Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Title: Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Simon & Schuster

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.
Review by Nara

*Some spoilers for Lady Midnight*

Quick reminder that you should not read this series unless you've read all the other Shadowhunter Chronicles novels! There will be major spoilers for some events, or at least clues about what happens in the previous novels. Besides, the other novels are quite excellent (especially The Infernal Devices) so I don't know why you wouldn't read them first anyway.

One thing I find that Cassandra Clare does really well is the pacing of her novels. Lord of Shadows is a hefty novel, but I never once found myself being bored. There are so many threads in the story that are incredibly interesting, and I felt like I was invested in each and every one of them. I especially loved the Kit, Ty and Livvy plotline. Their interactions were actually so adorable, and I found myself laughing aloud at many of the Herondale quips that Kit pulled out.

I'm still a bit lukewarm about Julian. I feel like he's been through a lot and had a lot of responsibility put upon him at a young age, and this does make him quite a sympathetic character. On the other hand, he is super devious, and I definitely don't like a lot of the things he's done so far in the series. But then you can see how much he really loves his family and Emma and the reason why he does all that devious stuff is to protect them and I AM CONFLICTED.

And jesus fucking christ, don't even get me started on the last 100 pages or so of the novel. FUCKING HELL. One thing after another just keeps attacking you, and so much is going on and ARGH. I could hardly take everything in while reading, and had to have a good think about things after finishing. I think this may actually be one of Cassandra Clare's most brutal endings yet, which is saying something as her goddamned endings are almost always heartbreaking. And book three in 2019...I am going to be counting down the days.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 5/5
Romance: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5