REVIEW: Clockwork Prince

by Cassandra Clare

Pages: 498
Publisher: Walker Books 
Publication Date: December 6th 2011

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

**Spoilers for anyone who hasn't read Clockwork Angel**

After reading Clockwork Angel I moved straight onto Clockwork Prince, as in I literally put down one book and picked up the next like it was the next chapter. This book delves deeper into the history and reasoning behind the Magister’s vendetta against the Shadowhunters, leaving our three favourite demon slayers intertwined in a long and perilous story that will have you turning the page faster myself if I came face to face with a Shax Demon. 

After the events of the previous book there were more questions left unanswered than answered. For example why did Tessa's brother turn so easily to the Magister's side? Why does the Magister hate the shadowhunters so much? And most importantly what the hell is Will's problem? Like seriously... the scene in the attic with Tessa and himself made me see red! Clockwork Prince is set to answer all of these questions and more as we once again join Tessa, Jem and Will as they continue on their quest to keep the ones they love safe and the world they know from falling part. However, with the Clave fighting tooth and nail to demote Charlotte from the head of the institute and the unlikely alliance with the Lightwood brothers the journey these characters are about to find themselves on is going to be anything but easy. 


I cannot understand how someone can create such an in-depth and intricate world of well crafted characters and heart racing story arcs. Seriously! Cassandra Clare I tip my metaphorical hat to you and your sheer brilliance. I thought that after the fast paced nature of Clockwork Angel this installment of The Infernal Devices would struggle to keep up but I don't know why I doubted you. From start to finish the story wove itself into a maze of mystery, action and challenges that would push our these characters to their absolute limits. There were moments in this book that actually had me in tears and others that had me laughing so hard I looked like a crazy person but from start to finish I could not put this book down. 

Overall this is shaping up to be one of my favourite trilogies of all time. Whether you are team Will or team Jem this book gave you everything you could possibly want. With the introduction of new characters and the uncertainty of old ones we are pulled into the world of Shadowhunters and Downworld yet again and are left begging for more. Roll on book 3!!

REVIEW: Clockwork Angel

by Cassandra Clare

Pages: 481
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Publication Date: August 31st 2010

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...

This book has been sitting - untouched - on my bookshelf for longer than I'd like to admit. However, after I FINALLY got around to reading City of Heavenly Fire I found myself needing more from the Shadowhunting world. Now, as much as I did love the Mortal Instruments series, and I did adore it,
The Infernal Devices captured my heart in a way the previous books just fell shy of. I don't know if it was the magic of London in the late 19th Century or the characters themselves but once I'd read the first few chapter Tessa, Jem and Will had firmly become my favourite characters from any Shadowhunter book.

Clockwork Angel, like I mentioned before, is set in the late 19th Century - 1878 to be precise. It is predominantly the story of Tessa Grey, a teenage girl fresh off the boat from New York. However, on arrival in England she finds herself captured by a couple of warlocks and this sets her on a journey she couldn't have imagined in her wildest dreams. In the hunt for her missing brother Tessa finds herself thrown into the world of Shadowhunting and Downworld as she discovers who she really is and the mysteries of her own origins. From start to finish Clockwork Angel is full to the brim of action, adventure, romance and humour. 

Okay so this book, as stated above, has easily become my favourite shadowhunter book. There is something about the story line of this book that captured my attention from the very beginning. It is fast paced and keeps you on your toes, never knowing what the author has in store for these characters next. The appearance of characters such as Magnus Bane and other familiar faces are a welcome touch and the new characters introduced are just as witty, well crafted and loveable as any we've come across before. 

Now, I read Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy BEFORE this trilogy so I already had an insight into these characters history after the events that unfold in The Infernal Devices and I have to say seeing how these stories interlink and evolve was not a disappointment. I fell instantly for Tessa, Jem and Will and routed for them the whole way through. I adored the personality traits that connect family name - example Will Herondale is just as lovingly arrogant and defensively broken as his one-day relative Jace Herondale - and I found this only added to the rich depth of the story. 

Overall I couldn't recommend this book enough. It has everything you could wish for from a Shadowhunting book and so much more. There wasn't a dull moment from start to finish and I will continue to state that the first installment of the Infernal Devices is set to make this - in my opinion - the best shadowhunting series to date. I know I'm a little late to the game with this one and most of you have probably already read it, so if you have let me know what you thought and if not I can not stress how much you need to read it... like story what your doing and go get it now! 

REVIEW: An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld

by Cassandra Clare
Illustrated by Cassandra Jean

Pages: 208
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 3rd 2016

A very special anthology that's a must for all fans of the Shadowhunter novels!

Featuring characters from Cassandra Clare's international best-selling novels from the Shadowhunters world including The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices, this anthology showcases beautifully illustrated portraits from Cassandra Jean – creator of The Shadowhunter Tarot – alongside never-before-known details from Cassandra Clare about all your favourite characters.

So this review will be kept short but sweet! I won this book is a Maximum Pop! Books giveaway on twitter as part of a shadowhunters bundle and I have to say I'm a little in love with it! I've been on a bit of a shadowhunter binge recently and this is the perfect little companion book for all Cassandra Clare fangirls.

An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld is a beautifully illustrated account of all your favourite characters from the shadowhunter books. It is split into 5 sections, The Infernal Devices, The Last Hours*, The Mortal Instruments, The Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy and The Dark Artifices, with each part showcasing amazingly drawn portraits and snippets of never before seen facts on the characters. It helps put a face to the name - if your imagination needs a bit of help that is - and it is a wonderful companion to the best selling series.

Overall I would wholeheartedly recommend giving this a read if you, like myself, have a soft spot for the shadowhunting world.

*The Last Hours is Cassandra Clare's next shadowhunter series which is said to be a sequel to The Infernal Devices. CLICK HERE for more information on the upcoming trilogy.  

REVIEW: The Girl's Guide to Summer

by Sarah Mlynowski

Pages: 352
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: June 15th 2017
Received From: Orchard Books

Sydney Aarons is leaving her Manhattan townhouse for a summer backpacking around Europe with her best friend, Leela. They're visiting London, France, Italy, Switzerland and everywhere in between - it's going to be the trip of a lifetime.
BUT... The trip gets off to a bad start when Leela's ex-boyfriend shows up on their flight out of JFK. When they touch down in London, Leela Instagrams their every move in the hope Matt will come and find them... Which he does, along with the most gorgeous guy Sydney has ever seen.
Will Sydney's summer fling last the distance? And what will happen when they all head home?

The Girls Guide To Summer is the story of Sydney, a college student who has always put her family first and herself second. However, this summer that is all about to change when her best friend Leela insists Sydney join her on the European adventure they have always dreamed of. For the first time in a long time Sydney isn't thinking about her family, she's off backpacking around Europe and nothing will get in her way... well other than Leela's ex boyfriend Matt that is. Throughout the course of the book the two best friends are pushed too their limits as they try to juggle romance, loyalties and eight new countries. It will be a summer they'll never forget, but will it be for the right reasons? Only one way to find out!

Okay so confession time. When I received this book from the lovely people at Orchard Books I was more than a little sceptical because I have read a book by Sarah Mlynowski before and if i'm honest it was not my cup of tea. HOWEVER, the story line for The Girl's Guide to Summer did sound interesting so I thought I would give it a go and I have to say I was not disappointed! Okay, it still had the same niggling annoyance of the other book, which was certain characters *cough* Leela *cough* do come across as annoyingly self-centered at times. However, the overall story had me hooked and I fell in love with this book almost instantly.

As a character Sydney is so easy to connect with as she has strong family morals, girl code ethics and just a really endearing personality. She is one of those characters that you want to have as your best friend and I don't think anyone who has read the book can disagree with me on that. The story is sweet and honest and probably one of the most captivating summer romances I've read in a long time... after all who doesn't love a bad boy gone good? The plot tests Sydney's strength as she learns to take control of her own life and live for herself and no one else. However, with twists and turns around every corner The Girl Guide to Summer will leave you begging for more.

Overall this book was completely my cup of tea - despite previous reservations. It is a story that will have you mentally packing your backpacks and dreaming of European cities long after the last word has been read. It is a testament to the author at just how fast I fell for Sydney's story as Sarah Mlynowski found a way to combine the magic of Europe with the realities of teenage relationships. It is challenging, heartwarming, honest, endearing and engaging from the very first page and if you haven't read this book yet then I hope you do soon! The perfect book to keep summer alive as we enter into the autumn months.

REVIEW: Aurabel

by Laura Dockrill

Pages: 304
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2017
Received From: Hot Key Books

It has been two years since Rory drowned, and Lorali is in Hastings, living the quiet life of a normal teenage girl. But her safe life on land won't last for long. Life in The Whirl has become a hotbed of underwater politics and as the council jostles to oust the king, one Mer in particular has her eye on Lorali as the key to her own rise to power.
Meanwhile, Aurabel, a lowly Mer from the wrong side of the trench, is attacked by sea beasts and left for dead - and without a tail. Raging with righteous anger, she rebuilds herself a mechanical tail and reinvents herself as a fearless steampunk Mer seeking revenge. But she never expected the most important job that was about to drop into her lap.

Okay so after Lorali I was a little sceptical about another book with half of it narrated by the Sea. However, there was something about Aurabel that had me hooked from the very beginning. I don't know if it was the need to find out what happened to Rory or the new characters that were introduced but the focus of this book captured my attention in a way Lorali fell just shy of doing. 

Aurabel follows on two years from where Lorali leaves off and with life under the sea more dangerous then ever before the question still remains... what happened to Rory? As well as this, Aurabel introduces new characters, most importantly Aurabel herself - a take no nonsense mer from the whirl's equivalent of the wrong side of town. Aurabel gets caught up in mer politics which has unimaginable consequences. With gritty, honest, magical and unfathomable plot twists this book tells the story all Lorali fans have been waiting for, in a way no one could have predicted. 

Okay so first things first The Sea... still not sold on the idea of this guy getting POV chapters, however, there was something about this book that meant I wasn't as frustrated by them as before. In the first book Laura Dockrill definitely didn't shy away from the grittier aspects of the story but with Aurabel there were moments that made my skin crawl. That's not a bad thing by the way! No, I love the fact the story doesn't sugar coat the situation, it makes a fantasy feel real and that is really hard to do as a writer. 

The characters in this installment, for me, were much more compelling and in a way Lorali almost felt like a set up book for this one. It meant I cared about Lorali and Rory enough to want to know what happened to Rory after he fell into the sea but it was this book where the story really took off. Reading as Lorali and Aurabel's worlds collide had me on tender hooks and their unlikely friendship was entertaining from the get go!

Overall this book was more then I expected it to be. It was fun, fast pasted and full to the brim with exciting twists and turns. With selkies, mermaids, sea monsters, amusements parks and even fake legs this book is a fascinating sequel that is full of adventures you don't want to miss!

REVIEW: Lorali


by Laura Dockrill

Pages: 337
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: July 2nd 2015
Received From: Hot Key Books

Colourful, raw, brave, rich and fantastical - this mermaid tale is not for the faint-hearted.
Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn't exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.
Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human.
But along with Lorali's arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory's bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?

Lorali is the story of a girl that makes the decision to leave everything she knows behind and start a new life on two legs, for you see, before Lorali left the ocean she was a Mermaid!

The book follows not just Lorali but also the people she left behind and the boy she meets on land. It is one of those books that will have you second guessing what you thought you believed and reimagine the myths and legends surrounding mermaids. There is a harshness to the world under the sea and the fact Laura Dockrill chose to depict this world in a slightly darker way to which it is most commonly portrayed was really interesting to me. But the part I was most compelled by was the way in which Lorali's appearance on the coast of Sussex affected the people she met on two legs. It is a story filled with first loves, betrayal, new experiences, magic and the biggest secret of all... why did she run way from the sea?

Okay so as much as I did enjoy this book I do have some reservations. Once you get into it Lorali is such a fun read but being as it is one of those books with multiple POV it can be hard to keep my interest. You see the one thing I need is for the main protagonist to capture my heart, now Rory and Lorali did that but I struggled when it came to the chapters taken from the point of view of the Sea. It is an interesting idea and I found it compelling but I also found myself waiting to get back to the chapters told by the other characters.

The part I liked most about this book however, was the mix of modern story telling with moments of old worldliness. There are pirates, sea monsters and mermaids but Laura's take on them are not like anything I have ever seen before. The pirates wear suits for a start! But for me it is the mix of myth and reality, the way she depicts the two worlds crashing together was captivating and felt all too real. Internet forums on how to become a mermaid, mermaids down the Thames, deceit and so much more. Okay, I'm the first to admit I wasn't completely sold on the Sea POV but it really is an interesting idea.

Overall, Lorali is a unique tale of first loves, mermaids and the affect one girls choice can have on the world. It was funny, honest and full of exciting characters that will keep you entertained. If you haven't read this book yet then I would recommend giving it a read!

REVIEW: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson & Robin Wasserman

Pages: 651 paperback
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: May 4th 2017
ISBN: 1406373583
Received From:  Walker Books

Ten illustrated stories following the adventures of Simon Lewis, star of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments, as he trains to become a Shadowhunter. Simon has been a human and a vampire, but after the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, he isn't sure who he is any more. When the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this Simon might be... Join him on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. The series features characters from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Dark Artifices and the upcoming Last Hours series.

Holy Moly this collection of short stories makes me so happy I'm struggling to put it into words. Simon Lewis is my favourite character from The Mortal Instruments series and after the way in which City of Heavenly Fire finished I didn't know what to do with myself. Even though this is a book consisting of 10 short stories, when read together it feels like one and I was enthralled from the very first page... reading about simon packing for Shadowhunter Academy was just hysterical! 

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is set over the course of two years. In these years Simon enrols at the Shadowhunter Academy, his name known by pretty much everyone (not that he remembers what he did), as he is taken on the path to Ascension. Each story reveals a little bit more about some of our other favourite characters as well as keeping us up to date with all things Simon. From learning about Jace's family past to really seeing how the circle began to discovering what happened to Helen and Mark Blackthorn after the Dark War. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is a fangirls dream and not one story disappointed! 

With a new book comes new characters and the students of the Academy was just as entertaining as our pervious protagonists. I instantly fell in love with George, Simon's very Scottish and very muscular roommate who is, in short, the Scottish version of Simon. Their little sarcastic conversations made me smile throughout every story and the way in which they made each other better shadowhunters warmed my heart. 

Each story had a cameo from characters we've gotten to know over the course of previous books and my favourite had to be Born To Endless Night where we see Mangus and Alec appear at the Academy. These stories fill in some of the blanks and was probably one of my favourite Shadowhunter books to date. It was funny, it was full of adventure, it had love and friendship. In short it was pretty much everything I could have possibly asked for. 

Overall Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy has a very special place in my heart. It seems my favourite character's story resolved and made me smile the whole way through. The ending, much like City of Heavenly Fire did break my heart. In fact it torn it into a thousand little pieces and then stomped all over it again and again but the fact that it coursed so many tears (no exaggeration) meant that the writers did their job perfectly. They made me care for these characters as if they were my friends and that in my opinion is what a great book is all about.

I'm Back

What's been going on... 
SO I've been away for a little while and I've not really had the time to explain why. Those of you that follow me on twitter would have seen the odd tweet here and there but for the most part I have been MIA for the last few months.   
Firstly, as some of you will know June was a hard month due to the passing of my Nan's partner. He was a really great guy who treated my Nan well and he is missed by a lot of people. He spent his last few days at Thorpe Hall and I have to say the Sue Ryder staff there were amazing and made that time as good as it could have been.  R.I.P Ronald Slater. 
Secondly, those of you that know me know how I have struggled with anxiety a lot over the last two years and at times I've let it get the better of me. Around the beginning of Novemeber 2016 I started to get some professional help, there is still a stigma around therapy but hand on heart this was the best thing I ever did. It's given me the tools I needed to get myself better and no one should feel ashamed or scared of asking for help! 
Anyways I digress, the point I was trying to get to was that recently I made the decision that I was going to turn my negative experiences into something positive. How am I going to do that you might ask? (You might not but lets roll with it) The plan is to take my artistic education and my experiences over the last few years and move into a sector that I can help others with, Art Therapy! It is going to be hard work and I'll need to go back to university at some point but I'm really excited to have a focus and a goal. This last month I have started volunteering twice a week and doing a couple of free course at the Open University (highly recommended!) and I'm really excited to see where this goes!  
As well as all this my best friend married her partner of nearly 11 years the other week, she looked beautiful and I can't wait to see all the pictures from their honeymoon when they get back. 
So as you can see things have been a little manic over the last two months, which lead to me having to take a break from blogging. I missed it like crazy but it was needed. But now I'm back! Being as I've had a bit of a redirection I thought it was about time the blog had a revamp to. I've not changed the way in which my blog looks since I started it in 2014 so I'm a little nervous about what you guys are going to think - I hope you like it! It has all the stuff you love still (so don't worry) and hopefully some new and exciting features to come. 
Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has been there over the last few months and a massive thank you to everyone that still follows my ramblings on here three and a half years on from when I started. To the bloggers, readers, authors, the friends, the family and everyone in between. Have an awesome month and I hope you enjoy the next chapter of The YA's Nightstand!