Reviews

Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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“Sometimes the most ruthless heart speaks the most truth”

Cassandra Clare’s work is easy to like. It’s captivating with compelling characters and easy banter. I picked of the Lord of Shadows from the local bookstore this week and read the entire book in one day (I had a lot of free time). The book is just over 700 pages long, but leaves you wishing it was longer.

My Rating: A

Goodreads 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.

Plot: Frequently with young adult fiction, the same plot arcs tend to emerge. Cassandra Clare’s book can sometimes fall into this category.  However, Lord of Shadows really keeps you on your toes. Clare definitely mixes it up a bit, as I had no idea where this book was going from start to finish.

The politics of the Shadowhunter world mimic the struggle of many groups oppressed at the hands of their government, with the Downworlders being treated as though they are less valuable than the Shadowhunters.  It’s very interesting commentary on how these problems should be handled in the real world based on how they were dealt with in the book.  I found it fascinating to see this implemented in books that essentially younger teenagers could very well be reading. Since books have a way of shaping the way we view the world, I can only imagine how this will impact a future generation of readers.

Characters: The strong point of the Dark Artifices series is its characters. I absolutely love Emma and Julian in their entirety. Their complex relationship is the central focus of this novel, but I never felt sick of them. Christina and Mark are truly unique characters. There is boatloads of diverse representation from all walks of life. The Blackthorn family has all its own personalities and they all feel real to me. Their dynamics are beautifully written. If there is any reason to read this book, it’s for the characters.

Overall:  There is so much that I enjoyed about this book. It has everything that you would expect from a YA fantasy, a daring heroine, a soulful and hurting love interest and plenty of fighting. However, there are more twists and turns making Lord of Shadows a truly unique reading experience. Without spoiling it too much, you definitively feel more comprehensive in the inner workings of the Shadowhunters world.

I love reading Cassandra Clare’s books for a number of reasons, but one of the main selling points to be is the interwoven plots. Not only do characters cross over from book to book, but their story continues. The end of a series is never truly the end. If you’ve ever enjoyed reading Clare’s work, you will enjoy reading Lord of Shadows. It’s a welcomed addition to the long line of Shadowhunter tales that I feel blessed to have followed. I hope there will be a plenty more in the future.

Ending Rating: 8/10. If you’ve read this already, you know why I didn’t give it a higher score. If not, know this, the end is a massive cliffhanger. This is your warning for those of you that don’t like to be left hanging.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I enjoyed this read. It’s a solid sequel to Lady Midnight and I will be reading the next book in this series.

Is this book on your to-read list? What are your thoughts on soul mates? Is there such thing as fate?

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