Lord of Shadows Review

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary: “Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.” (Summary found on Goodreads).

“’There is truth in stories,’ said Arthur. ‘There is truth in one of your paintings, boy or in a sunset or a couplet from Homer. Fiction is truth, even if it is not a fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die.'”

Lord of Shadows is so far my favorite book of 2017, as though I expected any less since Lady Midnight, its predecessor, was my favorite of 2016. Cassandra Clare has never disappointed me and even with my high-anticipation of LoS, I loved every second of it (correction: almost). Not one bit was underwhelming, even if I do have a few issues (specifically, with the ending, but I’ll get to that later)–there’s always room for improvement.

Romance takes the center of The Dark Artifices, which is different for Clare because The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices were more about general character development and plot movement. While there are many side plots in The Dark Artifices, it’s obvious that the forbidden love story between Emma and Julian is the most important here. As someone who usually prefers romance to take a side in the plot, despite being a hopeless romantic, I love that Emma and Julian take center stage. Their story has been told many times before, in “Romeo and Juliet”, even in her the early parts of The Mortal Instruments with Magnus and Alec, but there’s something fresh about this and there’s more at stake than a broken heart and the threat of others dislike. The best part of this all, though, is that even if the romance doesn’t hook you, there’s so much more to the book than that. It may be “more important”, but the side-action is riveting and the other characters each have their own paths.

“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.”

It’s apparent that Clare has written many, many books because this is by far her most complex series. Each book is heavy (not just in pages!) with depth. The plot is more composite, with each part very separate, but still connected to the center of the story and the main characters in some way. I can’t say I was attached to the parts with Dru, but hopefully in Queen of Air and Darkness, I will care about her more. I was, however, strongly invested in not only the Emma/Julian plot-line, but the Kit/Ty/Livvy plot and the Christina/Kieran/Mark lines. I’m 100% positive that Kitty will become canon next book, just you wait!!! Though, I’m not sure how Kierark or the other names there will be resolved, and I’m still not sold on Christina and Mark, they just don’t seem right together.

Also, my blood was actually boiling whenever Zara started talking. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, GIRL, WHAT YOU SAY DOES NOT MATTER. I have a lot of opinions, okay? She has a lot too, but at least mine are decent and nice. Not to mention, there’s Perfect Diego, who’s actually NOT perfect (newsflash) and instead is a J-E-R-K.

Can we also just applaud Clare for the diversity in this book? It was such, such a breath of fresh air to see this much diversity in one book. She’s always represented so many different types of people in her books, but The Dark Artifices has taken it to the next level and I love that. She’s never made it seem like she was trying to reach a quota either, which makes it more authentic.

Anyway. It took me maybe three days to get through this book and it’s huge. I never wanted to put it down. Invested, I say, invested. And now, I’m broken because it’s a TWO YEAR long wait for Queen of Air and Darkness, which I need more than I need air, pun somewhat intended. It’s still a little unnerving to realize that I’m going to be almost graduating high school when that book comes out. Yikes.

I’m in so much pain.

So much.

“Sometimes the most ruthless heart speaks the most truth”

Okay, but my ONE complaint here is the ending. I don’t care as much that it was a cliffhanger as I do about how abrupt it was. I felt like she had reached the amount of words she was supposed to have in the book and just stopped writing. I’m okay with cliffhangers (hahahaha who actually is??), but this took it too far. It ended right at the end of an action scene (I’ll just say that much), which goes against almost every story arc I’ve ever seen. Here’s a basic run-over of the necessities for plot.

1-Exposition. Check.

2-Rising Action. Check.

3-Climax. CHECK.

4-Falling Action. Um.

5-Resolution. ¿Dónde está?

Maybe things are different with series, but WHERE WAS THE FALLING ACTION?? Does one page of the characters realizing what had just gone down count as both falling action and resolution? Not in my book…

I can’t drop the rating for this, however, because I loved the rest of it too much to do that. But I think it is quite important to acknowledge every part of a book, even the ugly, no matter what rating you give it.

I cannot tell you how much I recommend this series. Clare is an architect of masterpieces and even if you were disappointed in her other series, you are bound to like this one.

“There’s something about a place you’ve been with someone you love. It takes on a meaning in your mind. It becomes more than a place. It becomes a distillation of what you felt for each other. The moments you spend in a place with someone… they become part of its bricks and mortar. Part of its soul.” 

-Book Hugger

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