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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Book Review: Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)

Release Date: May 23, 2017
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Length: 701 pages
Source: Purchased Book

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.

    

Review:

Protagonists: Since this story has such a large and diverse cast of characters, in order to keep this section from getting huge, I'm going to pick three characters, those who either have a more significant role in this story than the previous one, or those whose story was more interesting to me. Don't get me wrong, all these characters are fantastic and they grow and evolve at such a wonderful rate and all their stories are very compelling. I think the character that surprised me the most was Drusilla, the Blackthorn that's too old to be a child, but too young to be an adult. While she didn't have as significant a role in this story, as most of the other characters, she has her own little subplot that looks very promising for the final installment and brings up questions I need to be answered ASAP.  Kit Rook, the boy revealed to really be Christopher Herondale at the end of the previous installment really comes into his own as he goes from con man's son trying to survive without his father to Ty's detective sidekick to, well I'm not going to give it away. Kit's character development was really fun to watch. His plotlines with Ty and Livvy were some of the best parts about this book and I can't wait to see where his story goes in future installments and how, and if, he makes it out of this series. Dianna Wrayburn, the Blackthorns' tutor also has some incredibly surprising character revelations in this story as well. I love Dianna, her care for the Blackthorns is fantastic and the secrets that she hides make her all the more compelling and intriguing of a character.

Romance: So, of course, the central romance to this series is the one between Emma and Julian, but of course they're parabatai and love doesn't come without breaking the Law and a curse of madness and destruction. A large portion of this book doesn't have really any development on Emma and Julian's relationship, mostly it's just a silent longing from afar, but as the story continues there are some very significant moments between the two, and while I'm not quite sure where their romance will end, for good or bad, I'm still excited to see how everything there is resolved. An even more complicated romance, if that's even possible, is whatever is going on between Diego, Cristina, Mark, and Kieran. When I first started this story I had no idea where the romance could go, let alone where it would. As this story progressed and the bonds between these characters begin to shift and change, I definitely have an idea or two where things might go, and it fascinates me to no end to see where these characters not only end up personally but romantically as well. The romance in this story is incredibly on point and while at times it can be a tad idyllic, the situations the romantic partners are put into aren't.

World Building: You would think that after ten other books set in this world that there wouldn't be a need for any more world building since there was so much time to build it before. However, what I love about Clare's world is that it's constantly evolving and changing. After the repercussions of the fallout in City of Heavenly Fire, Shadowhunters grow more and more distrustful of Downworlders, the Fae in particular, and so in this series, and this installment we get to see a lot of the world building that concerns the Fae. There is a trip taken into Faerie that leads our heroes on a dangerous quest full of high risk and even higher rewards. Meanwhile, something sinister is rising from within the Clave, a bigoted group called the Cohort seek to restrict the rights of Downworlders even more, not even seeing them as people deserving of rights. On another front, the Unseelie King, a man who craves power and hates Shadowhunters is rising and with his rise, he hopes to see the death of all Shadowhunters and the subjugation of everyone else. This world just keeps growing and evolving and while I'm a bit worried about its future, I'm excited about the journey and adventure.

Predictability: Honestly, I've been sitting here and wondering what in this book I was able to predict. I mean, there were some vague feelings I had that turned out to be true, and some very obvious foreshadowing that I don't think was intended to be subtle. Other than that there wasn't much of anything I was able to predict and this story has a whole lot of twists and turns. There's one twist that completely floored me and made me cry, like really cry, not just tear up, and I won't say if it's a happy, sad, proud, or angry cry but it was a very emotionally draining scene and a very powerful one as well.

Ending: So, full disclosure, the ending of this book was spoiled for me. I won't reveal how, but let's just say that when the final book in this series comes out I might have to have an internet ban until I finish the book. Anyway, so when the final chapter rolled around, I thought I was ready for what I was about to read. However, the final chapter of this story is chock full of intensity, tension, joyful moments, and not so great ones, and when what I knew was inevitably coming finally came, it still impacted my feelings probably just as much as if I'd been reading it for the first time. The finale of this story leaves things hanging in a way that will make me curse the author for making me wait two years to figure out what happens.

Rating:


So, this wasn't much of a surprise. I mean, I went into this book knowing I was going to love it, but I wasn't fully aware of how much until this moment. This book blew me away and while I am very angry to have to wait a while to catch back up with these characters, I'm also obsessed with finally starting The Last Hours series.

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