Cassandra Clare's books.
Yes, I do love them. I haven't mentioned them much on the blog before now, mostly because if you like YA you're probably already very familiar with her books. But I just read Clockwork Angel, and I can't help myself: I'm going to gush a bit.
So here are my top five reasons for loving these books:
1. The world. It's so easy to get lost in. It feels very natural while being so wonderfully supernatural. The lives, the cultures and the habits of the Shadowhunters make so much sense in context. The rules of the world (the way magic works and the roles of the various types of beings) are consistent, but with enough room for new developments to make for interesting twists. It's just fabulous world-building all around.
2. The characters. A lot of books have good characters. All the books I love certainly do. Truly memorable characters, though, are a little more rare. And yet, Cassandra Clare's books are loaded with them. I come away from her stories with the feeling of having spent time in the presence of actual people, and I know they'll stick with me for a long time after.
3. The romance. And all those wonderful characters have pretty exciting romances as well. There's a good reason thousands of girls find themselves half in love with Jace or Will—they are irresistible to their romantic counterparts, plus they have the tough guy exterior to hide their internal vulnerability. But what Cassandra Clare is really good at is drawing out the “will they or won't they” and leaving the reader desperate to see how the relationships progress.
4. The fact that I finally understand Steampunk now. I'd read a few other Steampunk books, but I had never connected to the characters in those books and thus hadn't really felt like I “got” the genre. Now thanks to Clockwork Angel, I can finally understand the draw.
5. The pacing. What a thrill! These books are so hard to put down. The plots work, and they take the reader on such unforgettable rides. The stories are a delightful blend of action, world-building and character-building. They're the sort of books I wish would never end.
How about you? Read anything you just couldn't put down lately?