- Page Count: 698
- Release Date: March 8, 2016
- My Rating: 5 stars
In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.
A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.
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 vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—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?
WHY DID I NOT READ THIS SOONER?!?!?
I know I haven’t been Cassandra Clare’s biggest fan in the past… I don’t dislike her other books by any means, but I’m just not quite at the same level of wonderful enthusiasm I see in the rest of the book community. I finally got around to reading The Mortal Instruments this spring and was rather neutral about the whole thing. The story’s idea was fun, but Jace and Clary kind of irritated me. I wasn’t super into most of The Bane Chronicles or Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy, either. I TOTALLY got into The Infernal Devices by the third book! But no matter how much I loved Will, Jem, and Tessa, I thought that the writing still had a lot of filler and I wished I had skimmed a large portion of most books.
But oh my goodness the writing, characters, and EVERYTHING improved so much in this book that it’s making me love those other series by association.
The huge hype around Lady Midnight earlier this year made me finally pick up Cassandra Clare’s books, but I really wish I had just read this first (or maybe started with TID). This book is the start of a new series with different main characters in a new location, but it still brings in some familiar faces to connect all of the stories. (And this story was so solid that I actually didn’t mind a few pages of characters who previously irritated me. It was even kind of… fun to see them). But I honestly don’t think you need to read TMI or TID first. Everyone told me that I wouldn’t appreciate the old characters who popped in if I didn’t read the other books first, but the appearances were done in a way that really didn’t matter much to the story… like they’re mostly thrown in so fans can see that everything is still happy with their favorites and see them all together. Whatever.
BUT NOW FOR THIS BOOK.
This was definitely one of the best YA books of 2016 and I just cannot believe how much I loved it. The story was long, but actually wasn’t full of filler and I never once got bored. I wasn’t terribly into that whole Lady Midnight plot and most of the threat, but it was still interesting! The setting of Los Angeles and this other Institute was fun to see, too.
But the amazing characters were by far the best part!! Especially EMMA AND JULIAN. I CANNOT GET ENOUGH CAPS LOCK FOR THESE TWO. All of the forbidden love stuff that shows up in every Shadowhunter book finally worked for me here. Call me crazy, but I got way more invested in the idea of a forbidden romance between parabati than I did with a forbidden romance between siblings…
Emma and Julian were just so wonderful and totally broke my heart. And they were actual strong, well-rounded characters with complete personalities!! I am still shocked over this whole book… like they seriously might be two of my favorite YA characters now. The romance was a bit anticlimactic for me with the vague & sudden spoilery moment on the beach (whaaaat is with Cassandra Clare’s obsession with beaches & caves), but this was by far the best out of any of her books so far! If TID only got better as it went, I’m super excited to see what the next book here does.
And I absolutely loved all of the adorable siblings Julian was raising (and that whole side of his character’s struggles), but can we take a moment to appreciate Ty?! He’s on the spectrum, but it’s never once labeled or viewed as something “wrong,” it’s not part of his identity, and he gets to play a complete role as a strong character. This was wonderful to see and I appreciated the huge steps this story took towards diversity in SO many aspects!
Basically this was an awesome read and I completely recommend it even if you’ll never read the other Shadowhunter books. The slow-burn romance, the characters who are actual PEOPLE with some depth, the action-packed plot, the variety of obstacles everyone faces… it all works. I know I said nothing about the story, but I went into this without knowing anything and really appreciated that. So I’ll just say give this a shot even if you couldn’t get into the other series!!
And to everyone else who hyped this thing up like mad: THANK YOU. Totally worth it.