Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on May 23rd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
SPOILER ALERT: As this is book 2 in The Dark Artifices series, there will be spoilers for Lady Midnight throughout this review.
Given my somewhat inconsistent opinions of Cassandra Clare’s books in the past, I was nervous about Lady Midnight – but then ended up loving it! I bought Lord of Shadows as soon as I had an audible credit, and I binge listened to both books in a row. I have to admit, part of my motivation for getting the audiobooks was that I knew Lord of Shadows was narrated by James Marsters, one of my favourite narrators (although I miss his Spike accent!). Picking an audiobook based on the narrator might seem like a pretty risky strategy, but it paid off in this case – I enjoyed Lord of Shadows even more than Lady Midnight.
I felt like we got to see more of the Blackthorn siblings in Lord of Shadows, and I really enjoyed that. I adore Ty, and I’m definitely a not-so-secret Ty and Kit shipper! The romance element got heavier in Lord of Shadows, which could have been a dealbreaker for me, given that I didn’t love the romance in Lady Midnight, but there was enough here to enjoy to more than balance it out. Three love triangles are definitely too many, especially when I feel like two of them have a clear way they should pan out (in my head at least). Feeling like they’ve got an obvious resolution takes away some of the intensity, and instead just felt like a slightly annoying, predictable way to try and ramp up the intensity.
Having said that, I love a lot of the characters, so I’m willing to overlook some of their irritating romance habits to a certain extent. Mark and Kieran are both pretty emotionally damaged, and those are my favourite kind of characters, so it’s no surprise I’d love them! Christina and Emma are kickass, and Kit and Ty are just kind of adorable. I mostly just feel a bit bad for Dru, who seems to always get a crappy deal – she’s very relatable, but I do occasionally want to shake her a bit! Livvy is the weakest character in the family for me, I just find her a bit strange and forgettable. Tavvy hasn’t had much of an impact either but he’s only little still so I’m not really expecting him to! Maybe it’s just because Ty is such a good character, that I can’t help feeling Livvy is somewhat flat in comparison.
As with Lady Midnight, I found the plot addictive, and burned through this very quickly: 10 days for a ~24 hour audiobook is way above average pace for me! There is a cliffhanger, so if you’re not fond of those, it might be worth waiting and binge-reading the trilogy all in one go, but having read the first one and knowing the second one was out, I couldn’t convince myself to wait!