Welcome to the Blog!

Hello! I’m Darrian and this is my personal book blog. I love writing and I love reading books, so I have decided to write reviews for the books I read and to post them on this blog! I hope I can give people the inspiration to explore various novels and to help them find new personal favorites.

~Happy reading!

TV Review: “Shadowhunters” Episode 9: Rise Up & Episode 10: This World Inverted

Hello! Welcome to my combined review of episodes nine and ten of Shadowhunters. Things really start to get heated between our beloved characters in these two episodes, so, without further ado, let’s go over the pros and cons of “Rise Up” and “This World Inverted”.

Episode 9: Rise Up – This episode was jam-packed full of tension between various characters. Simon had to deal with the fact that he is now a vampire. Clary had to deal with the guilt of choosing this new life for Simon. Jace and Isabelle found out Alec is engaged to Lydia. Meliorn had been taken into custody by the New York Institute. Alec and Jace have more disputes. Such fun!

I feel as though there are not a whole lot of things to discuss about this episode, but I’ll go ahead and glance over the parts that stood out to me the most. Starting with Simon having to adjust to his new vampire lifestyle. Poor Simon. Everything always happens to him. Although it is perfectly understandable why Simon was upset, I just couldn’t help but feel bothered that he seemed angry with Clary when she first told him she was the one who decided to have him Turned. I pictured Simon as more desperate and sad, not really angry. I also really miss Simon’s cute glasses. It feels different without them. But anyways, Alberto Rosende was wonderful as usual. And Clary’s guilt seemed very genuine and heartbreaking. In the end, though, things worked out between the two, and the chemistry between the two actors worked very well and cutely.

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As for the little Downworlders vs. Shadowhunters showdown that formed in order to save Meliorn…Why? It didn’t really make much sense to me. I get that the Clave wanted to question Meliorn, but why was there the big fuss about sending him to the Silent Brothers to be tortured? And everyone was saying that he might even die? The Silent Brothers can find out information about certain people, but they don’t resort to torture and would certainly not kill anyone. The Silent Brothers are like monks, not executioners or anything of the like.

The whole time Lydia was in the Institute, she kept using grammar that reminded me of cop and forensic file shows. There’s also the idea that normal Shadowhunters investigate and dissect bodies on their own? The show seems to be developing a supernatural forensic file vibe to it, and I really wish it wouldn’t. Investigating bodies, questioning, and healing are supposed to be the jobs of the Silent Brothers. Not normal Shadowhunters. So, Clary had this idea to bring Downworlders together with her team of Jace, Isabelle, Simon, Luke, and Raphael to save Meliorn from being turned over to the Silent Brothers. To be honest, it seemed like a very over-dramatic plan, although there were some great banter between Luke, Raphael, and Simon that I thoroughly enjoyed throughout the scene.

However, in an attempt to bring the vampires and werewolves together, Clary gave a little speech that supposedly was very inspiring, when in actuality, it wasn’t really. At least to me it wasn’t. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m starting to get a little annoyed with how “perfect” Clary seems to be with everything she does. She literally just became a Shadowhunter not too long ago. She can’t be good at everything. And when is she going to be able to draw her own runes? She’ll have to learn soon, because an important plot point is supposed to be coming up in the next season.

Lastly (because it’s been weeks since I watched this episode and this is the only other thing that stood out to me that I remember), is the whole deal with Alec taking Lydia’s side instead of Jace’s. I just couldn’t fathom Alec ever doing that. He was supposed to be in love with Jace, not to mention Jace is his parabatai, and that alone should make Alec take his side without question. It was just so upsetting to see the wedge between the two driven in further. But even though I didn’t like the reason behind it, I still really loved how the scene was done. The stunts for the fighting were really good, the mood was tense and kept you on edge, and the dialogue between the two parabatai was just heartbreaking. It was a good way to generate emotion from the audience.

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Altogether, this episode had it’s flaws, but it wasn’t bad.

Episode 10: This World Inverted – This episode was super interesting and fun, even though it was basically just a huge advertisement for Alice Through the Looking Glass. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it immensely! In this tenth installment of the first season, Meliorn decided to repay Clary for saving him by sending her through a Portal in the land of the Fair Folk to a different dimension, where Clary may find out where Valentine is! Duh duh duh! Meanwhile, Simon had great times hanging out with Luke, and Isabelle was being accused of high treason.

Let’s talk about the fun parts first — Clary’s visit to the other dimension! Right when Clary arrived, she saw Valentine and threatened him with a butter knife, which was a little over the top, but was totally worth seeing Valentine’s reaction! It was so amusing to see him act like a normal father. Alan Van Sprang was just great, and I loved everyone in the alternate dimension! Jace working at Java Jace with his hair looking cool, Izzy being all nerdy and adorable, Alec openly gay and flirting with Magnus, Luke working at a bookstore like he initially did in the books, and Magnus with his cats Church and Chairman Meow. I wish Church and Chairman Meow could be regular characters in the real world like they were in the books, but it was still a pleasant surprise that they were included in the show at all.

I also really enjoyed how the scenes in the alternate dimension were filmed. The lighting and angles were great parallels to those of the real dimension. I hope we get more lighting and angles like that when the characters go to Idris in the next season. I really enjoyed the scene when Clary went to visit Magnus and told him how she needed his help. She helped him to rediscover his magic, and the dialogue between them was very amusing. Not to mention when they eventually met up with alternate dimension Jace, who looked like he was on the verge of crying before the real Jace showed up.

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Meanwhile, as Clary and Jace ventured into another world, Simon and Luke dealt with the bothersome investigator from the police force who suspected Luke was behind the murders. It actually really concerned me at first when Simon was posing as the killer to get the agent’s suspicion away from Luke. Simon was surprisingly really good at acting like a psychopath! Although it freaked me out at first, the scene was pretty interesting and amusing.

Now, after discussing all the great things in this episode, I need to point out a few things that bothered me. Firstly, Alec using some sort of painful parabatai tracking rune to try to pinpoint where Jace was so he could try to find the Mortal Cup to give to Lydia. It was bad enough that Alec didn’t take Jace’s side, but then he demanded to use some sort of painful rune to try to track Jace down? I suppose what bothered me most about this was the way in which the parabatai bond was being portrayed on screen. Death is the only known way to break a parabatai bond. Nothing else. Yet in this episode, Alec used a tracking rune that almost broke his bond with Jace. I didn’t really like it.

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I also didn’t really care for the cliffhanger of the episode. Actually, when I first watched it, it infuriated me. I totally thought an important plot in the books was going to be skipped. But after watching episode eleven, however, I saw how that was not true. But it did add some plot holes that could easily have been avoided. All in all, episode ten was a pretty good episode. I really enjoyed it.

What was your favorite episode of the two? Did you enjoy the alternate dimension? Be sure to tune in to Freeform on Tuesday nights for new episodes of Shadowhunters!

~Happy Reading!

 

TV Review: “Shadowhunters” Episode 8: Bad Blood

Hello! Welcome back to my review over the TV adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s awesome fantasy series, titled Shadowhunters. Today I will be breaking down the pros and the cons of episode eight. Many emotional things happened in this episode, mainly consisting of Simon’s vampire transformation, the arrival of a new character named Lydia Branwell, and a new treat introduced to the Shadowhunters. Let’s discuss Lydia’s introduction first, shall we?

Lydia Branwell is a character that was created for the TV show, meaning that she was not a character in the books. I understand that Lydia was brought in to create some tension, but what I don’t understand is that her last name is Branwell. In the Infernal Devices, Henry Branwell, Lydia’s supposed ancestor, was married to Charlotte Fairchild, who was the head of the London Institute. When they had children, the children took Charlotte’s last name instead of Henry’s. So it was sort of confusing that the writers of the show chose Branwell as Lydia’s last name, even though it was pleasant to have some Infernal Devices references thrown into the show once again. I am very pleased they talked about how Henry and Magnus invented the Portal together.

Anyways, Lydia was ordered by the Clave to come to the New York Institute in order to watch over things. Originally it was implied the Clave had sent her because of all the unapproved missions Jace, Isabelle, and Alec went on to help Clary, but later it was revealed that the Clave was not very bothered by Clary, but rather distrusting of Maryse and Robert Lightwood, former Circle members, leading the Institute. I am glad this was cleared up, because no way would a couple of unsanctioned missions lead to so much trouble from the Clave.

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Overall, I liked Lydia’s character well enough. She’s a pretty strong character, who, like Alec, sticks to the rules. I also liked that Lydia didn’t act emotionless or arrogant. She was pretty driven and authoritative, and she was very solemn when she was explaining her past to Alec and why she always followed the rules. However, one thing I didn’t like about Lydia was the way in which she was first introduced. She came in using a rune to disguise herself as Valentine, and Alec was the only one out of all those Shadowhunters in the Institute who would’ve done anything about it.

As it was also done with the movie, the creators are randomly making up runes for everything to make things easier for the Shadowhunters, which I severely frown upon. Things aren’t as dangerous or exciting if things are too easy. And now having a rune that can make one’s appearance look like another’s creates a plot hole for the Infernal Devices when/if it is turned into a show. Tessa Gray from the Infernal Devices has a rare gift that allows her to shapeshift into other people. So if there’s already a rune for shapeshifting, then what will make her power so extraordinary? And couldn’t anyone basically be anybody with the use of that rune? It creates too many plot holes and nuisances.

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Let’s also talk about that cliffhanger with Alec proposing to Lydia. I understand Alec did it to try to help restore honor to the Lightwood name (and obviously to add some drama to Alec and Magnus’s budding relationship), but what was the point of that talk with Magnus telling him to follow his heart, when he clearly didn’t? It just seemed odd. On another note, it was interesting to see the Forsaken having a bigger role and being placed as a new threat to the Shadowhunters. In the books, Forsaken were rarely referenced to or seen aside from in City of Bones. In the show, they look totally dehumanized and creepy looking. It was really cool.

Simon’s vampire transformation is hands-down one of my favorite moments in the series so far, and my favorite part of this episode. I was excited and also very anxious to see how it would be displayed on the screen, and I was not disappointed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but Alberto Rosende is such a tremendous actor. He is so perfect as Simon. He’s transformation from mundane to  vampire was just like I had imagined it to be from the books. The way he dug himself up out of the grave and ravaged the packs of blood Raphael threw to him was super tense and awesome.

The emotion he displayed, the horror and the grief at realizing what he had become, was so realistic and flawless. It was so emotional to watch Simon argue with Clary; him battling with himself and calling himself a monster while Clary tearfully reassured him that he was still her best friend. Somebody give that boy an award, because he did a fantastic job in that scene. Applause is also needed for Katherine McNamara, who also did a great job at portraying Clary’s helplessness and grief. The vampire transformation was just so great and I loved it.

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Lastly, I would like to make some comments about Jace’s falcon story. The falcon story is a very crucial part of Jace’s character. It explains why Jace is the way he is, why he’s so hesitant to show his emotions and to care for people. Although Dominic Sherwood did a great job at displaying emotion when telling the falcon story, it felt a bit too emotional for Jace, and while I’m glad the writers included the falcon story into the script, I couldn’t help but feel irritated they didn’t throw the famous “To love is to destroy” quote in there, which is basically Jace’s motto.

For the most part, it was a pretty decent episode. It’s definitely not my favorite, but it was still a solid installment to the TV show. What was your favorite part about the episode? Did you enjoy Simon’s vampire transformation? Be sure to tune in to Freeform on Tuesday nights for new episodes of Shadowhunters!

~Happy Reading!

 

TV Review: “Shadowhunters” Episode 7: Major Arcana

Hello fellow mundanes! Welcome back to my Shadowhunters TV review. Today, I will be discussing the seventh episode, titled “Major Arcana”. By the Angel, there were a lot of unexpected little treats that I’m excited to discuss!

The events that occurred in this episode did not happen as they did in the book, but as the show goes on, I find myself making exceptions to some of the changes. In fact, surprisingly, my favorite episodes so far are the ones that do not follow the novels. Which is very strange, considering I am a very picky person when it comes to adapting books into films, especially when my favorite books are involved. I knew the creators of the show told fans that Shadowhunters would not be exactly like the series, but I actually don’t mind them adding some surprises in for those who already know what is going to happen (as long as they stick to the original storyline and plots, and don’t add in anymore unnecessary things like that dumb purple portal necklace).

Anyways, in this new installment, Clary realized she may know where the Mortal Cup is. Hallelujah! Only problem is, it’s locked away in Luke’s desk at the NYPD. Why is that a problem? Because as soon as Luke goes to retrieve it, he’s taken into custody to be questioned about some murders. Poor Luke.

After Jace sees Luke being taken away with a handy-dandy vision rune, Jace and Clary sneak into the NYPD, talk to Luke, and stage a hilarious “break-up” scene in order for Clary to search for the tarot card that contains the Mortal Cup, which would have been perfect if the “I was 90% sure you wouldn’t die” line wasn’t cut from the first episode. Such a great quote from the books!

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Other than the fake break-up scene, there were plenty of other funny dialogues sprinkled throughout the rest of the episode. And from whom did a majority of these lines come from? Jace. Jace was actually funny in this episode! He was sarcastic and witty just like he’s supposed to be, and it made me warm up to TV Jace a whole lot more. Up to this point, I’ve lost count of how many times Jace has annoyed me in the show. I did not like TV Jace until now. He even made a great demon pox reference to the Infernal Devices. Hopefully, he will continue to be great in the rest of the season. I would hate for it to be ruined just as I started liking him.

Along with Jace becoming so much better in this episode, I felt as though he and Clary’s chemistry had improved as well. In my “Of Men and Angels” review, I discussed how I felt a tiny spark between Jace and Clary towards the end. Even though there is still a lot of work to do regarding the chemistry, it made some improvement in “Major Arcana”. I’m pretty sure this is thanks to Jace’s personality change, because whereas in the previous episodes, where Jace was all kind and cuddly to Clary, he was far more sarcastic and sharp like he was in the books, which is a good balance to Clary’s stubbornness and compassion. With a great balance and some humorous banter, TV Clace could have a great redemption. Fingers crossed!

After calling Alec and Isabelle for backup, Jace and Clary then proceed to sneak back into the station to search for the tarot cards. Alec and Izzy were great, per usual. It was hilarious when Izzy teased Alec about Magnus and made Alec distract the woman at the front desk in the police station, after she unbuttoned his shirt and made him very uncomfortable.

Alec reluctantly made an attempt to distract the woman at the front desk by throwing some adorably awkward pick-up lines at her, such as “Do you come here often” in which the women retorted “I work here”, and flashing a radiant smile that basically made every viewer melt. The distraction worked, nevertheless, as Alec smoothly tossed Izzy the woman’s ID card and they were able to move on with Jace’s plan. Awkward or not, with a smile like that, it would be difficult to not be distracted by Alec.

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With the help of Alec and Izzy, Clary and Jace managed to get up to the evidence vault (after a cheesy elevator scene) where they finally found the tarot card containing the Mortal Cup, only Clary couldn’t reach into the card and get it out. Oops. Guess you should have practiced your reaching-into-paper ability first before you went on a potentially dangerous mission that requires said ability, Clary. So Clary just grabbed the card and the Shadowhunter squad fled the building, only to realize they were surrounded by many nasty demons, including a grandma-demon that tried to eat Clary’s face. As stated before, I wish the demons would be more difficult to kill. It was nice to see some more demon fighting, though.

After splitting up, escaping the demons, pulling the Mortal Cup out of the tarot card, and meeting up with Alec and Luke, Clary returned to the Institute, where she shared a passionate kiss with Jace. It wasn’t a kiss that made me fangirl, but it was a nice, first kiss for TV Clace. Having seen the two kiss, Alec gave a hurt look and walked away, which was very painful to watch. I feel so bad for Alec! He has gone through a lot of complicated things. I just want to see him happy.

You know who else experiences a lot of havoc, more than anyone else? Simon. Poor Simon! Clary has been ignoring him in a totally uncool way due to how busy she has become, and he’s been experiencing a lot of hallucinations and stress due to the vampire blood he was hypnotized to consume in episode three. When he cried while leaving Clary a voicemail about how he thought he was turning into a vampire, I almost cried myself. It was so heart-wrenching.

Everything about Simon in the show has been perfect so far, except the scene in this episode where he slept with Maureen. You heard me right. He slept with Maureen. I don’t understand why that was in the script, but it was totally unnecessary, and not to mention totally out of character. Simon is currently in love with Clary, and he is a very shy and kind guy. He would never spend the night with a girl he has no feelings for. To make it worse, it was blamed on the vampire blood. Just like the random aggression shown in the previous episode, this was a completely pointless symptom to add to vampire transformation. It was only added to give the show some appeal, and I was not a fan of it.

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Aside from that frustrating aspect of the episode, “Major Arcana” is probably tied with “Moo Shu to Go” or ranked number two on my favorite episodes thus far. What were your feelings and opinions regarding this episode? Are you excited to see Simon complete his vampire transformation in the next installment? I know I am. Be sure to tune in to Freeform on Tuesday nights for new episodes of Shadowhunters.

~Happy Reading

 

TV Review: “Shadowhunters” Episode 6: Of Men and Angels

SHADOWHUNTERS - "Of Men and Angels" - Magnus and Luke reveal Clary’s past in “Of Men and Angels,” an all-new episode of “Shadowhunters,” airing Tuesday, February 16th at 9:00 – 10:00 p.m., EST/PST on Freeform, the new name for ABC Family. (Freeform/John Medland) KATHERINE MCNAMARA, ALBERTO ROSENDE, ISAIAH MUSTAFA, MATTHEW DADDARIO, HARRY SHUM JR., DOMINIC SHERWOOD

Hello fellow mundanes! Today, I will be discussing and breaking down the sixth episode of Shadowhunters, titled “Of Men and Angels”. There were a lot of flashbacks and drama in this episode, so I have many emotions to share in this review. Let’s get to it!

The episode starts off where the last one ended, with Luke poisoned by an alpha bite and Clary, Jace, and Simon rushing him off to Magnus’s in hope that the warlock will able to help. Why an alpha bite was poisonous to a man who was already a werewolf is beyond me. It wasn’t thoroughly explained in this episode, but maybe we’ll get an explanation later.

Moving on, when the gang gets to Magnus’s, he starts to gather ingredients for a potion to try to help Luke, though he doesn’t have everything he needs. He tells Jace that he needs to get Alec because he needs his “powerful” Shadowhunter energy to help him heal Luke. Riiiight. We know what you’re doing, Magnus. We can see right through you. You just want to see Alec, but we don’t blame you.

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Aside from “needing” Alec’s Shadowhunter energy, Magnus sends Jace and Simon out together to retrieve an ingredient from the drug store, which turns out to be a bad idea. I’m all for Jace and Simon banter. In the books it was hilarious. However, in the show, there was too much tension between the two. Whereas book-Jace smarts off with some witty sarcasm, Jace in the show basically bullied Simon, and the way he blew up at Simon when he mentioned Alec? Ridiculous. Simon wasn’t talking bad about Alec, so there was no reason for Jace to just lose his cool and yell at Simon. Not that TV-Jace is acting cool right now anyways.

Simon wasn’t so innocent either, though. While Simon wasn’t yelling at Jace, he did whip out a knife and pin Jace to a wall for calling him a “mundane”. I don’t understand why the writers made Simon attack Jace. Vampires don’t have anger issues. That whole argument/fight just wasn’t necessary. It would have been more entertaining to just have Jace and Simon throw snide comments back and forth, but I will admit that Simon’s “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” and Jace’s “What happened to you that night at the Hotel Dumort” made up for it.

It showed Simon is a sweetheart and doesn’t want to hurt anyone, and Jace actually worries about people other than himself and Clary, and it was nice to see that somebody notices how Simon acts unusual. On another note, as I’ve discussed in my other reviews, that demon Jace killed was too easily defeated. Seriously, demons are a lot harder to get rid of! I wish they would start showing that. I want some awesome battles with demons.

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Let’s talk about the Lightwood family drama before we get to the Circle flashbacks. In the last episode “Moo Shu to Go”, we meet Maryse Lightwood, the mother of Alec and Isabelle. She was so cold towards her children in the previous episode, so it was nice to see her softer side during this week’s installment. When Alec walked in on her crying, I immediately suspected what was wrong.

I’m assuming Maryse just found out about her husband’s affair, because later on in the episode, Isabelle tells her mother “I know something happened between you and Dad” when she sees the two arguing. I couldn’t help but want Maryse to tell Isabelle, though it didn’t happen. At least not yet. The little scene when Alec told his mother that “Lightwoods break noses and accept the consequences” was nice, and hearing what Alec was like as a child was cute.

We finally meet Robert and Max, and I wasn’t disappointed. Max was an adorable little troublemaker and Robert was a caring yet stern father. While it was great to see the Lightwood family all together, what confused me was the fact Robert told Isabelle the Clave no longer trusted them because of the unauthorized missions to help Clary. The Lightwoods wouldn’t lose their honor just because the kids went out on missions without permission. It seemed like too weak of a reason for the Clave to distrust them. In the books, the Clave distrusted the Lightwoods because of Maryse and Robert’s  participation in the Circle when they were younger. I would like to see more of an explanation in the show. As of right now, it doesn’t make much sense.

It absolutely broke my heart to see Isabelle accept her new role as a diplomat and change her appearance. She started dressing like her mother and putting her hair up, and she broke off her ties to Meliorn (which wasn’t as upsetting). Even Alec changed. He broke the rules, which he has been so determined to stick to this whole time. He learned from Isabelle that their parents plan to arrange a marriage for him to strengthen political ties. Although this wasn’t in the books, I’m not too bothered by this change. It’ll add some challenges to Magnus and Alec’s budding relationship. Speaking of Magnus and Alec, their scenes were great as always. I loved when Magnus told Alec how he had locked his heart away from men and women for a long time, and how Alec had “unlocked something” in him. It was just so cute.

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Finally, we got flashbacks of the Circle. I was very excited to see how the Circle would be portrayed on the screen. It wasn’t totally great, but it wasn’t very bad either. The history of the Circle was explained pretty well and did the books justice. It was just the little things that bothered me, like how Luke and Jocelyn “fell in love” and it pushed Valentine into turning crazy, or how Valentine just shoved Luke into a building full of werewolves.

Jocelyn had loved Valentine. Luke was in love with Jocelyn, but Jocelyn had loved Valentine at the time they were married and the Circle was formed. Valentine turned crazy due to his hatred of Downworlders after his father was killed, not because he thought Luke and Jocelyn were having an affair. And Luke was accidentally turned into a werewolf on a hunt when he thought Valentine had his back.

Little changes like this bothered me. I believe it has effected Valentine’s character in the show. He’s not just an evil madman. He’s a charming, cunning, and persuasive man who hungers for the destruction of Downworlders. Those qualities are what make him a great villain, and it disappoints me that the show doesn’t show that.

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Something I surprisingly enjoyed towards the end of the episode was the Alec and Clary, Jace and Alec, Simon and Jace, and even the Clary and Jace interactions. Alec and Clary are starting to accept each other (which I enjoy), Alec and Jace made up (about time!), there was finally a tiny spark of chemistry between Clary and Jace, and Jace geniunely looked like he felt bad for Simon. Each of these moments brought so many feels!

After Magnus and Luke tell Clary about the history of the Circle, the episode leaves off on a cliffhanger: Clary had a brother named Jonathan Christopher! I can’t even describe how excited I am to see this plot play out. I bet it’s going to be mind blowing for those who haven’t read the books.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. “Moo Shu to Go” still remains my current favorite, though “Of Men and Angels” follows in second. I’m excited to see where the rest of the season takes us. It’s crazy that the first season is already halfway over! Are you guys excited for the seventh episode? Tune in to Freeform on Tuesday nights for new episodes of Shadowhunters.

~Happy Reading!

 

TV Review: “Shadowhunters” Episodes #1-5

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When it comes to fiction, I have a particular fondness for plots with fantasy and supernatural elements. I first read the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare in middle school, and I immediately fell in love with the Shadow World. The Shadowhunter Chronicles is one of my favorite series out there, so naturally I was very eager to see the major motion picture The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones when it came to theaters in August of 2013.

However, the movie was a major disappointment for me. Important aspects of Shadowhunter history were unnecessarily changed into things that made no sense, beloved characters were not portrayed as deserved, and some actors simply did not fit their characters. Despite the unsatisfactory the movie left me, I was still looking forward to seeing certain plot points and characters from the sequels brought to life.

Instead of a sequel to the film, fans of Cassandra Clare’s works were later rewarded with news that the books would be revamped into a TV series. Although the movie had lowered my expectations, I found myself much more happy that this series would get another chance with being brought to life, especially since the show would be starting with a clean slate instead of starting with where the movie had left off. Before I start my review, be warned that this will be a long post, as I will be going over all of my opinions and feelings regarding each episode of Shadowhunters. So with that, let’s get started with my review over the five current episodes thus far.

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Episode 1: The Mortal Cup – Okay, so the pilots of shows that are based on fantasy elements almost always have rocky starts. Shadowhunters is no exception. The episode starts with Jace, Alec, and Isabelle on a demon hunt, which ultimately leads up to the Shadowhunters following the demon into Pandemonium, where Jace runs into Clary for the first time. The opening scene was a nice way of grabbing the audience’s attention, so I actually liked the way they started the show, even if the way Jace bumped into Clary was rather awkward.

The rest of the episode is edited in a very choppy way, and the pacing of the episode seemed way too quick, but it’s understandable that the writers wanted to introduce all the major characters and get everything set up for the rest of the season. Even so, everything happened so fast that it felt like I didn’t even have time to breathe or relax. A lot of information was dumped on us in the first episode, and it didn’t help that the scenes just kept sprinting through until the end.

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Something else that was vexatious was that strange purple necklace that Jocelyn gave to Clary, which we later discover is a portal shard. Although it’s not a huge nuisance or change from the books, it was still odd to see it added into the show. I also feel as though Valentine shouldn’t have come into the show until he was supposed to, like towards the very end of City of Bones. The villain would be much scarier if he wasn’t introduced right away. Villains are more intriguing and frightening when they are built up by the other characters, and then when they finally make their dramatic entrances at the right time in the show. Even so, seeing what Valentine was up to was still cool and interesting.

Overall the episode was pretty decent. Simon’s lines and scenes were by far the best parts of the pilot, and the chemistry between Clary and Simon was very well done and believable. The parts that made me cringe were Valentine’s henchmen (Seriously? Wearing sunglasses at night? And what was with stealing all of those random cups? Don’t they know what the Mortal Cup is supposed to look like?) and Jace. Jace’s lines were very cheesy and sounded strange coming from his mouth. Come on Jace, you can do sarcasm better than that! But aside from that, the episode did alright. The actors have to have time to ease into their roles and the writers have to find the appropriate flow for the script. Now, moving on to episode two.

Episode 2: The Descent Into Hell Is Easy – This episode was a slight improvement from the first episode, but again, the pacing was too fast. We had already gone halfway through the book by the end of this episode. Things need to slow down and be explored with more depth. Each of the books in the series are pretty good-sized, not to mention that there are six total, the last being over 700 pages. There is plenty of material to work with, and if it is spaced out and paced correctly, the book material for the show could last for a good number of seasons.

Let’s talk about Hodge. Hodge is so much different than he was in the movie and what I imagined him to be in the books! Instead of an older, wise-looking tutor, he’s….an attractive weapons trainer. Not that it’s a bad change. It’s definitely one of the more unique changes made to the show. After meeting Hodge, we are later introduced to the Silent City, a.k.a. the City of Bones, and the Silent Brothers.

While there was nothing wrong with the way the Silent Brothers and the search inside Clary’s mind were portrayed, it was immensely irritating to see Clary clinging to Jace’s hand the entire time they are were in the Silent City. Seriously, they had just met and they were already holding hands? This budding romance between the two is going a bit too quickly for my liking, and there isn’t any chemistry to make it feel less awkward. At least we got the “Descent into Hell is easy” and “Looking better in black than the widows of our enemies” quotes, though.

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My favorite part of this episode was probably Alec’s lack of chill. As I’ve already stated in my character portrayal review for the show, Alec is now one of my favorites. I love how he’s being depicted as the older brother figure who is trying to follow the Clave rules and maintain formation, and when Clary comes into the picture, he is forced to kiss those rules goodbye as he is dragged after the rest of the crew on the quest to find Clary’s memories. His grumpy complaints along with Simon’s usual humor were great. The revelation that Clary’s father is Valentine was a bit rushed (as well as Simon’s kidnapping at the end), but nevertheless, the episode was a bit improved from the first one, which is good.

Episode 3: Dead Man’s Party – There were many things about this episode that I enjoyed and found faults in. It was the bridge between the “okay” episodes (1 and 2) and the “much improved” episodes (4 and 5).  Alright, so this installment was about the Shadowhunter squad going to save Simon from the vampires, whom we get the pleasure of meeting early on. The vampires have kidnapped Simon because they want the Mortal Cup. At first, the Shadowhunters are not very concerned with saving Simon, until Clary argues that Simon has suffered enough. The Shadowhunters eventually agree to sneak out and break into the vampires’ hangout, the Hotel Dumort, to save Simon. What is confusing and keeps being brought up is the Downworlders are also after the Mortal Cup.

It’s easy to understand why Valentine wants the Cup, but why do the Downworlders want it too? Based on the knowledge in the books, “if Downworlders drink from the cup, they will vomit up its contents and possibly die of paroxysms, due to their demonic aspects warring against the angel blood they ingested. If forced to continue drinking from the Cup, the contents will eventually burn the life from them entirely”. That does not sound very pleasant. It is not explained very clearly why the Downworlders are after it, but if I had to guess, perhaps they want to use it as a bargaining chip for Valentine. “In exchange for the Cup, you promise not to slaughter my species. We good?”

Speaking of Downworlders, let’s discuss the two new characters we got to meet: Camille and Raphael. I’ve been very eager to see how Raphael would be brought to the screen, and honestly, I wasn’t disappointed. David Castro certainly looked the part, and did very well displaying Raphael’s sly and arrogant personality, and his personal dislike for Camille. Kaitlyn Leeb played the leader of the New York vampire clan, and although Camille does not play an important role thus early in the show, she was greatly brought to the screen as well.

One aspect that I did not particularly care for, however, was the fact that it was alluded that Camille will be the one to sire Simon when he ultimately turns into a vampire. Originally in the book series, it is Raphael who sires Simon, not Camille. Perhaps one reason why I did not like this change is because of how I enjoyed the banter between Raphael and Simon in the books. Or maybe it’s because I shuddered at the way Camille was taking advantage of poor Simon, whom she used the Encanto on. Either way, I want Camille to keep her claws away from Simon.

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On another note, there has been great controversy, once again, surrounding Isabelle. Especially in this episode, where we see Izzy using her body to gain information from Meliorn, who by the way, is a lot less grumpy than he is in the books. While watching this scene play out, I didn’t once think that Isabelle was selling herself. From the way I see it, Izzy was enjoying herself, so I’m pretty sure she was simply having a good time with Meliorn along with a bonus of getting some information out of him. Killing two birds with one stone, right?

Finally, it’s time to discuss the Jace and Clary moments. First we have the scene in the graveyard, where Jace does the cliché and teaches Clary how to use a seraph blade while getting very, very close to her. I actually cringed at the cheesiness of this scene. Moving on, next they go to a biker bar and steal a vampire’s motorcycle. While I didn’t really enjoy Brad the vampire seducing Clary with the Encanto, surprisingly, I found the motorcycle scene between Jace and Clary sort of cute. The only moment I’ve enjoyed between them so far.

The episode concludes with some edgy tension between Jace and Alec, and a cute BFF moment between Simon and Clary, along with some foreshadowing that Simon will become a vampire later on in the series. As I’ve said before, Simon’s vampire arc is approaching much too quickly. But nevertheless, let’s move on to the fourth episode.

Episode 4: Raising Hell – For me, this is when the show starts to improve a lot. Maybe it’s because our Shadowhunter gang finally gets to meet the fabulous High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane. But before we discuss how great Magnus was, let’s start at the beginning. The episode starts with Clary tossing and turning in her bed, which clearly signals that she is having a nightmare. After a bit of chit-chat with Simon and a pouty-faced Jace lurking unseen in the doorway, Clary learns that a mysterious figure named Magnus Bane could possibly hold some answers as to where her missing memories are. While Clary goes to Jace with this information, Simon starts to hallucinate and decides that he’s had enough of this supernatural madness.

When confronted by Clary, Simon pleads for her to come with him. After being denied, Simon leaves the Institute very upset. Poor Simon, he can never catch a break, can he? Afterwards, Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, and Hodge start researching Magnus and devising a plan as to how they can meet with him and talk. They plan to lure him out with Isabelle’s ruby necklace, which once belonged to none other than Camille Belcourt, Magnus’s old lover. I was very pleased with how Izzy’s necklace was introduced, even if it was randomly pulled out from a hidden safe in the floor. The writers did a good job with explaining the necklace’s history and powers. See what happens when you follow the books?

Meanwhile, Magnus and his fellow warlocks were hiding out of Valentine’s sight. Magnus speaks to another warlock named Elios, in which fans of the books were blessed with a familiar quote, and the mention of a certain character from the Infernal Devices, the prequel series to the Mortal Instruments. Those certainly were nice little surprises.

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Moving on, Clary, Jace, Alec, and Isabelle attend a party that was sadly not thrown by Magnus in honor of his cat’s birthday. But it’s a party nonetheless, and Magnus loves parties. At said party, Valentine’s henchmen attack Magnus, and although I really enjoyed watching Alec help Magnus, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed that Magnus didn’t defeat the minions himself. Magnus is a very powerful warlock, so a few of Valentine’s underlings shouldn’t have been very difficult for him to take out on his own. After the bad guys are defeated, we finally see Magnus and Alec meeting for the first time, which was absolutely endearing. The chemistry between the two is perfect. Magnus goes out of his way to flirt with Alec and Alec responds awkwardly and with looks of confusion, and it was so entertaining.

The demon-summoning scene was pretty dramatic. Since it was a memory demon that the group was summoning, I was hoping for some hints of Magnus’s father, but alas, we did not receive any. I enjoyed most of it,  and my sympathy for Alec just keeps growing and growing with the internal conflicts that he keeps enduring, but I’m happy to see that Isabelle is such an encouraging and supportive sister. I also couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Maureen when she confessed to Simon that she would like to date him. Talk about a whirlwind of emotions. This episode was pretty good overall, and it made me pumped for the next one. Especially Magnus’s quote that came from the books: “I don’t know. Does he normally just lay like that?” That was priceless.

Episode 5: Moo Shu to Go – Honestly, this is my favorite episode so far. While the events that happened in the episode did not happen in the books, I was pleasantly surprised by what went down. Particularly the Clary, Alec, and Simon dynamic that went on. I didn’t know I needed that dynamic until it was unexpectedly thrown at us. I loved it! This is the sort of banter that is needed between Clary, Simon, and Jace, but instead, we got it with Alec. Not that I’m complaining, though. Regardless, I love this change. I thought it was hilarious how Simon started to show signs of turning into a vampire, and Clary was just like “Have you been doing parkour?” while Alec just shot puzzled glances at him. It was very pleasing to watch.

Something that wasn’t so pleasing to watch was the constant arguing between Jace and Alec, who have been arguing nonstop these past few episodes. I can understand why Alec keeps voicing his distrust of Clary to Jace, but is it really necessary for Jace to get all defensive of a girl he just met and to blow up at Alec? This is where Jace starts to annoy me. Sure, Jace is a jerk in the books. He’s a jerk to everyone, except he’s witty about it. And he’s not so much of a jerk towards Alec, his parabatai, like he is to everyone else. It’s completely switched in the show. Jace only seems to act like a jerk around Alec (with an exception of Simon) when it has to do with Clary. Seriously, Jace needs to chill. What happened to putting friends/family first? Hopefully their conflict will clear up soon. I would like to see their parabatai relationship develop and grow stronger throughout the season, because the way Jace constantly blames Alec is totally unfair and just irritating to watch.

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Speaking of Jace, he and Isabelle went off to the Faerie Realm to question Meliorn about why the Seelies were not answering the Clave’s messages. While Meliorn flirts with Isabelle, Jace observes how butterflies mean the Seelies are in mourning, which I thought was a cool faerie tradition to add to the show. Back to Clary, Alec, and Simon, the trio break into Clary’s loft to find that Clary’s room has been destroyed by her mother in order to keep her from being tracked. It is here that the three discover Jocelyn’s box labeled with the initials J.C. hidden under the floorboard, and what is inside this mysterious box?  A baby shoe, a rattle, and a lock of pale blonde hair. Let’s just say that the appearance of this little box made me very excited, as it leads to some awesome plot twists later on in this series.

In the last part of this episode, Clary and Simon were kidnapped by the New York werewolf pack, who was currently lead by Theo. The werewolf CGI was pretty decent, and I liked the way the whole alpha incident was handled, although I’m pretty sure Luke ending up severely injured was just an excuse to show off his abs, you know, because he’s the Old Spice guy. So now Luke is the alpha of the werewolf pack, which means the Shadowhunters will have an alliance that could come in handy in the future. Only problem is, Luke needs a healer, and a good one. So where does the gang head to? Magnus Bane’s loft. And that’s where the episode ended and it left me excited for the next Tuesday.

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I’ll admit this review was pretty long, but I didn’t want to leave out any of my feelings and opinions of the episodes. For the rest of the season, I will most likely be posting each episode review separately to avoid such long posts such as this one. Until next time, be sure to catch Shadowhunters on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform!

~Happy Reading!

TV Review: “Shadowhunters” Character Portrayal

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To start this off, I just wanted to say that months before the show aired, I had already fallen in love with the actors who were cast in Shadowhunters. Fans were teased with behind-the-scenes photos and clips, and videos that featured the cast just hanging out and being crazy with one another. All of the actors look perfect for their roles and they all seem to be amazing people. So even if I have some complaints about the portrayal of certain characters, I still love their actors and wouldn’t change any of them.

First I will be reviewing Clary and Jace, played by Katherine McNamara and Dominic Sherwood. In the books, Clary is a fiery, stubborn, nerdy redhead who doesn’t listen to anyone, and she doesn’t really become a Shadowhunter until the fourth book. I think Kat is a great actress despite the fact that she hasn’t been in many productions aside from Disney shows/movies. She displays her emotions very well on the screen when portraying Clary. For me, she nails those scenes when she is upset over her mother’s disappearance. Although I love Kat, at times I think Clary acts unnecessarily sexy towards Jace.

I can’t really describe it, but the way she occasionally flirts with Jace or the way she constantly let Jace hold her hand in “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy” bothers me. Clary wouldn’t let this guy she just met hold her hand for 90% of an episode. Clary is strong and stubborn. She isn’t a “little girl”. She can handle herself. And although Clary is being depicted as stubborn and strong as she should be, the writers of the show are transitioning her from a mundane into a Shadowhunter much too quickly.

As mentioned earlier, Clary doesn’t really become a Shadowhunter until City of Fallen Angels because she’s a little too busy with the Mortal War. In the first three books, while Clary does prove she has angel blood, she is still a teenager who has no idea what the heck she’s doing. In the TV show, Clary is already effortlessly slaying demons. Or rather a Greater Demon, who dies simply when Clary pokes it with her seraph blade.

Greater Demons are supposed to be much harder to kill, but according to Jace, what she did was amazing and very difficult. In “Moo Shu To Go”, Clary hardly makes a mistake when practicing with Alec in the weapon’s room, when she should be stumbling and fumbling around. Clary’s transition to becoming a Shadowhunter should be much slower and realistic. Training to become a warrior that battles demons and other supernatural creatures is by no means supposed to be easy.

Jace is the character I’m most worried about in the show at this point. He was given cheesy and strange lines in the first few episodes that make me cringe, but his lines seem to be getting better as the show progresses. My number one issue with TV Jace? He is much too nice. In the movie, Jace was too serious and deadpanned when making his snide remarks. In the show, Jace is too nice and protective of Clary. Dominic is great when delivering a sassy Jace, but for some reason, the writers have chosen to make Jace immediately accepting and caring towards Clary? It kind of hints at insta-love, which I believe plays a big role in the lack of chemistry between Clary and Jace in the show.

There is no spark between them. There is definitely a great spark that I adore between Simon and Clary, but I just don’t see it between Clary and Jace at this point. What I loved about Clace in the books was how they couldn’t stand each other at first, and then they slowly fell in love when they grew to understand each other. Jace’s kindness towards Clary just feels awkward to me. I’m hoping there is a hidden motive to Jace’s immediate and strong acceptance of Clary that will play out later in the show.

Next I will be discussing Simon and Isabelle, who are played by Alberto Rosende and Emeraude Toubia. Simon’s portrayal is probably my favorite in the whole show. Alberto basically seems like he is Simon. He plays him impressively well, considering he just graduated from an actor college not too long ago! Simon’s lines are hilarious and the highlights of episodes. TV Simon is exactly like Simon from the books!

Despite all the craziness he’s dragged into, he still pulls through for Clary and does whatever he can to help her. My only complaint is the rush in his vampire arc. Just like Clary’s transition into a Shadowhunter, Simon is becoming a vampire much too quickly. I understand that they want Simon to play a bigger role in the show, but mundane Simon is pretty important towards the end of the first book and the beginning of the second. Other than that, I love the way that Simon is being portrayed.

TV Isabelle is slightly different from the Isabelle we know in the books, although not in a drastic or bad way. In the books, Isabelle is compared to Jace, as she is a snarky and very strong Shadowhunter. Much like TV Jace, Isabelle is much nicer than she is in the books and is immediately accepting of Clary. But I believe there is a reason behind this. In Shadowhunters, Isabelle doesn’t have any idea her father, Robert, cheated on her mother, Maryse. In the books, Isabelle is already aware of the affair.

Due to the knowledge of her father’s affair, Izzy is not as trusting or accepting towards others as she is shown to be in the show. I do not mind this particular change from the books, as I think this will give the show a great opportunity to give Isabelle some great character development. Aside from that, there has been a tremendous amount of debate regarding Isabelle’s wardrobe on the show. My thoughts? Isabelle is a young, confident woman who is also an amazing warrior. It’s her body, so let her dress however she wants. Emeraude does an excellent job executing Isabelle’s confidence and strength.

Now let’s get to my other favorites, Alec and Magnus. Alec is played by Matthew Daddario in the show, and I just have to say that I have a newfound love for Alec due to the way Matthew Daddario brings him to the screen. I liked Alec in the books, but in the TV show, I love him. It feels like Alec plays a bigger role in Shadowhunters than he did in the books, and that’s a change that I am really enjoying.

Alec is the responsible, big brother who is trying his best to follow the rules while watching out for Jace and Isabelle, who tend to break those rules and get into trouble. Matthew Daddario is flawless when showing Alec’s serious demeanor, but also believable and natural when showing glimpses of Alec’s more vulnerable side. Alec’s character development is one of the best in the show so far.

The fabulous, High Warlock of Brooklyn (a.k.a. Magnus Bane) is played by Harry Shum Jr., a former star of Glee. We’ve only had a few glimpses of Magnus up until “Raising Hell”, but man was it worth the wait. Magnus is the center of attention as soon as he steps onto the screen, which of course, is something that he does on purpose. Magnus is one of those characters that you can’t help but fall in love with, and Harry Shum Jr. obviously had fun with his character.

From his distrust of Shadowhunters, to his secret soft side, to his increasing interest in Alec, Magnus was faithfully brought to the screen in just the right way. Although he needs to be shown with more power, Magnus and his glitter were spot on. Not to mention his chemistry with Alec. Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr. have a great chemistry, and obviously take the fans’ love for these characters very seriously.

Last, but not least, are Jocelyn, Luke, and Valentine, who are played by Maxim Roy, Isaiah Mustafa, and Alan Van Sprang. So far, we haven’t really seen much of Jocelyn, so there’s not that much I can say other than the fact that she’s a believable mother who just wants to protect her daughter. I’m looking forward to seeing her in later episodes. Now, with Luke, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by him in the show.

I’ve always liked Luke in the books, because he’s a kind and determined guy who just wants to protect those he loves. I also love how he has to put up with all these bratty Shadowhunter kids that Clary has made friends with (especially Jace). I hope that will be shown in the TV show. But up until “Moo Shu To Go”, Luke hadn’t really been up to much. I’m very pleased with Isaiah Mustafa’s performance so far, and I’m glad that it was shown how he became the Alpha of the New York werewolf pack. I’m really looking forward to his flashbacks of the Circle in the next episode!

Lastly is Valentine. Oh Valentine, with his charm and love for sharp needles. Although I don’t really understand his obsession for injecting Downworlder blood into Shadowhunters (since he hates Downworlders), I like TV Valentine so much better than movie Valentine, who was basically a pirate wannabe who just screamed all the time. Alan Van Sprang does a great job with villain roles, and it was appreciated to see the suit-wearing and charismatic Valentine from the books. I really enjoyed the scene in the first episode with Valentine looking over the comatose Jocelyn, because you could tell that he loved her and that he wasn’t an unfeeling villain, like he was portrayed to be in the movie.

Obviously there are more characters from the books that have made appearances in the currently released episodes of the TV show, but I will include my discussions over those characters in my review over Shadowhunters Episodes #1-5 coming soon. Be sure to check it out! And also be sure to catch Shadowhunters on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform!

 

Book Review: “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab

12362598_1677266879188202_848431927_n(1).jpgKell is a magician, but he is not like any other magic-user in the magical city of Red London. He is one of the last Antari, a blood-magician that has the ability to travel between parallel universes, mainly parallel Londons. There is Grey London, a dirty and boring place with a mad king and no magic whatsoever. Red London, a magical and thriving city where Kell was raised alongside the flamboyant prince Rhys Maresh. White London, starving of magic and overrun by power hungry tyrants. And once upon time there was Black London, a city that was destroyed by magic.                                                                                 
Being one of the last two magicians able to travel between parallel universes, Kell represents the Maresh Empire of Red London as he carries messages and correspondences between the royals of each remaining London. Behind the scenes, Kell is also a smuggler. Although it is illegal, Kell collects trinkets from other Londons and services them to people who long to see the other worlds. Kell knows this hobby can have dangerous consequences, as he is about the find out when he accidentally smuggles an artifact that is not supposed to exist. With the help of a Grey London thief, Kell will have to face deadly enemies and forbidden magic in order to save all of the Londons from sharing the same fate as Black London.

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book in a duology by V.E. Schwab. The second book/conclusion, A Gathering of Shadows, will be released on February 23 of this year. A Darker Shade of Magic was a very breathtaking and refreshing read. The world building was so vivid and colorful and just overall epic. It felt as though I had personally traveled to Red London as well as Grey London and White London.

That is how amazing the worldbuilding and imagery of the novel was. Schwab did such a terrific job with the setting of the world, which is one of the most important aspects of a story. It takes a lot of planning and revision to lay out the worldbuilding of a fictional fantasy in order for it to flow smoothly onto the pages. Schwab did an excellent job with the setting of the story, and she made it feel truly magical.

Not only did I find myself enjoying the setting, but I also found myself loving all of the characters. Aside from the creepy main antagonists of the story, all of the characters had great qualities. My favorite character would have to be the main protagonist, Kell. At first Kell seems to have a serious and reserved personality, but he is actually very kind and amusing. Despite his smuggling ordeal, Kell struggled to do the right things and to help people.

He was very caring towards the people he cared about, and he was very brave and undaunted when facing danger. Another great character was Delilah Bard, a thief from Grey London who dreams of becoming a pirate. Lila was such a fun and strong female character. She was not afraid to pick a fight or to speak her mind. She was such a fiery and admirable tomboy, and although they did not get along at times, she and Kell made such an awesome team.

I really loved the world-building, plot, and characters of this story. Overall the book was incredible and a lot fun to read, so I rated this book 5/5 stars. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys fantasy or magical elements, or even just a refreshing and enjoyable read.

-Happy Reading!