Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release date: May 23, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 699
Goodreads || Book Depository

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

MY THOUGHTS

Lord of Shadows is the second book in The Dark Artifices series, which means that this review may contain spoilers if you haven’t read Lady Midnight… or the other 8 books that came before this series.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Cassie Clare book but I was surprised by how quickly I got back into the world. I didn’t really need to be reminded of any details from the other books, which I think is a huge testament to how great of a writer Cassie is. But this book absolutely broke me. The last 50 pages or so of the book were so intense and devastating and I don’t really know how I’m going to recover from it. Couple that with the fact that the third book of the series isn’t going to be out until 2019… I honestly don’t know how I’m going to survive. Having said that, I’m really excited to read about James Herondale’s story (and to maybe see more of Will and Jem) so I’m not that mad that the first book of The Last Hours is coming out next year instead.

It’s a little bit hard to describe the plot of this book because there’s so much that happens in this massive tome! The story picks up a little bit after the events in Lady Midnight. There is suddenly a large presence of sea demons in Los Angeles and it seems like it might be connected with the fact that Malcolm Fade’s body and the Black Volume are still somewhere in the sea. An army of Centurions from the Scholomance are sent to the Los Angeles Institute to recover Malcolm’s body and the Black Volume and the Blackthorns are not happy with the appearance of these strangers that could disrupt their lives and uncover their secrets. As it turns out, they had a right to be antsy because some of the Centurions have ulterior motives that threaten the alliance between the nephilim and the Downworlders. On top of that, it seems like everyone is after the Black Volume and the Blackthorns are determined to be the ones that get to it first.

I love, love, loved the plot of this book… besides the cliffhanger at the end that left me literally breathless and crying. It was so action-packed and intense, and I feel like I need to go back and reread the whole thing in order to catch every single last detail. This is a second book in a series done right. It never felt like a filler book but instead had so much information and development that you just know that the third book is going to be EPIC. I have to admit that I finished the book with a ton of questions but it’s exciting to know that they’re all going to be addressed in the final book of the series. I have a bunch of crackpot theories and I’m so, so excited to see how the story ends.

But it wasn’t just the plot that drew me into the book. It was really the characters and the relationships between them that made me fall in love with the novel. We got to see so much more of the younger Blackthorn siblings in this book, particularly Livvy and Ty, who I both loved. I really liked what they brought to the story and that the series was no longer just about Emma and Julian, as much as I love them. I enjoyed the friendship that is beginning to form between Ty and Kit and I absolutely loved how well Kit understood Ty and was there for him when he needed support. I’m interested to see how this relationship develops further in the next book. I also really loved seeing the developing relationships between Mark and Cristina, Kieran and Cristina and I’m super curious about how that weird potential threesome is going to turn out. And of course, I loved seeing more of Emma and Julian’s story.

We got to see a glimpse of Julian’s dark side in Lady Midnight but it was so much more pronounced in Lord of Shadows. I like that his character is a little bit morally grey and that he prioritises his family over everything else. It’s a nice change from Cassie Clare’s other male lead characters who are extremely heroic and pure-hearted for the most part. Emma was also great in this book but I didn’t feel particularly connected with her in this novel because there were so many other fantastic characters who I wanted to get to know. I loved so many of the side characters, including Diana Wrayburn and Gwyn from the Wild Hunt. They were absolutely fantastic and I enjoyed the part that they played in the story. And finally, for fans of the previous Shadowhunter books, Magnus and Alec are in a significant chunk of this book and I really, really enjoyed getting to see them again. As always, I enjoyed the diversity in these books and I was really happy to see the inclusion of a transgender character in this novel too.

This is becoming a long review so I’m going to cut myself off here but I have so many more thoughts about the book. I enjoyed it just as much as I did Lady Midnight, though The Infernal Devices still remains my favourite of Cassie’s series. I cannot wait to see how The Dark Artifices ends!

Top 10 Books of 2016

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As of right now, I’ve read 198 books this year (trying to power through 2 more to reach my goal of 200!), so it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to just ten favourites. But there were quite a few clear standouts on my list and here they are. If you would like to see other lists of my favourites from this year, I posted my top ten contemporary reads of 2016 on Happy Indulgence and was also a part of Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts’ 2016 Thinking Awards.

10. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This novel took me completely by surprise. It was a highly anticipated book of mine but I had no idea that I would love it as much as I did. This book is set in Alaska in the 1970s and follows four different perspectives. I thought the writing was absolutely beautiful and there was a wonderful balance in themes. I also especially loved how the four perspectives came together and how seamlessly the book tied it all together.

9. Corruption by Jessica Shirvington

Corruption is the sequel to Disruption by Jessica Shirvington. While I really loved the first book in this Aussie YA duology, it was this sequel that completely took my breath away. It was packed full of action and omg the romance in this duology is just off the charts good. Maggie and Quentin are my OTP of the year! If you haven’t read this yet, you have to pick it up.

8. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I love the Shadowhunter books and Lady Midnight was no exception. In my opinion, it’s actually one of the better books from Cassie Clare. The Infernal Devices is still my favourite but Lady Midnight definitely surprised me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters when I first read about them as pre-teens in City of Heavenly Fire but I absolutely loved the whole cast of characters (yes, even Perfect Diego)!

7. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Trilogy was one of my favourite series that I read this year and The Winner’s Crime was definitely my favourite of the three books. While I really liked The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Kiss, I just thought that this second book had really great tension and political intrigue.

6. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This book. THIS BOOK. It’s perfect for all fans of magical realism. It had a whimsical and enchanting world and I love Anna-Marie McLemore’s storytelling abilities. The characters were perfection and the themes and messages in the book came across to me so clearly. I thought it was brilliantly executed.

5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

This was my first Ruta Sepetys book and I have no idea why it took me so long to read one of her novels, since I’m a massive fan of WWII historical fiction. What I loved about this book was the research that Ruta Sepetys put into writing her novel. It was obvious from the very first page and I really enjoyed reading about a little-known event in history. This book also transcends time and marketing categories. Even though it’s a YA novel, I can see so many different people appreciating it and loving it.

4. Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

This was one of my most anticipated sequels of this year after I read Wolf by Wolf earlier in the year and it didn’t disappoint at all. There was so much action and the plot twists were almost heart-stopping. There were a few plot points that I didn’t like (not because they were bad but because they hurt my heart) but this book definitely gets all the stars from me.

3. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is probably one of the books that I raved about the most this year. I highly, highly enjoyed this Romeo and Juliet-inspired story and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months and months. In fact, I’m still thinking about it. I enjoyed it so much when I read it that I couldn’t bring myself to write a review for it. It’s absolutely beautiful and has a romance that had my heart out of control.

2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

This is my favourite contemporary read of this year. It had been recommended to me multiple times by different bloggers, so I finally picked it up earlier this year. And it was so good! There was nothing that I didn’t like about this novel. The characters were perfection, the romance was perfection and the plot was perfection.

1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom is without a doubt my favourite book of this year. It was my most highly anticipated book of the year and it definitely lived up to all of my high expectations. It had everything that I wanted from this sequel and it wrapped up the duology in the most incredible way. I didn’t think that I could love it more than Six of Crows but it was absolutely amazing. If you haven’t read this duology yet, I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting for.


What was your favourite book of 2016? Stay tuned for my next post: 2016 End of Year Survey!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the US

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team over at The Broke and the Bookish. The theme for this week is books that are set outside of the US. The advantage of living outside of the US is that I have a lot of Aussie YA books (set in Australia) that I can use for this list. But I chose to go with a variety of different locations and settings for my TTT today. Be warned: I have a lot of WWII historical fiction novels on this list…

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Hehehe I’m so predictable. Of course, my favourite book of all time makes it on to this list. This WWII historical fiction masterpiece is set in France and Germany, as well as parts of Russia. READ IT!

2. Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year is the companion sequel to Just One Day. The reason why I’ve chosen to go with Just One Year is because it’s set completely outside of the US, whereas Just One Day was set partially in the US. In Just One Year, our protagonist, Willem, travels around Europe, India and Mexico and overall, it’s just a great time.

3. The Lake House by Kate Morton

This novel is set in Cornwall and was one of my favourite releases of 2015. It’s a historical fiction novel that’s set in the 1930s and has a great atmosphere and setting! The writing is absolutely beautiful too.

4. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Another WWII historical fiction novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is set in Australia as well as Japanese POW camps in South East Asia. It was the Man Booker Prize winner of 2014.

5. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf is an alternate history WWII novel that’s set across multiple continents. The story begins in Germany (I believe?) and features a cross-continental motocross race. We follow the characters across the Middle East, through South East Asia and into Japan. It’s fast-paced and exciting and I can’t wait for the sequel!

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This novel isn’t my favourite of Stephanie Perkins companion series (I love Isla and the Happily Ever After the most) but I’m pretty sure that this one is set entirely outside of the US? I think it’s set entirely in France and I really enjoyed it when I read it.

7. Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali

And yet another WWII historical fiction novel, Max follows the story of a baby who was born as part of the Lebensborn program. We follow his journey from before birth, up until the end of the war. It’s a super interesting and eye-opening story and I highly recommend it. This one is set in Germany.

8. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

The Sidekicks is an Aussie YA novel that’s set in Australia. It’s a really short read but gives you a good kick in the feels. It’s about friendship and grief and is so, so good!

9. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

This is my last WWII novel, I promise! In this novel, we follow Anna and a mysterious man known as the Swallow Man as they wander around Poland for years during the war. It’s a bit of a confusing book but it’s definitely worth the read.

10. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

And finally, I had to include an urban fantasy novel and I’ve chosen The Infernal Devices. This trilogy is set in the London Institute during the 19th century and I love this series so much!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is favourite 2016 releases so far, which is one of my favourite things to post about. I love recommending books and I’ve rated all of these either 4.5 or 5 stars. These are in no particular order and my full reviews are linked.

1. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This was my most recent 5 star reads. I absolutely loved everything about it. It’s a beautiful historical fiction novel set in the 1970s in Alaska, following four teens who are each dealing with personal struggles and how their stories collide. I’ll have a full review up on Thursday.

2. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson is one of my favourite authors. She’s an auto-buy author of mine because she writes the most beautiful and relatable summery contemporaries. The Unexpected Everything was amazing and I loved the characters soooo much!

3. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

This was my first John Corey Whaley book and it didn’t disappoint. Featuring an agoraphobic and a wannabe psychologist, this book was moving, powerful and absolutely beautiful. The friendships and relationships in this book are GOALS.

4. Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

This debut novel absolutely blew my mind. Frankie was full of spunk, attitude and just screamed Melbourne and Australia to me. The novel made me laugh and cry and it was just such an experience.

5. A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

This is the third and final book of Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Colour of Madeleine trilogy. It was mindblowingly good and wrapped up the series so beautifully. There were so many twists and turns and my heart was just beating out of my chest the entire time. If you want something magical and whimsical, this series will give you exactly that.

6. Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali

I love my WWII historical fiction and Max is the standout WWII novel that I’ve read this year. It’s translated from French and has such an interesting premise. It follows Max, a product of the Lebensborn program in Germany, from before he was born until the end of WWII. It was amazing and more people need to read this because it’s so underrated.

7. The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard

This book broke my heart and mended it at the same time. It was so beautifully written and had such wonderful relationships. The relationship between Alice and her brother, Joey, made me cry for ages during and after my read. It’s a must-read in my opinion.

8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Another series finale, The Raven King is the fourth and final book of The Raven Cycle. It wasn’t everything that I expected it to be but what Maggie Stiefvater did give us was absolutely brilliant anyway. The characters are definitely the standout and I’ve enjoyed their journey immensely.

9. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I loved this new Shadowhunters book so much!! It was an awesome start to a new series. It wasn’t quite as good as Clockwork Angel for me but I thought it was a superb first book with some really diverse and interesting characters.

10. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

Another amazing Aus YA book released this year. I really loved The Sidekicks, which is a story about three boys who are each dealing with grief in their own ways and what happens when they lean on each other.


These are just some of my favourite 2016 releases that I’ve read so far this year. I’m sure there will be many more amazing releases to come. What have been your favourite 2016 releases or 2016 reads?

Wrap Up: March 2016

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Welcome to my 200th post! Can you believe I’ve posted 200 times on this blog? I’m super proud to say that 120 of those posts were book reviews because I love sharing my opinions and spreading the love. I’ve also done 39 Top Ten Tuesday posts… so I guess the remaining 40 posts are wrap ups, hauls and tags.

I did pretty well this month with my reading. I did feel a little bit slumpy in the middle of the month and I wasn’t reading as much at that time. But I came home strongly and did a lot of reading during the Easter break. I read 17 books this month and I’ve completed half of my 2016 Goodreads challenge already. Right now, I’m about 26 books ahead so I’ll probably end up increasing my goal this year. I was also in a blogging slump this month. I usually review almost every book that I read, and this month… well, you can probably see how many I actually reviewed from the lack of review links down below…

March16

Reading summary header

1. What I Saw – Beck Nicholas  3 stars

An Aussie YA book about alcohol-fuelled violence that focused too much on the romance and not enough on the issues that it needed to explore. It was middle of the road for me.

2. The Yearbook Committee – Sarah Ayoub  4 stars

A lovely novel set in Sydney that focuses on friendships and the bonds that can be created between people who are very different. This book is written from five different perspectives, but it never felt like there was too much going on.

3. The Sidekicks – Will Kostakis  45 stars

This is another Aussie YA novel that focuses on friendship and grief. The book is about three boys who shared the same best friend and what happens when that best friend passes away. It’s a really short book that packs quite a punch.

4. Dirty Rowdy Thing – Christina Lauren  35 stars

I read Sweet Filthy Boy, the first novel in this companion series, last month and wasn’t that big of a fan. But I decided to give Dirty Rowdy Thing a go because everybody seems to love these books and I wanted to see if it could change my opinion. And… again, it was good but not great. I’m not sure that I’ll continue with Book 3 but these are great NA books if you’re feeling slumpy.

5. Trouble – Non Pratt  2 stars

This book is about teen pregnancy and I couldn’t really connect with the story or the characters. I was just really frustrated with the characters and the author’s writing style. I’m glad that I read it but it wasn’t anything special.

6. Iron to Iron – Ryan Graudin  45 stars

This is a novella that follows one of the side characters from Wolf by Wolf. It was wonderfully written and if you enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, you’ll enjoy this novella. If you haven’t read Wolf by Wolf, I would definitely deter you from reading this novella until you’ve read Wolf by Wolf because it will ruin your reading experience of that novel.

7. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare  45 stars

I was so excited to have a new Shadowhunters book in my hand but I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy this one because I wasn’t a big fan of Emma Carstairs or Julian Blackthorn when I met them in City of Heavenly Fire. But this book was SO GOOD! Everything was wonderful, besides the very last part of the book, which had one of my most hated tropes… It was the only reason why I took off half a star.

8. Prince’s Gambit – C.S. Pacat  35 stars

This is the second book in the Captive Prince trilogy. I didn’t really see what all the hype was… I thought this book was just a little bit better than average. I liked the characters and the romance but the actual plot of the book was kind of lacking. I had a hard time remembering who everybody was and even though there was lots of political intrigue and strategy, I had a hard time following it all because it wasn’t very well-developed.

9. Kings Rising – C.S. Pacat  4 stars

This is the final book in the Captive Prince trilogy and it was better than the first two books. I still thought the plot was a little weak but overall, I enjoyed it a lot more.

10. Identity – Milan Kundera  3 stars

This was a book that I started reading about 7 years ago but never finished. I finally picked it back up this month and it was really good. I just wasn’t really in the mood for literary fiction and I think I could have enjoyed it more if I had really spent the time trying to delve deeper into story and the messages.

11. Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard  2 stars

This book had me shaking my head so hard. It’s a book about friendship and I just did not enjoy it at all because I disliked all of the characters and thought the friendship was a very unhealthy one. The main character is highly frustrating and ignorant and I just wanted to slap her across the face.

12. The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman  4 stars

This is a bind-up of the two volumes of Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s about Spiegelman’s father’s story and how he survived the Holocaust. The story was very meta – it followed not only his father’s story but also the story of how Art learnt about what happened from his father. While I enjoyed that aspect of the book, I also didn’t really like it because I found Art very dislikeable. I probably would have liked the graphic novel a lot more if it was just about WWII and the Holocaust.

13. The Way I Used To Be – Amber Smith  2 stars

This is a story about rape and the main character’s struggle to deal with what happened. This book is split into four parts and each part follows one year in the MC’s high school life. I really didn’t like this book at all. It’s basically a story about self-destruction and we just see the MC be increasingly nasty to everyone around her until she hits rock bottom. I couldn’t connect with her or her story and didn’t find it to be emotional at all. The book had no effect on me and I couldn’t really see what messages the author was trying to convey.

14. The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig  4 stars

This was a really fun time travel book. I really enjoyed the characters and the romance that was in the book. It was a really quick read and I thought it was great. The only thing that I struggled with was some of the time travel aspects. I didn’t think the rules were set out very well and I had a little bit of a hard time following some of the logic of the story.

15. Love is the Higher Law – David Levithan  4 stars

I love David Levithan’s writing and this was another wonderful book. This book follows three people’s experiences with 9/11 and how it affected them at the time and afterwards. As someone who was really young and half a world away when 9/11 happened, I really appreciated being able to see the impact that it had on New Yorkers and how the event continues to stay with people.

16. Frankie – Shivaun Plozza  5 stars

This was a really amazing Aussie YA debut novel about disadvantaged youths. It was a beautiful coming of age story, with a fantastic set of characters and writing that everybody can relate to. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more by Shivaun.

17. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang  3 stars

This novel was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. It started off as one thing and then quickly morphed into something that I wasn’t completely expecting. The book had lots of great messages about rape and sexual assault and I enjoyed the plot. However, I was disappointed with the characterisation and didn’t really like the two protagonists. I just couldn’t connect with them enough to give this book more than a 3 out of 5. A review of this will be up next week.

DNF-ED

The Chimes – Anna Smaill

While the writing in this book was undoubtedly beautiful, it was much too flowery and purple for me to get into the story. The syntax was strange and there were so many big words that I didn’t know the meaning of that I pretty much was just skimming over the text. I pride myself on my wide range of vocabulary, and to read a book that made me consult a dictionary every second page… was just not enjoyable. I just didn’t understand what I was reading so I DNFed this at 30%.

T10T

I posted 5 Top Ten Tuesday posts in March:

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release date: March 8, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 720
Goodreads || Book Depository

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other – but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip and faeries – the most powerful of supernatural creatures – teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge – and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks… and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents – and can she bear to know the truth?

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

Lady Midnight is the first book in Cassandra Clare’s new Shadowhunters trilogy, The Dark Artifices. Even though Lady Midnight is the first book in the trilogy, if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices and you plan to in the future, I’d recommend reading those first because Lady Midnight contains spoilers for those books and will ruin your reading experience if you plan to go back. (If you haven’t read The Infernal Devices, what are you doing with your life?) Lady Midnight also has spoilers for Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, which is a collection of short stories that you should read after TMI. I was waiting for the hardcover bind-up to be released at the end of this year before reading them, and I regretted that decision because my reading experience with Lady Midnight could have been enhanced if I’d read those short stories first.

Enough ramble. Lady Midnight is set 5 years after the events of The Mortal Instruments, and we get to meet Emma Carstairs as a 17 year old. Since coming back to Los Angeles from Idris after City of Heavenly Fire, she’s had the parabatai ceremony with Julian Blackthorn and has been secretly investigating the mysterious murders of her parents with little success. This book begins when a string of very similar murders occur in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Institute is approached by the Fey to investigate. In return for identifying the murderer, the Fey promise to give Mark Blackthorn the opportunity to be returned to his family, but they must solve the mystery in 3 weeks. However, due to certain things that happened in TMI, Shadowhunters are not allowed to associate or work with faeries, so the LA Institute must investigate without the Clave (governing body of the Shadowhunters) knowing and without outside help.

I really enjoyed the plot of the story. It explored magic and dark magic, which is something that we didn’t see a lot of in the previous Shadowhunter books. We also get to learn more about the Fey and the different courts. In TMI, we mostly saw the Seelie Court and the Seelie Queen, but this book features the Unseelie Court and the Wild Hunt, which I thought was super interesting. I did find the pace of the book to be a little slow, particularly at the beginning. There wasn’t really much happening in the first 200 pages but the pace started to pick up gradually. I really enjoyed how the pieces of the puzzle came together and nothing felt rushed or sudden. It was a well thought out plot that developed nicely. Also despite this book not being particularly fast-paced or action-packed, I read it pretty quickly in 3 sittings. The plot had me immersed in the world and I was just keen to see how it would all play out.

Even though the plot was great, the characters in this book (as with most of Cassie’s other books) were the standout. I love reading about big families and the Blackthorns is definitely a big family with lots of unique and diverse characters. We have the twins, Livvy and Ty, who are almost inseparable and very protective of each other. Ty has an autism spectrum disorder, which made him a very interesting character and one that you hardly ever encounter in fantasy novels. I loved how much Cassandra Clare highlighted his little quirks and made it clear that his differences were completely okay. We also have Drusilla, who’s on the slightly chubbier side and the adorable Tavvy who’s the youngest of the family.

And then of course, we have Julian who’s spent all these years looking after his siblings and acting like the parent of the family. I really liked Julian’s character and the way that he cares for others and for Emma. He didn’t wow me or give me heart-eyes like the other male leads of Cassie Clare’s books (probably because I first met him in TMI when he was 12) but I still found his character to be wonderful. There were times when I was a little bit scared of Julian’s ability to lie and how far he would go to protect those he loves, but I can see where he’s coming from. I also really liked Emma, and I wasn’t really expecting to because I didn’t like her very much in TMI. She’s another one of Cassie’s headstrong female characters who rushes into situations without thinking. I did find it to be a little bit annoying at the beginning of the book but she quickly grew on me, and I definitely like her a lot more than I liked Clary Fray. I also really loved that she’s not new to the Shadowhunter world, like Tessa and Clary were. She grew up in a Shadowhunter family and she’s known that she’s a Shadowhunter her whole life, which allowed us to jump right into the story without having to go through the torturous “oh no, I can’t be a Shadowhunter” thing.

My favourite character in the book, though, was Mark Blackthorn. He was just such an interesting and complex character. He’s half-Shadowhunter and half-faerie and I really liked how we got to see both sides of him. I loved seeing how his time with the Wild Hunt had changed him and how he doesn’t really know how to interact with others in the real world anymore. I’m really glad that we got to see so much of him in the book. I wasn’t really expecting him to play such a large role in it and was really happy that we got to see him interact with his family. The other character who I really enjoyed was Cristina. She was fierce and fantastic but also very gentle and warm. I loved her back story and I wish we got to see a little bit more of her in this book. I can’t wait to read more of her story in the sequel though!

Now on to the romance, which was a surprisingly small aspect of the book considering how much hype there was about the forbidden parabatai romance. I thought it was handled well for most of the book, until we reached the end. The ending felt a little bit tropey and dramatic, and I can already tell that I’ll probably dislike how the romance is going to play out in the next book. It also ended on an unbearable cliffhanger and I need to know what happens next! There was much more focus on the parabatai bond than the actual romance and I really, really appreciated that. However, pretty much every mention of parabatai made me cry because I kept thinking about Will and Jem’s bond in TID. I loved how much we explored the bond between parabatai and why certain rules exist. It was really interesting and I’m curious to see how Emma and Julian can find a way around it because I don’t really see any loopholes.

Overall, I was really impressed with Lady Midnight. It wasn’t as good as the Infernal Devices books but I liked it more than most of the Mortal Instruments instalments. It was a really great focus on family and friendship and I loved how the book wasn’t romance-heavy, which I expected it to be. The plot was great and I have zero idea about what’s going to happen next. I hope we don’t have to wait long for the sequel!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Music

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. The theme for this week is books and music, so I’ll be listing ten books that feature music.

Just a disclaimer… I haven’t read like half of these books. I’m not really into books that are specifically about music. I’m generally just not a fan of books with a male rocker love interest. But here we go:

1. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner is the companion novel to Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver) trilogy. It focuses on Cole and Isabel’s story, and in this book Cole is a musician who’s trying to make it big in LA. I didn’t really enjoy this book very much… purely because I hated the ‘drugs, sex and rock n roll’ elements.

2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Mia and Adam from If I Stay are both musicians. Mia is a cellist, who’s aiming to become a professional. Adam is part of an up-and-coming rock band. I really enjoyed the relationship between Mia and Adam in this book and they music brought them together even though they were into different genres.

3. You’re the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About by Daniel Herborn

This is an Australian YA debut novel, set in the inner west suburbs of Sydney. Both of the main characters are into their music and Tim is trying to make it as a musician. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book either. It just tried to be too hip and cool with all of these references to obscure bands.

4. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Etta, the protagonist of the book, is a violin virtuoso. She wants to debut as a professional but then finds out that she comes from a family of time travellers. What’s really cool about the time travel in this book, is that it incorporates music into it. Certain musical notes need to be played in order to open up the time travel passages.

5. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Music doesn’t play a huge part in this book but Jem Carstairs plays the violin and I just had to mention him because I love him so much ❤ That violin part in the epilogue KILLED me.

6. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

I read this book about 8 years ago so I don’t really remember how music was involved. I’m pretty sure the male love interest was in a band? Or the main character somehow goes through a healing process because of music?

7. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I started this book when it first came out but I had to put it down because life got really busy… and just never picked it back up. I remember music featuring pretty heavily in the first part of the book that I actually read. Also, they’re sharing earphones on the cover of the US edition, so I assume there’s a lot of music in this book.

8. The Chimes by Anna Smaill

Another book that I haven’t read. I’ve wanted to read this since I first heard about it mid last year. It’s set in a dystopian world where memories and writing don’t exist, and everybody has to rely on music? It sounds super intriguing and I know that the author is a violinist.

9. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I haven’t read this book either but this whole book is about music. It features a girl who just can’t seem to fit in or make friends, but one day she stumbles upon party and discovers a love for DJing and some new friends who have a love for music.

10. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Haha another book I haven’t read. I know that this book has a lot of musical references and Nick is part of a band. Don’t actually know too much else.


Have you read any of these books and which do you recommend?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters Who Need to Join My Reverse Harem

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Because next week is Valentine’s Day, this week’s theme is Valentine’s Day. I’m going to be featuring ten characters who I adore and they totally all need to join my reverse harem right now. These are in my particular order but William Herondale is bae.


1. Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

What can I say about Will Herondale that hasn’t already been said? He’s smart, sexy, broody and is an amazing friend *heart eyes*. I just want him to read to me every night.

2. Jase Garrett (My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick)

I’ve said this many times before, but Jase is just the ultimate good guy. And we need more characters like him who are just super nice and caring, and have no unnecessary drama. Jase is amazing with his younger siblings and he can totally fix my car… when I buy one eventually.

3. Richard Gansey III (The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

Obviously I need an enigmatic rich boy in my reverse harem and Gansey is perfect for the role. He’s super smart and I love all of his little quirks. I just want to hug him all the time and protect him from all the bees.

4. Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo)

Kaz is cutthroat but is super sweet to the people he loves. And as much as I don’t want to split up Kaz and Inej… he really needs to join my harem. We could go sailing and then he can be all sweet and romantic with his “Stay in Ketterdam. Stay with me.” But I’m too much of a city girl…so I’ll probably end up ruining the moment by saying “Ketterdam sucks. Come to Australia.”

5. Rowan Whitethorn (Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas)

My sexy fae prince. I love Rowan’s determination and how he protects those he cares about. Also his possessiveness is just *squeeaaalls*

6. Prince Theron (Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch)

Theron was the character that I fell in love with straight away in Snow Like Ashes. He loves poetry and the arts, and he’s just really sweet and romantic. I don’t like Theron as much in Ice Like Fire but I’ll always be in love with first book Theron.

7. Captain Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)

I was tossing up between Prince Kai and Captain Thorne…but ultimately, I went with Thorne because he’s hilarious and will provide so much comic relief. All the other guys are pretty serious and intense, and Captain Thorne will bring all the fun! Plus he can drive a spaceship so… fun space adventures are in my future.

8. Cluck Corbeau (The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore)

I read The Weight of Feathers recently, and it’s become one of my favourite books. Cluck is just an amazing love interest. He’s another character that I want to hug and never let go of. He’s been through a lot but I’ll be sure to treat him well.

9. Jem Carstairs (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

I love Jem. Not as much as Will, but it’s pretty hard not to love Jem Carstairs. He’s so caring and loyal and unafraid to do what’s right. Even demonic cats love him. But mostly, he’s on this list because I just could not split up Will and Jem.

10. Willem De Ruiter (Just One Day by Gayle Forman)

Willem is another enigmatic character but I love that he’s a bit of a lost soul. He loves to travel, so we could travel around Europe together. He speaks French, Dutch and English… which I find extremely attractive. And he’s also super romantic… and I love romance.


So keeping in mind that all ten of these men belong to me (mwahahaha), who would you invite to join your harem?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

top-ten-anticipated-first-half-2016-releases

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post. This is a weekly feature hosted by the group over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week I am featuring 10 of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016. I did a list of my most anticipated 2016 debut novels a couple weeks ago so I didn’t include any of them in this list. Click on the link to see what I included in that list!

I could have also included Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken on this list (those are out on January 5) but I’ve already pre-ordered those and the release date is so soon that I thought I’d look a little bit further into the future.

So here are ten of my most anticipated releases between February and June of 2016. Their Goodreads pages are linked.

1. Stars Above – Marissa Meyer

This is a collection of short stories featuring the world and the characters from The Lunar Chronicles. I believe this contains 9 short stories, 4 that have been previously released as ebooks and 5 never-before-seen stories. The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series so I cannot wait to read more. Plus we’ve been promised the wedding of the century?

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

I really, really loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I’m highly anticipating this sequel! I read a little bit of an excerpt and I can tell that it’s going to be amazing!

3. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Ever since I finished bingeing The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, I’ve been looking forward to Cassie’s next release. I really love the Shadowhunter Chronicles and Cassie’s writing so Lady Midnight cannot come soon enough! I’m more excited for her next trilogy, The Last Hours (Book 1 out in 2017), than I am for Lady Midnight but I’ll take anything at this point.

4. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang

Contemporary is my favourite genre and I particularly enjoy ones that will give me all the feels and make me ugly-cry until I cannot function the next day. And this one promises all of those things.

5. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

I marathoned the first three books of The Raven Cycle just last week and I cannot wait for The Raven King to be released! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but I have a feeling that The Raven King will be the best one of the series yet! It’s going to be so epic and I want to know if Gansey will actually die! (That is not a spoiler).

6. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses so much when I read it back in July so I’m really looking forward to the sequel. It’s going to be partly a Hades and Persephone retelling, which has me super intrigued! I just really want to know what’s going to go down in the Night Court! (I am Team Tamlin btw)

7. The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

This is another sequel that I’m highly anticipating. The first book in this duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, was so great and we got left at such a heartstopping spot that I need to know what happens!

8. The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

This is one of my most highly anticipated contemporaries. I’ve still only read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson but I enjoyed the coming-of-age story and the character development in that book so much that I need to read more of her writing.

9. You Know Me Well – David Levithan & Nina LaCour

I actually don’t know too much about this book but everything I’ve read by David Levithan has been amazing (review of Every Day) and he’s one of my favourite contemporary authors. This book promises to be an wonderfully diverse LGBTQ+ book so I need to have this in my possession!

10. Summer Days & Summer Nights – Stephanie Perkins

I thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ first short story collection, My True Love Gave To Me, when I read it last year so I’m super excited to pick up her next collection. This collection is written by a whole new group of contemporary and fantasy authors and I cannot wait to see what summery stories are in store for us.


Please share your most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016! I love adding new books to my watchlist and pre-ordering them so let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books That I Read in 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the group at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top books of 2015, so I’ll be featuring my favourite books that I read this year. I’ll be posting my favourite YA releases of 2015 over at Happy Indulgence later this week and I’ll probably do a bookish awards post on this blog at the end of this month! Yep, you guessed it, this is just me cheating and not actually choosing favourites.

On to my favourite books I read this year… I’ve tried to put these into some sort of order, which was the toughest thing I’ve had to do this year… but I did it!

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Is anybody actually surprised by this one? This is my favourite book of all time! This novel follows Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German Nazi youth, during WWII and what happens when their lives and stories converge. It has the most wonderful characters and plot, and the most beautiful writing I have ever read. PICK UP THIS BOOK!!! JUST DO IT!

(Btw, I have a 6-month blogoversary Twitter giveaway for this book here, ending on December 25 at 11:59pm ADST).

2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

This book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize earlier this year, which was what pushed me to pick it up. A Little LIfe follows four men from their teens until their 50s or 60s. We see their failures and their successes and their relationships. But mostly, this book is about Jude, who ties the four of them together, and his struggle to belong to the group and to the world. This book broke my heart into so many pieces that I’m still slowly putting it back together again. It was amazing and definitely worthy of being a Man Booker Finalist!

3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

My favourite YA novel of all time, I’ll Give You the Sun is about two twins, Jude and Noah, who used to be close but have drifted apart after a family tragedy. They each hold secrets that have kept them apart for years but if they come together again, they can piece those secrets together to form a complete picture of what happened. This book explores so many different kids of relationships and it has beautiful writing that will have you feeling all the feels.

4. Winter by Marissa Meyer

This is the last book in The Lunar Chronicles and was my favourite sci-fi/fantasy read of the year. It was epic, intense and had everything I could’ve wanted. The ending was so satisfying and everything was resolved so neatly (perhaps too neatly, but I don’t care). I’m so sad that this is over and I highly recommend this series, if you haven’t read it. It’s my favourite series of all time!

5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess is the last book in The Infernal Devices trilogy. I absolutely love the Shadowhunter books and this was an amazing trilogy. For me, this is so much better than The Mortal Instruments, and I’d recommend it even if you didn’t like TMI. Clockwork Princess was an absolutely heartwrenching finale. It had me in tears for most of the book and the bromance in this trilogy is just unbeatable. The best.

6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I was a bit skeptical about Rainbow Rowell’s first fantasy novel, especially because I skimmed through a lot of the Simon Snow sections in Fangirl. But this book was a pleasant surprise and had me raving about it for weeks! Carry On is about Simon Snow, the most pathetic superhero of all time. He isn’t able to control his magic and half the time he ends up blowing up the place. But now he needs to figure out how to save the magical world before it’s destroyed by the villainous Humdrum! This book has my OTP of the year! SnowBaz was just adorable and I’ll go down with this ship!

7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Set in the Grisha world from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows follows a group of six misfits as they travel across the Grishaverse to pull off an extraordinary heist. This book is epic, action-packed and exciting! It has the most wonderful ships that I’m totally on board with. The writing was fantastic and the whole book was just mindblowing!!

8. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

My very first Gayle Forman read has made it into my favourites of the year! Just One Day follows Allyson, a recent American high school graduate, who is on a student tour around Europe. On one of her last days in Europe, she meets a mysterious but attractive Dutch boy named Willem, who invites her on a day trip to Paris before she returns home. She accepts and they spend a romantic day in Paris but when she wakes up the next day, Willem has disappeared. The rest is a coming of age story as Allyson tries to fly away from her mother’s restrictive nest and find her way back to Europe and to Willem. This book had the most amazing coming of age story. The character development in Allyson was astounding and I also thoroughly enjoyed Gayle Forman’s writing!

9. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

A Romeo and Juliet reimagining, My Life Next Door blew my mind! Samantha Reed is the daughter of a senator and her mother has always hated the loud family next door who can’t stop adding kids to their already large family. Sam is forbidden from interacting with the Garretts next door but when she meets Jase Garrett, she can’t stay away. This book was a wonderful story about love, family and doing the right thing. It had the most amazing characters and I am in love with Jase, who I call ‘the ultimate good guy’.

10. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series and it was a fantastic continuation. It’s probably my favourite book of the series so far (though Heir of Fire comes a veeeerrrry close second. Or maybe they’re tied. I can’t decide!). This instalment had the most amazing climax and resolution and it had me bouncing in my seat and so excited for Book 5 to come out!


Are any of these books your favourite? Let me know what your top 3 books of the year are and I’ll be sure to check them out! Don’t forget to head over to Happy Indulgence on Sunday to see what my favourite 2015 releases are!