Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) – Cassandra Clare | Updated Review



Haven’t read the previous novel, Lady Midnight? Check out my review here!

Lord of Shadows
5 star

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 701
Release Date: May 23, 2017

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.

Updated review (2018), initial review below (2017).

This is my second time reading Lord of Shadows, so I wanted to write an updated review wherein I reflect on my previous review.

My initial thoughts (below) still stand. The ending of this novel is a clusterfuck of events (I use clusterfuck in position way). The last 50 or so pages change the course of the novel and its sequel, Queen of Air and Darkness. It gets to a point where you realize there aren’t enough pages to successfully resolve what’s being set up. It’s exhilarating, thrilling, and hard to read. When I finished Lord of Shadows I felt like a piece of my soul was left in the pages. So, I guess it’s no surprise I’m in a unrelenting book hangover.

Julian is still my favourite part of Lord of Shadows. Everything I said below still stands. He is by far my favourite character in all of Clare’s work. Soft and vulnerable male characters are so much better than alpha males. My only wish going forward is that Queen of Air and Darkness features more scenes from Julian’s perspective.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I said Emma was lacklustre. Though I don’t love Emma like I do Julian, Emma is still overflowing with emotion. What sets Emma and Julian apart in terms of their anguish is their outlets. Emma is able to channel her emotions into her training and fighting while Julian isn’t afforded the same luxury.

Lord of Shadows is Clare’s most relevant work in terms of the political landscape being depicted. The intensely polarized political beliefs that are being portrayed in Lord of Shadows mimics the real world landscape with pinpoint accuracy. I’ve never thought of the Shadowhunter books as having any substantial weight behind them in terms of real world parallels, boy was I wrong.

“I had never realized before how much you can take from someone by not allowing them the words they need to describe themselves.”

Overall, Lord of Shadows is easily Cassandra Clare’s best work. The characters, plot, and writing work together to create a book that isn’t easy to walk away from. Queen of Air and Darkness is only a few days away, but the wait feels unbearable. Don’t listen to all the haters Clare, these books are amazing!

Initial thoughts:
What the fuck?
What the actual fuck?
Why Cassie? WHY?!

My favourite parts of this novel happen to be with my favourite character, Julian. Julian is by far the best-written character in the novel, perhaps even the best-written character in all of Clare’s novels. He’s such a multifaceted character it’s hard to pin down a few words describe him. Fiercely loyal, intense, and devastating are a few that come to mind. Julian’s anguish over his overwhelming love for Emma is heart breaking to watch. All of the scenes from his perspective are masterly written and broke my heart.

On the other hand, Emma was once again lacklustre. I didn’t feel any of her heartache or anguish when her and Julian were together. It felt as if Clare got lost in writing Emma as such a badass independent warrior that she forgot to write her feelings.

There are a lot of moving parts and characters in the story, so the scenes between Julian and Emma are far and few between. I know that they’re not the only storyline in the book, but they’re my favourite part of this series. Lord of Shadows is a 700-page book, so I have hoping for a few more angst filled scenes.

The real life parallels in this book are jarring. I never thought a Shadowhunter book could be so serious and relevant. I loved it!


Have you read Lord of Shadows? What did you think?

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