BOOK REVIEW: Chain of Gold – Cassandra Clare

17699853Title: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve always enjoyed books from The Shadowhunters Chronicles. But I don’t think I’ve every loved any of them as much as I loved Chain of Gold, and that’s really saying something in my opinion. This is my absolutely favorite Shadowhunters book and my excitement for this series has returned tenfold.

What is this book about? The Last Hours centers around the children of the characters from The Infernal Devices. We get to meet James and Lucie Herondale, Christopher and Thomas Lightwood, and Matthew Fairchild, as well as some other important characters such as Cordelia Carstairs and Grace Blackthorn. And if you thought you would be getting more Will and Tessa in this series, well…..YOU WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. *cue screaming*

What did I like? Cassandra Clare has crafted the perfect recipe: the nostalgia of the Shadowhunter world, the return of favorite characters from past books, historical romance elements such as ballroom dancing and afternoon tea and a marriage of convenience trope. Plus, she throws in all of the good stuff from her previous books that I love best: loveable yet sometimes idiotic characters, angst, possibly unrequited love, unbreakable friendships, and demon fighting. The plot was so engaging and I couldn’t stop reading!

Sorry Emma Carstairs, but your ancestor Cordelia has upended you has my favorite Shadowhunter heroine. Cordelia Carstairs was the light of this book. She is caring and passionate and self-sacrificing and has so much love for her family and friends. Also, why am I trash for every couple Cassandra Clare decides to put on paper?

What didn’t I like? This is always my complaint with her books, but sometimes it’s so difficult to differentiate between whose POV the chapter is supposed to be told through. There were even parts were it seemed like it was going back and forth between character voices and it was just super confusing.

Overall thoughts: Chain of Gold absolutely blew away any and every expectation I had for this book. If you have enjoyed The Shadowhunter Chronicles in the past, do not miss this amazing start to a new series.

ARC REVIEW: The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

34213299Title: The Kingdom of Back
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.

“And then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet. That you are nothing.”

What is this book about? The synopsis is definitely a bit misleading (at least to me). I was expecting a fantasy story with musical aspects something along the veins of Wintersong. However, The Kingdom of Back is a historical fiction focused on the bond between siblings with some fantasy elements mixed in. The book follows the Nannerl Mozart and her relationship with her brother as they discover and cultivate their prodigious musical talents together.

What did I like? I’m a big enough person to admit that prior to this book, I was unaware of Wolfgang Mozart’s equally talented sister, Nannerl. Once I had read up about her on Wikipedia, I was able to better appreciate Marie Lu’s story. She gave such an important voice to Nannerl and I loved how true to history the book’s events were. Even the mention of the Kingdom of Back was really well done and did a great job giving insight to the possible thoughts and emotions Nannerl might have had about her success and place in the world compared to her brother’s.

What didn’t I like? The Kingdom of Back was a lot slower paced and longer than I had anticipated. Because it was lacking in action and focused more on Nannerl’s inner monologue, I struggled to push through parts of the book.

Overall thoughts: The Kingdom of Back was a totally different type of story than I had been expecting: the book is more historical fiction than fantasy. Marie Lu’s lyrical writing focuses on music and sibling love, however the book’s slower pace and lack of action failed to keep my attention.