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