We are still trying to get the house set up so I PROMISE soon I will go back to staged photo’s! Our kitchen table is kind of buried under things we can’t find room for yet.
This was another series that a friend of mine let me borrow. I’ve read most of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books (not to be confused with that trainwreck of a TV show) so this series was naturally the next in line. It CAN be read without previous knowledge of the other books, but there is a lot of the background stories and history that will not be understood. I haven’t finished the Mortal Instruments book series (I think I’m shy one book) and because of that there are a lot of references that I didn’t get. And a lot of spoilers that made me want to scream. This series also references The Infernal Devices, but not quite as heavily because of the hundred or so years difference. But characters are brought up from that series.
Book history aside, this story was exactly what I was expecting when diving back into Clare’s world of Shadowhunters. Shadowhunter children come across a problem only they can fix without help from the Clave (Shadowhunter governing body) and they delve further into downworlder issues to resolve their initial problem. That’s not saying it’s not a good story, it’s just a proven formula that works for her. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Main character Emma Carstairs (descendant from one of the main characters from Infernal Devices) is trying to figure out who actually murdered her parents during the Dark War (which I believe happened in the last book of the Mortal Instruments) instead of the Clave approved reason. This series and the last Mortal Instruments is about 5 years apart, so instead of 12, Emma is now 17. She was taken in by her Parabatai’s (bonded best friends and partners) family and grew up with them.
What sparked her new infatuation with her parents murders were a new group of identical murders. Half-fae and normal people were being drowned on dry-land and covered in a strange language no one could identify.
Spiraling out of control Emma and the Blackthorns find themselves hiding from the Clave, illegally working for the faeries (more like blackmailed by), and trying to stop the next set of murders.
All-in-all, it is an interesting read. Cassandra Clare’s strengths aren’t in her story telling (albeit, she is getting better at it), they are in her characters. She has a way of writing people to be endearing and real. I found myself burning through her other series just to make sure the characters were going to be okay. And to this day, many of her characters have never left me. Even Lady Midnight carries on her endearing characters trait. You feel Emma’s pain and her need to be better than everyone else, Julian’s stress and panic over his family and how he has done everything in his power to keep them together, Mark’s fear and pain on being taken from his family when they were infants and being returned to teenagers and trying to find his place in them when he no longer knows how to be the big brother. I stick with her books because of her characters.
Shadowhunter world is different from the world we know, they are true bred angelic warriors, but because of their separation from our world, many issues have not translated. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Clare always has gay characters, and it has become normal place, much the way everyone else writes heterosexual relationships. But I was impressed when she added in a characters that seemed to be on the autistic spectrum. My nephew is autistic so I have done research to understand it better, and from what I read, I could easily identify Clare’s character as on the spectrum. That was interesting because not many books that I’ve read (not saying there aren’t any) or come across have autistic characters. But because the Shadowhunters don’t have words for many mental health issues, she never names it directly and instead Julian is forced to protect his brother from the Clave because they would have considered him a failure as a Shadowhunter, not as someone who simply sees the world differently. Another issue that was brought up was Dementia and/or Schizophrenia. I had initially through it was dementia, but through Julian’s point of view it started to sound more like Schizophrenia. Once again, the Shadowhunters had a different name for it and Julian had to do what he could to protect his Uncle from being locked away. But it was still interesting to see these two issues in a YA novel. There is no reason these things should be shied from because they are part of our world, and more people need to understand them. It’s nice to see YA authors like Clare and Riordan that are writing in more mental health and LGBTAQQ issues. They are bringing awareness and combating hate. And that alone is amazing.
Soapbox aside, it is a good book, and I look forward to the rest of the series.