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. She lives for battle. Alongside her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries – the most powerful of supernatural creatures – teeter on the edge of war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries are found 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 by the faerie Courts. All they 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?
Let’s take a second to admire the front cover of this brilliant book. There is an eerie yet mystical feel to the woman on the front page. Dark tendrils are grasping towards her from the bottom that make you question what is going on. And the colours all bring it together to suggest a scene from within the sea. It is clear once you have read the book that this is a direct representation of one of the scenes within the novel, and brings an innocent quality to a fraught moment.
I had grown up with Cassandra Clare’s original Shadowhunters series. I’d fallen in love with Jace, and admired Clary over the course of the years. I was sad when a childhood favourite came to an end with the final installment of Heavenly Fire. I’m glad that Clare has brought back the world of the Shadowhunters, bringing with it character’s that we have met previously but don’t know all too much about. There is no introduction needed to long time readers of Clare, and it makes the novel all the easier to get into.
At first I was worried that, having grown up significantly since the ending of the Mortal Instruments, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the world of the Shadowhunters as much as I had previously. Back then I was around 16, and now I am 21; but, thankfully, I was still drawn in with intrigue and actually found it a lot better this time around with my prior knowledge of the laws, culture, and society of the Shadowhunter’s.
Our main character, Emma Carstairs, is the last in her family line. She is confident, strong, stubborn, and witty all rolled into a girl who is kick ass with her moves and not afraid to get her hands dirty. One thing I did not like about the character, but in know way deterred my feelings towards the novel or her character as a whole, was the lack of development she experienced throughout the novel. I felt like her character was already at its peak and there as nothing that could significantly change. In the whole of the novel, the only real development I felt that she may have gained was her awareness of who she could or could not trust – something that almost all the characters go through as the narratives progresses.
It is more the characters of Julian Blackthorn and Tiberius Blackthorn that go through major developments. Tiberius starts out as the brother of Julian who is watched over and protected against harm, to become a butt-kicking Shadowhunter who is aware of the dangers around him and understands the consequences. Julian is the older brother who has taken on the roll of the father figure which has resulted in his need to protect all of his siblings. As he progresses through the novel, he begins to understand that he doesn’t need to play that roll and that he can still be there for his siblings as a brother alongside them, instead of above.
I really loved the premise of the novel. I loved developing further on a series of characters that had briefly been touched on and the way their lives had been affected by events within the Mortal Instruments. There are a lot of references to these events which help to bring clarity to scenarios and help the reader to understand the though processes of all the characters involved within Los Angeles. Clare brings a narrative that is full of twists and turns, everything coming together at the end in a strange twist of fate that just fits in perfectly. Yet again, it rounds off unasked questions from the Mortal Instruments which I am extremely grateful for.