Review » Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

About the Book

Lord of Shadows

by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices, #2

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.

My Review

"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."

What an amazing sequel to Lady Midnight. Truly magnificent. Cassandra Clare's writing and the intricately woven relationships are what make Lord of Shadows so spectacular. I cannot tell you enough how much I love this story and the characters, and my heart has never felt so conflicted. I'm heartbroken, yet it feels so full at the same time, and I can't imagine where the characters will go from here. Everything is being ripped out from under them, bit by bit, and I know something big is coming in the next installment and I cannot fathom how grueling of a wait it will be for me before I can finally know what happens to my beloved characters. I'm just in shock right now.

"Fiction is truth, even if it is not fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die."

Emma and Julian of course are still struggling with their feelings for each other, but at least Emma has the knowledge that she and Mark aren't really an item and that what she is doing is protecting Julian from further heartbreak and ruin. Julian is struggling with the fact that he's still in love with Emma, yet she chose her brother over him, but at least he has the knowledge that she's with someone they both love and care about and that it's someone who will treat her the way she deserves.

"That is love, son of thorns. We welcome its cruelest blows and when we bleed from them, we whisper our thanks."

The relationship dynamics in The Dark Artifices are those that you can't really describe, you have to read about for yourself. They are so delicate, and intricately woven together by tiny threads into the most magnificent family quilt you've ever seen. The Blackthorns are my favorite Shadowhunter family in all of the Shadowhunter world; I just love them so much. They love so fiercely and passionately, and their love for each other is what holds them all together. It keeps them going even when things are falling apart. They are all so close and you can feel the love they have for each other coming through the pages and the words that Cassandra Clare writes. It isn't often that the Blackthorn bring people in to their circle, into their family, but when they do, they love you with all that fierce intensity as if you were their own blood and you can see what an honor it would be to be loved by them. I can see why Kit, Emma, Diana, Cristina and Kieran are so enthralled by that love. Why they can't let the Blackthorns go. To be in their world is a gift and to be held onto as tightly as possible.

There are so many things that I want to say about the relationships between all these characters, because it's all so interesting and just so much to take in. You can see how much love they all have for each other and you can see that they sometimes struggle with those feelings, not knowing if what they're feeling is love love or friendship love or why they're so intrigued by this family and the people in it, but they know that each one of them is special and that they have to find a way to protect each other at all costs, no matter what it costs them. Cassandra shows all of this so well. Even though I absolutely adore Emma and Julian and they will probably be my main OTP for The Dark Artifices, I have to stay that I am so intrigued by what's going on with Kieran, Mark and Cristina right now. Like, I don't even know what's going to happen with them. And I can't say much concerning them because it will ruin so much of the book but holy moly. The fact that they're all so honest and good in nature, aside from the fairy trickery that Kieran can show sometimes because you know he is a fairy after all, but you can really see that they all care for one another, whether they mess up at times or not, the nature of their caring is completely pure, and I love that about them. Just don't know how that's going to end for them, and I'm curious to see where Cassandra takes their story.

Sometimes, someone you have known all your life becomes no longer familiar to you, but strange in a marvelous way, as if you have discovered a beach you have been visiting all your life is made not of sand but of diamonds, and they blind you with their beauty.

Lord of Shadows is perfectly paced to show you all of these things, and just how much they've all grown, especially Kit, who at the end of Lady Midnight, absolutely despised Shadowhunters and was struggling hard with the knowledge that he was one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his journey of self-discovery, never knowing if he was going to stay with the Blackthorns and become a Shadowhunter or if he was going to flee at any given opportunity that he could find.

"That is the problem with revenge--you wind up destroying the innocent as well as the guilty."

I'm not going to go into details about the ending, because trust me, it's a doozy and you'll want to prepare yourself for it. And even though I so desperately wanted for everything to turn out okay at the end of Lord of Shadows, I just had a gut feeling that something, even though I didn't know what it was, something was going to happen. I had semi-guessed as to what it would be, but I didn't know the how or why, and I didn't focus on it to much because I didn't want it to happen, but I could see it slowly coming. It's like one of those dreams that you have where you're stuck and you can't move and you can see something coming for you but you have no where to go and you can't get your legs or arms to work and you can't get yourself to wake up so you just stare at what's coming, hoping for the best. Only with dreams, eventually, you always wake up. But with this, there is no waking from it. Because that's how the story went. That's how it ends. And now the waiting period begins to find out how the characters are coping, and who is going to come out on top: the good Shadowhunters, the bad Shadowhunters or the ones trying to bring the Shadowhunters down. And will Emma and Julian ever find a way to be the couple that, let's face it, we all know they should be, or will their search for a way come up fruitless.

"Because when this universe was born, when it blasted into existence in fire and glory, everything that would ever exist was created. Our souls are made of that fire and glory, of the atoms of it, the fragments of stars. Everyone's are, but I believe ours, yours and mine, are made from the dust of the same star. That's why we've always been drawn to each other like magnets, all our lives."

This has got to be one of my favorite Shadowhunter stories ever. I mean, I loved The Infernal Devices so much. I loved Will and Tessa and Jem and their story, but The Dark Artifices takes Cassandra's writing to a whole new level, and I'm so in love with this family and their story and I'm so ready to have the The Queen of Air and Darkness. If you're reading this review and you haven't read any of Cassandra Clare's books, what are you even doing with your life??? Seriously. Run to the bookstore right now and start reading.