Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels ★
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★
5.) City of Lost Souls ★★★★
3.) Clockwork Princess ★★★★★
6.) City of Heavenly Fire ★★★★★
*.) The Bane Chronicles ★★★
*.) Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy ★★★
1.) Lady Midnight ★★★★★
2.) Lord of Shadows ★★★★
*.) Ghosts of the Shadow Market 8/10

“There was blood on the Council dais, blood on the steps, blood on the walls and the floor and the shattered remnants of the Mortal Sword.”

Friends, it has been a ride. I have spent the last six months reading everything that Cassie Clare has created for the Shadowhunter world, and it was all leading up to this moment – the release of Queen of Air and Darkness. And friends, it was so worth it. Not only was reading all of these books and stories, and falling in love with so many of these characters and worlds, a highlight in my reading year, it was just a highlight in my 2018. And I just want to thank each and every single one of you that came along with me on this journey.

“Blood always matters, to the wrong sort of people”

And this book picks up immediately after the events in LoS. Fascists are trying to control the Clave and dictate how Downworlders should be treated. In Faerie, the Seelie and the Unseelie court are trying to hurt each other, while the Unseelie King has something that the Seelie Queen doesn’t want to live without. Warlocks are hurting, so many of our main cast of characters are missing, and so many people are grieving the loss of loved ones.

“Sympathy is common. Knowing the exact shape of the hole someone’s loss leaves in your heart is rare.”

Queen of Air and Darkness is truly a love letter to grief. The first section of this review is going to be spoiler free, so I’m going to try to be really vague. Ty is choosing to ignore his grief, Alec is throwing himself into work and wanting a better world because of his grief, Julian thinks revenge is the only way to work through his grief, Emma has finally made headway with her past grief, to only be forced to experience more all over again. We see parents grieving the loss of their children, children grieving the loss of their parents, and everyone grieving the loss of loved ones because of wars they didn’t ask to be a part of. But that’s what happens when you love people, and you let them in, because nothing is permanent, and grief is inevitable. There is no wrong way to grieve, but you do get to choose the actions you perform in the name of that grief. And we get to see people make a lot of hateful choices, and take a lot of hateful actions, because of their grief; Cohorts and fae queens and kings alike.

And this third and final installment in The Dark Artifices series does get rather dark, so please use caution. Content and trigger warnings for hate speech (always challenged and always negative), threatening to out someone, talk of wanting to sexually assault someone, self-harm, death, loss of a loved one, murder, torture, captivity, blood depictions, strong depictions of grief, trauma, and depression, talk of suicide, a lot of violence, and war themes.

As always, Cassie is so very inclusionary and gives us so much rep that is very respectively done. From so much sexuality and gender representation, to racial diversity, to giving us a main character on the autism spectrum, to body diversity, to really respecting mental health in this book. I’m not saying that Cassie Clare is the pinnacle of what representation in books should be, but I’ll be dammed if she isn’t trying, and if she isn’t doing a better job than any other cis white woman writing YA currently.

Overall, it is also actually wild how talented Cassandra Clare is, because the cast of her books are so large and expansive, but I’d die for almost every single one of them. I had so much fun reading this last installment, even if it wasn’t my favorite. But I will talk more about that below! I will say that I need The Red Scrolls of Magic, The Last Hours, & The Wicked Powers right this very second. Like, the wait is probably going to kill me. But I’m going to die with the biggest smile on my face.

Please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and all the series leading up to this book! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book. Spoilers ahead!

(Art by Alice Duke!)

Emma Carstairs – You all, I can’t even talk about Emma properly. She is my favorite Shadowhunter of them all. I love her, I love her bravery, I love her empathy, and I love how she loves. I’ll be honest, the worst part about turning the last page of this book is knowing that I’ll never be able to read another new book where she is the main character.

Julian Blackthorn – First off, Madalyn pointing out that Julian is probably demisexual added ten years to my life and I needed you all to know this. Next, Julian Blackthorn is my everything and I hate that I’m so weak for this soft boy, but it is the damn truth.

Also, because I’m a perv and this needs to be said, Julian and Emma reciting the parabatai vow while fucking? My kink. My fucking kink. Damn. The gifts CC gives us.

Church – The real MVP of this book.

Helen Blackthorn-Penhallow – Helen and Aline are going to be the best moms ever, and I am so happy that Cassie finally let us see this power couple! And I can’t wait to actually see them fall in love during TRSoM, but I know it is going to be my favorite thing in this entire series!

Aline Blackthorn-Penhallow – Okay, Helen and Aline are my TRUE OTP! And Aline literally give me life, while standing up for Helen, during this entire 900+ page story. And I’m here for any story that is a bout an Asian girl getting into a sapphic relationship with a fae girl. I mean, it is kind of my life goal.

Mark Blackthorn – You all, we did it, and CC answered our prayers! And she gave us the polyamorous relationship of my dreams! I will say that I don’t entirely love that they only have their cabin to share their love, but I hope that a lot happens in future books to make this trio able to truly spend all of their lives with one another. But that scene on the boulder between the three of them? 11/10, I will be rereading once a week for the rest of my life.

“All this time we were waiting for you. We loved each other, and it was a great thing, but with you, it is even greater.”

Cristina Rosales – I just love Cristina. I love her friendship with Emma, but I loved her deciding, at her own pace, what she wanted in her life. And she’s so damn strong, while being so damn giving, and she honestly deserves the entire world. Also, no offense, but Cassie Clare also gave her the worst Shadowhunter weapons, imo.

Kieran – I mean, you all know I’m trash for dark (ever changing) haired fae princes who end up being king. But like, I’d love Kieran even if he was none of those things. He is honestly probably my third favorite character in all of the Shadowhunter world. And when all the fae people were remembering all the kind things he did for them, and when the little girl gave him the white flower? Friends, I’m weak, and soft, and crying, and in love with Kieran so very much.

Adaon – Wow, the resident sleeper and true hero of this story.

Kit Rook / Christopher Herondale – Alright, Kit is going to have the coolest power(s) in the Shadowhunter world. But I truly loved how this book officially proved that Kit is going to have an actual claim to rule all of Faerie, and I’m here for it.

Tiberius Blackthorn – Oh Ty, my sweet Ty. You know this necromancy and dark magic are going to follow him all the way through TWP! You all also know that I’m a sucker for siblings who are best friends, and Thule Livvy’s letter actually gutted me.

“I love you. I love you. I love you.”

Livvy Blackthorn – I don’t really understand how ghost Livvy works, or how the connection with Ty works, but it equally breaks and warms my heart. But I do really wish she would have just been able to rest in peace.

Octavian Blackthorn – I feel like Poor Tavvy is the character that is looked over, but it is because he is still so little. But I cried really hard when he told Julian that he just wanted to go home at the end. Julian really raised all these kids to be brave, to be strong, and to love always.

Dru Blackthorn – Dru truly has grown up and came into her own during these three books. I love her, and I loved seeing her journey. And I especially loved seeing Ty spend more time with her. I can’t wait to see her grow and shine even more in TWP where she will be a main character.

Ash – Did Cassie really have to give him Rhysand wings? Truly? Honestly? Lord, why? But… I’m here for it, and I also ship him and Drusilla so damn hard already. When he picked up that picture that Julian drew and learned her name? I screamed. I can’t wait for that to make another appearance.

Magnus Bane – You all know Magnus is my favorite. Every book I fall more and more in love with him. And seeing him as a dad? It is truly the best. Also, Magnus having a heart to heart with Ty about gutted me, because it was so damn beautiful.

Alec Lightwood – I honestly feel like Alec was a real shining star in this book. And he is going to completely change the world with unconditional love. And seeing him become Consul of the Clave? I don’t even have words. Alec started out as a character that was hard for me to like, now he’s a character that’s hard for me not to love.

“No shining new world could be built on blood and bones.”

Zara Dearborn – Worst part of this book? That Zara didn’t die. And now she has her own little private city to breed her hate. I am so not looking forward to what is going to come of her and her hateful gang being left alone. Real talk, I would have been like, “We will leave all you Cohorts alone, as long as you give us her!” *winky face* I’m a petty and bitter bitch.

Horace Dearborn – Thank you, next.

The Kelpie (that Julian saved) – I always love the magical creatures of stories, that come and help and save that day. But this was too damn much for me. TOO DAMN MUCH.

Manuel Casales – This guy is so chaotic evil. And I’m so bitter that he didn’t die while Emma and Julian were on their wild rampage.

Diego Rosales – I also really couldn’t ever truly like Diego. Yeah, he did Kieran a solid, and I respect it, but I still never really liked him. He is one of the few side characters I’m okay saying goodbye to.

Jaime Rosales – I feel like CC is just going to give Dru all the options between Ash, Cameron, and Jaime, but Jaime is the one that skeezes me out for some reason. I just, don’t want it to happen. Nice dagger gift and all, boy no.

Diana Wrayburn – I will say that I was a little uncomfortable with how Julian and Emma found out about Diana being trans, but I am honestly just so happy that she is living her best life now, while being able to be open. And the talk she has with Julian and Emma, when she is like, “No, I’ve always been a woman.” Praise/bless. Give me an entire Diana series, please, Cassie Clare.

Gwyn – Wow, the best character in the entire Shadowhunter universe. The blessings.

Catarina Loss – Catarina is the best side character, and she does so much good, and she is so pure, and I wept extra hard when she stood by Magnus at his wedding. Like, these warlocks put me in my feels every single time.

Ragnor Fell / Shade – And this warlock just makes me laugh so damn hard. And I cheered out loud when the reveal actually came to fruition! I can’t wait to see even more of him with Ty in Scholomance.

Annabel Blackthorn – What a missed opportunity in this book to not give Annabel a better story. I’ll talk more about this below, but Annabel deserved better, especially with how breathtaking this cover it.

The (old) Unseelie King – I don’t know if I just forgot, or if I never picked up on it, but this dude had a half skeletal, half handsome face? That’s actually badass.

The Seelie Queen – This bitch. She legit just shows up in every book, in every timeline, just to rain on everyone’s parade.

Tessa & Jem – I screamed all over again after they announced they were pregnant. And now that they are going to raise a Herondale, Kit, so he can be safe? Ah, I just love this little family so much.

Izzy & Simon – I really wish they played bigger roles in this story, and that we would have received two weddings in this 900+ page tome!

Clary Fairchild – I won’t lie, I was really disappointed when we found out what Clary’s vision really was. God, I mean, I knew Cassie wouldn’t actually kill her, but I wanted to so much more, and it was a really anticlimactic reasoning.

Jace Herondale“I would die for Jace to shoot finger guns at me”Lea, 2018. Real talk, Jace had me actually laughing out loud during this entire book and I loved and hated every single second of it. Especially his banter with Kit, I mean, Christopher. And when Jace voted in Alec for Consul of the Clave? The tears just won’t stop, friends.

Evil Jace Herondale – Lord, why do you want us to suffer?

“There is nothing simple about vengeance, and nothing pure”

Okay, so one element or “trope” that I hate when books do is that alternate and/or parallel universe storyline. And I never, in a million years, would have guessed that Cassie Clare would pull this in QoAaD, but here we are. I’ll be honest, I kind of loved the concept of a Mad Max world where Sebastian Morgenstern not only won the Dark War, but now rules, but the entirety of Part Two was a little too much for me. Especially because they didn’t even bring back Thule Livvy and Thule Raphael. And in return, it almost felt like tragedy porn seeing them live again. And now we have an evil Jace in our world and on the loose to… kill Clary? Love Clary? To do something with Clary? Yikes.

But the true reason I am giving this book four stars, and the reason I probably think it is the weakest book in The Dark Artifices is because of Annabel. What a missed opportunity to have an amazing villain character. Instead, she dies at 60%, only for us to be rickrolled with a demon pretending to be her. She died so easily, too, and it felt so bad. I mean, she is on the cover of this book! And the title is completely her! Why would she barely show up in the 900+ pages, have the lamest death, and have no character development when she could have been such an amazing and intricate character.

“Please don’t leave me in this world without you.”

And then let’s not forget about Julian and Emma turning into giant, angel versions of King Kong, picking up and yeeting the bad guys. Even though, Zara conveniently didn’t get yeeted. Like, for a second I actually thought Emma was going to die, and then, in turn, Julian would have died, too. But when Emma said, “Let us burn.” I thought they would just die and become angels together, and my emo and sappy ass would have loved that. But instead, the whole wild giant thing happened, and then words of their loved ones “healed” them. Which was eyeroll worthy, but also sweet. Yet, when the heavenly fire didn’t damage ANYTHING except their parabatai bond? You all, I can’t. It just feels so unsatisfying. And Emma and Julian really are my favorite couple in all things Shadowhunter, but even I can’t just accept that and pretend it was realistic. I honestly think CC just wrote herself into a hole, and putting a bright and shiny bow on it was the only option, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I will also say that the ending was completely and utterly fanservice, but it was fanservice that I ate up with a spoon and asked for more. Magnus and Alec’s wedding was everything, and Alec’s proposal made me actually ugly cry. Just seeing everything that these two have been through, all the lives they’ve impacted, all the family they have made, they were just so damn deserving of this happiness. And then the short story after the epilogue? With Jace and Clary in that greenhouse? God, that greenhouse. It really feels so full circle, doesn’t it? All of these original characters have brought me so much happiness in 2018, and seeing them get moments of pure happiness at the end of this book was honestly everything.

“As long as you exist and I exist, I will love you.”

Overall, I’d give my life for Emma Carstairs and any of the Blackthorns and I will never forget this reading experience. Picking up City of Bones this year was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And now I finally get to wait and suffer for the next thing Cassie Clare publishes with the rest of you! And special thank you to Lea, Sol, Madalyn, Jane, & Amber for allowing me to cry and scream and gush with you! You all made the experience even more special and I love you all! ❤

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The Queen’s Resistance (The Queen’s Rising, #2) by Rebecca Ross

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ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Queen’s Rising ★★★★

“Crowning Isolde Kavanagh as the rightful queen was not the end of our rising. It was merely the beginning.”

The Queen’s Resistance is book two in Rebecca Ross’s debut series, which I think is so underhyped and so underappreciated! Seriously, friends, stop sleeping on this series. Because this is exactly the kind of YA fantasy that I’m always on the hunt for; amazing friendships, swoon-worthy romances, medieval setting, unique magic systems, and women coming into their power and embracing what has been taken from them by men who fear that power.

The Queen’s Rising focused on our main character, Brienna, at a school that helps young girls hone sought after specializations. And after graduating in one of these sought-after trades (art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge) you will work under a patron doing a vast array of different things with your skill set. But Brienna was sent to this boarding school so that she could go into hiding, because the blood that runs through her veins has made her quite the threat to the throne, and the world.

I honestly feel like I can’t say too much about The Queen’s Resistance, because it picks up very soon after the end events of The Queen’s Rising, and a lot of things went down. But I will say that Brienna is still very sought-after, but now she has a very strong found family that helps protect her, regardless of what her last name is. And even though the revolution is over, the rebuilding has just begun, and Brienna, and her family want to build something worthy of a legacy.

“If you were a storm, I would lie down and rest in your rain. If you were a river, I would drink from your currents. If you were a poem, I would never cease to read you.”

Cartier also gets his own point of view in this book, and his journey is also not an easy one because of his bloodline. But regardless of the bad things that have happened in his past, he always shows empathy and consideration in every situation. Seeing him and Brienna grow, and grow together, is so beautiful, and their strength and compassion really knows no bounds.

Found family is for sure the shining light of this beautiful tale, but this is also a book about becoming the person you want to be, regardless of the evil acts people have committed with the same last name as you. And this is a story about rising up, and being what you dream of being, not who people expect you to be on account of a last name that you never asked to have.

“Is it only blood that makes a House? Or is it beliefs? What holds people together more? The red in their veins or the fire in their hearts?”

Overall, I can’t wait to see what comes next in this world. I just fell so in love with these characters, and I want to protect them at all costs. Rebecca Ross’s writing is so lyrical and beautiful, and I really have become so attached to this entire world she has created. Again, this series is so underhyped, and this author has really blown me and my expectations away with this debut series.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for graphic torture, murder, death, loss of a loved one, abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, talk of past rape, sex trafficking, captivity, and slavery.

Buddy read with Lea at drumsofautumn! ❤

 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (ACSDAL #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

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ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a much darker theme. In this version, the Prince is forced to repeat the quest to find love over and over each season, while causing more and more bloodshed each time. But after three-hundred seasons, this season will officially be the very last one.

Harper – The Belle. Eighteen-years-old and from DC, before she is captured. But back home, she has a hard home life, living with her mother who has cancer and they can’t afford medical treatment, and a brother who is forced to pick up his father’s mantle to work for crime lords because he left his family in so much debt. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, which I understand has very many different types on a spectrum, but she is high functioning. (Also, if you are an ownvoices reviewer, I would love to link your review and boost your voice on your feelings about the representation!) And besides Harper’s Cerebral Palsy representation, which is also at the heart of this book, her brother, Jake, is also queer and has the sweetest boyfriend, Noah, who is black.

Rhen – The Beast. But the dark themes I brought up above is that each season when a girl doesn’t fall in love with him, he turns into a different beast and kills whatever is in his way. And then a new season begins, and the curse starts all over again.

Grey – Rhen’s guard commander, and the only living person left at the castle with him. Not only is he a loyal friend to him, but he captures the girls and brings them back for him.

Lilith – The enchantress who has cast this spell on Rhen and his kingdom. I’ll be honest, this character very much reminded me of Ianthe from A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Freya – The shining star of the book, if I’m being honest. She has a child of her own but is also taking care of three of her sister’s children. I don’t know why I loved her so much, but she really was my favorite in the entire story. Give her a spin-off, please.

And these characters come together to set the stage and remake the story of Beauty and the Beast unlike any other. We get to see Harper decide if she wants to save a kingdom or her family and we get to see Rhen decide if he is worth saving. And even if this book was a little hard for me to get into at the start, I ended up really getting interested by the end.

There is a good discussion in this book about feeling responsible for things that you have no control over. Whether that be mistakes that your loved ones are making, deteriorating health of loved ones, or even just people doing bad things to you and the people you care about. Some things are really out of our control, and I liked the dissection of this in this book, because I think it is easy to feel responsible for things that sometimes really aren’t our faults.

“We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.”

Overall, I didn’t love this or even enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it did have a lot of things that I adore. Harper and Rhen do travel around his kingdom a lot, and I love me a good traveling story. Also, they frequent inns and taverns a lot, which is another thing that is so very much in my reading wheelhouse. But even though I completely understand that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I just couldn’t get over the abduction plotline and even begin to really root for the romance in this book. I will say though that I was really surprised this wasn’t a standalone, even though it totally can be read that way, but maybe I will love the next installment more!

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for abduction, captivity, talk of cancer, loss of a loved one, murder, death, torture, abuse, a pedophile comment, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault (by Lilith), thoughts of suicide, and a lot of ableist speech (always in a negative light from the villain).

Buddy read with Julie, Amy, Chelsea, Jules, Jen, & Chelsea! ❤

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Stories 1 – 8) by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman, & Kelly Link

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels ★
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★
5.) City of Lost Souls ★★★★
3.) Clockwork Princess ★★★★★
6.) City of Heavenly Fire ★★★★★
*.) The Bane Chronicles ★★★
*.) Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy ★★★
1.) Lady Midnight ★★★★★
2.) Lord of Shadows ★★★★

Hey, friends! Okay, so I am just too hyped to keep talking about all things that involve the Shadowhunter world, with Queen of Air and Darkness coming out in TEN DAYS! Holy moly, the blessings! I honestly haven’t been so excited for a new release in years. You all also know that I have been reading everything in this world for the last six months, so I know this book is going to literally be the cherry on an already delicious cupcake! (And your girl is hungry!)

I do want to say that Ghosts of the Shadow Market is scheduled to come out in June of 2019, and will include ten stories in total, but only eight have been released singly so far! Therefore, I am not going to give this collection a total star rating, I’m just going to let you know my individual star rating for each story separately, then come release I will do more in-depth and full review, that will also include the two stories that haven’t been released yet! But I hope this post gets you all hyped, because I can’t wait to read the final Dark Artifices book with the entire community in just a few more days!


Son of the Dawn – ★★★★

“Every world contains other worlds within it.”

It is official, The New York City Shadow Market is the coolest one we’ve seen so far? Abandoned theater? Ahhh, the aesthetics. But this story takes place in 2000, and I will be honest with you all, I sure in the hell wasn’t expecting a story about how Jace came to join the Lightwood family. Damn, my emotions are all over the place, because seeing Raphael alone makes me weep. Also, I think it was really smart for Cassie Clare to show us a “good” side of Robert Lightwood, especially after finishing Lord of Shadows. Also, all that talk of parabatai bonds? Lord, help us all. But I think my sappy self cried hardest over two initials. Okay, I know this brief review is all over the place, but this was such an unexpected treat and I was smiling while reading this entire story. From Izzy watching Alec discover who he is, to me crying even more over Max, to Jace being Jace even at a young age, to Lily Chen actually making me laugh out loud, to me screaming at seeing Raphael confirming that he is ace, I love all of this. And even just seeing Raphael come to Brother Zachariah for help and to go on what ends up being such a meaningful adventure, that really impacts all their lives eventually, it was just amazing. I really loved this short story and I think it was such an amazing glimpse at the past, that really makes you appreciate the future so much more.


Cast Long Shadows – ★★

“Old sins cast long shadows.”

Okay, I’m still hyped for The Last Hours though, but I think it is mostly for James Herondale, even though Matthew Fairchild is such a little sweetheart. I loved seeing him interact with Brother Zachariah, and loving him just because so many of his loved ones love him. I love that feeling, and I think that’s something in life that I experience a lot that books rarely depict. But in this short story takes place in London 1901, and we get to see Matthew dealing with something that’s really bothering him, while willing to do anything to find out the truth. Oh, and Alastair Carstairs is such a little jerk, but I know Cassie is going to give him a homelife (and a father, I think) that is going to make us feel a lot of empathy toward him. But why the hell is Sophie (my queen, still) and Gideon’s kid friends with him? Yet, I love seeing Henry’s disability rep, I love seeing Charlotte say fuck your misogyny to the Clave, and I just love seeing all these glimpses at old friendships that we already love, but also all the new glimpses at what is to come. And seeing Jem, Will, and Tessa living their lives after Clockwork Princess will never not equal parts break my heart and heal my soul. And yeah, I’m still crying over that staff. Lord, help me.


Every Exquisite Thing – ★★★★

“Foolish people say so many things. But we know who we are…”

Anna Lightwood deserves the entire galaxy and all the stars within it, please spread the word. Like, the child of Cecily and Gabriel is a true blessing to the Shadowhunter universe. And the end of this made me happier than any other Shadowhunter short story I’ve ever read. In short, this story is love letter to nonbinary people, and we get to follow Anna embracing being a genderfluid lesbian. Even though everyone knows that queer people existed all throughout history, this story highlights how it was harder to come out back in the 1900s. But seeing Anna live their best life was everything and it warmed my heart so very much. And, again, Cassie Clare is just being more and more inclusive and she impresses me so very much. And there is f/f romance in this story, too! But the heart of this story is identity and being the person you are on the inside on the outside, too. Okay, I’m done gushing; this story we also get to see Anna and Matthew explore the London nightlife and meet a woman named Leopolda in a club and bring to ask a few questions. And soon, them and Brother Zachariah are trying to figure out what she’s up to. And I think that we are soon going to get a lot more background story on Tessa, and I cannot wait for The Last Hours, friends. It is going to be so amazing, and now Anna is going to make me even more excited!


Learn about Loss – ★★★★

“I want you to give them both a span of time. Both of them in a time and place where they can be young and happy and together.”

Current mood: Forever weeping over the masterpiece that is the end of this short story. You all, Will and Jem will always be best friend goals, and honestly are the definition of platonic unconditional pure love. (I mean, I won’t go into my polyamorous wants because Cassie Clare didn’t bless us!) But friends, this story just has a lot in it that I really appreciated. And I loved this dark carnival Shadow Market. This story is set in 1936 Tennessee, during the end of the Great Depression, and not only do we follow Brother Zachariah, but also the soon-to-be Iron Sister, Emilia, who easily stole my heart. And Sister Emilia’s promise? Goosebumps. Perfection. Also, I think these stories are really going to make an impact for QoAaD.


A Deeper Love – ★★★

“…those two twin souls, the only souls she had ever loved.”

Friends, I was not expecting a WWII story set in London that starred Tessa Gray and Catarina Loss working as nurses. But oh my gosh, it was so beautifully and hauntingly unexpected. And there is still a Shadow Market that they bargain at, but even the paranormal war is impacted (both positively and negatively) by war. And Brother Zachariah just happens to be at the Shadow Market, where bombs are dropping from the sky, while he gets into his own altercation with a fae who thinks he is meddling in affairs that do not involve him. And I believe the point of this story was that we get to see that weapon poison that Julian and Emma deal with in Lady Midnight. I also cried for probably a third of this just because Brother Zachariah and Tessa both dealing with loss, while healing and living with love, just guts me every time. It’s so pure, and so hopefully, and just gives me all the feelings under the sun. The power of love is something so strong, and this story just left me in awe, honestly.


The Wicked Ones – ★★★

“They’d both given a piece of their hearts to a Herondale. And they both loved someone they could not have.”

Oh, boy. So, this story is set in 1989 Paris, where we meet a young girl named Céline and get to see the uprising of Valentine. Céline has constantly run away from her abusive home, and the parents that torture her and call it love. And when she was eight years old, she ran away and felt safe and at home for the very first time – at the Paris Shadow Market. But in this story we see her almost ten years later, and she is desperately trying to feel welcome with Valentine and his elite crew. And she is also realizing she is completely and utterly in love with Stephen Herondale. But while this is going on, Brother Zachariah is in search of a lost necklace and a lost child. This story really dives deep into how manipulative people can gaslight to get what they want, and will always try to isolate people and convince them that what they are doing is in their best interest. It is always really interesting to see the rise and fall of Valentine Morgenstern, but this story just made me feel really sad for Amatis and for another child who has yet to be born.


The Land I Lost – ★★★★★

“Your voice is the music I love best in all the world.”

First and foremost, it is very obvious that Lily Chen is not straight, but Cassie Clare confirmed on Tumblr that she is pan! The blessings. The actual blessings. Also, hello, my new favorite character. Lily is half Japanese and half Chinese, and was made a vampire under the saddest of circumstances. And her love for Raphael Santiago warms my black heart like nothing else in the entire Shadowhunter world. And even though I could go on forever about my love for her, this story is more about her and Alec going to the Buenos Aires Institute together because Jem and Tessa are in need of help, and someone requested Alec personally. This story is actually pretty dark, so content and trigger warnings for abandonment, captivity, sex trafficking, sex slavery, and war themes. Nothing is graphic, but it is very much talked about, so please use caution. But Alec soon finds out that the Buenos Aires Institute is being heavily influenced by Horace Dearborn, and they are allowing children whose parents were killed in the Dark War to be orphans living on the street, just because they are Downworlders. Alec then comes across a Shadowhunter child who they are also unwilling to help, and the other Downworlders are too scared to bring in, therefore he must take action. You all, this novella was heartbreaking and heartwarming. Seeing Magnus and Alec be such good fathers to Max, and then adopting their second child, Rafe, it is something I don’t even have words for. And they are allowing their children to be whatever they want to be, Warlock or Shadowhunter, and will never stop giving them unconditional love. Even just seeing glimpses of Jace and Izzy being an uncle and an aunt had me smiling so big! It is a joy to read, pure joy. But we learn so much during this longer addition to the anthology, too. All the information we got of/from Mother Hawthorn? Damn.


Through Blood, Through Fire – ★★★★

“But we bear so much that seems unthinkable. The only truly unbearable burden is living without love.”

Okay, I won’t lie, even though I have loved watching Brother Zachariah go on this quest of finding the lost Herondale, I feel like it is my least favorite aspect of this anthology. And even though this short story gave us major insight on Rosemary and Jack, it wasn’t a big surprise after reading The Wicked Ones. But then, once the story catches up to the events at the end of Lady Midnight, and Tessa drops the REAL information of this story. You all, my jaw dropped. And my eyes? The tears won’t stop coming after that last paragraph. Wow, the blessings. The happiness. The everything. Queen of Air and Darkness can’t come soon enough.



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Buddy read with Lea at drumsofautumn! ❤

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

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ARC provided by Flatiron in exchange for an honest review.

“Remember—magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.”

Enchantée is a book that is set in historical Paris, during 1789, but this is a version of Paris unlike any other. Yes, the French Revolution is beginning, and the people are starving and rioting, while Marie Antoinette and other aristocrats ignore their pleas. But some people in this alternative history are able to wield magic to help make their lives a little easier.

In this world, there are three different types of magic:
Magie Ordinaire – changing things
Glamoire – changing oneself
Magie Bibelot – making objects sentient

This book stars Camille, a young girl able to wield magic, but is very scared to get caught because the stakes are so high. Yet, she still turns magic into scrap metal so that they have a little money to live off of. But her younger sister Sophie is not in the best of health, and both of their parents have just died to smallpox. The only person who is supposed to be looking out for them is their older brother, Alain, who is drinking and gambling away what little money they do have.

But when Camille helps out a couple hot air balloon makers, then she finds a magical dress that is hidden away in a secret trunk, and she ends up taking her and her sisters future into her own hands and will stop at nothing to ensure their health and safety. From there, she throws herself into a world of aristocracy, filled with nobles who do not even realize the food they are wasting while people in the streets are starving.

I wanted to love this so much, friends. But sadly, it just fell so very short for me. I felt like the author was trying to cram so many important things that happened in France in that time into this book, while also trying to write her own story, and both elements just made this entire story feel disjointed and left a lot to be desired. And honestly? Even my synopsis of this book sounds a lot better than the book actually is.

I was so bored throughout. I just kept waiting for something more exciting to happen, but it never did. The twists and turns were so predictable and so lackluster. And them ignoring the gross behavior that Alain displayed made me so angry. And their constant views on sex workers made my eyes almost roll out of my head completely. Oh, and the villain was straight up from a comic, twirling his mustache, I swear!

I will say that one of the main side characters, Lazare, is biracial (Indian and French) and he does have a really good discussion about how he feels like the French never let him forget that he isn’t white. I really appreciated that. I also appreciated that Camille was willing to do whatever it took to care for Sophie. You all know I’m always here for good sibling relationships. But besides these two elements? I really didn’t enjoy this one.

I’m so sorry, friends! I do feel like I’ve been really not enjoying a lot of the historical stories I’ve read in 2018, so maybe you will enjoy this a lot more than I did. A lot of my friends have actually given this one really high praise, too. But I’m wishing you all happy reading, always.

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The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for degrading comments about women (I honestly feel like I read the word “whore” at least twenty times), slut shaming, physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, illness of a loved one, alcoholism, gambling addiction, loss of a loved one, blood depictions.

Buddy read with Mia at Pens and Parchment, Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills, & Kayla at Books and Blends! ❤

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★
5.) City of Lost Souls ★★★★
3.) Clockwork Princess ★★★★★
6.) City of Heavenly Fire ★★★★★
*.) The Bane Chronicles ★★★
*.) Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy ★★★

“No one is ever the villain of their own story.”

Lady Midnight was completely worth me reading eleven back-list Cassie Clare titles for. Holy shit, this book was everything. Everything. And honestly this was one of the best things I’ve read all year. I am so in love, friends. This world just gets more complex, the banter gets funnier, the cast gets more diverse, and the stories get more and more enthralling. And this is easily the best book I’ve read from Cassie Clare yet.

But I went into this brand-new series, that has been building up in the previous series for some time now, never expecting the main story to be about a secret murderous cult. Like, the blessings. Basically, in Lady Midnight Emma is still unable to let the mysterious deaths of her parents go unsolved, even though everyone else thinks they were just the first casualties of the start of the Dark War. But it has been five years since then, and the Cold Peace is still being held up by the Shadowhunters, making it so no one can help or work with the fae.

Emma and the Blackthorns are living back at the LA Institute, and upholding that law even though they know it’s wrong. That is, until they get an offer that they can’t refuse. And we are thrown into a world of ley lines, sacrificial killings, necromancer magic, and a baffling puzzle that Emma and the gang need to figure out quickly.

Lady Midnight is truly a book all about forbidden love. It is filled with angst, heartbreak, and pain. But it is so expertly done, that you’ll ask for more and say please while doing so. Cassandra Clare is just perfecting her writing, her stories, her characters, her plot twists, and her diversity with every single book. This book honestly blew me away. Also, yes, you need to read all eleven books leading up to his one, truly.

Please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and all the series leading up to this book! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book. Spoilers ahead!

(Perfect art by Loweana – who seriously makes my favorite art for every single fandom; The Cruel Prince, Six of Crows, and now The Dark Artifices!)

Emma Carstairs – My queen, my love, my entire heart. My favorite main character in… forever. I’m not joking, I actually like her that much. Easily my favorite character in all of Cassie Clare’s books. Wow, The blessings. I’m not deserving.

Julian Blackthorn – My soft, sweet boy. Too pure for this world and all the Shadowhunters. I will protect him at all costs. Also, full disclosure, I’ve had a thing for the “dark haired, broody, tortured artist” type since high school and Adrian from Vampire Academy and Julian really is the epitome of that, too. And some of his one-liners? God, I was swooning so hard.

“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”

Mark Blackthorn – Mark Blackthorn is responsible for 90% of the angst I felt in this book. “Why lie?” is now my favorite ending line of every book and I will be haunted. Also, what a bi icon. My heart.

Kieran – My dude really messed up in the middle of this book, but my subconscious just falls in love with all the queer faeries Seriously, it is beyond my control at this point. Plus, you all know that fae princes are literally my greatest weakness in this life, so….

“You are all that exists on the earth and under the sky that I do love.”

Cristina Rosales – What an amazing new character. Cristina is Latinx and from Mexico and the most precious angel in the world. Her and Emma’s friendship was so wonderful and just warmed my heart during every scene.

(Gorgeous art by Haunted Duck Princess!)

Livvy Blackthorn – This sweet little protector. I love Livvy so much, but I’m so scared how she is going to handle possibly being alone.

Tiberius Blackthorn – Ty is honestly one of the best characters I’ve read about in years. Cassie Clare has done such a beautiful job with his character and showing that people on the Autism spectrum just learn and consume information differently; never wrongly. But I don’t want him and Livvy to separate, I’m weak.

Dru Blackthorn – This shy little sweetheart gave me so many feels in this book. And again, I think Cassie Clare creating a thirteen-year-old struggling with body image is something I wish I had when I was thirteen. Every book, every series, every new character, Cassie just impresses me more and more. And I can’t wait to see more of Drusilla.

Octavian Blackthorn – My heart always breaks for Tavvy, because even though he is only seven, all he has ever known is war. I mean, that’s so relatable to our world, and that breaks my heart, too.

Diego Rocío Rosales – I honestly really like Diego, who is also Latinx and followed Cristina from Mexico, but I don’t want him to ruin my polyamorous dreams, but if he’s willing to add to them then I will be the happiest human on Earth. Thanks. But I am really scared to meet Jaime.

Gwyn – Leader of the Hunt and stealer of my heart. Give me everything about this man, because I am highkey ready to call him daddy.

Iarlath – Someone kill this man, quick.

Anselm Nightshade – Vampire and pizza place owner! That combination is going to lead to nothing good.

Arthur Blackthorn – I lowkey dislike Arthur. I know he has been though SOME SHIT, but I just feel so damn bad for Julian every time I think of him, and it just really ruins his character for me.

Johnny Rook – This death was hella brutal. I was not prepared. But I will also say that I was so surprised when this book started out, on page one, with the Shadow Market and introduced us to this character, because I know the short stories that are currently being published are all about this magical place and I can’t wait to learn more.

Kit Rook – AKA: Christopher Herondale. DAMN! I honestly screamed at this reveal. I can’t wait to learn everything about him. Also, this really solidifies that you really should read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy before starting this book.

Diana Wrayburn – Questionable face tat, but I can’t wait to learn more about her.

Malcolm Fade – If Lady Midnight taught me anything, it is that warlocks are so damn over-powered. Holy moly, the power this dude had. Also, friendly reminder: no body = no death. Okay, thanks, bye.

Annabel – Oh shit. Apparently the 2 AM “u up?” text is powerful. I’m scared, friends.

Tessa & Jem – That “item” that they were after. Shit, son. But seeing Jem build a relationship with Emma? So beautiful, I don’t even have words for it. I really hope that they are in Lord of Shadows more, because I honestly can’t get enough of them.

Clary & Jace – Holy shit, mom and dad are running the NY Institute now? Damn, they grow up fast. Real talk, one of my favorite moments of this book was Jace and Mark’s heart to heart, where he tells him that he has only given witchlight to two people before. Ahhh, the feels.

Izzy & Simon – Um, how are my babies engaged?!?! Ahhhhh! I honestly screamed when this information was presented, even though we didn’t get to see my favorites in this book at all. But still, I am so damn happy, and they deserve the world, and each other, and I’m honestly just overcome with emotions.

And you all knew I wasn’t going to write this long review and not talk more about the budding polyamorous relationship that I think Cassie Clare is building for us. I truly think with my entire body and soul that Cassie Clare wanted to have Tessa, Jem, and Will be in a polyamorous relationship, but it was still not that talked about back when The Internal Devices came out. But, dear reader, I think she is going to right her wrongs and give us the relationship of my dreams. And with two of the partners being fae? Lord, this is my actual dreams.

“It was a sort of love few other people could understand. It was total and it was overwhelming and it could be cruel.”

But I know that Emma and Julian’s forbidden relationship is going to be the actual death of me. The only really negative thing I can say about this book is that I think the laws revolving around parabatai and the age restrictions that make these kids pick lifelong and life-altering relationships is so unbelievable. And let’s be real, Emma and Julian got done so dirty by their forced arrangement. But seeing how this bond is going to… maybe ruin them? Lord, I can’t. I actually can’t. And Mark Blackthorn is just going to intensify the angst, but I’m highkey ready for that!

I always appreciate that the heart of every Shadowhunter novel is about oppression and prejudices that impact everyone; friends, families, entire societies. The Clave is the political force that makes and implements the rules in this world, and much like my own world, many are really harmful, extremely backwards, and very exclusionary. And I love seeing young people fight back against the generation that wants to keep them in these broken cycles that are filled with hate and fear.

Another cool addition that this book gave us was the talk of Scholomance. I feel like I don’t remember this being something in the other books, and it is like a detective school, but Shadowhunter style. Diego already attended it, and it looks like Ty is going to eventually go to it, and I’m just really interested to see more.

“There is nothing more important than love. And no law higher.”

Okay, let’s talk about the sex. First off, birth control runes? Praise/bless. I loved this more than words and Clary is honest to god doing the lord’s work. The sex on the beach. Like, it might be a tiny bit unrealistic (sand is not your friend during sex, I promise) but like, I had to wait 102 books for Jace to whip out that condom in Hell, but Cassie Clare gives us a hot sex scene in this first book of a series? The blessings. And Julian was the virgin and not Emma? The gifts keep on coming. Seriously, you all, I was screaming with joy over everything in chapter eighteen. Also, huge shout out to Solly for sending me the naughty version of the beach scene, because he knows me.

Also, a big shout out to Lea for sending me the short story that is only found in first editions of Lady Midnight! And, friends, it was perfection! Overall, this is one of the best things I’ve read all year and I am so damn thankful that I read all those other books to get to this one. I experienced pure happiness while reading this book, from the first to last page. And I am literally posting this review and running back to my bookshelves to pick up Lord of Shadows!

“I breathe when you breathe, I bleed when you bleed, I’m yours and you’re mine, you’ve always been mine, and I have always, always belonged to you!”

(Beautiful art by Cassandra Jean!)

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Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, loss of a loved one, torture, blood depictions, self-harm, anxiety attacks, PTSD, talk of cancer, and graphic violence.

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

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ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Do not cling to the hand that holds you down”

Empress of All Seasons is an ownvoices Japanese fantasy that was a complete delight to read. I was completely immersed from the very first page, and the last page left me wanting the next book immediately. But this is a tale of family (both found and blood), and honor (both given and earned), and love (unconditionally and conditionally).

The emperor is a human who rules this world and is cruel and demands power in every aspect of his life. In this world, there are many kinds of yōkai, who can turn into different kinds of animals, phantoms, monsters, and demons, and the emperor enslaves all that he can find. The emperor also lives in a magical palace, where there are four rooms controlled by the High Priest, one for each season, that are also incredibly cruel.

And the emperor is looking to marry off his heir, and the only way for him to find a worthy empress is for her to win a competition that will make the girl prove she can survive these four magical rooms and to beat each season’s punishments. It is a little reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Red Rising, but each girl is required to get a limited number scroll, that will be found once they figure out a riddle, to move onto the next room.

“The rules were simple: Survive the Rooms. Conquer the Seasons. Win the prince.”

Mari – Yōkai, whose mother, Tami, is the alpha of their Animal Wives clan. Mari has grown up surrounded by beautiful women whose mission is to go and seduce the richest of men in their animal form, and then on their wedding night steal everything that they can and bring it back to the village. And sometimes when they come back, they will also be pregnant from that night. If they deliver a boy child, it will be sent away, but if they deliver a girl child, then they will be able to retire and prepare their daughter for the way and life of Animal Wives. And even though Mari’s mother is the most beautiful and powerful of the clan, Mari didn’t inherit the looks or the powerful animal form of her mother. But Tami has prepared Mari to be powerful in another way; to be skilled in fighting and to maybe win a competition that will be the greatest heist of all the Animal Wives.

Taro – The Cold Prince, and the Emperor in waiting, but his father, the current emperor, is terribly cruel while Taro is terribly smart. He accidentally invented and crafted metal collars that enslaves all of the yōkai that his father uses to control them.

Akira – The Son of Nightmares. Half of his face is terribly scarred, and the other side perfectly beautiful. His father was a trader, but his mother is a ghost, and they were forced to flee and live in hiding after their village attacked them. He keeps all of Mari’s secrets, and helps save all the people that she defeats during her training, when she should be killing them. Also, he is so very silent and able to sneak around like no one else.

Hanako – Weapons Master and love of my life. She is also leading the yōkai resistance. I want an entire book of her and her white ferret. Also, she is queer. I will say that this book maybe had the “bury your gays” trope, but you never get confirmation, but it for sure feels like it. So, please use caution, and I wish I didn’t have to keep writing this in reviews in 2018. Also, I really recommend you all check out Acqua’s review, because they go way more in depth with the heteronormativity in this world, and it really opened my eyes.

“We’ve been pushed around and forced into quiet rooms our whole lives. Nobody’s ever asked us what we wanted. The prize isn’t the prince. It’s the power.”

This was a really compelling story that I never wanted to put down. And I really think that Emiko Jean has created such a beautiful start to a story that I cannot wait to read more of. From the magic of the rooms, to seeing these four characters live the lives they have been dealt, to seeing this beautiful world turn into something so scary because of one man’s hate and oppression, I just loved it all so much.

“Men are conditioned to take. Women are conditioned to give.”

I will say that this book for sure has major instalove and it didn’t feel organic or believable in the slightest. Also, Taro as a character easily won me over because of his softness at the beginning, but I really grew to find him unbelievable and just kind of dislike him and it made me sad, honestly. I also think this was supposed to feel like an angsty love triangle, but it never really felt like it. But Mari, Akira, and Hanako are still everything. Also, I can’t wait for more Hiro either!

Overall, I can’t wait to see what comes next. I thought it was beautifully written, and I was able to pull so many breathtaking quotes from the ARC copy I had. I loved so many of these characters. The story was unique and so very enthralling. And I loved the Japanese mythology and culture that was always at the forefront of this story. I completely recommend this story, and I truly think it is the start of something that is going to be amazing.


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, loss of a loved one, parental abuse, physical abuse, torture, captivity, slavery, abandonment, drugging, self-harm, blood depictions, and thoughts of suicide.

Buddy read with May at Forever and Everly, Lily at Sprinkles of Dreams, and Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤