Friday, November 16, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Title: Lord of Shadows
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series? Yes, Lord of Shadows is the second book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, which is part of the Shadowhunter world, which includes other series, like The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.
Pages: 701
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Source: I checked this out from my university library.
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.

Lord of Shadows is Cassandra Clare's newest novel release, and let me tell you, it's weird being all caught up in the series, especially since I've been behind for years. I wanted to read Lord of Shadows before the final book, Queen of Air and Darkness, releases in December. I've been spoiled for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, so I decided to avoid all spoilers by just catching up with the series. Lord of Shadows isn't my favorite book by Cassandra Clare, but it is a solid entry into the Shadowhunter world. 

First, let's start off with my complaints.There aren't that many, but just enough that Lord of Shadows doesn't get a full five stars from me. My main issue with LoS is all the different plot lines. There are so many characters and intersecting plot lines in this series. While it is admirable that Cassandra Clare has such an expansive world, I do think she falters with juggling them all. Some character's chapters, like Julian, Emma's, Mark's, and Cristina's, were a lot more interesting to me than others, like the ones that followed Ty, Livia, Kit, and Dru. I know that there is going to be a whole series with the latter half, but their chapters felt more like set-up to that series than impertinent to the main plot. Their chapters remind me a lot of Julian and Emma's chapters in City of Heavenly Fire - important for the next series, but not as interesting. 

My second issue with this book, and possibly this series in general, is the focus on the romance. As a lover of romance, this critique surprises me too. But honestly, I think it's silly that there is such a focus on the Emma/Julian or Mark/Cristina/Kieran love story lines. I mean....a war is imminent, both in faerie and within Shadowhunters. Personally, I'm more interested in the politics than when Julian and Emma are going to kiss. The romance plots do offer some reprieve from the solemness of the war, but it also comes off a little weird. I know that if my life and my family's were being threatened, the last thing I would be worried about it whether my crush liked me back. 

Besides those two issues, Lord of Shadows was another great entry into the Shadowhunter world. Though the intersecting plot lines do slow down the book, it is amazing to see them all link together. Here are some of the pros to LoS for me:
  • The diversity! I'm so down for a poly-amorous relationship among Mark, Cristina, and Kieran. Also, Kit and Ty seem to be something? There is also a trans character!
  • Emphasis on Julian's darker side. I like that Cassandra Clare is showing that Julian will do anything to protect his family and the people he loves. It's a little frightening, in the best way possible. 
  • The ending. I mean, Cassandra Clare basically took the same path she did with City of Glass, but this had a more emotional impact for me. It's really going to mix up how the Blackthorns interact with each other and their reactions. 
  • Learning more about Gwyn
  • Going back to the London Institute
  • Cortana's power. Cortana did a LOT in this second book. What are the limits to the sword's power? Are there?
  • I love the plot about the Cohort. Zara better die in the next book, and I'll be happy when she and the Cohort crumble. 
Those are my thoughts on Lord of Shadows. I have more pros, but that's what I think of right on the spot. While I had my issues with LoS, I still really enjoyed the novel. I like this one more than Lady Midnight, and I'm excited to read Queen of Air and Darkness this upcoming December. 

With that, I give Lord of Shadows
4.5 out of 5 Flowers!

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