Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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Series: The Dark Artifices #2

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance 

Main themes: Love, Family, Loss

Rating: 5 stars

I was super excited to read this instalment of The Dark Artifices series because I absolutely LOVED Lady Midnight (you can check out my review here). The Blackthorns are my favourite Shadowhunter family and so I couldn’t wait to dive back into their world.

Lord of Shadows goes into a lot more depth about Julian and Emma’s struggle to suppress their feelings for each other, knowing that the parabatai curse will have massive repercussions. But there’s a lot more to the storyline too- there’s the emergence of The Cohort, a dangerous group whose oppressive beliefs have devastating implications for Downworlders. There’s also the addition of Kit Herondale, who was taken in by the LA Institute when he became orphaned after a deadly attack at the end of the last book. Growing up, Kit was taught that Shadowhunters weren’t to be trusted, that they were bad people and so it’s interesting seeing how he adjusts to life with the Blackthorns. Annabel Blackthorn’s character proves to play a very integral part in this book as well… she holds a very important possession that a lot of people, good and bad, are seeking and it causes nothing but grief.

So, about Lord of Shadows… I can honestly say that it absolutely blew my mind, and that is no exaggeration! Whilst reading, you don’t get very far without something major happening. There were so many times throughout the story where I just had to put the book down because I just needed time to process whatever shocking event had just happened. That’s one of the things I love about Cassandra Clare; you never know what’s going to happen next and out of nowhere, she will drop a bombshell that will leave you speechless. I mean, it totally messed with my emotions but a book is supposed to take you on a unique, and thrilling adventure right?

But seriously, Clare is a genius when it comes to writing. The plot and characters were so well developed; you can really tell that such careful and intricate planning went into everything. And when you consider that there were so many key characters in this book, it’s amazing that you still feel like you really got to know them. I really do think that Clare was spot on with the amount of depth that she went into with everyone whilst still making everyone’s story work.

I mention this a lot, but I absolutely love the Blackthorn family. They are my heart! I adore them so much and I just cherished the moments where they were all together. I really love how close they are, and I really love that we got to go into a lot more depth with their characters. Dru for instance, she played a bigger role within this book and readers gained a lot more insight into how she felt about being left out of things as she was one of the younger siblings. There’s also Ty and Livvy, who have such a brilliant dynamic. They’re smart, brave, and their hearts are in the right place. Along with Kit, they made such a fun trio and they really showed that they were not to be messed with. Even little Tavvy is so so sweet, and I love how you can see how much he loves his siblings- especially when Julian is in danger of leaving! Mark too, who’s one of my favourite Blackthorns, I think it’s in this book where readers really see what his family means to him. I love the complexity of his character and the things he had going on with Cristina and Kieran added a very interesting twist to this book. And not to forget Julian. I really admire that his family are his whole world, and even though some of his decisions might seem crazy… I just love his heart.

Speaking of Julian’s heart- this book really tests the weight of Emma and Julian’s ‘forbidden love,’ which puts a strain on not only their bond as parabatai, but on their special relationship as friends who grew up together, and who have been through so much. Honestly though, it may be against the law for parabatai to not be together but it would be a crime if Emma and Jules couldn’t be together. Their love is so beautiful and special and you’ll definitely experience a roller coaster of emotions whilst reading about this. 

Also, I’d like to mention how great it was, that Clare highlighted the fact that Shadowhunters could be quite backwards in the way they thought, and their beliefs. Their refusal to educate themselves about what the mundane world has learned regarding medicine really reflects this. When you think about characters like Arthur Blackthorn who was unwell (it seems as if he had a form of dementia), it shows how hindering their ignorance could be, and how detrimental stigmas could be. And especially with The Cohort who after all this time, believed themselves to be superior to Downworlders and wanted to oppress them; reading about them and their cause was baffling. You think to yourself, ‘Who do they think they are? Has their history taught them nothing?’ But it really drew awareness to what’s going on in our own world, and so I’m glad that Clare highlighted this. 

So, I really loved Lord of Shadows but right up until the last minute, I was going to give it 4 stars! If you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking why, when I clearly loved it. And honestly, The Dark Artifices is right up there with The Infernal Devices (my ultimate favourite) but something absolutely devastating happened in this book and it totally tore me pieces.

When it came to the last 10 pages or so, my stomach was doing backflips because from what other readers had said, I knew that something major was going to happen at the end. I was so so nervous. And then when it happened, I went from shock, to heartbreak, to denial, to absolute despair. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. And then the last page, the way it ended? There was no closure, so in those last few pages, my world just shattered and I was just left there to contemplate whether Cassie really just did that?!

So anyway, by giving Lord of Shadows 5 stars, I feel like I’d somehow be accepting what had happened. In no way is this logical, because it 100% deserves 5 stars but what happened really had me shook; I love Cassandra Clare but I just don’t understand why she made this particular thing happen! I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s one of the worst things that could have happened- seriously I just couldn’t (and still can’t) accept why what happened had to happen. But it wouldn’t be fair to rate it anything less than 5 stars because there are just too many gems in this book which make it completely amazing.

So on that note, I would 100% recommend Lord of Shadows. It really is an incredible book and even though the ending tore me apart, it’s still worth reading for sure. The way I try to see it, is that Clare has created this amazing universe and filled it with such wonderful characters that are so easy to love and care about. These characters start to mean a lot to you, and it’s amazing that she’s able to cause us to feel so strongly, and care about the fate of them. If you’re a fan of the books then picking up and reading Lord of Shadows will feel like you’re meeting up with an old friend. I really had missed the characters and their story, and on the whole, I loved catching up with them.

Fun fact: my best friend and I had a therapy session after we had both finished this book. We watched some shows that would cheer us up, and it felt good to let out all our feelings about what had happened. I would definitely recommend that you do the same!!

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