Saturday, September 9, 2017

Review: Lord of Shadows - Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows
Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Honestly, I think it's w i l d how Cassandra Clare keeps getting better with every book she writes. Like, I'm pretty sure my order of favorites is just the order they were all released chronologically. How does one woman have so much power???

Anyway, I'm sorry I waited so long to write this review. I didn't even READ the book until July (I know, GASP) because I was busy with exams and then summer classes and then exams and then packing, and then I went on vacation, so I read large chunks in snippets of free time while romping around Pakistan until I finished and I realized my entire life was just over, ruined, deceased. At which point it took me until now to emotionally recover enough to get myself here.

Since I am a human whose thoughts (and life) are constantly scattered, especially when it comes to novels this dense, I will attempt to ~organize~ my thoughts for you via bullet points. I'm gonna be real with you right now, though, and say there wasn't really anything I didn't like, so if you're looking for a nuanced review painstakingly weighing the positives and the negatives, this is not that. Maybe next time. Anyway, here is a list of Things I Loved:
  • faeries
    • Faeries in general are one of my favorite subjects of lore. I think Cassandra Clare's faeries are a fantastic extension of that, and I would honestly just love some sort of expanded world piece on just the fae. This is the second book in the series so I obviously knew faeries were ~relevant~ here but man did she kick it up a notch, and man was I NOT expecting it. 
    • If you read the last book (note: this is a spoiler-free review but Lady Midnight spoilers are fair game because homie, why are you reading the review for the sequel without reading the first book?) you remember Mark Blackthorn (half-faerie, half-Shadowhunter) and his faerie boyfriend Kieran from the Wild Hunt. Honestly, everything involving them had me #shook. I love them. My sons. 
    • The Wild Hunt homies have such a cadence about them that I really wish they were around for like...the whole book. Petition for a faerie-focused sequel. Petition for a faerie focused series. Petition to turn me into a faerie.
    • Also on a slightly more analytic note, I loved that this book really delved more into what it actually means not just to be a faerie in this world, but to be half-faerie, and the nuances of all these relationships. Lady Midnight kinda dealt it with (I talked about it a little in my review of it) but LoS definitely amps it up. 
    • ohhhhhhhhhh my god 
    • I don't even know where to START. 
    • Emma and Julian: God, it wasn't just painful reading their parts. I was eviscerated. And I just...wanted it? I wanted the pain. They wanted the pain. We are all masochists. You really see how young they are and how much they've been through in this book. Sometimes books can make young protagonists just be nonchalant heroes all the time, but the audience here is constantly reminded that these are children who watched a war happen, who grew up so suddenly, who have been acting as adults for so long. 
    • Smol Blackthorns
      • I was gonna talk about each one separately but it was gonna get reaaaalll long. I think it's not particularly necessary to talk about them all though. While I thought they were all amazing, each with their own stand-out personality traits, the ones who stood out the most were Livvy and Ty. I loved their whole twin thing and the fact that they kinda coerced Kit Herondale into being friends with them and that Livvy is super sassy to everyone except Ty, who she protects with her life, and that Ty is very clearly neurodivergent but Shadowhunters don't allow mundane medicine so they don't even know what autism IS and so not only did Cassandra Clare write a three-dimensional, essential-to-the-plot autistic character who is honestly amazing, she highlighted a flaw in her own universe in which this high and mighty behavior is detrimental to Shadowhunters themselves. 
      • A GEM
      • Kit Herondale was 100% my favorite part of this entire book and probably my entire life. This kid was sassy, rude, an asshole, and 100000% in love with one of the characters and I am HERE FOR IT. Honestly, I loved that at first he REFUSED to be a Shadowhunter because it felt pretty realistic. If you know yourself as someone all your life, it's gonna take a little while to adjust to being someone else with an entirely different set of expectations. I also loved that he slowly, reluctantly made friends with Ty and Livvy but refused to acknowledge it as such. What a precious little child. Also, there is a SHIP BREWING involving Kit and I LOVE IT. I WANT IT. 
    • DIANA
      • I can't say anything that isn't a spoiler but trust me that not only was her story FANTASTIC just representation wise, but also a reiteration of my earlier point that I love that Clare lowkey is poking holes in her own world (even if that wasn't her intention and was just a byproduct) -- not in a way that makes her world bad!! However, some fantasy worlds are like, too perfect. In Diana's case, she's a character who should go under trial via Mortal Sword for some scenario but can't because it would reveal something about her past that the Clave would have to retroactively punish, even though she's basically perfect.
    • Cristina
      • I love Cristina. I am not a huge fan of Diego or Jaime but *shrug guy*
      • This is all I will say. 
    • ZARA
      • insert *the worst* dinosaur emoji
    • Honestly there are more characters but either #spoilers or they're not as relevant or I can't think of them right now. 
  • Plot
    • So many things happened. I'm not gonna lie, I have a LOT of questions and if I spend any more time thinking about them, I'm gonna become a person who thinks of potential plot theories before the next book comes out, which is fine if you enjoy that, but I have way too many responsibilities to devote myself to conspiracies full time. Like, it's 4am right now and I still have to do my readings for class tomorrow (today). I could never be a theorist.
      • Some highlights that won't make sense to you if you haven't read the book but I can't elaborate because I don't wanna be a jerk and spoil the book:
        • Cortana did something cool and I am shook 
        • S e e l i e Q u e e n  
        • The ending absolutely GUTTED me. I didn't think it was real, I thought there had to be more and there was no more, and then I thought I read it wrong and then I didn't. I am empty. 
        • I love that Julian really explored his dark, vengeful side in this book because it is terrifying and so very different from what the children see and the juxtaposition of Home Julian and Scary Julian is super wild and super interesting. 
          • I think I'm actually a little in love with Julian ngl. 
        • I loved the character who returned from the last book. Super well done and I thought the pacing was on point. 
        • Magnus was in this book was stressfully. As in he stressed me out. Rude. 
Overall, LoS was phenomenal. I'm glad Cassandra Clare decided to use this book to expand on the way identity is entangled with politics, and that she took a more introspective approach rather than a surface level one (not to say her other books are surface level! this one is just way more interested in the "why" and the "who" than the "what") Anyway, I'm sorry if my review was all over the place, but so am I. I'm probably gonna see this posted and realize I missed like 50 things I wanted to talk about. If you see anything you want to discuss, leave a comment, or hit me up on any of my social media links (the sidebar is to the right) and we can cry together. 

Pick a Blackthorn. 
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I've not read anything new by Clare since book four of the TMI series. I've heard really good things about this new series, but somehow, I just can't do it! One of my blogger friends told me that I would looooove Julian but... well, maybe I'll binge-read this series in the future. Maybe. :D I'm so glad you enjoyed this book, Sam! Your enthusiasm shows. ;)

    Have a great weekend!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Alyssa, I'm sometimes a little skeptical of authors adding more and more books to the worlds they've built but Cassandra Clare does it REMARKABLY well; every single book/series she writes is more well thought out, well paced, and we'll characterized than the last. I honestly don't think she'll ever run out of ideas. P.S I agree with your friend, Julian is the best 💖 - Noor

  2. I haven't read anything by Cassandra Clare yet, but I have heard a lot of great things. I love that you made the review into bullet points. This sounds like a great series that I will need to check out!

    1. Once you read a single book by her, you'll be HOOKED! Definitely check them out!

  3. AWESOME review, I especially liked this: "Clare decided to use this book to expand on the way identity is entangled with politics, and that she took a more introspective approach rather than a surface level one" because you hit the nail on the head, that's one of the main reasons I love this book! <3