My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lord of Shadows is the second book in the Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. The book is fantastically written and follows our main characters as they deal with the aftermath of Lady Midnight. Be sure that you read Lady Midnight before delving into this book as there will be many spoilers.
The storylines come together and diverge beautifully in this story, allowing each character to shine. Even though Julian and Emma are the main characters, we get to spend more time with the other Blackthorns, Kit, Cristina, Diana and the others. Each character grows over the course of the novel and we get to know them better. My heart goes out to Dru because although she has her family, she doesn’t have a best friend or someone to truly talk to – like Julian and Emma or Ty and Livvy. She clearly longs for that connection, or to at least be included more by her family and I think many can relate to that.
I loved getting to know Ty and Livvy more because they have such a unique and precious bond. It was also great to see Kit join in with their adventures, even though he is not new to the Shadow World he is new to being a Shadowhunter. They made him feel like part of the family and he understood Ty immediately in a way that most outsiders don’t take the time to. He fits in perfectly with them and I couldn’t wait to see how they would grow as a trio throughout the novel.
Mark has come into his own in this novel – the events he went through in Lady Midnight and with the Wild Hunt changed him, made him less sure of himself. Since he has been back with his family, he is learning to trust again and view himself as a Shadowhunter. He must reconcile his feelings about Kieran with the faerie’s betrayal in Lady Midnight, become more responsible and hopefully take some of the burdens off Julian.
Emma is dealing with the aftermath of discovering who killed her parents and why. As that pursuit has fueled her for the last five years, it’s a strange transition for her. It doesn’t help that her relationship with Julian is as complicated as ever. The two are battling with their emotions and letting it affect them as parabatai. The characters that Cassie has created are so real that you hurt when they hurt and just wish for a happy ending for all of them.
It was fantastic to see the cameos from some of the beloved characters we know from the other Shadowhunter Chronicles series. I personally miss them and always wonder what they’re up to now, how their lives are and what shenanigans they’re embroiled in. Cassie does not disappoint and the cameos were lengthy and detailed enough that I feel satisfied (although of course, I would be happy with several spin-off books chronicling their adventures).
Lord of Shadows takes our heroes outside of Los Angeles, which was brilliant because it allowed Cassie to continue to build and artfully illustrate her world. My favourite new location was Faerie, which we have visited before in the books but was allowed to flourish in this novel. The land was described in greater detail and the Fae themselves were given more depth. Previously, we witnessed interactions between the Seelie Queen and the Nephilim, but now we were able to learn more about the Unseelie.
I didn’t feel that there were any pacing issues in this story – the stories were interwoven with one another masterfully and action was interspersed with storytelling and world building elements. Each action made by the characters purposefully brought us down a road that while we won’t understand fully yet, you can sense the plot points are being introduced and will be fully realized in Queen of Air and Darkness. There are elements that feel like foreshadowing, but we won’t understand them until the series has concluded.
The final chapter was a rollercoaster that brought together several storylines and found all our characters together – but nothing played out as expected. Cassie is skilled at subverting our expectations and yet not leaving us unsatisfied with the conclusion. While I cannot believe some of the things that happened over the course of the novel, I appreciate the beauty of the plot and story, while not feeling like the book left me with a torturous cliffhanger.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Cassie’s books continue to get better and Lord of Shadows was fantastic. I highly recommend reading this book (after Lady Midnight, of course, and perhaps the rest of the Shadowhunter Chronicles as well) because in my humble opinion you will not regret it. I am absolutely in love with the book and utterly destroyed that we have to wait until 2019 to read the conclusion.