Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare: Book Review

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

Title: Lord of Shadows

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: Book 2 of The Dark Artifices trilogy (a Shadowhunters series)

Publisher: McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)

Source/Format: US Hardcover (B&N exclusive)

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

***SPOILER WARNING for Lady Midnight below!***

“Sometimes the most ruthless heart speaks the most truth.”

Lord of Shadows picks up two weeks after Lady Midnight. Despite our characters still reeling with emotional turmoil from recent events, they have bigger fish to fry. No seriously–ever since Malcolm’s death, there has been an odd surge in the number of sea demons coming ashore and wreaking havoc on the world.

As if that wasn’t worrisome enough, a group of Centurions, elite shadowhunters who train at the Scholomance, are on their way to the Los Angeles Institute. Once there, they plan to investigate Malcolm’s death–more specifically to confirm his death–but it also seems some of them have their own ulterior motives.

This of course proves to be a challenge for Julian. Arthur Blackthorn is nowhere near qualified to run the LA Institute, and as we now know, he hasn’t been. Julian has been stepping in for him and hiding this fact for years. But he is used to only having to hide this from his family, not Centurions–highly trained shadowhunters, the best of the best.

And of course, there’s that pesky parabatai bond. >.>

“Those who cannot love do not understand it.”

Julian has always been able to do what needs to be done for his family, but he has always had Emma at his side. Now, after Emma’s recent “confession” that she does not share Julian’s romantic feelings and is now dating Mark, their relationship is strained and awkward, leaving Julian stranded to deal with everything on his own.

“There is truth in stories,” said Arthur. “There is truth in one of your paintings, boy or in a sunset or a couplet from Homer. Fiction is truth, even if it is not a fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die.”

When Lady Midnight first came out, I’ll be honest: I wasn’t too excited to read it. As much as I love my shadowhunters and downworlders, in my mind nothing could ever beat my love for the ones found in TID or TMI.

TID will always be my favorite series of the Shadowhunters novels, as it contains my all-time favorite set of characters, setting, and plot. (Plus, the backstories of the characters and the cameos they make in later books! *fangirls endlessly*) But anyway, back to the point I was trying and failing to make:

Though TID is my favorite and TMI will always hold a special place in my heart for first introducing me to this intriguing world and the lovable characters in it, I must say TDA is doing a fantastic job at making my heart ache and rendering me speechless when people ask me to rank the different Shadowhunter arcs.

There is improvement in every last bit of Cassie’s writing. The plot is so complex, the foreshadowing so slight yet powerful, the worldbuilding constantly giving us new insight to a world we thought we knew, and yes even Cassie’s writing–her gift for words–is better than ever. She has even perfected the art of comedic relief; even when it seemed like everything was falling apart and I most definitely shouldn’t have been laughing, I did. (Which is huge, by the way, as books don’t usually make me laugh out loud.)

Despite all of these improvements, it is the characters, by far, that are most deserving of the praise. Two characters a bit more so than the others, to be specific. Two characters who each have stolen my heart on their own, but together are even more important to me than Malec. Like, they are on equal playing field as Wessa and Jessa, my absolute faves. And I’m not even sure if the two characters have a romantic relationship ahead of them–I’m hoping they do, but if not, their friendship works just as well and still ranks above Malec.

(Update after writing this review: Okay, Cassandra has pretty much confirmed it now, so I am beyond excited!!! 😍😭👏🏼)

😳 I know, right? I guess there’s not any point in hiding who I’m talking about:

“He grinned, and the grin changed his face completely. Ty when he was still and expressionless had an intensity that fascinated Kit; when he was smiling, he was extraordinary.”

I loved Ty from the beginning (and Livvy; my heart immediately goes out to twin characters for some reason), but Kit has also slowly stolen my heart just like all of the other Herondales we’ve come to know. The pull towards Kit that the twins instantly have, along with his mixed feelings towards them, makes my heart ache. 😩 In the best way possible, of course.

I also love Diana and her new love interest. Yep, that’s right: Diana has a love interest, and it kind of reminds me of Brienne and Tormund for anyone who watches Game of Thrones (😂😍👌🏼) in that they’re just such an odd match and the instant attraction he expresses for Diana absolutely confounds her. This also means we finally get to see more of and learn more about Diana. 😉

Out of the rest of the cast, Mark and Kieran are also favorites–well, Kieran is complicated after LM‘s events, but you know what I mean. Julian, Emma, and Cristina are good as well, but they aren’t up too high on my list of all-time favorite shadowhunters. Their issues can get old after a while in a way that Mark’s and Kieran’s don’t. (I don’t even need them together romantically; I just need them both happy. Please, Cassie! 😫🙏🏼)

However, if it hadn’t been for Kit and Ty, and these other lovable characters, this book would have been a 3.75-star read.

The reasoning for that is because I wish about 200 pages had been cut, and this is coming from someone who loves and almost exclusively reads only long books. They just made the story lag and felt unnecessary. Otherwise, the story moved along nicely and a lot happened in those 500 other pages.

I did also get bored and insanely frustrated with all of the will they/won’t they between the various characters, but Cassie had some magical way of drawing me back in every time it got to be too much.

Other than the fantastic characters, there are a lot of references and tie-ins to both series that are already out and ones that haven’t yet been released, so that’s nice. If you’re like me and appreciate the smaller, subtler details, you definitely have a lot to look forward to.

IN CONCLUSION: I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I was shocked and surprised–I felt every emotion a good book should make you feel. On a final note, I will just say that you may want to take your time with this one, as the next installment is not estimated to come out until 2019. Plus, the ending of Lady Midnight is nothing compared to the cliffhangers found at the end of Lord of Shadows. 🙁

Which Shadowhunters series is your favorite? TMI, TID, or TDA? Also, if you’ve finished LoS, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. 😭😭😭

– Taylor


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