Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

8:17 PM

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare | Rating: ★★★★★

There's something about a place you've been with someone you love. It takes on a meaning in your mind. It becomes more than a place. It becomes a distillation of what you felt for each other. The moments you spend in a place with someone... they become part of its bricks and mortar. Part of its soul.

Five months. Five. Freaking. Months. That's how long it has taken me to recover from Lord of Shadows and I have to admit, I'm not even remotely over it. I just reread Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows over the course of one week because (1) I missed this world and (2) It's getting to be chilly outside so I typically go for comfort in Harry Potter or Shadowhunters. I figured now was the time to get up and write my review despite my inability to come to terms with the final chapter of this book as well as who we lose this time around. Basically, I am having a struggle when it comes to comprehending my emotions.

I think we all know how far up Cassandra Clare's ass I am at this point. That is a very vulgar way of putting it but, eh, what can you do? The Dark Artifices began with a really solid first installment and I briefly wondered if she could top it. I know better than to underestimate Clare because once again she proves she just keeps getting better with age--the writing in Lord of Shadows was phenomenal. I felt every word. Every heartbreak. Every butterfly. Every tingle and shock. There was something so good about Lord of Shadows that I can't quite put my finger on its pulse--it is perhaps one of her best works to date.

There isn't much of a gap between timelines from Lady Midnight to Lord of Shadows but we do get a few answers when it comes to continuation of plots. Such as Cristina and Diego's relationship, upon a surprise visitor to the institute--who, frankly, you're going to HATE. We see Julian struggling without knowing Emma's sacrifice and the reasons they can't be together, and seeing her with Mark (although it isn't real--he doesn't know this) as well as the usual when it comes to keeping his family together.

I will say this until I'm blue in the fact--Julian Blackthorn is such an underrated cutie. I love him so much. He is so selfless and caring but also ruthless and rough around the edges. I.E., one of the best characters in the Shadowhunters Chronicles period. Seeing him struggle sucks but as always, he just picks himself up and keeps going for the sake of the children and everything that makes him, well, him. And now he has to take care of one more addition to their home--Kit, who, as you'll recall, is revealed to be "The Lost Herondale" and is now facing a lot of changes himself.

There was a tone to Lord of Shadows that was a little more mysterious than Lady Midnight. You have this impending sense of doom that you can't quite figure out where it's coming from because so much happens that makes you uneasy. This is classic Cassandra Clare--she literally attacks you with all the feelings. It's romantic. It's full of tragedy. It's action packed. All of these traits you've come to know and love seem almost amplified in Lord of Shadows and you just can't get it out of your head.

I'm just going to summarize a few things when it comes to this installment and where we stand now:

  • Malcolm was kind of not dead. We all assumed this after his betrayal and we see more of this come to light. He returns--not unexpectedly--and we know from the final chapter of Lady Midnight that he did... in some way, resurrect Annabel Blackthorn. There's something so utterly heartbreaking and spine tingling not just about his motives but his backstory and his love of the girl he'd lost. Betrayal is the biggest trait in everything. From betraying the Blackthorns to just believing that everyone was in on keeping him from knowing the truth about Annabel. I... don't typically fancy myself as someone who feels almost sympathetic towards the villains (and make no mistake, he became a villain) but I can't help but to feel something towards this character. You want to hate him completely but you can only resent him. 
  • Familiar faces arrive. I am so excited by this because I love seeing characters from all the other stories make appearances. We see: Jace, Clary, Alec, Magnus, Robert, The Seelie Queen, the Ghost of Jessamine, Jon, Helen, Aline and I'm probably forgetting others--but! It's just nice to see how they are tied into the central plots and what overlaps and doesn't. I will warn you: we lose some people from the list above and it's all very, "I'm on the edge of my seat.
  • I love the interactions between Kit, Livvy and Ty. I love them so much more than I thought I would and that's saying something when you consider I already loved all three of them. Kit just sort of fits with the Blackthorns in a way that surprises all of us. I was skeptical of this at first but the way that Kit cares for them and realizes that his home is now wherever they are--ugh, I feel so... warm and fuzzy. Kit is definitely reminiscent of Jace and Will and I'm so excited we've learned more about him. He is definitely a Herondale and I'm hoping we see more of him discovering his family history as well as more interactions with Jace. I didn't really know what to think of Kit in Lady Midnight but seeing him developed further as well as one particular scene with Ty--I love him. I think he may be breaking out into my favourite characters list. 
  • More Annabel! I think we already knew this was coming but... I feel so badly for her. I'll leave it at that because truly and completely, my heart breaks for her and everything that happens after she rises is shocking to me. Hint: she kills. 
  • Emma and Julian make some seriously tough decisions. Thankfully, the secret behind the curse that Emma discovers (you know, about parabatai falling in love with one another) doesn't stay hidden between the two for long nor does her relationship with Mark. I actually really love the friendship between Emma and Mark and really hope we see more of that bond in the future. They understand each other in so many ways and I just really like their interactions. That being said: PHEW. Emma and Julian. Am I right or am I right? 
  • ARE THEY POLY ARE NOT? The Mark, Cristina and Kieran story. I can't be the only one who wants them to just run off and be together; the three of them, right? Kieran was already a massive presence in Lady Midnight but in Lord of Shadows he is an even bigger one! Which is exciting. There's a lot of twists and turns and rescuing to go around with him but all and all, I love having him be more prominent in the stories. I mean it wholeheartedly when I say that these three deserve nothing but happiness and their connection is already so strong despite the fact that things might not go the way we think they're heading. I do hope it does go the way I feel it may, though. There's so much chemistry there between all of them. ALL. OF. THEM. 
  • Diana Wrayburn's backstory is everything. Finally, we know so much more about Diana and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Once more, Cassandra Clare adds a character's backstory to the mix organically and provides us with more representation. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who have yet to read the book so I'll try to bite my tongue this go around. I will spoil something minor: her scenes with Gwyn are surprisingly pleasant and you want to root for them. I also love how much she loves the Blackthorns. And what she would do to protect them. I loved Diana when we first met her and seeing her take on such a huge role in the lives of these characters made my love for her stronger. Lord of Shadows makes it reach an all-time high. She is so strong.
  • Fuck the Cohort. I'm just throwing this out there but especially fuck Zara. I literally hate them.
  • We finally meet Jaime and get a little Intel on what actually is happening with him and Diego and what he really thinks of Cristina. I actually enjoyed this twist. His appearance isn't as big of a plot point just yet but he does interact with a couple characters. Plus, his scenes with Dru were confusing and oddly sweet. I'm curious what else there is to be said about him. 
  • Death. There are multiple casualties in this one. I... I can't spoil it for you guys. But, the last chunk of the book--there are two that actually killed me. One: a parent of one character. Two: the sibling of another. And the reactions to these deaths made it all the more emotional. There is a bit of chaos in the moments before and after these loses that I can't explain in depth. If you have read it, you know what I'm talking about. If you have not, grab a box of tissues and keep them with you when you read the book. 
Overall, I'm still unsure how to explain how devastated I am from certain plot points. So much happens that you are left feeling dizzy with all kinds of emotions. I think this is one of my favourite books that Cassandra Clare has come up with yet and I have high hopes for the next installment. I am going to be biting my nails until it's released. I am not joking.

One of the best books of the year. No doubt. Entertaining, heartbreaking and fast paced--it's fantasy at its best and definitely a can't miss read. If you thought the waiting was bad between Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, this one just may be worse--I need it, now!

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