Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)Goodreads Synopsis

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.


There might be spoilers for Lady Midnight for those who haven’t read it yet. You’ve been warned.

I got this book the day it came out and I started it not too long after and it took me quite a while to finish it. I wasn’t worried because while I find Cassandra Clare’s work addictive, I always seem to take years to finish one book. I also had to put the book aside for a while because of studies but once I picked it up again, I couldn’t put it down again nor did I want to.

Lord of Shadows picks off roughly where Lady Midnight ended so we don’t miss anything. Major things happened in the first book and we were sent in blind, not knowing what awaited us around the corner. It’s like a jar tipped over and all its contents fell out and it made a mess of everything. That was Lady Midnight. Lord of Shadows focuses on putting everything back in but taking stock of each item as it’s returned. That doesn’t mean that it’s over though. It seems that we’ve barely scratched the surface and by the end of this book I was searching to see when The Queen of Air and Darkness is coming out. Thank goodness it’s been moved forward to 2018, so no more two year wait.

Once again I’m glad that Cassandra Clare doesn’t focus on the love aspect of the series too much because that does become distracting at times. Of course this all revolves around Emma and Julian’s feelings for each other since their love is forbidden and I am curious about why that’s the case. But, even though that is what the motivation is for some of these situations, there’s a bigger picture here that’s being painted and I’m eager to see what exactly that is.

“I want you to know what it’s like. To be tortured all the time, night and day, desperately wanting what you know you should never want, what doesn’t even want you back.”

Christopher ‘Kit’ Herondale has been added to the mix and we’re seeing the Blackthorn family from an ‘outsider’s’ POV. All this we’ve seen them through Julian and Emma’s view and there are so much that can be learnt. Kit blended in so easily with the crew, it’s as if he’s always been there. His constant battle of whether he wants to be a shadowhunter or not was…refreshing. With the characters in The Shadowhunter Chronicles, you either are or you aren’t. He could choose if this was the life he wanted and I think that’s a big deal because not everyone loves what they’re born into. *Note: we’re not looking at Simon here. He’s a special case.

There was so much action that went on in this book. I don’t remember where we had a moment of peace to just regroup before the next hunt was underway. I loved it though. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t put this book down. I was constantly at the edge of my seat anxious about what was about to happen next. From book one, there has definitely been some major character development and that’s always a good thing.

New enemies have been made and maybe they’ve been waiting in the shadows for a long time. Old enemies have come to the light and in short…a war is coming. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows were buildups to the climax that hasn’t happened yet. More is coming but my heart’s already been ripped out, sides have been chosen, I’ve cried and ached with these characters. I do know that even though I’m impatiently waiting for the next book, I am not ready.

“Break my heart. Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”

This quote can’t be more true. Cassandra Clare, there you have it. Do with my heart what you will because I’m here for all of this.

All the characters in this book are a team whether they’re aware of that fact or not. The good guys are at least. Bad guys are just the enemy. Cassie Clare has once again joined them and we know that it starts with a small few. I have to admit that each series within the Shadowhunter Chronicles have become a bit repetitive but they have their differences even if history does seem to be repeating itself over and over again.

I’ll be honest, I cried while reading this book. Of course it’s no secret that there are themes, some major, of LGBTQ in the Shadowhunter Chronicles and I’m all about any kind of positive representation. I felt so happy that the community is a part of this and I had to take a moment to compose myself.

Let’s talk about that ending though. Like, how dare you Cassandra Clare rip my heart out like that? It’s already been broken and stomped on. I did not need that extra punch to the gut. I want to know what that was all supposed to achieve. Oh well, I guess we’ll find out in the next book.

I did rate this book 5 stars yes, but I won’t gloss over the fact that there were a few things I disliked in and about the book. The constant POV changes…it made the book read like a movie and it got confusing at times. Just as the scene got really interesting, we’d jump over to someone else. So many POV’s. I understand that Clare wanted us to be in the loop about what was going on everywhere but at times it seemed like a bit too much.

I don’t want to end off this review on a bad note though. I definitely enjoyed LoS a lot more than I did Lady Midnight. I felt that there was a lot more action and plot to this book and I loved the constant need to know more. My curiosity was piqued and sated. Once again, Clare wrote an amazing book and I was hooked from page 1. I’ll go find a corner to sit in till the release day of The Queen of Air and Darkness.

 

Read: 12 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 23 May 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Cassandra Clare

  • My review for Lady Midnight here.
  • My reviews for other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles here.

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad

Advertisements

Comic Book Review: Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake by Natasha Allegri

Adventure Time With Fionna and CakeGoodreads Synopsis

SUGAR, SPICE, AND EVERYTHING ICE?! It’s the critically acclaimed ADVENTURE TIME? spin-off starring our favorite gender-bent characters. It’s up to Fionna and Cake to save the day from the Ice Queen, hopefully with the help of her friends Prince Gumball and Marshall Lee, this adventure will be a peace of cake! Ice Queen is creating havoc again when she decides to try out some of her wicked cool ice magic on some poor Fire Lions! Fionna and Cake to the rescue, only they might be too late for their fiery prince! Will the be able to save Flame Prince in time, can they stop the Ice Queen from being so dang mean all the time, will Lumpy Space Prince find out the meaning of true beauty?! It’s all collected in this trade, written and illustrated by animation sensation Natasha Allegry, and featuring short stories from amazing indie artist, including Lucy Knisley (STOP PAYING ATTENTION), and Kate Leth (KATE OR DIE!). Featuring a lush art style, and a fable-line storyline that appeals to young and old, and a perfect first comic for any kid in your life!


This is a gender-bent version of Adventure Time and I freaking loved it! We have Fionna, Cake, Marshall Lee, Lumpy Space Prince and Prince Gumball. Fionna and Cake are the protectors of Ooo and everything is the same but not quite.I honestly enjoyed this gender-bent version a lot more than I did the original. Though I do think that the amazing writing played a part in my enjoyment.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.18.31 PM

In this volume, Fionna and Cake are tasked with returning a flame elemental back to his original form after the Ice Queen put a heated salt crystal in his chest. They spend these awesome 6 issues working on saving him before he evaporates completely.

Of course there were other side stories in between as well and short comic strips at the end of each issue. I think Cake really has a knack for story telling. They might not have happy ending but it really gets a person interested.

I’m glad I decided to pick this comic up because now I know that I love Adventure Time in every shape and form. Major kudos to the awesome writing and beautiful artwork. I’m tempted to go in search for other works by Natasha Allegri after finishing one.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 5.19.32 PM

Read: 27 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 15 October 2013
Publisher: KaBOOM!
Writer: Natasha Allegri | Lucy Knisley | Kate Leth
Illustrator: Natasha Allegri

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad

Book Review: The Field Guide by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #1)Goodreads Synopsis

The Field Guide sets up the story of the Grace children—13-year-old Mallory and 9-year-old twins Jared and Simon—who with their mother move into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate only to quickly find themselves sucked into a dark and fascinating world of faeries.

***


I’ve been wanting to read The Spiderwick Chronicles for years and I saw my opportunity to get the book when one of the local bookstores was having a sale. I loved everything about this book. It was a quick and fun read and my only regret is that it’s such a short book. I wish that I’d gotten the next book as well because I’m completely addicted.

The Grace family children have recently moved and turned a new leaf in their lives and ended up in an old decrepit house that belongs to their great-aunt Lucinda.

From the get go things take a turn for the weird and it’s one person’s story against the other. These children are thrown into a world of faeries and monsters and they don’t know the trouble that awaits them. They have been warned. So much happens in this tiny book that it’s hard to believe it’s barely 100 pages, including the ones with illustrations. So much action takes place in the sense that we’ve moved forward in regards to the plot.

This was a solid introduction not who the characters are and a great preview of what’s still to come where the world of faeries is concerned. Jared, Simon and Mallory are quite curious and while curiosity killed the cat, they’re opening up their minds to something that’s so much bigger than you and me. I’ve watched the movie years ago so I do have an idea where the story’s going to go but I’m still excited to actually to reading the series.

Tony Deterlizzi and Holly Black joined together and wrote what I think was an amazing book. I’m eager to read The Seeing Stone and see what other trouble the Grace kids get into.

Read: 15 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 1 May 2003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Link to Authors’ Goodreads Pages: Holly Black | Tony Deterlizzi

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad

eARC Book Review: Teeth: The First Bite by Chele Cooke

Teeth: The First Bite (Teeth, #1)

Goodreads Synopsis

“We cannot be merely carnivores. We must be cannibals.”

Medical student Thomas wakes up in a blood-drenched basement room, with no memory of how or why he got there.

Spencer has the answers, and now he must train Thomas to follow the rules of being a vampire – under the watchful gaze of his own mentor.

But how will Thomas practice medicine when the smell of blood turns him into a vicious killer?

Can Spencer teach Thomas to master his new powers, before he’s turned from predator into prey?

Teeth: The First Bite is the first book in the Teeth series


I received this book from the author on Instafreebie in exchange for an honest review.

Teeth: The First Bite is about newly turned vampire Thomas who is a medical intern and his struggle with continuing his job when there’s the possibility of the patient becoming his next meal. Sounds intriguing? Yea, I thought the same thing but what we’re promised in the synopsis is not what we’re given in the book. I will go through both the negative and positive aspects (in my opinion) of this book as is the norm. I’ll start with the negative so that we can end on a good note. Trust me though, there’s nothing that’s actually ‘bad’ about this book.

It’s common knowledge that I allow myself to forget the synopsis of a book so that I can have that element of surprise with a dash of unpredictability. I was at chapter six and I still didn’t know what on earth this book was apart from the obvious- vampires. I decided to go back to the Goodreads synopsis to see what I had gotten myself in. I don’t mind the beating around the bush in novels because sometimes the scene needs to be set but this is a novella and I was worried that if we were taking so long to get to the point, would it all be rushed once we got to the ending?

I was at chapter ten and we still hadn’t gone to med school with Thomas. At this point I was starting to worry because I also realised that the book was in fact not about him. I do think that the synopsis was a bit misleading because Thomas was a small feature compared to what the rest of the book held. He was that person that led us to the others but wasn’t the main event. What this book was actually about? Being a vampire and the laws that come with it. I feel that that should have been made clearer because it was as if I was reading a different book than the one I signed up for. Last point: the pace of the plot. It dragged so much and obviously since this is a novella there wasn’t much time and maybe this would’ve been better as a full length novel instead because there was so much that had to be said.

Now for the positive. I loved the writing. It was superb and addicting. I took days to finish this book only because I had other responsibilities but I kept finding myself drawn back to it. The actual pace of the book was quite fast and it was easy to speed through it while understanding what was going on at the same time.

I do wish that we got more of a background about these laws though. At times it felt as if there was a running joke that only the writer and characters understood but there were no hints to help clue us in. The random characters thrown in made me feel like I missed something. Again, this would’ve been better as a full length novel.

Saying that, I did enjoy this book and I am curious about other writings Cooke might have.

 

Read: 28 August 2017
Rating: ★★★

Publication Date: 8 January 2015
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Chele Cooke

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad

Comic Book Review: Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars by Cullen Bunn

Deadpool's Secret Secret WarsGoodreads Synopsis

Collects Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #1-4, Secret Wars (1984) #1.

Official SECRET WARS tie-in! Well, not that SECRET WARS — we’re talking the original epic from 1984! But wait, Deadpool wasn’t in that series, right? Wrong! Prepare to learn the terrifying truth as the team behind DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED reveals the crucial role the Merc with a Mouth played on the Beyonder’s Battleworld! A role so secret, the rest of Marvel’s super heroes don’t even remember it! Now, relive the Secret Wars — from Doctor Doom’s rise to power to Hulk holding up a mountain — all with added Deadpool! Amid the chaos, there comes…and goes…a costume — but Wade’s awesome secret shield is totally for keeps! Prepare to discover how the original SECRET WARS really ended — and how the sassin’ assassin saved the universe!


This is told from two points, the now and the past. Deadpool is taking us through what happened during the Secret Wars and managed to insert himself right in the middle of the mayhem.

This comic would be familiar for anyone who’s read Secret Wars. The only difference being is that Deadpool wasn’t in the original comic and he is in this one. One thing I was glad about is that through it all, Deadpool remains ‘Deadpool’.

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 11.08.01 PM

I know that Deadpool is neither hero more villain and that he’s seen as more of an anti-hero, he fights for whatever and whoever, so it kind of makes sense why he’d be placed with the heroes but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t initially surprised.

By the end of the first issue I was quite shocked but it wore off pretty quickly. I swear handsome in those times is a lot different that how it is now. That moustache though…

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 4.22.39 PM

When Deadpool’s not using humour to hide his emotions, dude’s pretty depressed. I wasn’t used to Deadpool being so ‘real’.

This comic had what has become the norm with Deadpool comics: the odd humour, the 4th wall breaking which is always appreciated.

Like I mean, I’m not saying Deadpool saved the day, but Deadpool sort of saved the day. It turns out the guy does have a heart. I liked this version of Secret Wars a bit more than I did the original Secret Wars but only because Deadpool made the even a lot less gloomy. He brought something new to the table. Maybe he was forgotten but he ended up being a hero, so I guess now we know exactly where he stands.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 2.39.28 PM

I’ve never read anything by Cullen Bunn before but I think he did an amazing job with this comic. The art is amazing and extremely detailed. I’ve read different author’s versions of Deadpool and I’m glad that they always stay true to the character.

At first I didn’t know what the point of this comic was, I still don’t really but I like that I can see ol’ Wade in a new light. That’s quite refreshing.

And now I continue my journey through the Secret Wars. Follow my reviews of this event through the tag here.

Read: 19 September 2017
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date:
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Illustrators: Matteo Lolli | Ruth Redmond

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad

Book Review: Afflicted by Susanne Valenti

AfflictedGoodreads Synopsis

Change carries on the wind, flows through the rivers and grows in the heart of the storm. Once it is set free, nothing can stop it from spreading like poison through the Earth and all its creatures. The planet is evolving and anything that wants to remain will have to adapt. The animals are learning to fight back while the plants grow beyond control. Kaitlyn and her friends must find a way to survive while everything around them becomes stronger and stranger. They can’t trust anything they thought they knew about the world. They can’t even trust each other. Rage and violence twists its way into the hearts of the contaminated: shaping them into something new. Something which cannot feel pity, mercy or love. Kaitlyn’s heart draws her towards the one person she knows can help them but can she find him in time? Safety lies just out of reach and they must find the strength to achieve it. 

Seventy years before Maya discovered the Cage of Lies, Kaitlyn’s world is about to change forever. Afflicted is the first book in the Tainted Earth Saga, an action packed dystopian romance filled with love, uncertainty and danger on every page.


I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Afflicted is the first book in a new series by Susanne Valenti which is a continuation of universe of the Cage of Lies saga but this is the prequel. This takes place seventy years before those events so we’re really diving into the deep end and seeing how everything started.

I was over the moon to once again get the opportunity to read Susanne’s writing as she never disappoints, and that remains true even after finishing this book. She has a way of drawing you in so that you’re curious about knowing where exactly the story will lead.

I must admit that this story started out slow but I understand that since this is the first book and almost the beginning of a new world so speak, some world building needs to take place.

In the Cage of Lies series, everyone was already behind The Wall and living their good lives, but in this book, they still had to get to that point. The contamination was just starting to breakout and no one knew anything. Evolution was rushed by a few years and people as well as the animals were acting totally strange.

I liked the characters well enough but I’m not going to judge them too much as yet because there is plenty room for development. I’ve experienced this author’s amazing character development plots and I can’t wait to go through it again. I liked Lincoln a lot and I know that there’s still a lot he can tell us of the six years he was gone. Katy is a bit…predictable, but as I said, room for development.

I could sense that this was Susanne’s writing because it had the same vibe but at the same time it felt totally different from her other books and I think that’s great. There was nothing repetitive here and I believe that’s what made for an even more enjoyable read.

I can’t wait for the next book but if I must, I shall. I loved every page and the obsession to this series is real!

Read: 8 January 2018
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 15 December 2017
Publisher: Amazon
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Susanne Valenti

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad

eARC Book Review: Free by Susanne Valenti

Free: Freedom comes at a price... (Cage of Lies Book 5)Goodreads Synopsis

Alone and surrounded by the enemy, Maya doesn’t know which way to turn. In a prison built of corruption and blind faith, does the truth even stand a chance? All paths lead to this and finding a way through will be the toughest test yet. The might of the city stands against her and she must remain defiant in the face of it. Presented with challenges she never thought possible and changes she couldn’t have imagined, she will need to be stronger than ever before. The fight of her life is coming to an end but will she survive to see her dreams become reality?


I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I first started this book I had forgotten so much from the previous books because the wait was definitely a long one but I didn’t need to worry because with each chapter I read, the memories started coming back.

The gang is now in The City and they’re working with their contacts within the wall to get the word out that the Outside isn’t as dangerous as they were led to believe. New characters are introduced and you’d think that that’d be weird and hard to get used to so late in the game but Valenti made them blend in so easily it was as if they’d always been around. One of the people introduced is Cutter. He’s a scary dude and you’d actually be smart to stay out of his way but I actually liked his character a lot. I like what he stood for. Family is everything to this guy and he protects his own.

Naturally there were a few…setbacks in the story that of course was supposed to help the plot but I don’t think that all of them made complete sense. I feel that the beginning of the book dragged mainly because it was mostly from Maya’s POV and I was starting to get a bit annoyed with her. I can’t place my finger on what exactly irked me about her but I didn’t mind her at all when she was surrounded by others.

I certainly hope that there’s another book coming because that ending left quite an opening. There’s basically a bridge between the Outside and The City so I hope the new ‘alliance’ between the two is looked at more closely. Certain things in this book did feel a bit rushed and I felt that too much time was spent on the planning and not enough on the action and that played a part in things going haywire.

There have been further developments in both the characters and the story which is always a good thing to see and I’m definitely glad that Susanne one again did not disappoint in that department. Out of all the books in this series, this doesn’t come close to how I feel about Broken and is not my favourite but I did like it a lot.. I can’t wait to see what new ideas Susanne can produce for us.

Read: 8 October 2017
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 16 July 2017
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Susanne Valenti

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad