Fortunately, their backup consists of Clary, Jace, Isabelle, and newly minted Shadowhunter Simon. In Shanghai, they learn that a much darker threat awaits them. Magnus’s magic is growing unstable, and if they can’t stop the demons flooding into the city, they might have to follow them all the way back to the source—to the very realm of the dead. Can they stop the threat to the world? Will they make it back home before their kid completely wears out Alec’s mom?
Synopsis from Goodreads
I'm so torn with this trilogy. On the one hand, I love that we're getting more Shadowhunter books and that these ones are specifically about Alec and Magnus. On the other hand, the first book seemed pointless and I'm now clear on where this series is going. BUT, I do enjoy reading Cassandra Clare so I'm going to keep picking up whatever she writes and give it a shot!
The Writing Seems More Juvenile
Magnus has always been the “sarcastic, funny guy” but this book seems to bring this attitude to the next level. In a lot of ways, it feels like Clare is taking on the Magnus personality created in the TV show and fan fiction to make Magnus even more larger than life than he previously was (and he really, really was already there). Even weirded is that Alec's POVs seemed to be heading this way too. The amount of time that Alec seems to spend staring at Magnus and thinking about how hot he is is just annoying - how is this Alec's focus in the middle of a battle? This series just doesn't seem to connect to the rest of the Shadowhunter series and Clare's older writing. There are honestly moments I feel like I'm reading a Percy Jackson book, a series I genuinely love but is also written for 9-12 year olds...
Two POVs, but Multiple Storylines
I really enjoyed that we are only given Alec and Magnus's POVs but we are still following the multiple storylines of Simon, Jace, etc. This book is a great bridge between the 5 years that occur between the end of the original series and the beginning of The Dark Artifices trilogy. All the original Shadowhunter characters are at a crossroads and struggling to figure out what comes next for them, which was great to read about. I also love seeing Alec as a parent!! My biggest complaint with Red Scrolls was that we didn’t get to see Alec and Magnus as parents (and that Alec is entirely too needy in that book), so it was refreshing to see Alec in his role as Alliance leader, partner, and father. While he and Magnus spend a bit too much time thinking about how hot the other is (we get it, move on), I love how solid their relationship is and how their focus has shifted to protecting Max first, and saving the world second. They’re such great parents! I’m hoping we get to see Rafe with them as well in the next book.
Ultimately, It’s Anticlimactic
While I love that we’re getting insight into what these characters were up to in the 5 years between series, this book is ultimately anticlimactic because we know that everyone is going to be ok, specifically because we know that they're still alive and well 5 years later. So yes, the insight is funny and the little inside jokes that connect to the Dark Artifices series are great, but I was never super worried about anyone while reading this. I actually would’ve been happy reading about their daily lives and skipped the whole “Prince of Hell invasion plan” storyline. That said, Cassie Clare is excellent at crafting a story and connecting all her storylines, so I’m hopeful that there’s a purpose to these books beyond giving Magnus and Alec a trilogy from their POVs.
Overall, this is a book (and series) that is ideal for readers who are already fans of the Shadowhunter world. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Cassandra Clare and the massive series that she has created. That said, this probably isn't the series to start reading without going back to City of Bones. I'm sensing that there's an ultimate reason that Clare is writing this trilogy, but it hasn't been exciting enough for me to recommend as a standalone series for new readers. We'll see what happens in the third book!
FINAL RATING: 3/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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