Book Review | The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear yet, I will now. Cassandra Clare is my favorite author. That said, I will read anything she writes, especially if it’s within the realm of the Shadowhunter’s universe. Another clarifying statement: Magnus Bane is my favorite character within this world. We named our dog after him, for goodness sake! Obviously I will read anything that gives me more Magnus.

So as soon as I realized The Red Scrolls of Magic was the start of a Magnus and Alec trilogy, I preordered my copy. This is actually the first time I’ve started a book ON RELEASE DAY since Deathly Hallows. (Hi, I’m old!).

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

Pacing Issues

Look, maybe I was just tired (that grad school life) but I thought the first 200 pages of this – short by comparison to other books Cassie has written – book dragged by. It wasn’t exciting or thrilling until definitely around the middle/end and I found myself reading only two or three chapters at a time. This is unlike when I read every other Shadowhunter book so it was mildly disappointing in this realm.

HOWEVER, because I love the sass the Magnus provides throughout this book, I didn’t really mind that the pacing was kind of slow in the beginning. Again, I’d like to state, for the record, that I have been exhausted lately so it’s probably not the book that caused me to drift off while reading. Just saying.

More Beloved Supporting Characters

Without spoilers, I will say this: we get to see more of some of my favorite supporting characters from another trilogy Cassie has written. Could I have done without them and focused solely on Magnus and Alec? Yes. Did the surprise of seeing them in this one delight me? Also yes.

So I guess you could say I was happy to see some overlapping amongst the characters and I really thought this added to the plot. I love that Cassie does this in her books. I honestly can’t wait until all the books in this universe are published so I can go back and read them again in order.

The Writing & General Thoughts

As I’ve likely established time and again, I do not love books that are dual authored. Cassie and Wesley, however, make a great writing team and I would love to see more from him.

Of course, I can’t wait for The Lost Book of the White because I need to know more about the antagonist of this story. Also I will always be ready for more Magnus and Alec – trust me, my husband rolls his eyes when I talk about them because it’s probably too often!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It hurts me that this wasn’t a five. I just felt bored for the first part of the book and the only salvation was Magnus and his sassy, sarcastic self! Actually… it’s quite possible I hyped this up in my mind too much and that’s why I felt disappointed. Whatevs. I still love me some Malec.

Let’s Chat!

Look I’ve probably asked before, but I don’t care! I’d love to know – who is your favorite character from the Shadowhunter Chronicles? Oh! AND! If you were a Downworlder, which would you be? I think I’d want to be a warlock as I’ve always been fascinated by magic!

Book Review | Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

No doubt, I’ve said by now, I waited until Queen of Air and Darkness released to read The Dark Artifices. The thing about Cassandra Clare’s book is once I start a series, I need to devour it. The story consumes me and I knew that if the Blackthorns were involved in this trilogy, I’d want to devour the series as fast as I can. Have I mentioned how much I like Mark Blackthorn? He’s the main reason I anticipated this trilogy so much…

Normally, I love the last book of Cassie’s series’ or trilogies the most. Clockwork Princess was my favorite of The Infernal Devices. City of Heavenly Fire was, probably an unpopular opinion, a decent close to The Mortal Instruments. And, definitely don’t get me wrong, Queen of Air and Darkness neatly wrapped up Emma and Julian’s storyline, but left others WIDE OPEN, hence why Lord of Shadows ended up being my favorite of The Dark Artifices.

Let’s discuss the beginning

To start, I thought this book was really good. Long winded, but everything included was somehow necessary. This was, without a doubt, the longest YA novel I’ve read to date. It was long, but it didn’t feel drivelly. That said, I do think it was a slow build.

The way Lord of Shadows ended, I expected Queen of Air and Darkness to come in hot with Julian’s ruthless heart. It did not. It took me about 300 pages to really get invested in this book. It’s not that it was disappointing or anything, it just felt like Cassie was doing more building of the story.

Chapter One was really well written. I cried through the entirety of the chapter because I still wasn’t prepared to say goodbye to certain characters.

This whole book was full of complexities that I really enjoyed. I won’t divulge too much detail, because I try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but there was a lot of detail that went into this novel that I really enjoyed.

Overlapping storylines

One thing I really love about Cassie is she always brings back beloved characters. In this one, we get a lot of The Mortal Instruments gang (mainly Clary, Jace, Alec, and Magnus) and not nearly enough Tessa and Jem. There are happy moments with Tessa and Jem and devastating ones too.

I really liked that Clary and Jace, Alec and Magnus played a big part in Queen of Air and Darkness. One of my biggest qualms with City of Heavenly Fire is that young Emma and Julian were really in it a lot. This was different though because everyone is older so there’s less pre-teen angst and a lot more adultish themes. Also, Emma and Julian as almost adults are a lot less annoying that pre-teen Emma and Julian. So there’s that!

Relationships, relationships, relationships

So much happens in terms of relationships. Deeper connections are made between some of my favorites. Some relationships seem broken beyond repair. Special bonds are formed between two of my favorite characters. This one was heartbreaking in terms of relationships, but in the best way.

The Big Problem

Look, this might be a little spoilery… As much as I love Alec and Magnus, the ending of Queen of Air and Darkness seemed more about them than it did Emma and Julian. I’m not mad, I’m simply stating something I thought when I finished reading. It was nice to see Malec taking strides in their relationship, but I need more closure for Emma and Julian (I’m sure the time will come eventually!).

Here’s my problem… the Epilogue opened the door for a whole other story and I NEED IT NOW.

Here’s what I hope

I felt sad that Kit decided to leave without saying goodbye. I was really hoping he’d stay for Ty. I’m now hopeful for a Kit and Ty story and I need more about Mark and Cristina. I’m hopeful that once Red Scrolls of Magic come out, we will get to see more of both sets of characters.

Overall, I’m not mad at Queen of Air and Darkness and it’s still a really great book. There are just certain things that upset me about the novel because I feel like I need MORE closure. Guess I’m just greedy like that! 😛

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫

Book Discussion/Review | Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

I go into every Cassandra Clare novel reminding myself I’m likely to cry by the end. Typically this warning is a reminder when I read a final installment of her series’, but I try to keep it in the back of my mind for every book (including the novellas). Even with my reminder, I was not prepared for how much I would cry reading Lord of Shadows.

Caution:  Spoilers Ahead

When we last saw Emma, she was convincing Mark to pretend to be falling in love with her. While I don’t think it’s beautiful that they’re lying to everyone around them, I think the friendship formed from this fake relationship is really lovely.

The thing about Cassie’s writing, at least in my opinion, is she knows how to write relationships I’m invested in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic relationship or just a friendship. I love the way she writes about the bonds formed between her characters. This is important to me in the novels I consume so I was happy to see it continue on in Lord of Shadows.

Emma and Cristina’s relationship is almost on par with Simon and Clary’s friendship. As far as friendships go, I’m equally as invested in both of these relationships. As this novel progressed, I found myself wishing Emma and Cristina could be parabati. It would certainly make Emma and Julian’s relationship easier.

Mark and Emma’s friendship, under the ruse of dating, is also one I came to adore. As they pretended to be falling in love, I noticed they were getting closer and closer as friends. Mark is one of my favorite characters in the Shadowhunters Chronicales, so to get more of him, especially moments where he’s re-learning how to be a Shadowhunter, was something I really cherished about this novel. I didn’t necessarily like that Emma and Mark were pretending (because I prefer Mark with Kieran or Cristina) but I liked that Mark had someone else to rely on as the story progressed.

I struggled with Kieran in this novel. I harbored so much residual hatred for him from Lady Midnight, I couldn’t quite feel bad for him when he was taken to the Unseelie Court. I didn’t necessarily want him to die at the hands of his father, but that doesn’t mean I liked him. I think after he was rescued by Mark, Emma, Jules, and Cristina I started to like him more. I didn’t like that he was behaving like a jealous boyfriend, but I get why he was that way.

Kit, Ty, and Livvy really stood out in this one. Their little trio is very much how I imagine Jace, Izzy, and Alec’s trio to be when Jace came to live at the New York Institute. I imagine that Kit and Jace felt very much the same way when they joined their respective Institutes because Herondale’s are all quite alike. I loved that Kit was Livvy’s first kiss even though it seems Kit is more intrigued by Ty than Livvy. The friendship in this group was really important to me as this novel progressed.

While nothing is really complicated about the friendships in Lord of Shadows, the romantic relationships are completely opposite.

First, Julian and Emma… Oh boy, how to even explain. Their relationship seems to be becoming a raging fire…. Even though Mark and Emma pretended to date until after the came home from Faerie, I could tell it was hurting Julian a lot. Mark, of course, didn’t know how much it was hurting Jules because he thought it was to hurt Cameron. When Emma and Mark break up, I would compare Jules and Emma’s relationship to throwing gasoline on a fire. It really ramps up and starts to affect their bond. I know this is one of the main principles of the novel and I’m not doing it any justice whatsoever, so basically: I spent this whole novel rooting for Emma and Jules. I don’t want to give too many spoilers…

Kieran and Mark or Mark and Cristina Or Mark, Kieran, and Cristina? This was even more complicated than Julian and Emma. I like Mark and Kieran together. Kieran was the person who helped keep Mark safe in the Wild Hunt so I feel like I can forgive Kieran for his sins… But Cristina helped keep Mark sane when he returned from the Hunt. And she’s a genuinely kind person. So I have to root for her and Mark. But I can also see Cristina and Kieran as a couple because he takes care of her after he slays Erec. And I can see all of them together because of the love Kieran and Cristina both have for Mark. Basically, Lord of Shadows sits on the precipice of a thrupple. I live for it.

One relationship I did not question whatsoever was Gwyn and Diana. She is such a badass woman, she deserves someone equally badass. Who’s more badass than the leader of the Wild Hunt? We learn that Diana is harboring a secret and we learn what her secret is and I couldn’t possibly love Cassie any more for including a variety of characters in her novels.

Was there anything that pissed me off relationship wise? Yes. Of course! The Mortal Instruments introduced me to Cassie’s writing, so to read that Clary turned Jace down when he asked her to marry him – even though she had a valid reason – really wound me up. I yelled. I cried. I cursed Clary out in my head. But ultimately, I got it. However, if Clary and Jace don’t end up married how is there hope for any other relationship in this world Cassie created?

Okay… enough about the relationships in this novel. Let’s talk about the worst parts of Lord of Shadows:  the Centurions.

If any one character, besides Valentine, defined “Shadowhunter Superiority” it’s Zara Dearborn. This isn’t used lightly; Zara is a raging bitch. I was surprised when she introduced herself as perfect Diego’s fiancee. I was heartbroken for Cristina or course because Diego doesn’t seem that bad.

When Manuel and Zara have their secret meeting and the little trio of spies catches them, I couldn’t help but compare their ideas for the Downworld to Nazi Germany. I’m sure this was Cassie’s intent too. While Lady Midnight was about catching Annabel Blackthorn, Lord of Shadows seems to be more about taking down Zara and her cronies. Or maybe they’re the underlying problem… after recapturing Annabel.


All in all, I really enjoyed reading more about the Blackthorns and Emma. There were character deaths, one in particular, I will never recover from and there were super sweet moments as well. At the time of writing this, I have finished Queen of Air and Darkness and can safely report Lord of Shadows is my favorite of The Dark Artifices trilogy.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Note: I really had to reign myself in on this one… I could have written about every tiny detail that was important to me, but I really wanted to focus on the building up of relationships in this one. Call me sentimental! ha

Book Discussion/Review | Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight has been on my list for what feels like forever! I didn’t want to start reading it before all three books in The Dark Artifices trilogy released, but since Queen of Air and Darkness released in December 2018, I now feel prepared to dive into what I’m sure will be a new favorite trilogy.

First, a little disclaimer. Twelve year old Emma Carstairs annoyed the shit out of me in City of Heavenly Fire. I felt bad that she lost both of her parents in one fell swoop, but otherwise found her quite annoying – particularly her incredibly odd crush on Jace (I thought it more bordered on an obsession than a crush and firmly believe her first real crush was Mark). I tried not to let my opinion of young Emma shape my opinion of almost of age Emma.

Oh and ps, this discussion has spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Now, I firmly believe first impressions are important. One of my initial first impressions goes back to my disclaimer. My first impression of seventeen year old Emma – I like her less than twelve year old Emma. In hindsight, I think this was just residual hate from City of Heavenly Fire because I ended up liking Emma quite a lot as Lady Midnight progressed. Diana is just as amazing as I remember her being, but she’s definitely hiding something. Cristina is going to be a character that I end up really liking and the Blackthorns are really so incredible.

Something that I questioned in City of Heavenly Fire, when we meet the Blackthorns, was brought to light again in Lady Midnight. I remember when Tiberius was introduced thinking he had to fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Seeing him as a fifteen year old boy, I still question whether he is on the spectrum and if the Shadowhunters even know – considering they don’t access mundane medicine.

The Blackthorn family dynamic is so incredible; I think it’s so impressive because they are a group of children who were essentially raised by another child. Julian really is a great father figure to his siblings.

Malcolm Fade is an interesting character. He is a warlock, but doesn’t really remind me of Magnus. He’s almost as charismatic, but there’s something not as authentic about him. I do like his idea that every story is a love story though.

Speaking of love stories. One thing is absolutely clear (and has been since City of Heavenly Fire) – Julian is in love with Emma. Emma’s feelings for Julian are a bit more complicated than Julian’s feelings for Emma. Whereas Emma is just discovering she might have feelings for Jules, it is clear Julian has always loved Emma.

The fey are the absolute worst in this book. I hate what they did to Mark Blackthorn. Honestly, it enrages me because I have always adored his character. He is so different from the Mark we encounter in City of Heavenly Fire and it absolutely breaks my heart. Emma’s initial twelve year old crush on Mark has definitely gone away, but I definitely like the dynamic between them! I think they’d be a great couple based on their scenes alone.

Mark is a lot more complicated than I thought. It seems that he feels something for Cristina, but he is tied to an Unseelie Prince, Kieran. It makes my heart happy to know Mark had someone to comfort him during his years with the Wild Hunt. Initially, I was on the fence about Kieran, but I think I like him. He doesn’t seem good for Shadowhunter Mark, but definitely is good for Faerie Mark. Cristina and Mark would be another great couple, so to see her turn him down… it definitely surprised me. Although, Mark could’ve phrased his feelings better than he did…

As always, I love when Magnus Bane makes an appearance – especially when he maintains his complete and utter sass. Will Herondale may be the OG sass king, but he definitely had to pick up some traits from Master Magnus.

At the Lottery, when Julian and Emma are dancing and Jules almost kisses her, my heart stopped. To be so bold as to almost kiss his parabati in public! I almost yelled. I think this is when I realized that Cristina must know how Julian and Emma feel about each other. It’s almost glaringly obvious. I love it.

An unexpected moment in the story was a flashback to after Jules and Emma’s parabati ceremony. Emma accidently eavesdrops on Clary and Jace, but I didn’t even mind that she was basically spying on them. Their private moment in the garden was so sweet. It definitely showcases Clary and Jace’s love for each other. I found myself wanting a similar moment between Jules and Emma.

Annnnd we got that moment… not as sweet, but we got a moment between Emma and Julian in which their feelings for each other are blatant. I didn’t mind the kiss. In fact, I expected it. Julian saved Emma’s life and that would tip anyone over the edge of their feelings. What I didn’t necessarily like was the zero to one hundredness of them kissing to them hooking up on the beach. I know they’ve known each other their whole lives. It just felt fast to me.

Lady Midnight is so full of surprises. While it’s clear Arthur is mad, it’s also assumed Diana is leading the Institute during his bouts of madness. I was shocked that Julian had been corresponding with the Clave on behalf of the Institute since he was twelve. It’s astounding to me that someone so young could be forced to grow up so fast and still be a wonderful person.

In fact, Julian never ceases to amaze me. The depth of his love for his family knows no limit. That he would take lashings for Mark did not surprise me. It amazed me, but knowing all that we know about Jules, I was not surprised. Nor was I surprised that Mark tried to stop it. What did surprise me was Emma. I should have known she would step in and take the lashings for Julian, but when she did it, I realized she truly loves the whole Blackthorn family and not just Jules.

I felt the Blackthorn’s betrayal when they realized who the Guardian is. I guess it shouldn’t have been surprising… but it was. The fact that Malcolm took care of the Blackthorns and helped them all for years added to the betrayal. I was furious that he took Tavvy to the convergence to drain him of blood for his necromancy spell. Poor, defenseless, seven year old Octavian! How could he?!?! A child!!!

I love the fact that Clare give us looks back on the lives of the Shadowhunters we met in The Mortal Instruments. Reading about Simon and Izzy’s engagement made me smile. I knew they’d end up together, but the closure on their relationship was definitely welcome.

The Kit Rook is actually Christopher Herondale was a surprise to me. I want to know if he got Shadowhunter blood from his mother or his father. As always, Tessa and Jem were a welcome surprise. I remain happy that they found each other again.

Lady Midnight concludes with Mark and Emma agreeing to date… but Emma lied to Mark about why and that devastates me. Mark’s closing line of “Why lie?” doesn’t strike me as a why do you want to lie question, but more of a let’s really date kind of thing.

There’s so much content in this book, it felt damn near impossible to discuss and review it briefly. Overall, though the story is not without problems, I devoured this book as if my life depended on it. Therefore I give it my highest rating.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

What are some of your thoughts on Lady Midnight? Do you have a favorite character in this book? Share some thoughts in the comments!

Book Discussion/Review | Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Did you know it’s entirely possible to laugh, cry, and scream while reading a book written by Cassandra Clare? I’ve experienced many emotions while reading her books, but nothing prepared me for the emotions I’d experience while reading Clockwork Princess.

First of all, I hate certain tropes. Love triangles being the main trope that I can’t stand; alas, it is not the time to discuss my hatred for this. However, if there is a single person who I have faith in doing the trope correctly, it’s Cassandra Clare.

The main thing I like about the Jem, Tessa, Will triangle is that it is by no means cringe. It works. There’s no jealousy involved – not even when Jem finally realizes Will is in love with Tessa. Not only is he not jealous, but he basically gives his blessing to Will. Why else would he entreat Will to go after and rescue Tessa from the Magister?

The whole triangle between Will, Tessa, and Jem made me feel all sorts of emotions. I have always wanted Will and Tessa to end up together (the hero saves the lady in the beginning of every great love story, after all!) so it was confusing for me to also be rooting for James. I think it’s the sweetness that did me in. I wanted James to get his happy ending with Tessa so freaking much, so when he died, I was scream crying.

What’s worse about Jem’s death is I KNEW he didn’t die. I KNEW he became Brother Zachariah, but reading about the severance of the parabati bond from Will’s perspective was devastating. I actually thought, at least for a moment, he died! My whole heart shattered because neither Tessa nor Will were there with him.

And then, when Jem showed up as Brother Zachariah to help battle Mortmain, my heart started racing. It was as if I was experiencing the story through Tessa and Will’s eyes. It was beautiful.

Like I said, I have always wanted Will and Tess to be together, but for them to sleep together the same day Jem (Tessa’s betrothed) died was a little too much for me. They love each other, sure, but Tessa never so much as expressed to Will how she really felt. It was nuts to me that she, a lady of some propriety, would hook up with Will without telling him she loved him too. I get it, they thought they were going to die the next day, but this was a stretch for me! It didn’t need to happen to drive the story forward. Although… I did enjoy Magnus finding them the following morning!

Gaining closure about the origin of the Herondale star birthmark was amazing. I thought it was beautiful and I loved the nod to Ithuriel again. That poor angel really went through it!

The severing of the human bonds between Jem, Tessa, and Will was almost too much for me. Again, I almost cried – when Jem was talking to Tessa, and again when Jem was talking to Will. It made my heart sing that Tessa agreed to meet with Jem once a year on Blackfriar’s Bridge and it made me equally happy that Jem told Will their secret. It’s like he knew, somehow, that Tessa and Will would end up together.

Oh, and I couldn’t believe the freaking Consul in this! I thought he was FOR Charlotte Branwell! What a horrid man. I was happy with his ending. And so sad for Henry’s fate. Although, it could’ve been worse for him, I suppose…

Finally, the Epilogue…

I haven’t sobbed my way through an Epilogue since I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Reading about Tessa and Will’s life together, however briefly, meant everything to me. Reading about Will’s death absolutely destroyed my heart. Jem playing for Will, even though Silent Brother’s do not play music, in his final moments made me sob harder than ever. And when Tessa saw Jem, not Brother Zachariah, on the bridge, I gasped with delight (even if I knew she’d find out he was her Jem again eventually). Tessa is definitely among my favorite characters so seeing her get her second great love made me so happy.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

What emotion did you feel the most of while reading Clockwork Princess?

Book Discussion/Review | Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

With the cliffhanger ending of Clockwork Angel, I knew I’d need to pick up Clockwork Prince immediately! I found it just as enjoyably devastating as Clockwork Angel.

This one was a wild ride! I thought I had everything figured out, only to be betrayed over and over again.

Let’s start with one of my favorite characters…

Charlotte Branwell is a game changer for women. Given the time period in which this novel takes place, it was surprising to see a woman in charge of something as important as the Enclave. Surprising, but important. Charlotte is a headstrong and protective YOUNG woman. I think it’s important to note that she was so young and running the Institute – I mean, it’s only mentioned once (I think!), but Charlotte is only a few years older than Jem and Will! While they are nearing 18, Charlotte only clocks in at 23!

What upset me most about the betrayals in this novel were that they happened because of someone Charlotte nurtured. The fact that a member of the London Institute was willing to sell out the members of their family both shocked and appalled me. The thing is though, I feel like I let myself down because I felt like I should have known the betrayer was going to betray!

The romance was also incredibly similar to a roller coaster. At first, I thought Jem and Tessa seemed like a better fit. Jem’s kindness toward Tessa is exactly what she needs (and deserves), especially after Will’s intentional cruelty to her on the roof of the Institute. It is understood that Will’s curse is what causes him to push Tessa away, but it really is inexcusable to treat someone – especially someone you love – as Will did.

But then I read about Will’s heartbreak and my heart broke for him. I absolutely adore Jem, but in my mind Will is perfect for Tessa. They are the same!

Another tidbit that made me happy, similar to Clockwork Angel, is the friendship that formed between Magnus and Will. With Magnus being my absolute favorite character, I need more of him in my life. The fact that he played a bigger role in this book made my heart sing. While it is clear he adores Will, it is also evident that he is not romantically interested in Will. The friendship that formed between them better helped me to understand what exactly Alec was jealous of in TMI.

Similar to Clockwork Angel, we have excellent bad guys. Though the Magister is still the Big Bad Guy, there are lesser bad guys in this one too! This is needed, in my opinion. Smaller tasks on the quest to the larger task are what motivate me to continue to read stories – especially when the story spans multiple books. Having both Tessa’s brother, Nate, and members of the Enclave as bad guys really helped drive this book forward. Also… though I love Izzy and Alec, I was surprised to see more Lightwood’s involved in messed up shit than just Maryse and Robert. Good lord, the Lightwoods know how to go big or go home! XD

Overall, this was just as good as Clockwork Angel and it definitely hyped me up for the concluding novel of this trilogy.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Who’s betrayal was more shocking to you? Benedict Lightwood or Jessamine Lovelace?

Book Discussion/Review | Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

I put off reading The Infernal Devices for a really long time. I love the world Cassandra Clare created, but I was worried I wouldn’t like the historical aspect of TID. To be quite frank, historical fiction doesn’t really interest me (I’m a work in progress!) and that’s exactly what I thought this trilogy would be. Well… I suppose historical fantasy fiction would be a more accurate way to describe what I thought Clockwork Angel would be. I was quite mistaken.

Clockwork Angel follows Tessa Gray and the Shadowhunters of the London Institute in the year 1878. I suppose, like Goodreads, I’d have to describe this as a prequel to The Mortal Instruments, but I am absolutely glad I read these after reading (and re-reading) the aforementioned series.

I’m definitely happy I read TMI before TID because I liked having the background to compare ancestries. For instance, I can’t imagine liking Will nearly as much as I did without knowing that his line would eventually bring us Jace. Nor could I imagine liking Emma if not for Jem. One of my immediate first impressions upon the introduction of William Herondale was “I can tell he is related to Jace!”

Additional first impressions – Tessa will become a favorite character in the world (spoiler alert: she does!) and Jem is the sweetest (another spoiler: he is!). What I found most interesting about Tessa is her love of books. It’s really nice to encounter characters who love books as much as you do!

Obviously, I loved Clockwork Angel. I thought it was a wonderful start to the trilogy. One of the key things I loved about this book is the simple fact that I already had Clockwork Prince ready to start the next day. Otherwise the cliffhanger ending would have killed me!

I’ve noted before that I adore Magnus Bane, so all of his appearances made me really happy. Of course, through my happiness there were some things that were spoiled for me because of The Mortal Instruments.

The most obvious is the strange relationship between Will and Tessa. We all know she chooses Will, but all signs in Clockwork Angel point to Jem and Tessa being the couple. Throughout this story, I was left wondering how on earth it was possible that she and Will ended up married when it’s clear James is in love with her, and she him.

Jem’s illness, in general, was confusing to me. Well… maybe not quite confusing. I knew he would eventually become Brother Zachariah, but I didn’t think an illness would lead to it. In fact, throughout TMI there wasn’t any indication that Brother Zachariah joined the Brotherhood because of an illness. I just accepted it as something that had to be done… like an order rather than a choice.

Moving on to bad guys. This one had a good one! It’s hard to be afraid of someone named Valentine, but someone who goes by the Magister is easy to be frightened of. The Magister was a great villain for this story.

Clockwork Angel was absolutely the breath of fresh air I needed to start this year with (although it was technically the third book I read in 2019). Clare’s writing revitalized my mind and welcomed me home to the Shadow world.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

You tell me!  Jem and Tessa or Tessa and Will? Why?

Book Review | The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare et al.

Before I discuss my thoughts on the stories, I want to describe how I feel about Magnus Bane. From the moment he was introduced in The Mortal Instruments, I loved him. He is sassy, classy, and smart-assy and I adore how much he seems to like Clary (I mean, he calls her Biscuit and I think it’s so cute!).

When the Shadowhunters series was set to release and I found out Harry Shum Jr would be playing Magnus, I screamed. In my opinion, there is no better actor to play this character. I got my husband hooked on the show and he agrees – Magnus is the best!

Magnus is my favorite character in the Shadowhunter world. This is fact. Because my husband and I both adore the character, we named our Aussie, you guessed it, Magnus.

Clearly, Magnus is my favorite. Clearly I hyped up his tales in my mind. In fact, I might have overhyped…

Here’s a breakdown of The Bane Chronicles and my thoughts on each of the stories.

What Really Happened in Peru – 🌟🌟🌟

The tales of debauchery are wildly entertaining, but this story left something to be desired. Literally. They literally do not tell us what really happened in Peru and it’s infuriating. I felt so disappointed by this story. I don’t want a mystery. I want to know why Magnus was banned from a country!

The Runaway Queen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫

I love Magnus in Paris. I love the nod to his type – blue eyes, dark hair. I loved the fact that there was some historical value to this – it’s believable that Magnus knew Marie Antoinette!

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Edmund reminds me so much of Jace (except the whole part about having his Marks stripped to marry a mundane). The fact that he loves only one person (and we know he ends up loving her his whole life) is what makes me realize he and Jace aren’t so different. Actually, in this one Camille doesn’t seem so bad. Yet. Regardless, I really like Edmund Herondale!

The Midnight Heir – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Another Herondale to adore! I love Tessa, Will, and Jem. Poor James and his love of a psychopath though. Grace is batshit. Magnus is such a naughty man in this and I love that! I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Magnus and James Herondale. He seems to really hit it off with every Herondale he encounters!

The Rise of the Hotel Dumort – 🌟🌟🌟💫

This one felt like a lot of drivel. I did enjoy the more exciting bits, but it was just a little to blah for my liking. Magnus closing the door to the void was the most exciting part, but that’s about it. Oh, and Dolly’s “friend” was glaringly obvious. C’mon.

Saving Raphael Santiago – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (my favorite)

I needed more Raphael in my life. I love the portrayal in the television series and I actually liked Raphael a lot in The Mortal Instruments. Getting his backstory was something I needed. His sass is everything I strive to be.

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I like the glimpses of history in this story. I also enjoyed learning that vampires can develop addictions through the blood of human addicts. This seems obvious, but it was interesting to me.

What To Buy The Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway) – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I didn’t know how desperately I needed to see the sweet side of Alec that presents itself in this tale. I adore Malec!

The Last Stand of the New York Institute – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a pre-uprising tale and I loved it. It’s nice seeing Magnus’ part in everything.

The Course of True Love (and First Dates) – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I didn’t realize how much I wanted to know the details of Malec’s first date until I started reading this novella. This one was my second favorite tale in this bind up. I love getting some extra Magnus and Alec. And this definitely didn’t go the way I thought!

The Voicemail of Magnus Bane – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

A sad and hilarious conclusion to the chronicles. Izzy really is invested in her brother’s love life and that makes me so happy.

Overall, I did really enjoy these tales. Reading this before I started The Infernal Devices was a great call. So much of what I read in these tales helped set up what happens in TID and I’m really pleased to have finally read this book.

Overall, I rate this at 🌟🌟🌟🌟. I didn’t absolutely love all of the tales, but that’s to be expected. Magnus is still my favorite character!

What was your favorite of The Bane Chronicles?

Book Review | Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare et al.

I typically like to start my year by reading something by Cassie Clare. (Read: I actually normally just re-read The Mortal Instruments every January. I’m well aware how strange this is).

This year, I opted to reach for the nine Clare novels/novella bind-ups I have on my TBR. I specifically chose now to grab these books because Queen of Air and Darkness recently released.

So, with The Mortal Instruments fresh in my mind, having re-read them yearly since City of Heavenly Fire released in 2014, I decided it was absolutely time to read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. I don’t exactly love Simon Lewis like some readers, but I like him enough and was severely dissatisfied with his ending in City of Heavenly Fire.

On Goodreads, I gave rating for each of the ten novellas. Here on the blog, I thought I’d expand more on why I gave those ratings.

Welcome to the Shadowhunter Academy: 3.5 🌟🌟🌟💫

I thought this was a strong intro to the tales. I liked being introduced to new characters (that I’m sure will play a part later!) and this did help me remember how much I do like Simon. I was hopeful that as the tales continued that Simon would remember more because it was heartbreaking to read that he really couldn’t remember Clary.

The Lost Herondale: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The ending to this one literally made me well up with tears (this happens easily… I’m sensitive ok). I really cherish Simon and Clary’s friendship; it definitely ranks high on my list of important friendships in literature. This one left me with questions. Does the lost Herondale become the found Herondale? Does Simon tell anyone the REAL story?

The Whitechapel Fiend: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really love Tessa’s storytelling abilities. I love Jace and Simon in this one. It made me so happy to see the direction this story took the tales in. This tale made me feel like the whole book was going to end up a 5.

Nothing But Shadows: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (my second favorite) 

Even when I read TMI, I felt like Simon and Clary were meant to be parabati. Then Simon became a vampire and my spirit was crushed. When I finished TMI, I felt hopeful. We knew Simon was going to head to the Academy to become a Shadowhunter. This story made me feel so happy because, even though we don’t know for sure that Clary and Simon will be parabati, we at least find out that Simon plans to ask her when he Ascends! That’s enough for me! I did feel bad about George’s rejection though… (I adore George!)

The Evil We Love: 3.5🌟🌟🌟💫

This one was tough for me. Couldn’t tell if I hate Robert Lightwood, or if I hate his storytelling. I definitely didn’t love his use of Izzy, but I did love the relationship mending moment between Izzy and Simon.

Pale Kings and Princes: 3.5🌟🌟🌟💫

The ending of this tale was so confusing to me! Did Helen’s mother actually die? I was thrilled that Izzy and Simon worked things out!

Bitter of Tongue: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Oh hey, Cassie, it’s not like my heart hasn’t been consistently ripped out over the years. Please continue to do this to me. Alright, I KNOW Mark Blackthorn was not in TMI for long, but he was great! I LIKED HIM A LOT. So to see the Wild Hunt version of Mark was absolutely devastating for me.

And don’t even get me started on Helen. GAH!

The Fiery Trial: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Only two words are needed for this one: true parabati.

Also, Simon and Clary.

Born to Endless Night: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟(my favorite!)

Since I picked this book up, I was (im)patiently waiting for Malec to appear. This is exactly what I was waiting for. The tributes to Max and Raphael (another favorite character) were so touching. I loved the writing in this one. Hence, my favorite.

Angels Twice Descending: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Do you want to have your heart stomped on? This one will make you want to tear your heart out and kick yourself for ever being attached to a character. Oh hey, by the way… Cassie could give George RR Martin a run for his money. Good grief. Still a good tale though. This one made me actually reconsider my original opinion of Simon. I started to really like him in this tale.