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.

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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

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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

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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

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Comic Book Review: Revival Vol.3: A Faraway Place by Tim Seeley

Revival, Vol. 3: A Faraway PlaceGoodreads Synopsis

For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life. Now the living and the recently returned struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst political and religious conflicts. Officer Dana Cypress is hot on the trail of a man she believes may have murdered her sister Em, but Em herself is on a quest through the snowy woods to find the strange glowing creature that haunts a child.

Collects REVIVAL #12-17.


The people of Wausau, Wisconsin have gotten used to having the revivers walking around. Not all of them like it but some have decided to use these events to their advantage. A few are happy that they get to have another chance with their loved ones. Others…not so much. I reviewed volumes 1 and 2 of Revival, you can check them out here and here.

The story’s been expanded a bit more since vol.2. Turns out those glowy thingies are almost like souls that’s left the bodies and in order for these revivers to pass on and die like they were supposed to. Basically, their souls need to be reunited with their bodies.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 4.41.05 PM

Out of all the characters, Em is still the one I’m most intrigued about. With there being so many POV’s it’s kinda hard to figure out what each person brings to the table exactly but it’s easy to tell that they’re all connected somehow. Dana seems to be caught at a crossroads because while her family is involved in what’s going on, she’s straddling the lines of right and almost wrong. She will have to choose soon. She can’t be both good cop and bad cop.

With the story being expanded even more, we’re getting deeper in and that’s opening up new doors for the plot. At the current moment, everyone’s a suspect but everyone’s also a victim. This is a messed up game of cat and mouse except no one knows who the mouse is or what he/she looks like.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 4.38.22 PM

As I finished reading this comic, the only words that kept running through my head were: ‘The plot thickens!’ That’s exactly what happens. With every volume I read, I fall more and more in love with this story and it’ll be a sad day when it comes to an end.

There are so many things I want to know. So many questions that I have. These new players in the game…who are they and how are they involved exactly?

The writing once again was exceptional and the artwork was amazing as always. Tim and Mike haven’t disappointed me yet and I have faith that they might never do so. After finishing this volume I am so excited to start the next one.

Read: 24 June 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 19 February 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Illustrators: Mike Norton | Mark Englert

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Source: screenshots from the digital comic

Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)Goodreads Synopsis

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.


I’ve noted in my other reviews that I with this reread of the series, I’d be reviewing the books as I go along.

This was only the second time that I read City of Glass and I can say right off the bat that I enjoyed it immensely, maybe even more than when I read it for the first time. So many things happened in this book and I can’t believe how much I had forgotten.

We start off almost right where City of Ashes left off and I like that the books aren’t paced too far apart because that gives us the sense of not having missed out on anything. I feel that this book tipped the scales for the series because it was an end but also the beginning of so much more. Because of all the events that happens, we’re basically looking at a climax but not the climax that means the end is night. I know that hardly makes sense but bare with me for a moment here.

Clary, whom we know is the main character (kind of) is not as annoying as she used to be. She is maturing but not as fast as I’d like. I don’t notice much of her annoying ways anymore mainly because there are so many other things going on that I only pay attention to her when it’s her POV.

I still think that Jace needs a hug to be honest. The thing about Jace in this book is that he’s reached his  boiling point. All this time he’s been confused on which pathway to go down and now one has been highlighted for him, and all he has to do is decide whether to follow it or not.

It’s in this book where we’re given the opportunity to see exactly what these ‘children’ are capable of. No one listens to them because what do they know? But it’s for that reason that they’re able to accomplish so much, because they have so much more that they need to prove.

This book is where we’re met with an enemy worse than Valentine and it breaks my heart to know that there’s no redemption for that part of this person and the worst thing is…it isn’t his fault. He didn’t ask for it but the rest of the world has to suffer the consequences.

There is so much character development that takes place! Malec for starters because that’s a big deal. Izzy is starting to act like the Isabelle Lightwood I know her to be and Simon isn’t acting butt hurt over not getting the supposed love of his life. Even Maryse Lightwood as removed the stick from her rear.

City of Glass has so far been the most emotional book in the series for me because as I said, so many things happen that it’s hard to grasp it all. I felt anger, betrayal, heartbreak but it’s the undivided strength and power of family that makes me feel so incredibly happy. They may not all be of the same blood biologically but they all share the same ideas and stand together. Here we see people agreeing to stand together against a common enemy and there’s something so satisfying about that.

We know this isn’t the end, far from it actually, but the gears are turning. This was only the tip of the iceberg and an avalanche is coming.

This read has only made me even more excited to continue the series and I anxiously look forward to that day.

Read: 21 August 2017 (reread)
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 24 March 2009
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Cassandra Clare

  • My review for City of Ashes here
  • My reviews for other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles here

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eARC Book Review: Dream Me by Kathryn Berla

Dream Me

Goodreads Synopsis

Every night Babe dreams of a boy she s never met before named Zat. But Zat is no ordinary daydream. He s actual a human from the distant future, who has travelled back in time to be with Babe in the only way that he can be in her dreams. But the dreams leave Babe more and more tired and pained each morning. Zat is determined to help her, even if it means never sharing dreams with her again.


I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dream Me is a book that is a love story of sorts told through a science fiction point of view.

I’ll start right off by saying that most of this book was confusing to me. I don’t know what message was trying to be told and it irked me that I couldn’t tell because I felt like I was missing out on some joke.

Here’s what I did get. Zat was from a future Earth where the world and humans had evolved so much that even their appearance was changed. He was often referred to as a dreamer because even though people stopped dreaming ages ago, he was fascinated and obsessed with it, so much so that he was willing to live in and through someone else’s dreams.

As much as Babe spoke throughout the book, I didn’t much get the feel of her as a person. She was kind of the main character but I understood her through Zat’s eyes. The way he spoke about her and expressed his feelings about and towards her helped me know her better.

Even though this book threw me for a loop, I can’t deny that the author’s writing is amazing. Maybe there wasn’t much world building and certain points did seem either slightly forced or rushed but I wouldn’t write her off as yet.

Read: 2 April 2017
Rating: ★★.5

Publication Date: 11 July 2017
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Kathryn Berla

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