Title: Lord of Shadows
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: 23 May 2017
What to say about the anticipated Lord of Shadows? The new entry to the Shadowhunter world is worth the wait and read. The second book of The Dark Artifices series continues on with Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn fighting their love for each other, while a new darker force in the form of the Unseelie Court threatens them, Julian’s family and the rest of the Shadowhunters.
Some spoilers ahead…
The book hooked me in from the first page. The mesmerising writing, strong characters and a high stakes plot are a deadly combination here, not to mention the connection to The Infernal Devices [cries]. Cassandra Clare really knows how to crush your heart especially when it comes to the ending – I did not see that coming and I’m still recovering.
The characters are more fleshed out and shaped carefully and uniquely so that you could feel what they’re feeling, every moment they’re in. I thought I was going to be tired and annoyed about Emma and Julian, but no I’m still rooting for them to be together and I liked how their tragic romance isn’t a distraction. It’s tied to what’s happening around them. We get to see more of Diego and Jaime and how their story is connected as well. I thought I was tired of Herondales but…I was wrong. Kit is a welcoming presence and…quite different and unexpected. He isn’t arrogant or charming like the others. He wants freedom, to run away but is conflicted.
I teared up as his and Ty’s relationship blossomed. They just clicked. Kit might give off an indifferent and brooding teen vibe, but he’s surprisingly loyal and understands Ty. The Blackthorn kids are more involved in this book and I grew so attached to them. Family is such an important theme and despite absent parents, I love that the book revolves around a close-knit family, functional but messy at the same time. Besides romance, the Blackthorns’ wish to be fully reunited with their eldest sister Helen is also intertwined with the plot. I really love how everything is tied and necessary, even the mundane scenes – I found those a reprieve from the rest of the heart palpitating ones.
I didn’t mind Cristina, Mark and Kieran. I think they would work well as a threesome. You would understand once you read the book. We learn that faeries aren’t all cold and evil, but are as complex as everyone else. Even Gwyn, the leader of the Wild Hunt, and he shows a softer side as he falls all over Diana. It was so unexpected that I laughed and went all heart eyes. The Seelie Queen is…subdued but still carries a creepy vibe. The Unseelie King…while he creeps me out too, I wish he had more scenes since he’s quite intriguing.
Annabel Blackthorn comes back to life. I wasn’t surprised that she killed Malcolm. I would be pissed off too if I was resurrected without my permission. Annabel isn’t exactly a villain but she is a force to be reckoned with and I felt a weird urge to protect her at all cost. She’s hurt, lost in a new world and preventing worse things from happening because of the Black Volume which raises the dead and something darker than that. But Julian and Emma need the book, but so does the Unseelie King and Seelie Queen. A lot of tension, I know.
We see more socio-political things with the rise of the Cohort, an anti-Downworlder group who want to put restrictions on Downworlders and return to a “golden age of Shadowhunters”. They’re a reflection on hate groups in our world and wow, did they make my blood boil. There’s only so much Jia Penhallow, the Consul, can do. After ten books, the Clave still got on my nerves.
On the diverse rep, I was impressed by its improvement in the whole Shadowhunter universe. Clare has managed to add intersectionality and that’s important. Diana is black and is trans and Gwyn doesn’t mind that – he respects her. Ty is autistic and he isn’t burdened by it, and the book more than hints that he’s gay. His feelings for Kit is too hard to miss. Mark and Kieran are bi. Aline Penhallow, who’s biracial, and Helen make an appearance, and so does Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood who are now parents. It didn’t feel like Clare was throwing every marginalised group in nor does the people respecting and accepting the characters come off as unrealistic or too optimistic. What I’d like to see more are LGBTQIA+ people who are still underrepresented and interracial relationships that doesn’t have a white person in. Of course this is my opinion as a poc and bi. I don’t know if other diverse readers agree.
Lord of Shadows is a book that promises you promises and hope, but when you’re getting close to them, it rips you away. But you still want to know what happens, do a reread, and waiting for the next book is going to be agony. Anyway, I recommend the book – one of the best Shadowhunters books 🙂