HAPPY RELEASE DAY, SHADOWHUNTER CHRONICLES FANS! 😀
Another long waiting period has come to end because Cassandra Clare’s Lord of Shadowas is finally available in bookstores and online! I got an early copy thanks to Cassie’s English publisher Simon & Schuster UK ♥ so I do have a release day review for you. All the information that are revealed in the following review can already be found online (here, for instance) and will be the only ‘spoilers’ that are mentioned unless stated otherwise.
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 to never 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 of 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 hid 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. (x)
Lord of Shadows was a book that broke my heart.
What a way to start a book review, right? Don’t worry (too much) though, because this book was so good, SO GOOD!
Earlier this year I had the amazing (such an understatement to be perfectly honest with you) opportunity to do a continuity read for Cassie’s Lord of Shadows and now I am finally allowed to share my thoughts. And I do have a lot of thoughts although I am not quite sure how to bring them on ‘paper’ so I might include more later.
It is easy to say that Lord of Shadows made me cry, laugh and drop everything for a moment because WHOA, but it goes much deeper than that. I felt it in my soul. I finished Lord of Shadows at 1:47 on a Sunday morning and wept. Remember this tweet?
That was me.
Cassie, bless her, consoled me as best as she could and 45 minutes later I fell asleep, emotionally drained and physically exhausted. I didn’t feel much better after a couple of hours of sleep; I felt stunned the whole day and the events of Lord of Shadows were not easy to shake off. Some scenes – good or ‘bad’ – stayed with me and I will not be able to forget them for a very long time. So in short, be prepared to cry.
But, since this is a book written by Cassandra Clare, you can also look forward to a lot of romance. Oh, the romance ♥ Cassie really excels at it! Every romantic line seems to be carefully picked to make her readers feel warm and fuzzy to the max.
We have already had a lot of romance in Lady Midnight, but Cassie upped the ante in Lord of Shadows with more pairings, one of them very unusual but great nonetheless. I cannot tell you who it is, but Cassie ships them and so do I!
In addition to new ‘ships’, new friendships are forged. Ty, Livvy and Kit are only one example and they are amazing together – I absolutely love these three. They are kind of like Sherlock and Mary and John Watson from BBC’s Sherlock. 🙂
When I first read Lady Midnight, I was not prepared for how much the Blackthorns loved each other so I was completely blown away and I fell in love with them (read my Lady Midnight review where I talk about family love here). My love for them – this totally includes Emma – has grown once again after having read Lord of Shadows. The Blackthorns are an incredible family and I am sure that Eleanor and Andrew Blackthorn are very, very proud of their children and how they have turned out (all thanks to Julian, my baby).
Coming up with different characters who all have different voices is definitely one of Cassie’s strongest qualities as an author. New characters are added in Lord of Shadows, some likable but also others that I completely despise and that I want to see dead in book 3 (like a certain loathsome, racist, bun-wearing bitch).
Sadly, not every character survives Lord of Shadows and in my opinion one death is definitely going to be the driving force in Queen of Air and Darkness. This death changes everything and will affect a lot of people. Ave atque vale.
Another death is also going to be very significant for some of the characters. These two deaths saddened me the most and I hope the characters will be given time to grieve despite of what the Clave says about death and grief.
Since Cassie is always trying to include more diversity in her books, she created a transgender character for The Dark Artifices and this character revealed themselves to another character in Lord of Shadows. The whole scene was beautifully written, immensely powerful and it is in fact one of my favourite scenes. I really felt for the character and all the hardships they had to overcome.
Ty’s autism was addressed once again and one scene very much showed how different the mundane and the Shadow World really are, how much Shadowhunters ignore and/or don’t know. I hope they are going to become more accepting of people who are not like themselves.
Which brings me to a very important point in Lord of Shadows: the Cohort that “wants to register all Downworlders and number-ID them”. Sounds very familiar, right?
The Cohort is as despicable as the Cold Peace and now I actually do have to quote from the book: “When a decision like that [the Cold Peace] is made by a government, it emboldens those who are already prejudiced to speak their deepest thoughts of hate.” I am going to be a bit political so you have been warned. Skip to the next paragraph if you want to.
The situation with the Cohort and their prejudice against Downworlders reminds me of the situation in Europe right now. People in France, the Netherlands and Germany (and other countries that I will not mention because I know too little) are prejudiced against refugees, Muslims, people that are different. Right-wing parties are gaining more popularity and make others voice their racist opinions. The Cohort is like them and it needs to be stopped.
Two other crucial aspects were the faeries and the parabatai curse. I could write so much about both but there would be huge spoilers so I am going to keep this part short and vague.
Reading about the two different faerie courts was interesting although I still do not like faeries. They may not be able to lie but they twist the truth and delight in other people’s suffering.
A new character was very briefly introduced and I have a very big hunch who they might. This scene was definitely a WHOA moment for me!
There are new revelations that concern the Fey folk, especially the Lord of Shadows, which will have dire consequences. I am already very nervous to read Queen of Air and Darkness because one thing can change everything for Shadowhunters!
The same unfortunately also applies to the parabatai curse. One absolutely shocking twist about parabatai was introduced and I am scared of what one particular character is going to do in book three.
I liked how connected Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows are. These connections are very fluid and lead to an even better understanding of some characters (like “Lady Midnight”). Cassie’s worldbuilding and storytelling is remarkable!
Another thing that Cassie is so good at is humour. There are so many great one-liners and I laughed a lot. I really appreciate funny and light-hearted scenes because they are a great distraction from very serious and/or sad scenes.
The references to movies are another nice touch and are very fitting since the trilogy is set in Los Angeles.
Since the characters are spending time in London, there are a lot of nods to Cassie’s The Infernal Devices and to its sequel, The Last Hours (out in 2018). I loved the mentions of characters we met in the books or short stories. Seeing these tiny snippets – the funny and the bittersweet ones – make me even more excited for Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)!
I also enjoyed seeing the characters from The Mortal Instruments again. Jace’s first meeting with Kit is brilliant; I hope he is going to play a significant role in Kit’s life because I need more Herondales. Give me more witty and sassy one-liners! 🙂
The Lightwood-Banes are adorable and while The Dark Artifices is about the Blackthorns and Emma, I certainly would not mind seeing more of Max, Rafe and their parents in Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3).
Lord of Shadows fortunately did not suffer from “second book” syndrome: it was engaging, heart-breaking, a cleverly constructed story, it had me on the edge of my seat and left me wanting more despite the pain and the angst!
Five out of five stars. Thank you for writing another marvelous book, Cassie! I loved it as much as Lady Midnight.
Further thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for the early copy, Georgia Lawe, and Simon & Schuster US for the beautiful ARC box. Working with you has been so fantastic and I cannot wait for the next couple of years.