Finding My Youth in the Newest Installment from Cassandra Clare

There is something about reading a Cassandra Clare book that makes you feel sixteen again. With that comes the good and the bad of being sixteen like first loves and first heartaches or the feeling of invincibility. I forgot how long it had been since I was that age. Of course, the characters in Lord of Shadows have vastly different lives than that of the average American teenager. The book encompasses the aura of sixteen. The characters are youthful and full of light. You are drawn to the dark history of the Blackthorn family as the tragic past of Emma Carstairs. If you have read the other books focused around the Shadowhunters, then you will enjoy the little nods to the other books.

I entered the world of Shadowhunters when I was fifteen, which was nearly six years ago. It doesn’t feel too long ago, but so much has changed. For one, I find it difficult at times to relate to the characters. We all make a promise when we are kids that we will never forget what it feels like to be young, yet it is almost guaranteed that we do. I struggled to understand the characters. They feel infantile compared to me. I was still moved by the story of the children. It is a tale of children at war, and it is difficult to process at times.

Clare does managed to include elements of the modern day political climate and history, which I not only enjoyed but appreciated. There are times when I think people are profiting off of the misery of others, but this was not one of those times. Cassandra Clare did a beautiful job of paralleling the Holocaust in her latest novel. At first, I did think it resonated with President Trump’s push for a Muslim registry. However, there are hints that throughout the book that is a reference to the Holocaust. I felt more at ease with this idea because Cassandra Clare is of Jewish descent. She is telling the story of her people rather than someone else’s story. She also includes other prejudices that we still hold in our own society. Since her first book, Clare has included numerous members of the LGBTQ+ community. I do not want to speak for the community. However, I do think Cassandra Clare did a phenomenal job with the representation. She has never overtly sexualized the characters the way that many authors have done. Their sexualities do not become personality traits. While it is a part of who these characters are, they still manage to contain the complexities that any person would have.

The next book in the series is not slated until 2019. Even though I can feel myself begin to age out of these books, I know I will continue reading them. They keep a tether to my youth. I used to think that when I was no longer a teen, I should stop reading young adult novels. It is only now that I realized that this is the time to read more. As we grow up, we need to stay in contact with our younger selves, or else we will become the adults we despised growing up, the one who we thought had never been young. I have no intention to stop reading these books anytime soon. I will read all the Shadowhunter novels that Cassandra Clare will write. I won’t read them because I think they’re the epitome of fine literature. I will read them because they are from a simpler time. A time when I had the whole world in front of me. If you too wish to have that precious feeling back, pick up City of Bones, first book in The Mortal Instruments.        

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