August Reviews

Once again I managed to get through two books this month – Lord of Shadows and One of Us is Lying. Man, was it a hectic month of reading. Both these books have left me with mixed emotions, and if you continue reading you’ll see why.

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Lord of Shadows
Cassandra Clare
Rating: 3.5/5

Clare manages to once again deliver a Shadowhunter world full of magic, suspense and , of course, romance. This book ties in nicely with the other Shadowhunter series while still holding it’s own. I will admit, the beginning was slow. I had to read about half of it before I was really immersed and needing to finish it. But once I was hooked, it kept me in it’s clutches.

We open up where we left off in Lady Midnight. Malcolm is dead, Jules loves Emma, Emma loves Jules but has to pretend she doesn’t, and everyone is hiding their feelings while we believe the threat is over. Boy are we wrong there. Things get even worse for our beloved Blackthorns, with demons attacking, trips to Faerieland, trips to London, Cornwall, Idris. Even among Shadowhunters they’re not safe, with a band of racist Shadowhunters threatening to take the Blazkthorn’s Institute from them. This book has so many plots and subplots, you can see why it needed to be 700 pages long. But it all works together and flows seamlessly, creating an enjoyable read that you need to get to the end of just so you can see how it all wraps up.

Clare does a brilliant job of describing all of her new settings, especially Faireland, the Unseelie Court. She finds so many new and imaginative ways to describe Fairies and their home, that even if there are paragraphs of description, you don’t get bored.

This book you branch out into some new perspectives, while keeping the old ones. Kit is one of them and can I just tell you, I absolutely love Kit, especially the bond he forms with Ty and Livvy. These three are a perfect trio. Kit really grows over this book, and he’ll grow on you if you let him. I also felt that we really saw Mark and Christina develop over the book. They’re both strong and level headed characters. Kirean, surprisingly, helped that growth. As for Emma and Jules, while I like them, they developed the least.

Emma was beautifully strong, witty and determined this book. Jules, well, I don’t think I like him as much as other people seem to. As was mentioned many times throughout this book, he’s a ruthless character. Too ruthless for my liking. He will literally do anything for his family, which you wouldn’t think is a bad thing, but when Emma is saying what he wants to do is wrong, you know it’s wrong. But yet he’ll still do it. It just annoys me. He’s meant to be Emma’s love interest, one of the good guys, and yet sometimes he does things which we’d hate if he was a bad guy. I still like him, but he needs to take a good look at himself.

Another thing that got tiresome was the romance! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good love story. But every. single. character. was going through some love turmoil. There were so many love triangles, it was hard to keep track! I just wanted one scene where Emma and Jules weren’t about to rip each other’s clothes off, or pining after the other, or talking about how brushing past the other sent lightning through them. Tone it down, show me the magic plot, then when we come to a love scene it’ll mean more to me.

Along the repetitive line, Clare enjoys throwing facts in our faces, again and again. How many times did I here Jules was ruthless? Or Diana was a strong, beautiful woman? Or some other repeated fact about one of the Blackthorns? If you forgot something about someone, don’t worry, Clare will tell you again. But I guess that’s just the book, you’re not meant to think too hard.

All in all, I enjoyed curling up at night to read this book. It threw me back into a world I love, with characters that are enjoyable and that you root for. But beware, there is a lot of romance!

Spoiler Section!

I just wanted to say that I thought Diana’s secret was something I was not expecting. I’m so glad that Clare is trying to branch out into the wider LGBT community.

I don’t know how I feel about Jamie’s explanation to Christina. It felt too rehearsed, like he was still hiding things from her. Do you agree?

Also, the ending!!! My heart is so sad. I don’t know how the next book is going to go, everyone is just going to be distraught.

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One of Us is Lying
Karen M. McManus
Rating: 2.5/5

I haven’t read pure young adult in a while,  and on top of that YA with a first person point of view. So it took a while before I got into this book, purely because it jarred me. But once I was into it, it was a light-hearted, enjoyable read.

The story follows four teenagers who witness a fellow student’s death and become suspects in his murder. A geek, a jock, a criminal and a princess, as the cover says. As you read along, you delve further into their lives, uncover their secrets, and see what makes them tick. As the cover suggests, there are a lot of highschool cliches, each of the four living up to their stereotypical titles. However, McManus tries to move away from those stereotypes and give each character their own voice. She does do that, to an extent. But I still felt that they were very much their stereotypes.

I think that was the main flaw for me. The characters were just … meh. I didn’t really engage with them, I didn’t feel anything when something went wrong for them. They were nice enough characters, but they didn’t spark anything inside of me.

As for the plot, I think it was alright. It flowed nicely, not too face or too slow, with some good cliffhangers that encouraged me to keep reading. But I pretty much guessed all four of their secrets, and the final answer to Simon’s death was something I had also assumed, if not exactly the way McManus described it.

But did I enjoy reading it? Yes. Did I fly through the last hundred pages to see if my guess about the killer was correct? Yes. I love a good who-dun-it. So while it was full of cliches, it was a satisfying read.