Book Review: Lord of Shadows (Spoiler-Free)

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Synopsis:

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: There will be spoilers about Lady Midnight in this post. Read at your own risk!*

I have been waiting for this book for what feels like the longest time and, unlike some other highly anticipated releases, Lord of Shadows did not disappoint me. I don’t even know where to begin.

Let’s start with that cliffhanger in Lady Midnight. I went into this novel expecting and Mark-Emma-Julian love triangle and that didn’t really happen in the way that I thought it would. I expected a bit more angst and instead it was kind of easily resolved, though I promise you there’s still plenty of conflict and romantic angst if you’re into that kind of thing, which I totally am.

In fact, the ships that kind of start off this book get upended pretty quickly, which I found interesting and fun. It kept things interesting and I never felt annoyed because, to me at least, there never seemed to a real love triangle. What I mean is, you can pretty much guess who everyone’s going to end up with and even if the characters themselves don’t.

Plus, I really liked how everyone loves each other. For example, Emma and Mark become really close and I liked their friendship. I also love how much Julian loves his siblings, as was evident in the first novel, but especially how he’s willing to swallow his feelings for Emma if it means she and Mark are happy together. It’s nice that not only are the Blackthorns so close but they’re family also includes Emma, Cristina, and even Kit now.

This book wasn’t just about the relationships, however, though I thought they were great. There’s various plots going on that kept be very engaged throughout the book. First of all, this book brought a lot of new characters, mainly in the form of the Centurions. These people are like the elite Shadowhunters. They train at a special school called the Scholomance. They’re also incredibly annoying, especially their quasi leader Zara.

Someone on Tumblr referred to Zara as the Dolores Umbridge of the Shadowhunter world. I saw her more as Tomi Lahren but either way, she’s literally the worst. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say she’s very annoying and her ideas about Shadowhunters and Downworlders are so outrageous. She, and the people that hold her same ideals, call themselves the Cohorts and honestly, it gave me serious Trump supporters vibes. At one point I think Kit even refers to them as fascists. This book got real political and I kind of loved it.

Besides that though, there was also a lot of other stuff going on, mainly with the hot mess Malcolm laid the foundation for in Lady Midnight. Everyone wants their hands on the Black Volume of the Dead, which Malcolm used to raise the dead previously, and, of course ,every one wants it for different reasons and for their own agendas. There are also some other problems brewing that get revealed throughout the novel.

I’d also like to point out the incredible LGBTQ representation in this novel. II thought Clare did an incredible job with it. She hits almost every part of the spectrum in this novel in such an organic way that while I was surprised by some things it still felt authentic, again unlike some other books I’ve read recently.

There was also such incredible character growth and development in this novel, not just for the teens like the Blackthorns, Emma, and Cristina, but also for Diana, and I totally loved it. I also really enjoyed the new friendships we got in this novel. The end of Lady Midnight hinted at something between Kit and Ty but I loved that they, along with Livia, became this amazing team. They were so cute together.

I also really liked that we got to see a bit more of Dru. I’d like to see more of her in the third novel but this was a great start into seeing more of her and what life is like for her. She was also great body positivity representation. Seriously, the rep in this book is a 10/10 in my opinion.

Also, there are so many callbacks to The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy. It made me want to reread all the books all over again because of all the references and appearances by some of my faves. This book was such a fan made book and by that I mean if you’ve read every Shadowhunter book and have been a fan for years you will totally love this book. It’ll give you all the feels, honestly. Additionally, there’s already tons of theories about what all the callbacks mean and I’ve got a few of my own, which made this book even more fun.

Lastly, I feel like it would be a disservice to my readers if I didn’t warn you that this book will break you. I saw people talk about how they needed tissues and how heartbreaking it was and I was like, “Okay, I’m ready for what Cassie is going to put me through.” But I was not and you won’t be either and that’s all I’m going to say.

If you’ve read Lord of Shadows, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below and if you haven’t read this book yet, what are you waiting for?

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“When a decision like that is made by a government, it emboldens those who are already prejudiced to speak their deepest thoughts of hate. They assume they are simply brave enough to say what everyone really thinks.”

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Book Review: Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy

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Synopsis:

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. The events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. At least Simon’s trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. Written by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, these moving and hilarious short stories are perfect for the fan who just can’t get enough of the Shadowhunters.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Synopsis

Although I knew the stories in this book took place before Lady Midnight I wasn’t a dedicated enough fan to buy each digital short story so I was very happy when this book came out. Of course, once it did come out I took forever to finally get around to reading it but I’m incredibly glad I picked it up before reading Lord of Shadows because there’s a few references in there from Tales that are way more interesting to read if you’ve read Tales.

Now to my actual review. I loved this book. It was so great to be back in the Shadowhunter world and to see another aspect of it. I was really interested in the Shadowhunter Academy and seeing how Shadowhunters’ prejudices against Downworlders and Mundanes were so strong. It’s so upsetting, honestly.

The Mundanes that attend the academy were called “Dregs,” which was so incredibly rude. What I loved about these stories was seeing things from Simon’s perspective. Simon went from being a mundane to a rat (briefly) to a vampire to a mundane again before learning his memories were taken by a demon and going to the academy.

Essentially, Simon has a very interesting world view. Naturally, he doesn’t like how the Mundanes are treated at the academy and he sticks up for them and stands up against the Shadowhunters, which was just a constant reminder of why I always loved Simon. Also, he’s just as nerdy as he always has been. I loved his references to Mundane culture and how the Shadowhunters didn’t get them at all. I thought that was incredibly funny. Additionally, I also loved the other characters especially George, Jon, Caterina, and Marisol.

I also liked how these stories gave perspective into some of my other favorite characters. “Born to Endless Night” was in the point of view of Magnus when he goes to the school with Alec and that story was so incredibly cute and perfect for my Malec shipper heart.

In “The Evil We Love,” we get to learn more about Robert Lightwood’s history with Valentine, which was really interesting and didn’t make me sympathetic towards him but definitely made me understand him more.

My favorite story was definitely “Nothing but Shadows,” though. The Infernal Devices are my favorites out of all the Shadowhunter books so getting to see Tessa, Jem, and Will again was great but I also loved getting to know Will and Tessa’s son James. He attends the Academy and goes through a rough time at first, similar to what Simon was going through when he first went to the Academy. I also loved getting to know the kids of my other favorite ships in TID. They were all interesting and funny in their own ways.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were definitely some stories that I felt were a bit slower than others but the ones that were good were really good and made up for any slack in the other stories. I definitely recommend reading this book if you love the Shadowhunter series. It’s kind of essential, anyway.

Also, my giveaway is still going on, so if you haven’t entered yet you can enter here!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“You are a flame that cannot be put out. You are the star that cannot be lost. You are who you have always been, and that is enough and more than enough.”

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Theresa “Tessa” Gray

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Tessa is amazing. She loves to read, adventure, and is insanely loyal, even when she probably shouldn’t be. She cares about her family to a fault and looks for the good in people.

Of course, she’s also beautiful, because what heroine isn’t? But I really like the fact that she loves to read. I love reading about characters who also love to read. It’s kind of meta but also fun to see them fangirl over a book while you’re in the middle of fangirling over a book. It was also interesting to see her love books during the 19th century, books that to me are considered classics and truthfully, not something I’d read voluntarily.

She made me want to do a book challenge of books Tessa Gray has read. Maybe I will one day.

The point is Tessa is great. She has this quick wit that makes her conversations with the infamous Will Herondale very funny to read and her kindness and love for Jem is heartbreakingly beautiful.

If you haven’t read The Infernal Devices trilogy yet, make sure you do. They’re a great read.

Favorite Moment:

“They’re not hideous,” said Tessa.
Will blinked at her. “What?”
“Gideon and Gabriel,” said Tessa. “They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all.”
“I spoke,” said Will, in sepulchral tones, “of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls.”
Tessa snorted. “And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale?”
“Mauve,” said Will.

Dreamcast: Anna Popplewell

Man Crush Monday: William “Will” Owen Herondale

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The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare involves one of the most interesting love triangles I’ve ever read. That being said, although I truly love Jem I also really love Will and I believe we’re supposed to love them both just as protagonist Tessa Gray does.

Therefore I had to dedicate a Man Crush Monday to Will. He’s incredibly handsome with his jet black hair and blue eyes. More than that, he’s got that complicated, bad boy, dark past that makes him incredibly irresistible even though it totally shouldn’t.

When we’re first introduced to Will he’s adventurous and snarky, pushing away the people that love him because he feels he has to. The only person he lets love him is Jem and their friendship is amazing. They’re parabatai, which in the Shadowhunter world means they’ve taken an oath to protect and look out each other for the rest of their lives. It’s kind of like they got married but they’re like brothers, not husband and wife.

Anyway, I honestly think I loved Jem and Will’s relationship more than Tessa and Will’s relationship because the bond between Jem and Will was just so strong. I won’t spoil it but they’re friendship goals to the max.

But back to Will as a person. He’s really funny, loves books (a man truly after my own heart), and he’s weirdly afraid of ducks. Oh, and did I mention he’s very attractive. Because he his. Even Magnus can’t keep his eyes off him.

Honestly, if you haven’t read The Infernal Devices trilogy yet please do so immediately. Even if you don’t like The Mortal Instruments still read this prequel series. I think it could stand on it’s own and I liked it better than The Mortal Instruments anyway. Although Alec and Magnus are still my OTP so you do miss out on that. Seriously though, read these books!

Swoonworthy Line:

“Of course you can have a true Shadowhunter name. You can have mine.”

Dreamcast: Joshua Anthony Brand

Book Review: Clockwork Princess

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Synopsis from Amazon:

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Will and Jem, will do anything to save her. As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

The tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge.*

This was book was everything I needed and more. It concluded the trilogy perfectly and even though I knew how it would end there were still some things that took me by surprise.

This novel starts off a few months after Clockwork Prince. We begin with Tessa preparing for her wedding to Jem and Charlotte being forced to convince her superiors (mainly the Consul) that she’s not only capable of doing her job but that she’s right about Mortmain and his plans (although he has been MIA for a while).

Of course, as a woman in the 19th Century, Charlotte is being constantly underestimated so this causes many problems. Meanwhile, Will and Tessa are still dealing with their feelings for each other by basically not dealing with them at all.

What I really loved about this novel, though, was the major appearance of the Lightwoods. Gabriel and Gideon took more of a center stage in this novel, as did their love interests, which I really like. I also find it interesting learning more about Izzy and Alec’s ancestors and I’m curious to find out if they’re descendants of Gabriel or Gideon.

All in all, just like every other book Cassandra Clare has written, this novel was filled with fight scenes, lots of love, the same old love triangle, and a magical world that us mundanes could never truly understand.

My only issue, and I had this issue with the first two books, is as much as I love Jem personally it always felt like Tessa really loved Will and she felt more of a kindness to Jem. For example, her scenes with Will always seemed more passionate and intense, like she literally keep herself from loving him. Whereas with Jem she loved that he was kind and sweet but there was no scorching hot passion there. He didn’t make her heart race.

Still, overall, I really enjoyed this book. Truly, I don’t know how Clare continues to expand and stretch this world she’s created but I hope she never leaves it because I’m always excited to learn more about these Shadowhunters and my favorite warlock, Magnus.

Also, be sure to check out the extra epilogue to Clockwork Princess on Clare’s Tumblr page. If you’re a Jem fan like I am, you’ll love it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Of course you can have a true Shadowhunter name.You can have mine.”

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Man Crush Monday: James “Jem” Carstairs

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Well it has been a while since I did one of these but I’m so happy to bring back Man Crush Mondays. If there’s any hot (literary) guys you want to see in the rotation let me know in the comments. For today, however, my Man Crush Monday is none other than Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices.

When it comes to The Infernal Devices a lot of people swoon over Will Herondale. And yes he’s cute and brooding and blah blah blah but let’s be real, Jem is the real catch here.

Jem is sweet, kind, a little shy, and a gentleman. He takes everything in stride and it’s really hard to make him angry. If you somehow piss off Jem you know you messed up real bad.

Moreover, he’s also cute. His “disease” gives him silver hair and eyes but they work really well on him. Plus, he’s just so gentle and you know he’ll never hurt you and do everything he can to take care of you.

Seriously, Jem is the best in every way. He’s also a little funny and he can play the violin beautifully. Plus, being a Shadowhunter he’s a skilled fighter and he’s strong.

Jem is the whole package and I’ll be on Team Jem always. The end.

“I can offer you my life, but it is a short life; I can offer you my heart, though I have no idea how many more beats it shall sustain. But I love you enough to hope that you will not care that I am being selfish in trying to make the rest of my life – whatever length – happy, by spending it with you.”

Book Review: Clockwork Prince

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Synopsis from Amazon.com:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

*Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read Clockwork Angel yet don’t read this review.*

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. There was betrayal, a love triangle, action, surprises, and so much more. I loved it. Honestly, I don’t even know what else to say.

At the start of this novel Benedick Benedict Lightwood (who I still can’t believe is Izzy and Alec’s ancestor but I digress) attempts to take the London Institute from Charlotte. The Consul isn’t having it so instead he tasks Charlotte with finding the Magister (Mortmain) in two weeks or else she’ll lose the Institute.

Well, that’s easier said than done when their only connection to Mortmain was Tessa’s brother, Nate, who’s disappeared. Meanwhile, Lightwood’s sons, Gideon and Gabriel, are sent to the Institute to train Tessa and Sophie, which only stresses out Charlotte more.

I really felt for Charlotte in this novel. I find her relationship with Henry interesting and I swear if anything happens to them in the next book I will raise hell.

Just kidding. Maybe.

I also fell in love with Jem Carstairs. I was already starting to fall in love him in the first novel but this book pushed me over the edge. He’s so sweet and kind and I just want him to live forever and protect him from all harm. Obviously I know that’s not possible but still. Almost all his lines hit me in the feels.

One thing, or rather person, that did bother me in this book was Tessa. I get that there’s a love triangle but I think she needed to be honest with Will and Jem about it instead acting as if she loved just the one and not both. If she breaks Jem’s hurt in the next book I’ll be pissed.

But besides that, great novel!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!!!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“I can offer you my life, but it is a short life; I can offer you my heart, though I have no idea how many more beats it shall sustain. But I love you enough to hope that you will not care that I am being selfish in trying to make the rest of my life – whatever length – happy, by spending it with you.”

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