Hi, everyone! I’m here today to bring you another edition of mini reviews. Three of my most anticipated sequels of 2017 (and, consequently, three of my most anticipated releases of the year) came out within the past month, and while I don’t have enough thoughts on any of them to write full reviews, I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you all! I’m going to try my best to keep these reviews spoiler-free. (Also, while I’d LOVE to discuss these books in the comments, please try to keep your comments spoiler-free, as well! If you wanna talk spoilers, my Twitter DMs are ALWAYS open. Especially with these three books, because they all destroyed my emotions and I need help coping, lol.) Now that I’ve rambled, ONTO THE REVIEWS!
Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?
A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.
Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.
When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.
(More like Lord of Madalyn’s Pain and Suffering, amirite???) A confession: I am complete and total Shadowhunter Chronicles trash. I have been since early high school, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon, because each of Cassandra Clare’s books just gets better and better. Lady Midnight was probably my favorite book of 2016, so, consequently, Lord of Shadows was my most-anticipated release of this year. And I. Am. Shook. This book took me forever to finish, but that just meant I got to spend even more time in this world and with these characters. I am so, so in love with the cast of characters in this series. From Emma, to Cristina, to every single one of the Blackthorn siblings, they’re all such complex and interesting characters. They might not always make the right decisions, but I always root for them anyway. The new characters that were introduced added a lot to the story (*cough cough* Kit, my precious child), and the scope of this series keeps widening. I continue to ship Emma and Julian with every fiber of my being. I also love that we’re getting to learn so much about Faerie in The Dark Artifices! And, speaking of faeries, I just want to protect Mark Blackthorn at all costs. I adore the way Cassandra Clare is tying together allllll of the Shadowhunter Chronicles. This world continues to grow more and more epic with each successive book. That pretty much wraps up my spoiler-free thoughts for this one, but first… we have to talk about the ending. IT COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WRECKED ME. The *thing* that happened was the LAST thing I would have ever seen coming. I cried so hard, omg. The ending took this series, and the future Shadowhunter books in general, in a decidedly dark direction. It kinda felt like the end of Goblet of Fire, when sh*t really gets real in the Harry Potter series and the stakes are upped by, like, 10000%. I really can’t wait to see what happens in Queen of Air and Darkness (even thought we have to wait TWO YEARS for the conclusion to this series). Overall, Lord of Shadows was a fantastic sequel that didn’t suffer at all from the dreaded “second book slump.”
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This is the story of what happened first…
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.
Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.
They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.
They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.
Ahh, you guys, the writing in this series is too, too stunning. Down Among the Sticks and Bones is technically a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, following the twins (Jack and Jill) in the magical world they lived in prior to returning to our world and being sent to the Home for Wayward Children. I was so glad to spend more time with the twins! I really got a sense of why they acted the way they did in Every Heart a Doorway. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: reading this series makes my heart ache in the most peculiar way. These books have a melancholy tinge to them that quietly unsettles you. I’m a sucker for dark fairytales, and these books definitely fit that bill. I thought the story was told excellently– I loved the focus on Jack and Jill’s upbringing and how that informed the choices they made in the Moors. All in all, this prequel gave me the same whimsical, transported feeling I got from the first book, and this is quickly becoming one of my favorite book series.
THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.
KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.
AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.
THE WAR HAS BEGUN.
THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.
Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.
Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?
I feel so conflicted about this one! On one hand, Victoria Schwab’s writing is as lovely as ever (she is my favorite author for a reason). In fact, it’s perhaps even MORE lovely than usual, with the addition of poems sprinkled throughout the narration. However, on the other hand, I feel like… not a lot happened in this book? I loved the buildup or tension in This Savage Song, and I felt like Our Dark Duet didn’t take that momentum anywhere exciting. I also personally connect with the characters in this series the least of any of Victoria’s characters, which is totally on me. I did enjoy the introspection of the characters in this book, and that self-reflection is no doubt a huge part of this story, but this conclusion still felt lacking somehow. If I hadn’t known it was a duology going into this second book, I would have fully expected a third book in this series. It still maintain that the premise of these series is fascinating and timely– I mean, come on, real monsters being created from human acts of violence??? so unique!– but I just don’t feel that two books was adequate time to explore the complexities associated with that premise. The ending, while appropriate for this particular duology, did leave MANY questions unanswered. (It also made me lowkey pretty sad because of *~reasons~*. Definitely a bittersweet ending.) Setting us up for future books in this world, perhaps?? Regardless, I still think everything Victoria Schwab touches is gold. This duology just isn’t her very best work, in my opinion.
Have you read any of these sequels? If so, please, let’s discuss! If not, have you read the first books in these series, or do you plan to read them?