Review: Lord Of Shadows

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 3.5 stars

GoodReads Average Rating: 4.58 stars

GoodReads Synopsis:  A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by the honour. The word of 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.

Let me first start off by saying that ever since I started to read Cassandra’s books, I haven’t been a fan – most of them have left me unemotional or even bored, and I was never a huge fan of the author herself. So to say I was surprised when I picked up Lady Midnight for a reread and found that I was tense with excitement for the plot is an understatement. I knew The Dark Artifices was Cassandra’s best one yet so I was very curious to find out how the second book went, I reread Lady Midnight and then finally cracked open Lord of Shadows. And blow me down, this has steadily made its way up the list of my favourite books.

Having grown attached to all the characters in Lady Midnight, I was very excited to see how Cassandra developed their character arcs. And my freaking heart was torn apart. I had grown even more attached to these characters, the family dynamics, the relationships, the secrets, the trust and the unending love between them all made me want to give them a huge squishy hug and keep them protected. And well to say Cassandra crushed my heart afterwards is an understatement. Y’all must be prepared for a pile of laughter, tears and love when it comes to the Dark Artifice characters. Another thing that made me really enjoy this book was the mix of all the old and new characters, I enjoyed seeing the mix of the twisted dark faeries and then the faded old faces appearing now and then. But there were some characters that I just wanted to strangle so much. Oh my gosh, towards the end my temper was running high and I really just wanted to reach inside the page and shake them all. Cassandra did a really good job of building up different dynamics and levels of villains in this book. Which brings me onto another thing, the antihero (? – I don’t feel they really class as a villain) is so complex which I love as it brings much more depth to the page than the average I-am-just-evil-for-the-sake-of-it trope.

Moreover, another thing that I adored was the plot. I have always loved Cassandras writing – which is I believe I keep coming back to her books because I just can’t seem to be kept away! But this book especially, the writing was descriptive another that the plot flowed onto the next page seamlessly – but not too flowery that it had me skimming the pages awaiting the next action. And alongside the writing, I really, really enjoyed how Cassandra opened up more of the shadow hunter world and as a reader, we got to explore the depths of the Faerie lands, and more into the dark history of their past.


But despite all this good stuff that I am banging on about I do need to make it clear that this book does have a lot of problems. As a bisexual reader, I was ecstatic reading about Mark and him being so openly bi, however, this does not excuse the on and off uncomfortable feeling I had regarding the love triangle thingy he was in. A love triangle by itself is enough to make me grit my teeth, but what some readers have to understand, that by placing the only bi character in a loose end relationship with two characters makes him fall into the harmful threesome trope for bisexuals and in my opinion rubbed me the wrong way, as it comes across as the stereotypical bi man who wants both genders at the same time. My only hope is that in the next book this love triangle relationship thing going on actually develops into a positive polyamorous relationship between Mark, Cristina and Kerian with some good rep – which, by the way, my good friend Romie pointed out would be a good way for the plot and relationship to develop. (Go check her out at!!!)

Another thing that I need to say is that I was not entirely happy with the way Cassandra portrayed Diana’s coming out as transgender. As it was a secret for the majority of two books, when she said she was transgender it was presented like a plot twist or came across as if it was meant to have a shock factor. This is very harmful to Trans readers because no one’s identity should be used as a plot device for other readers’ pleasure. However, please also do bear in mind that LGBTQIA+ readers are not monolithic so therefore not all trans readers may mind it being kept a secret, but for some people, it is harmful therefore should be stopped. Another thing to be wary of is Trigger Warnings for the use of Diana being dead named. This happened a lot over a small amount of space – so please, everyone keep safe and protect yourselves.

Overall, this book is certainly placed high on my end list of 2017 favourites and I can not believe we have to wait another two years till the next one!! Although after that ending…. Even I would have to recover from writing such plot!!!! If you have yet to pick up any of Cassandra’s books – I would highly recommend these – although you may want to familiarise yourself with the shadow hunter world first!

-S O P H


Review: The Star Touched Queen

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Mythology

My Rating: 4 stars

GoodReads Rating: 3.58 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: 

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

The Star Touched Queen was one of my most anticipated reads for 2017, after having people rave about it…and rave about it…and rave about it I knew it would have to be one of my first reads of the year. I went into the book not actually knowing that much, except it, was enriched with Hindu, not Indian which most people assume, mythology (which I am a SUCKER for) and was also a unique retelling of Hades and Persophone (again another thing I am a SUCKER for) so I was expecting good things. Very good things.

And let me tell you I was not disappointed.

Roshani opens up the world with a waterfall of colours and words as she drags us down into a deep world practically thrumming with vibrancy. This is one thing that completely made the book for me. Roshani writing style is very flowery and beautiful – for some people, this may be a problem – but oh I do love sentences that are dripped in richness. She perfectly describes the world of the Night Bazaar and Mayas kingdom and draws the reader tighter into a magical world that is like a tightly woven tapestry. Honestly, sentences that Roshani wrote still haunt me everywhere I go. So if you are a reader that loves good worldbuilding and flowery language. You. Have. To. Read. This.

Alongside the perfect worldbuilding and writing, Roshani grants the readers with relatable and human characters. We have Maya who is our main heroine and is so realistic. She may not be my most favourite character in the world – but her character development was interesting.  Maya is a young girl, who has been shunned by her family and society for all of her life for something she can’t help, and then she grows to be herself – strong and independent under the guiding hand of Amar *cue swoon* and then into a woman who realises her fault of jealousy, doubt, and regret but accepts them. However, despite these fantastic qualities I really like how Maya was strong and wanted so much more from life than just being a wife.Alongside Maya we have Amar who is honestly my love of my life – he was just perfect. And Roshani also includes some really interesting side characters Gauri, who I can not wait to read about in Crown of Wishes because she honestly sounds and looks so badass.

However there were some things that made me bring down my rating a little bit – the villain of the story was a popular trope used for villains that I was not really a fan of – never have been real. This meant I just find our villain annoying to the plotline rather than sinister or intimidating. Another thing was that I was a bit unsure about was although the writing was like pure jewel stones it sometimes meant that the plot was a bit basic and simple and had no real depth to it. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this diverse beautiful story and it was very refreshing to see something over than the classical white-medieval-fantasy.

Overall highly HIGHLY recommend!!!

– S O P H

Review: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy

My Rating: 2 stars

Good Reads Rating:3.86 stars

Good Reads Synopsis: 

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or loss…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

I went into this book not even really knowing what it was about – I had seen arc readers give it high reviews and the cover was pretty so it was a rather impulsive buy! I had never read anything by Blake but I had high hopes as the blurb sounded interesting – and different from usual fantasy books. I mean bloodthirsty sisters who are set out to kill each other in a bloodshed of religion and political worlds. UM yes, plurs?!! I thought this book was going to be action packed, dark and full of female power. But it wasn’t really what I expected.

The fist thing I noticed about this book is the writing. This is one thing I will always catch onto whatever book I read and it’s deeply important as even if a book wasn’t that exciting – if the writing was good I wouldn’t have noticed it. And so when I opened this book, I was straight away disappointed. I don’t know if this is just Blakes’ style but although her writing was not exactly bad – it certainly was fast paced – it was very very simple and at times boring to read. I personally like writing that has depth and colour to it, and this writing lacked a certain vibrancy and it became quite flat and monotone.

This then brings me to the characters. They were all just a bit boring to me and seemed more interested in their ‘lovers’ then the fact they are actually going to die? These sisters by god could have been amazing, but with the strange pov narration of all of them made them became rather 2d and none of them was fleshed out. So instead of a cunning, sly poisoner who was bent on winning despite being weak we got someone who was a bit pathetic and boring and cared more about being seductive than anything else (although the ending did make me perk up a bit), instead of a brutal harsh naturalist who lacks gifts but doesn’t care about what people think  we get someone who whines a lot and whose female empowerment backfired drastically, instead of an elemental who is battling against the views of how she was built up and adamant of bringing sisterhood back, we get someone who is a bit mopey and dreary and oh also more obsessed with a random boy that she has suddenly fallen in love with. And let me tell you, this did not make me a happy book dragon to see all this potential go right down the drain.

However, despite these flaws, the world building in this is what brought my rating up. This is because, even I have to admit Blake really did create such an interesting world – and very feminist based as well. I liked the idea of the religion, and the three separate classes and also the secrecy of the mainland. It lacked diversity that’s for sure, but nevertheless, it was still intriguing to read about the sister’s different worlds. I was unsure whether I was going to read the next book but that ending was unexpected and I can not deny I am interested in what happens in the next book! All and all I feel like this book would have been a better read if I was younger – around 14 would have been a good age – a light simple read. And like a reviewer said on good reads it felt more like a prequel than an actual book, the exciting bit being the last 25% – so hopefully it will be picked up and fleshed out in the next book.

-S O P H

Review: The Secret History


Author: Donna Tartt

Genre: Thriller/Contemporary

My Rating: 5 stars

GoodReads Rating: 4.07 ratings

Good Reads Synopsis: 

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is the world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

For a long time, I have been meaning to pick this book up. It started last summer when Alison recommended it to me and immediately the theme of the book – classics and dark characters had me intrigued. However, I got so caught up in other books that I did not have the chance to till the Christmas break to read it.

As soon as I cracked open this book, I knew from Tartt’s eloquent writing style and the way her words seem to drip with detail that I was in for a whirlwind romance with this book and to say that it satisfied me is an understatement. I think the book caught me in its snare from Tartt’s writing, as a huge sucker for detailed poetical styles, hers did not fail to please me. Each word is crafted so delicately with sentences that seem to have twinkled down from a memory creating a dreamlike haze over the book. The descriptions of the seasons passing by Richards window left me breathless and tranquillized. She is also quite a drifter Tartt, I noticed it with The Goldfinch, Richard could be talking about something and then four pages later you have moved onto something else that has nothing to do with what he was saying – which makes the story even more irresistible.

The Secret History is like the coming of age story from a different dimension, Tartt takes all the aspects of a student’s life and twists it brutally till the characters darkest desires and secrets are revealed raw and ugly for the reader to recoil at. She does this in a very clever way by contrasting it to our simpler world. One moment she may be describing them discussing murdering and conquering towns and then switch to how the gentle sunlight threw shadows onto Camilla’s face – ensuring that the reader is snared in a trap. A trap that is set up for us to fall for these twisted murders. Because of Tartt’s writing, I’m not really sure on how to focus on the aspects of the plot line – it was beautiful, painful and insane is all I can say. My most loving part of the story though is the continuous link to the ancient world. Being a low-key lover of before-ac-time it was enchanting to see how those ancient rulers ways of life still have effect on people – that our love for that time may indeed shape us differently. The elements of the bacchanal, the referrals to Homer and the conversations in Greek was enough to make my knees go weak but also made me sympathise with the characters more.

The characters, I believe, are what make up this story. Richard, our narrator, gave me serious Nick vibes from The Great Gatsby, someone on the outside always looking in, always being the moral compass of the story. He was a complex character, at first, he appeared to be a stumbling boy longing for what the others had but soon he too started to get darker and darker till I’m not sure whether I like him or dislike him as a character. I adored Francis, for some reason his character spoke out to me and I sympathised him a lot. The twins – ah the twins. I have a very soft spot for Charles, a character who at first was overshadowed by his friends but always polite and kind and then developed in part two (realistically) into this frantically scared boy who couldn’t seem to navigate his friends world anymore. Now Camilla was another story. She was my least favourite out of all of them. Something was too perfect too soft too off about her. I wasn’t really sure how I see her. Henry was just, words can’t describe it. I loved his character. I may not like him as a person but the way Tartt developed him was wonderful. He was a villain yearning to be a hero.

And Bunny was just a typical white man.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it whisked me off my feet and left my stumbling for more and questioning my everyday movements. I would highly recommend this to anyone – so if you get a chance add this to your TBR.

-S O P H I E

Review: Lady Midnight

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

Rating: 41/2 early morning stars

2016 Ranking: In my top ten reads this year 100%

Favourite Quote: “Nobody calls me ‘blondie’ and keeps their kneecaps” – Emma Carstairs (GARL YOU SLAY)

Good Reads Description: Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where faeries teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them. Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

Firstly before I say anything else – JULIAN FREAKING BLACKTHORN PEOPLE WHERE DID THIS LILLE CUTIE COME FROM *GOOEY EYE CENTRAL RIGHT NOW* ??!! phew sorry had to get that one out of my system my fellow book dragons…

Anywho, back to the review! When I started this book, I’m not going to lie I was very very nervous. TMI and TID where okay and I enjoyed them but looking back on those series I just remember being cringed out and a bit bored with some of the characters. But let me tell you this was one wild (ONE READ DAY) from the begging. I LOVED LOVED the Blackthorn family and Emma and they connected to me more than Clary and Jace or Tessa, Will and Jem!

Thoughts on the plot: I think out of my entire thoughts on the book, the plot is rated the highest, it was well paced with just enough detail that made the story flow really well. It was also the kind of plot that made you concentrate on the characters as well which I love – like you knew what the main plot line was but Clare crafted this novel so well that it felt you were with the gang on their mission rather than just reading about (DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE OMG) and by the end of it all those mini little plot line were sewed into the main plot line making this book for me pretty freaking awesome and starving for some more

Thoughts on the characters: Only three words I need for them: I LOVED THEM. They were actually pretty great characters and I don’t know why but I connected to them on a more personal level. I think one of the main reasons why was the fact it was a family with ranging ages and although they were young for some reason I didn’t see them doing all this stuff unrealistic unlike with the NY gang. I also loved one of the plot twist with the characters, I actually didn’t see it coming and was very shocked when it happened. OKAY PREWARNING THE NEXT PART CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS SO SKIP TO THE NEXT PARA. – The best thing I loved about Jules was that he was the inexperienced one when it came to relationships – not the other way round and I don’t know why but for me that just made this relationship 1000x better (but thanks to the ending my little heart was torn to shreds and I just want my baby to be strong) ALSO OKAY WHEN THE MENTIONED SIMON WAS A SHADOW H UNTER I COMPLETELY FLIPPED MY SHET when did this happen?!?!? also im crying his band name is goals. oh and also MARK (no words are needed am I right)! OH AND KIT I’m liking whatever Clare has in store for this guy because he sure is one hell of a mystery….


Alrighty I’m going to wrap this review up now or else you will experience a brambly rambly so stay tuned book dragons for some new content soon AND IF YOU HAVENT READ THIS BOOK READ IT AND THEN I WILL HELP YOU FIND YOUR TORN OUT HEART.

xx Soph

PS: I do realise its two o’clock in the afternoon but it was early morning when I started to write this out so please don’t hate!!