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REVIEW + DISCUSSION: Lord of Shadows, by Cassandra Clare

July 17, 2017

I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW + DISCUSSION: Lord of Shadows, by Cassandra ClareLord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on May 23rd 2017
Pages: 701
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository

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.

Lord of Shadows left me feeling deceased.

Lord of Shadows was one of my most-anticipated releases of 2017 and i was worried. aside from the obvious fact of PAIN and WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY FAVES, i was afraid this installment would disappoint me. the more i read and review novels, the more critical and cynical i get. i rarely enjoy books for the sake of it unless there are low expectations. but with Lord of Shadows, i couldn’t help but have high expectations. thankfully, cassandra clare left me feeling happily horrible. it had all the emotional pain and frustration i expected – and more! buuuut there were a few things i was feeling :// about.

this bible-sized novel was slower than anticipated. i remember flying through Lady Midnight despite its size; i can’t say the same for LoS. i’m not saying i couldn’t bring myself to finish, but there were parts when i thought CAN WE MOVE ON. there were also parts when i anticipated things before it happened. i’m not sure if clare intentionally made things somewhat predictable orrrr if i’m getting better at guessing things. either way, i was kinda sad/frustrated about that.

“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.”

aside from these two tiny things, LORD OF SHADOWS WAS AMAZING. it left me feeling wrecked and emotionally unstable. i know some may hesitate on picking this up due to its size, but it’s worth every page. i’d highly highly recommend to anyone who likes reading. as someone who wasn’t a fan of cassandra clare from the start, i must admit: her work continues to improve and grow beyond my expectations. GO READ IT.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

SPOILER-FILLED DISCUSSION BEGINNING. don’t say i didn’t warn you… *side eye* if you haven’t read this book, please please stop here. you DON’T want to be spoiled.

characters & relationships

let’s talk about these characters and such first, shall we? ten pages into the book and MARK AND EMMA ARE A THING. i’m feeling every kind of betrayal. i’m screaming my head off. however, it becomes quickly clear that those two are not going to work out (romantically) and the world is right again. (yes, i’m gonna be THAT petty about them.) we all knew they weren’t going to get anything more than a platonic relationship. meanwhile, my poor jules is SUFFERING i’m mostly just glad jules and emma are back together-ish?? the truth is out and that’s all that matters. sorta.

moving onto the new unholy trinity: ty, livvy, and kit. these three!! are so gold!!! kit starts off as someone who is NOT having it and tries to deny everything about being a shadowhunter. ty and livvy eventually grow on him and he becomes part of their crew™. THEY ARE MY FAVES. FAVES. FAVES. i kinda ship ty and kit very much and i find it hilarious that livvy kissed kit. the love between these three are so wonderful. until livvy…. I HAVE WORDS ON THIS LATER

the mark/cristina/kieran triangle thing is strange. (diego is not part of this because it DOES NOT EVEN COUNT.) this triangle can go three ways but i’m ultimately rooting for mark and cristina as a romantic relationship. i’m surprised by how much i love cristina and kieran as friends. I JUST LOVE CRISTINA.

now for the other relationships: gwyn and diana? LOVE THEM. they are hilarious and adorable. gwyn was so unexpected and I LOVE HIM. also i LOVE how we found out more on diana’s past and who she really is! i was sososososo surprised the thing leading up to her secret was that she’s transgender. (more on this later) dru and jamie have this thing going on and i don’t know how to feel about it. :/ in general, the blackthorns are my favorite family and everyone is wonderful. i love the way their family mends together.


can we have an in-depth rant about zara and her bigotry gang? they need to GET OUT. as if we don’t get enough of this in real life (at least in america right now), it’s going on in the shadowhunter world too. WHICH MAKES IT ALL THE MORE RELEVANT. it all started when her annoying ass barged into the LA Institute with her stupid pin, asking the blackthorns to do her laundry. she started off as someone who was simply ANNOYING but eventually became a larger threat. i feel like that’s such a strong metaphor for trump’s america. it made me realize how politics in the shadowhunter world are very similar to the united states right now. i see downworlders/shadowhunters/faeries/etc as a metaphor for race. the dearborns and the rest of the gang are basically petitioning for extermination and containment of downworlders (aka POC in the real world). i don’t know about you but doesn’t that sound a little familiar???????? people of the lgbtq+ community aren’t entirely accepted in the shadowhunter world, even though there are many who do support them. unfortunately, i think the same could be said for the world right now. it’s weird how i saw these things more clearly after reading LoS – a story set in a fictional world. even though it’s not “real” and the issues are more exaggerated, i think it’s more prominent because I FEEL SO MUCH FOR THESE CHARACTERS. it’s a personal attack on them, which makes it a personal attack on me. it feels real to me – even more so than the “real world.” (i think that shows how UTTERLY BIZARRE american politics are right not because it feels like a poorly written fictional story than Real Things!)

anyway, enough of that. i’m just going to get more upset if i think about it. MOVING ON. i was super wary during their trip to the unseelie and seelie courts because FAERIES AND THEIR TRICKERY. it was a hot mess, but i expected worse so *whew.* the part that had me screaming in frustration was when emma was unable to kill the faerie because he looked like her dad. :((( the one good thing that came out of that trip was julian finding out how to break the parabatai bond.

SO. the parabatai bond. it can be broken but it’ll also break all parabatai bonds. this was another ASDJGYFHKLJH,K;WHAT moment. (and also robert is dead so someone HELP)

i didn’t realize the strength of cortana and how important it was when emma killed one of the riders of mannanan. it happened and i was like, “oh, okay, moving on.” BUT THEN, turns out it’s a big deal and now the riders are probably going after emma in the future. i’m curious (and scared but also not because it’s EMMA) to see how that’ll come to play in the next book.

annabel blackthorn is a nutcase and should be dead. AGAIN. even though malcom died, i had a theory he’d be back – and he did come back, only to die on by the hand of his lover. (go annabel!) after julian talked to her, i was a little more trusting. maybe she wasn’t that insane. BUT THEN. she goes ham and kills robert lightwood and livvy blackthorn. in her defense, she might’ve been triggered by the mortal sword and gone to a bad place. BUT STILL. i’ll never forgive her or trust her again.


that being said, LIVVY. yeah, robert’s death was sad but more importantly… LIVVY. i kid you not, i read the sentence – “… she was truly beautiful, a Shadowhunter in full flowering glory, just before she landed lightly on the wooden floor dias’s edge and drove her jagged, broken half blade into Livvy’s heart.” – and shut the book. i let out the longest gasp and could not believe it because this is not happening this is not happening thisisnothappening.

the stages of grief are true. it started with pure and utter shock, turned to despair (crying for a good 30 min), and now i’m at denial. even though the last sentence confirms it because the clock chimed and livvy was just talking about that clock. BUT. but. robert lightwood also died and i’m hoping it was chiming for robert. (the cliffhanger of LM was a misunderstanding so this could be too???) (nope, cassandra clare is just cruel sometimes)

what are your thoughts on Lord of Shadows? release your FEELZ in the comments~

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a twenty-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer or practicing yoga. she currently resides in los angeles, california.