Queen of Air and Darkness Left Me Stumbling In the Dark

*Spoiler review*

queen of air and darkness book

Do you ever feel like a book is such a hot mess that you have no idea how to review it? Well, this was my first book of the year and I’ve been at a loss how to express all that frustration/angst/gosh-darn-whys I’ve been feeling about it for a month now- which is why I’ve decided to recruit some help for this post! *Give it up for the lovely Monkey Baby who’s gonna hold my hand through this review!*

monkey baby final

Bonjourno mon belles bonbons 

Would you guys believe she’s actually much better at French than me? 😉 Now, as you might remember, neither of us were especially happy with the last instalment– nonetheless both of us had high hopes that this one would redeem the series. Fortunately when I cracked this open, it had tumultuous, emotional opening that I was certain I was in for a wild ride. Buuut it all went downhill from there.

Honestly the beginning bored me so bad I was loathe to even continue.

Yeah it was a pity you didn’t even like the opening- especially when it’s such a behemoth of a book. Seeing it in person, you can tell it’s too long. My mum took one look at it and said “they’ve not edited that”. Frankly, I’m not sure it was. Interesting storylines were relegated to needless drama; the best ideas were downplayed and disappointing. There was more than enough fluff here to make a monstrous, gigantic teddy. Thanks to this, the pacing was simply way off. The story stalled at every turn; I realllly struggled to get through it. It took you a while to read too didn’t it monkey baby?

It felt like an eternity on a long disused rickety, lame ghost train to get through. Every time a chapter finished I thought “gosh darn it there’s still so much left to get through of this drivel. Why am I still reading this? For the love of goodness sake someone put a stop to this madness!” I was secretly hoping you’d tell me what happens so I wouldn’t have to continue with that pathetic monster book. 

Well you could have told me that and I’d have spared you it! Okay so we’ve covered the length- let’s talk about the actual meat on these big bones 😉 While the parabatai mystery was fascinating, it unravelled as the plot went on and for me wasn’t resolved in a remotely satisfying way. Nor did I like the Unseelie Queen plot, since it was written more as setup for future series. Even if I enjoyed it in part, I didn’t like that this entire book was a pitch for another series- especially when this was supposed to be a grand finale in its own right. This level of delayed gratification is just. not. cool. Worse than that, it felt like fanfic of itself at this point. There were some goodish twists (and since this started out as fanfic, it’s kinda fanfic of fanfic…). Don’t get me wrong, aspects like the inclusion of Sebastian’s son and their detour into Thule (/what-could-have-been land) were entertaining up until a point. But even that they took wayyy too long with it. Now, I remember you had different thoughts about some of the plot- and what I liked you hated and vice versa- eh sis?

The shadowhunters definitely fell off their high horses- or should I say motorbikes- in this book. The plot was all over the place in the cauldron of characters she created. There were glimpses of interesting moments like the giant angels but for the most part it was so all over the place and please I don’t want to read mortal instruments from how it could have happened perspective. 

Ach- I didn’t even like the oversized angels (even writing that phrase makes me feel silly). One thing we did agree on was this: even the usually-well-done relationships left a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, this was partly due to shadowhunters being a shadow of their former selves. Especially Christina- who left a lot to be desired in the personality department- though apparently not in the desirability one 😉 She literally had NO FLAWS- except that apparently she was simply too lovable. Make of that what you will.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH CHRISTINA!!!!!!!!!! SHE IS MY LEAST FAVOURITE CHARACTER OF ALL TIME!!!! She is the most boring individual to ever grace paper! It felt like she was interloper of the whole story everytime she popped up I just thought oh here we go again. And why was Julian’s character ruined!!! In the first book and even in the second he was such a cute, adorable strong character. I wanted to shmush him:) But blocking part of his emotions was ridiculous!!! It meant that for most of the book he had no character!!! And was almost as dull as Christina! 

I seem to recall you dubbed her “perfect Christina” 😉 The cohort also sucked and not in the good-they’re-scary-villains way- in the *there’s no tension* these-people-are-a-joke kind of way. Now I don’t see why I should have to talk politics, cos this is not what I signed up for with paranormal YA, but it’s kind of impossible not to say anything when they’re caricatures of *EVIL* right wingers (with a definite slant towards the “all conservatives are eeeevil” view) (nice and counter-productive to discourse). It would be bad enough if the preachy levels were though the roof (which they are) or if their being annoying whiners merely took the sting out of how scary they’re supposed to be (which it does) BUT they’re not even consistent in their viewpoints. If Clare wanted to strawman arguments, she could have done better than having the staunchly right wing Zara Dearborn resort to left wing talking points like unearned privileges- I guess they’re staying true to the socialist part of the national socialists? Let’s be real though- the parallel with Nazis is insulting to the realities of history and does a disservice to those that actually suffered at the hands of that regime. Ultimately it’s simply lazy, poorly developed characterisation that fails to reflect the complexity of human thought.

AH the cohort!! HAHAHAHAHA! Please when you’re writing a villain make them actually I don’t know be more villainous!! Every 2 seconds you’ve got Zara pouting or Horace speaking drivel!! And the whole book was self righteous talk that quite frankly I never opt to read and felt like pulling teeth for the sheer hammering it did on my poor brain.And the worst offender of this book is the dreadful names!!! Horace and Zara could these names be any more ridiculous for villains!! just saying them makes me laugh at the thought that they could even be portrayed as so called villains! 

I forgot about the name thing LOL! As much as it used to bug me that all villains were called THE DARK OVERLORD I think it’s worse now that a lot of them end up called Bob or Horace- not exactly intimidating or enigmatic. And that ploy they did at the end was so pointless! Worst. Baddies. Ever. However, like I said earlier in this review, I didn’t entirely hate this book (surprising given the amount of salt here, I know 😉 ). There were some good aspects, I’m simply suffering from more than a little fatigue when it comes to these stories. For me, this was particularly noticeable in the epilogue, where Clare does her typical trick of trying to keep you hooked with new characters and cliffhangers. Sorry, but I’m officially done buying it. This is where I part ways with the shadowhunter world. What about you baby face? I know you said you might continue…

The only mildly redeemable part was Kit, Ty and Ash’s Characters! The stories were pathetic but very promising for a new book! Although I am beyond loathe to touch another of her stories if she persists with this Mary Sue characterisation and political blah blah! I am very torn whether to touch another of her books as I really loved the mortal instruments and clockwork series but this book and series just felt like a landslide of rotten bananas that led to a whirlwind of peels thrown in my face! 

So, I’ve been really indecisive about my rating on this cos it left me pretty conflicted, but in the end I went with:

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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And gallons and gallons of SALT!


How about you Monkey Baby?

I think for this book it exhausted me so much all I can rate it is a broken heart! 


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Hope you enjoyed that! And *lots of love* to the Monkey Baby for her insight here! So have you read this? Were you as salty as Monkey Baby and I were? And do you have any series you’ve fallen out of love with? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Review – February: Feeling a Little Love

monthly mini reviews version 2

Hello all! I’m not even gonna say that I can’t believe we’re in February… but how????! It’s been an interesting start to the year for me- most of the goings-on are fairly dull though, so I’ll save you the details 😉 That has meant I’ve been a bit sporadic with blogging and I’ve been *resisting the urge* to apologise for not being on it all the time- hope you’ll forgive me 😉 Cool things been happening on the blog behind the scenes, where I quietly hit 4500 followers (THANK YOU GUYS FOR THAT) and wrote my 700th post! So I’m definitely feeling the love for blogging right now ❤

Alrighty then- let’s get to what we’re all here for- THE BOOKS!

american panda

American Panda– So I related to Mei’s germaphobia a little too much… which means the scenes where she went into icky medical stuff grossed me out. This is entirely down to personal taste, so I wouldn’t want it to put anyone off the book if you’re not bothered by that sort of thing. I just felt it went into too much detail. I think the first few lines will be able to give you an idea of whether or not this book is going to be for you: “The stench of the restaurant’s specialty walloped my senses as soon as I entered. Even with seventeen years of practice, I didn’t have a fighting chance against a dish named stinky tofu. I gagged.” For me, even reading about people gagging, makes me gag. Also a lot of the humour didn’t quite land for me. I did like the cultural side, Mei’s personality and the romance was cute if not mindblowing. Personally, the biggest hook was the family drama.

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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starfish bowman

Starfish– There was a lot to like about this book. It had a strong opening, a well-executed art theme and dealt with the issue of the mother’s abuse in a good fashion. It also had a couple of (nitpicky) things I didn’t get- like why it was called starfish when the goal was to not be a starfish? Or, more importantly, how the dad could be so casually incompetent in the face of a sexual predator? In the end, it was a decent story, I’ve just read better. Gorgeous cover though.

Rating: 3/5 bananas


crazy rich asians

Crazy Rich Asians– Don’t let the low-ish rating fool you- I enjoyed large parts of this. The family elements were particularly good and there were some awesome characters (Astrid!!!). I also got a little Pride and Prejudice retelling vibes (just me?). I found the *mystery element* quite intriguing. Plus there was TONS OF DRAMA to boot.  That said, there were also a ton of flaws. As much as I enjoy different perspectives and can be quite lax on how it’s handled, this felt far too head-hoppy. I often couldn’t keep up with whose pov it was supposed to be. It was also far too long for a contemporary, some of the storylines were unnecessary and the narrative was overladen with materialistic details. Above all, while it gave me a few chuckles, the vast majority of the time I felt like I was missing the joke (for example: “It’s that Tim Paulson fellow, isn’t it?” Cassandra cut in. “Isn’t he a puppet controlled by all the Jews?”- ermm that’s straight up anti-Semitic- gonna give the author the benefit of the doubt here, so…. is the joke that they’re anti-Semites- in which case, ha-ha?) Anyway, even if the story took some detours, in the end the emotional heart of the book was *INTENSE*. I’d definitely keep reading the series and would happily watch the film.

Rating: 3/5 bananas


Oh and you won’t have to wait for my thoughts on the movie- cos I watched it shortly after 😉

crazy rich asians movie


monkey at the movies 2As I suspected, I liked the film more- it was SO MUCH FUN and I properly fell for the romance this time round. There were a few changes, but they worked for the silver screen. The way the rich element was stylised and cut into the film was expertly handled. I even liked the mc’s personality more. And the family aspect (which was the best part of the book) was done super well. The one thing I was disappointed was that the mystery around WHO ARE THE YOUNGS was taken out- which was a pity, though understandable. The monkey baby also gave it her stamp of approval and it was definitely an evening well spent 😉 It gets 4/5 bananas from me!


the whole thing together

The Whole Thing Together– this did almost too-good of a job conveying the story of divorce- since I ended up feeling pretty much split down the middle about it. On the positives: there were somewhat distinct characters and emotional moments. On the negatives sadly this was the definition of character soup- there were just too many people in the bowl. I was also rather disappointed to find that it was missing the magic of Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Side note: it felt weird that the book keeps pointing out that they’re not related (they’re not) (otherwise I wouldn’t have read it)

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Adorkable– yeesh this did not start out too well. Partly cos it embraced the trope where adults are (FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON) constantly trying to set up their teenage children. It’s a weird one, cos I’d like to know how often parents are desperate on behalf of their kids that aren’t out of high school yet. Also, this amped this up by throwing a (peculiar) friend into the mix- aptly named Hooker cos she can’t stop trying to hook her friend up with dates (do-ya-get-it?). Other than that, it also played up the LOOK-HOW-KOOKY-THE-PROTAGONIST-IS trope, such as having her slip into German at random intervals and explaining obvious references (hate to break it to you, but X Men/Superheroes are pretty mainstream). For me that was try-hard. Anyhoo- I know this might come as a surprise, considering I’ve done nothing but be critical, I thought it was pretty enjoyable:

Rating: 3/5 bananas


queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness- sampler- sooo I’m in a weird position with this book cos I’ve been sitting on the review for close to a month now… and I still have no idea when I’m going to get *my explosion of thoughts* together for it. And since I got a snippet off netgalley, it kinda makes sense to do a snippet size review before I get into *all the spoilers*. Basically, I ended up liking it a lot less than I expected and took a while to wade through it. Then I had to wait forever for the monkey baby to finish it so I could discuss it with her. The only completely positive thing I can say about this is that I still like the writing style. Everything else… I had issues with. That’s not to say I outright hated it- but that all the components left me feeling increasingly  d i v i d e d. Hence why I’m conflicted about it now. So ahead of my full thoughts, I’m just gonna go ahead and give it:

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Okay there wasn’t that much love in this post- especially cos I’ve already done full reviews for the three books I adored this month- so if you want to read my thoughts on Cruel Prince, Winter of the Witch and Wolf in the Whale be my guest 😉

And that’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Expressing Some Shady Opinions on Lord of Shadows

Whoops- I read another Shadowhunter book. Yes, I know I said ages ago this was getting samey for me… but I went right ahead and read this anyway (yeah I know I’m a completionist, but I swear I was gonna give this a miss… probably 😉 ). Yet since I owe the fact that I did read this to my younger sister, I thought it might be fun to have her come along for this review too- SURPRISE! Introducing the Monkey Baby… monkey baby finalBonjourno – Je suis le monkeybaby

Well evidently she’s not bilingual- but let’s do this thing.

lord of shadows

Right off the bat, I’m going to say that if you’re not already into the whole Shadowhunter world this book is not going to convert you. I’d say if you are into Clare’s work, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it… and a good chance you won’t. I’m going to come clean straight away and say I did not see this as Clare’s strongest book. Not by a long shot, not even a little bit.

Monkey Baby: I agree I don’t think it’s her strongest work, I think the first one was much better. But I think due to the romance of this book being the best one, it kind of makes up for it a little…

Ahh what we’re all here for: the romance. Now this is a minor spoiler, but I will say that I liked how Clare dealt with the Mark/Emma/Julian love triangle, getting it out the way pretty quickly. That was a massive relief for me… but the second we were over that love triangle hurdle, another, totally unnecessary love triangle got shoehorned in. I couldn’t stand the Kieran/Mark/Christina love triangle- it was just so jgfsldgesnbarmj (translation: utterly pointless and frustrating)

Monkey Baby: MMMMMMM I’m not so sure I agree. I think it was a tad confusing but not irritating. Although this is probably the only love triangle that has no correct answer EVER!!! I have no ship for it…

Let’s talk about some of the things I did like then. When it came to the characters, I found that a lot of them were seriously growing on me. I definitely am finding Ty and Kit well-developed, intriguing and a great duo. I do think the younger characters are beginning to steal the limelight quite effectively from their older siblings- which is a good thing.

Monkey Baby: J’adore Ty and Kit. Ils sont THE BEST!!!

(I have no idea why she’s speaking franglais) Okay, moving on, I honestly don’t know how she keeps writing action packed stories and that’s one of my favourite parts about these books. No matter what, they can keep you on your toes. Plus while the writing isn’t flashy, it did have its moments of beauty and was genuinely funny and sweet at times.

Monkey Baby: No comment. I agree.

That said, when it came to the plot, I felt like it was initially bogged down by recapping. This could be just a personal thing (as I’ll always opt out of the “in the last book so-and-so did this and the other-so-and-so did that”). Still I also felt like this book offered nothing different. When it came to the ending (don’t worry no spoilers) I did feel like it was dramatic BUT it’s not like we haven’t had *more* dramatic things happen in the past and consequences that are equally dire. As ghastly and gut-wrenching as the ending was, we all know at this point that Clare is willing to take us to some pretty dark places. But when it comes to taking us to said dark places, I did think there were some places where this fell down. And while this book made me feel things, *a lot* of those things were irritation. And the main source of that irritation was the villains.

Monkey Baby: I felt like this book didn’t have any real villains. Where is Voldemort???

Wrong book babyface, but *brace yourself for a rant of epic proportions* cos these were lousy villains for me. They came across as loutish losers and were easily dismissed as “bigots” and “fascists”- and as effective as name-calling is in defeating your enemies, I did not think the book effectively dealt with their arguments. Predominantly, this was because it didn’t give them any arguments- there were no reasons for their behaviour except that they’re nasty bigots who don’t like fair folk and call everyone names. There were times when the story actually devolved into a juvenile cussing match. Don’t get me wrong I want people to defeat these arguments- that’s why, if you’re gonna bring this shit up, you actually have to put up a fight. Don’t bring a feather duster to a boxing match. And for goodness sake, don’t invoke serious issues for the sake of some naff point scoring (unless you want an angry ape writing a ranty review). What frustrated me more than anything is that here is a series that always dealt in complexity and created villains we can actually fear (remember Valentine anyone?) and now we have a cohort who are just mean because they’re big meanies (wah!) Plus, we were even given a blueprint for a fantastic baddie with the Unseelie King, but were left to focus on Zara-blooming-Dearheart who was about as ominous as a gnat.

Monkey Baby: SERIOUSLY WHERE IS VOLDEMORT????????????????????????????????????????????????

Oh alright, since you asked…

The Real Look of Lord Voldemort from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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So have you read this? What did you think about it? And do say hello to the Monkey Baby!

Lady Midnight Could Have Been Dead Good…

lady midnightIf this series wasn’t getting a little old, that is. I would like to say that this book completely blew me away and that it was the best of the Shadowhunters books I have read… but unfortunately this series is getting a little samey for me.

I dunno, I don’t want to be unfair, because I did enjoy it and I especially liked the necromantic touch, but to be honest, it felt more like a reread than a new book. And don’t get me wrong- I love rereads- just not when it’s supposed to be the start of a new series.

There were things I liked however. Most notably- and this is a bit spoilery because it’s supposed to be a surprise that this character turned up- I LOVED Mark. He was such a complex and ambiguous character- he’s probably one of my favourite of Clare’s characters so far- and that’s saying something.

And there is a lot of promise in this series. The premise is very intriguing. Plus the cutesy romance was, well, cute! I can never turn down a little sweetness in my life- and this book was just the ticket. And while I wasn’t crazy about the villain in this one- I hated the bit when they gave a creepy grin at the end of the book to say *look at me I was the dastardly villain all along*– I did like their motivation and the setup for the villain in the next one.

What makes me desperate to continue this series, however, is I want to know about the parabatai curse! Seriously- this is something that has been mentioned since the dawn of the Shadowhunter books- and yet it has never been explained! I will keep reading just for that!

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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Thanks so much to Jill @rantandravebooks– I already mentioned I won a giveaway for amazon vouchers- and  this is the other book I bought with them!! 🙂

Are you into the Shadowhunter world? Have you read this one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!