKING IDIOT. I mean come on Clary. It’s MAX. HE WAS MY FAVORITE IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

And then she and Jace still don’t bang.

It broke my frozen icy lil heart into tiny pieces and I just loved it but at the end I was so mad at Clary I can’t even tell you.

This really isn’t the point of a review is it? I should be discussing the storytelling or whatever. Well this should be a good indication that I was super into it.


Let’s pause for a moment.

VERDICT: 4.5/5 stars for books 1-3…but I recommend stopping here. The next three will only bum you out.

City of Fallen Angels

This book is like 90% dumb teenage drama and I hated it so much. Simon struggles to juggle two hot girlfriends, there’s some weird mystery crap with the new lead singer in his band, and meanwhile Clary isn’t doing much in particular and Jace is avoiding Clary and avoiding sleep because he keeps having nightmares where he murders her. And of course he tells nobody about this so bad things end up happening basically BECAUSE he was avoiding her and it’s all just a huge pain in my ass. I do really love Jace in this book though, he’s being a little bitch but he’s always sleepy and skinny and he has so many weird little quirks and I wanted to hug him.

Meanwhile Valentine’s dead but there’s a bunch of vampire drama and you’re like “great this is becoming a story about Simon and the fucking vampires and I hate them” and then Lilith pops up and you’re like “oh she’s the new baddie ok she’s like a princess of hell so that’s big” but then at the last second SUDDENLY, SEBASTIAN. And even though Sebastian is the stupidest fucking name ever for a villain there he is. Lilith just turns to salt and is scattered to the ages but conveniently isn’t dead but also conveniently isn’t very useful for anything at all and somehow Sebastian, the biggest dick in the universe, is a bigger threat.

Anyway he kidnaps Jace and then begins the next book.

City of Lost Souls

Jace is missing but obviously he won’t be missing for long and sure enough about 5 chapters in he shows up brainwashed and having a weird bromance with Sebastian and somehow Clary isn’t as scared of Sebastian as she really should be. Jace is basically in love with Sebastian and is chill in a way he’s never been chill with any other person before ever and Clary lets them kidnap her so she can save him but then she’s like “wait he seems happy maybe he doesn’t need saving” but then of course he does because he’s being brainwashed and Clary is a fucking idiot and she’s actually having fun with that prick Sebastian for awhile like he never did anything wrong and yet weirdly it kind of makes sense when you read it. Like you kind of WANT Sebastian to be a normal dude who has the potential to do good things. But then he proves himself a creep like ten times in a row and there’s a battle or something and Jace gets stabbed, again, and it was actually kind of heartbreaking but of course he lived because he’s fucking Jace and there’s a whole other thick ass book to go.

PS it ends with Jace saying he can’t really touch Clary anymore and sex is off the table and I about screamed out of pure frustration.

City of Heavenly Fire

There is no city of heavenly fire, just so you know. She should have just called the book Heavenly Fire but then that symmetry wouldn’t be there and apparently that’s unforgivable. Ugh.

This book was great except for two big points: Emma, and the ending.

Emma Carstairs is in the prologue and keeps popping up as almost a main character, and there’s really no point to her being there at all, she just kind of is. But then her story ended on a cliffhanger or whatever and I read the synopsis for Lady Midnight and I realized: Clare wanted to shoehorn her in there and make this Emma’s origin story or whatever so we’d be attached to her and have to read the Dark Artifices series. Which, fuck you lady, she ruined the goddamn story with it I swear to God.

Other than that the book was fantastic. Adventures in demon land, faerie betrayal, Death Eaters, Sebastian on a rampage, Alec and Magnus broke up and then Magnus got kidnapped, Jordan died (devastating), Maia became pack leader, just a whole bunch of cool shit. Another Alicante battle which because fucking Emma ruined it just wasn’t as good (the MCs were off doing other shit anyway). Simon and Isabelle dated hard. Oh and did I mention CLARY AND JACE FINALLY BANGED omg that was fucking painful why are these books so repressive??? Do people really think teenagers aren’t having sex at every fucking opportunity? Am I wrong? It just pisses me off that Alec is the only one getting laid, does she think gay people are just sluttier than straight people or something, or is it because they’re underage? It makes no sense to me.

Aaaaand then came the ending. It was kind of like the ending to Breath of the Wild…you spend all that time fucking getting there, and then once you finally get to the boss, it’s a letdown. Sebastian died way too easy. I was never once surprised by Clary’s supposed betrayal. Jace had absolutely nothing to do. The skeptron thing was pointless and dumb. Most of the crew spent their time running around rescuing prisoners and apparently being in danger (I wasn’t really feeling it) instead of actually doing shit. And then SEBASTIAN TOOK LIKE FIFTEEN MINUTES TO FUCKING DIE. HE GAVE A HUGE ASS MONOLOGUE. I HATE THAT. And of course he was no longer evil for all that time which was supposed to make you feel sorry for him but I just didn’t, I was so done by this time. SO. DONE.

And then there was all this long ass drama with Magnus and Simon and taking Simon’s immortality was kind of brilliant but then there was all the drama with his memories and I knew they weren’t gonna leave it that way so I don’t know why they bothered but if they’d spent even a little time on it I bet it would have been good but it just wasn’t. So predictable. And then she squeezed in some more characters from another series she’s pimping out (Tessa Gray and what’s his face, Jem maybe? IDK) and they were slightly more bearable but I’m still pissed off it’s all just a big money grab to them isn’t it?

Also I think she was an only child because her opinions on siblings and romance are really squicky. And she’s DEFINITELY SUPER CHRISTIAN because it leaks through EVERYWHERE but it actually wasn’t as bad as it could have been, I guess, but seriously though if Shadowhunters really don’t follow one set religion then maybe include some other mythology in there bitch. Be multicultural for once in your life.

Oh and speaking of there was one clearly autistic kid, one important black character (actually she was just half black), one Asian shoehorned in at the last minute (Magnus), and just white people everywhere basically. But whatever it’s not like it’s 2018 or anything.

I don’t know guys. I just expected so much better. Does anyone want my copies of the last three books?

VERDICT: 3/5 for a second it seemed like it might not be a waste of my life but then I was mistaken. Boo.

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REVIEW: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

“Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”

Okay so I heard about this book and I figured it was just a Cinderella retelling, boring stuff, who cares. But then I got it from the library and I saw the cover. LOOK AT IT. LOOK AT THAT CRAZINESS. WHY IS THERE A ROBOT FOOT. I had to know. And the book starts with Cinder actually removing her robot foot and replacing it. Which is SO COOL! I loved it from the first line.

This IS a Cinderella retelling, sort of, but nothing like I’ve ever seen before. It’s set in Beijing, China 200 years in the future. Everybody has ID chips and hovercars. Cinder is a cyborg and her best friend is an android. Snow White’s Evil Queen is there, but she’s the Queen of the motherfuckin’ Moon and her thing is brainwashing people into thinking she’s super beautiful. Rapunzel is there, but her name is Cress and she’s a computer hacker. I think Red Riding Hood is going to make an appearance.

And Prince Charming is…REALLY fucking charming. His name is Kai and I love him. He’s sweet and adorable and incredibly suave and he’s my precious lil cinnamon roll and I need him to be happy forever please and thank you.

The book starts without a whole lot of conflict – Cinder is a mechanic, and the prince visits her stall in the market to see if she can fix a robot. Pretty cool, but kind of tame. But then there’s an outbreak of leutimosis (I am definitely spelling that wrong) in the market, and after Cinder goes home that night, her stepsister (the one she actually likes) catches it too. Her stepmother blames her and volunteers her for leutimosis testing in the palace science lab. Things kind of snowball from there and Cinder gets caught up in a Lunar plot against the Commonwealth and she and Kai flirt really hard and then shit goes south and then it goes south again, and then there’s a sequel and it ended on a cliffhanger and I’m very upset.

And somehow, inexplicably, I was completely hooked from the first page and couldn’t put it down. I have no idea how she did that but I’m annoyed and jealous and amazed at the same time. And I went and got Scarlet pretty much immediately so we’ll see how that goes.

VERDICT: 5/5 and HIGHLY recommend!

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NEW AUTHORS: The glow of an eternal flame by Robbie Haig

As you know, sometimes I like to find books with no reviews on Amazon and leave reviews of my own. Some of them are truly terrible, and this is one of them.

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST this was unreadable.

The first paragraph was a page-and-a-half long description of the character’s features, especially her eyes. Her name is Andalasia or something ridiculous like that. It’s her first day of high school and….at this point I zoned out and flipped forward. And it was like fifty more pages of high school drama that I didn’t care about before I just gave up.


IDK what the eternal flame is all about and I don’t care. I’m done. I’m so done. 3000%.

VERDICT: 1/5 stars.

(Note: 0 stars would be a book by an author that can’t even cobble together a proper sentence, or be bothered to write a synopsis or make a cover. I don’t really bother with those).

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NEW AUTHORS: Bitten by RS Beck

I am starting a new series where I find books with no reviews on Amazon and read them and leave a review. Although I have yet to decide whether I want to leave one star reviews on any of these – that just seems mean.

Today’s book is Bitten: A Gay Urban Fantasy Novel. When you think “gay urban fantasy novel about a cop and vampires”, you conjure a certain image in your head of what you might get…and this is exactly it. It’s pretty fast-paced and sexy, surprisingly readable, and the author clearly did his research. The MC is likable enough. It’s just not really anything special.

I ran through this book in about an hour. If it’s your thing, you’ll probably like it (if you like cop dramas, vampire hunts, gay romance novels, or any combination thereof). Do I recommend it? Not really – my overall opinion is “meh.”

VERDICT: 3/5 Stars

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Why I hate Microsoft Word

Who wants to hear about my vendetta with Word? TOO BAD WE’RE DOING IT ANYWAY.

So I started writing in…let’s see… 2003? I was 11. I loved to read, and one day I pulled up a Word document and started to type. The rest is very dull writing history, but the important bit is that by the time I graduated high school, I had THOUSANDS of pages of Word documents saved onto my computer. I never throw anything away, especially if it’s digital.

My works went with me to college. I transferred them from laptop to laptop. But then, there came Windows 8. The creepy uncle of operating systems. I needed a new laptop, and they didn’t make PCs with any other OS, and I wasn’t footing the bill. So I made it work. I reformatted the hell out of that thing until it worked exactly how I wanted. But Windows 8 still gave me more hell than Vista ever did. (If you’re not a techy person, sorry about all this).

So when Windows 10 came out, for free, I immediately wanted to swap over. I heard everyone else had some success with it so why not? My C drive wasn’t going anywhere. So I updated.

And when I rebooted my laptop, EVERYTHING WAS GONE.

The programs and stuff were NBD. I pirated them all and could pirate them again. But Word was gone. And all my files. All my pictures. ALL MY BOOKS. If I had amassed thousands of pages up until 2010, imagine how many I had in 2015. I’d tripled my collection of written works and completed three separate novels, all of it saved on my computer.

Naturally I was devastated, and the first thing I did was call Windows Support and shriek in a high-pitched harpy voice at a customer service rep. But I was convinced that all of that was gone forever. That this would be a Jace Wayland moment of I cried all night, and then I never cried again. I was out of my damn mind with grief. I only posted a small fraction of my works online, and a lot of them had been taken down to avoid copyright/publishing issues.

I did end up getting it back. My computer rebooted with the old OS loaded and all the data intact. But I had trust issues. I was fed up with half-assed operating systems and poor customer service. Windows had lost my trust forever.

So I switched to a Mac. And let me tell you, as a lifelong PC fan, avid gamer, and skilled virus remover, I was reluctant. I’d always hated using the school Macs, and nothing ever worked right. But my boyfriend (now my husband) swore by it, so I tried it. I got a Macbook Pro, the biggest one I could find (if I want a tiny screen I can use my phone, laptops are meant to replace desktop computers and I stand by this) refurbished, from the Apple site, for about $850.


But it turned out that my PC was not my biggest problem. It was Word. I’d been struggling with it for the past decade and a half and the struggles continued even after pirating Office for my new laptop. (Pirating is basically just as easy on a Mac btw, if anyone was wondering. Some games just won’t work is all). My main problem? Word introduced this feature called Autosave at some point during my high school years, and it kept insisting that this feature still existed. But every time anything happened ever, including my computer just hibernating, Word would crash and close itself and even though I told it to autosave EVERY TWO MINUTES, it wouldn’t save my work. Often it wouldn’t save my work even if I manually saved it. And when I tried to save, it would often crash completely. I lost SO MUCH WORK THAT WAY. I like to think it was for the best but damn what a waste of hours of my life.

This story ends like many others: I had a problem that I had dealt with for decades by beating my head against the wall, and then my boyfriend made a suggestion that fixed it in two seconds. This happens SO OFTEN. I like to think I do the same for him, but I honestly don’t know – he just has a brain like an encyclopedia and he remembers everything he’s ever read on the internet. This time, the suggestion was to use Google Docs. I was hesitant, but I gave it a shot – and lo and behold, Google Docs is basically exactly the same as Word. I’m about as proficient in Word as anybody can be, so I did notice some differences, and Word does do some things better. But as far as simple usability? Google Docs all the way. It saves every two seconds or so, it is easily sharable, it updates in real time, it has the same formatting tools (more or less) as Word, and it just WORKS. Much like the Mac, it might not have as many options, but it works seamlessly every time.

I can’t recommend Macs to everyone because not everyone can afford them. But I do recommend Google Docs to EVERYBODY. Seriously, don’t bother with anything Microsoft ever again. Playstation, Google Docs, and Macs FTW.

*Note: this post is not in any way sponsored by Apple, Google, or Sony. God, I wish.)

Thanks for listening to me ramble (if you got this far, which if you didn’t, I get it).