This week we have the second installment of The Dark Artifices trilogy and oh. my. god. I can't even handle all the feels.
The inhabitants of the LA Institute are still reeling from the shocking betrayal of Malcolm Fade. Burdened with the true knowledge of what their forbidden love could mean, Emma must keep her true feelings for Julian, her parabatai, a secret, while pushing him away to protect him. When new dangers threaten the Blackthorn Family, Emma, Julian, Mark, and Christina venture into Fairy lands where they strike a deal with the Seelie Queen. Find and deliver to her a powerful spell book known as The Black Volume in exchange for help with not only a threatened war with the King of Unseelie Lands, but also help in finding a way for Emma and Julian to be together. A new group within the Clave is gaining momentum, The Cohert, who proclaim Shadowhunters superiority to Downworlders and wish to strip their rights and freedoms within the Shadow world add an extra layer of trouble to the issues at hand. A war is brewing, and a stark division within the Shawdowhunter ranks makes them more vulnerable. For Emma and Julian, the stakes are higher than ever.
This book was a 699 page roller coaster of action and emotions. The intensity was almost unbearable (in all the right ways) at times, not only with the fight scenes and brushes with death, but the emotional intensity. Emotions from all ends of the spectrum; grief, devastation, betrayal, earth shattering love, all of it was just so intense and deep. One thing that really stands out about this book and the plot development, is how Clare uses her platform to not only write beautiful and engaging stories, but to promote a message of tolerance and acceptance of those who may be different than us. That those who aren't like us, can serve as our biggest allies in times of crisis or they can become our biggest threat, the choice is really ours.
"When a decision like that is made by a government, it emboldens those who are already prejudiced to speak their deepest thoughts of hate. They assume they are simply brave enough to say what everyone really thinks."
I absolutely love how every single character is not only complex but also diverse within their relationships (both romantic or otherwise). They are so layered and meaningful. The absolute unconditional love Julian has for his brothers and sisters actually made me cry at times it was that beautiful and believable (there is not one inauthentic or chintzy character or interaction in this book- in any of her books). There is also much to be said for the inner struggle of self discovery of many characters that a lot of people can relate to and find comfort in seeing themselves reflected within a book. Seeing Kit settle into life with the Shadowhunters, and especially with Livvy and Ty was heartwarming. I think everyone has had those times when they feel unsure of themselves, like they just don't fit in and to see Kit grow from a timid, suspicious kid into someone who feels like he has found his place and his people was fulfilling. I honestly thought the Julian/Emma conflict was going to be the death of me, it was PAINFUL to see them pushing each other away but be so madly in love. I had to put the book down and take a break many a time because my heart just couldn't take it anymore. Makes me anxious all over again just writing about it......Learning more about Diana and the secret she has been hiding was really shocking, I wasn't prepared for it at all but it absolutely made sense. I can't wait to explore her and Gwyns relationship more in the next book, as well as how she will finally reveal her secret to the Clave and (hopefully) be able to live her true self, free of secrets. The ending was such a whirlwind of action and devastation I was left simultaneously emotionally drained but fervently thinking/pondering/daydreaming/hypothesizing about book 3. My mind will not be quiet! Once again, I am blown away by Cassandra Clare. If it's possible, her books only get better each and every time. Her words bring to life this amazing, unique world, one of my favorites to loose myself in.
Who else has read these books, what did you think? But can we talk about that ending though?!
See ya next week!