Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Book Reviews copy

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Goodread’s Synopsis: 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.

Author: Cassandra Clare

Title: Lord of Shadows

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: 2017

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Despite having enjoyed every book I’ve read by Cassandra Clare, The Dark Artifices isn’t my favourite series. In Lady Midnight, I couldn’t make the same connection with the characters as I have done previously.

That being said, it was hard to put Lord of Shadows down. There are so many different plots and characters weaving together that I reached a point where I was desperate to know how they were going to tie up.

Without spoiling anything, the plot involves necromancy, faeries, battles, blood, friendship and love. Or, more particularly, love triangles. At one point, I’m sure there were three different love stories all winding around each other, mixing the characters up in schemes and feelings. No wonder they can’t work out how they are feeling; I’m still trying to work out who ends up with who!

There was a long silence. Magnus broke it. “I have to hand it to you,” he said. “I never thought Jace and Clary would be topped by anyone else in terms of insane, self-destructive decisions, but you all are giving them a run for their money.”

The love stories overshadowed the rest of the plot. Love has always been an underlying current in Clare’s novels, but this time, it takes over! Julian and Emma, despite the danger they are in and the mysteries they must unravel, spend most of the book pining after the other or embracing their feelings. They were still great characters, but it didn’t feel like they developed because of this circle of emotions they were trapped in.

Mark, Cristina and Kieran were the definition of a love triangle! Unlike Emma and Julian, however, their love story worked to advance the plot. Actions came about as a direct result of their complicated feelings. Their emotions were well-written and I still want them all to be together one way or another!

Livvy, Ty and Kit were the ones who stole it for me. The developing relationship between Ty and Kit (albeit vague about where this relationship could go!) gave both boys real growth in the book. Ty’s development is particularly obvious as he starts to engage more with the world around him because of Kit’s influence.

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Dru’s character felt as if it was set up for a bigger role in the next book; there was a hint of her, but not enough to be a key player in events. It was also great to see Magnus and Alec back, as well as moments of Jace and Clary, although the plot remained clearly with the Blackthorns.

Despite being a 700-page book, the pacing was relatively fast and consistent throughout. A lot happens in this book, but that made it really enjoyable to read because you could submerse yourself in the world and events would move forward rather than one revelation happening and that being the end.

Talking of revelations… Clare always puts a shock event in each series. But the trouble is, I’m now expecting it. While I was still stunned, the event in this book didn’t have the same impact because I had already guessed that something was going to happen, even if I didn’t know what.

A strong addition to the Shadowhunter world and a horrible cliffhanger that leaves me desperate for more. An enjoyable read.

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