(The Dark Artifices #1)
In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word. A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.
Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.
Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?
★★★☆☆ (3 Stars)
I confess that I am no great fan of Cassandra Clare. I never even finished The Mortal Instruments series after several long books of convoluted and tedious plot lines. However, delving into this novel felt like coming home. I remember picking up The Mortal Instruments with reverence and excitement as an eleven year old and it seems those feelings linger even now. There was something comforting and familiar about falling back into this novel.
Emma was consumed with her goal to avenge her parents deaths and, luckily, was actually a self professed badass. She was capable and frequently sought to handle situations alone, which though reckless, I admired her for. She was loyal and dedicated to her family and friends and had very little issue with bending the rules to her advantage.
The secondary characters, largely composed of Julian’s siblings, proved absolutely adorable. I loved the family dynamics and the responsibility that Julian had to submit to in order to keep his family together. Julian’s love for his siblings was his one redeeming quality, otherwise he was very forgettable. Which was disappointing given that he is to be the leading love interest.
I have to admit to being unsurprised but a little disappointed by the doom and gloom star crossed romance scenario between Julian and Emma. Which, while inevitable, still made me wanted to bang my head against the wall when they fell into each other’s arms. Of course the romance had to be forbidden, literally, and come with complications that are insurmountable.
I did enjoy the mystery element behind this novel but I felt that, especially compared to Cassandra Clare’s other novels, the plot lacked the life and death intensity that I come to expect from her novels. I have to admit that one of the big draws was the extremely brief cameos by some of our favourite Mortal Instruments characters.This evoked a more emotional response from me than any of the brief moments of intimacy between Emma and Julian.
Despite my numerous critiques I was actually a little sorry to put this novel down. In fact, the ending actually made me crave the sequel. I guess it’s fair to say that despite my initial objections Cassandra Clare has managed to ensnare me once again.