Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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 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, Christina; 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 tensions 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: I was really looking forward to Lord of Shadows, given how impressed I had been with the character and plot development in Lady Midnight. While I did enjoy this second installment in the Dark Artifices series, I also felt that it did not live up to the strong precedent set by the first book. One of my primary complaints is that Clare did not fully flesh out the current Shadowhunter world conflicts, particularly the anti-Downworlder movement led by Zara Dearborn. I understood what Clare wanted me to think and feel, but she didn’t do a great job of using her prose to actually make me think and feel that way. I have also grown somewhat tired of Clare using the same overarching conflict throughout all of her novels. I get it, the Downworlder/Shadowhunter relationship is complicated, but it would be nice to have a fresh conflict to deal with for a change. While I still think that Emma and Julian are strong characters, I was less impressed with the supplementary character development this time around. The chapters narrated by Kit, Christina, and Mark inevitably dragged more than those narrated by Emma and Julian. The single character exception was Tiberius Blackthorn, who evolved in this novel in ways that the other characters did not.
“Who would ever want movies or TV when there are books?”
On a more positive note, Clare once again did a great job of incorporating well-timed moments of humor into the story, with Emma standing out as the funniest character.
“I’ll crash the wedding,” Emma suggested. “I’ll jump out of the cake, but not in a sexy way. Like, with grenades.”
Overall consensus for Lord of Shadows: good, not great.