Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

“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.”

Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! Allison here with my most anticipated read of 2017 and most likely my favorite book from 2017.

Stars (Out of 10): 10

Overall Thoughts: Honestly, this has got to be the best Cassandra Clare book out there. I was hooked from start to finish. The book was so complex but came together so beautifully in the end. It did not suffer the second book curse at all, it was amazing. I loved Lady Midnight so much and Lord of Shadows just blew me away.

The Good: The characters are just so well developed. One of the reasons this is my favorite Shadowhunter series is because the characters are not trying to save the world, but everytime they try to get out of saving the world, they just get more and more involved in it. They just want to save themselves and the Blackthorn family and they just get stuck in this huge political mess. There are so many plots in this book and, at first, it’s overwhelming but they all end up coming together in the end in such an interconnected way. Furthermore, Kit Herondale’s POV is honestly the best, least complicated POV in this book and I just died laughing everytime he had a POV. This book is just all my favorite things come together.

The Bad: This is just a me thing, but Julian and Emma had the most boring POVs toward the middle of the book. If you diehard ship them, their POVs would be amazing, but I kid you not, I found myself skimming so many times and then would have to go back and figure out what I missed. Also, if Julian uses one more metaphor, ONE more metaphor, I will end him.

Major spoilers begin below!

The Characters: Let’s go down the list. Emma Carstairs is reckless, but just so good. We don’t really get to see that side of her in Lady Midnight. She is just so selfless. She has a high moral ground. Julian Blackthorn is fun to read about in other people’s POVs, but I don’t really like his POV. Julian is probably one of the most interesting protagonists I have ever read though. He is not the ultimate good type of person. I wouldn’t even call him chaotic good. Just his gray area morals and selfishly motivated personality (as in what’s good for him and his family) make him an interesting character. Together, their POVs make up most of the angst in the book.

This book made me like Mark Blackthorn a heck of a lot more than I did in the first book. He is a lot more aware of what his actions do and he is a lot more developed. Cristina Rosales surprised me in this book. In the first book, we saw her more of this mature, levelheaded girl. In this book, we explore who she really is: her and her family’s fascination with the Faerie, her motivations, and what she would do for people she feels loyal too. Her and Mark’s faerie bond was a super cool twist. Kieran completes these two characters as the third wheel that doesn’t know why he is a third wheel. I felt so bad for him in this book. But, I think these three will surprise us yet and I wouldn’t be surprise if they end up in a polyamorous relationship by the end of the series…if they all live.

Kit Herondale is honestly the best character though. I loved reading his POV and how he saw Shadowhunter stuff. He was just so hilarious and not as angsty as our previous Herondales, making him the number one Herondale on my list. I loved how he made a trio with Ty and Livvy. Tiberius Blackthorn was so awesome in this book and I loved seeing him from the POV of someone his age, not someone who saw him grow up and sees him still as a child. Kit and him have an amazing dynamic and I ship them so hard. Now, it’s time to talk about Livia Blackthorn. Oh my god. I loved seeing more of Livia’s personality. She is so strong and so amazing. But most importantly, oh my god her death. I knew her death was coming because we were getting very vague hints from Cassandra Clare through social media such as her not mentioning what Blackthorns would be the main characters of The Wicked Powers and her art cards always having the title “The Protector”. But I was not actually ready for her to die? Like, the second it started going down the line of her wanting to run an institute, Ty and her planning to be parabatai, and then Kit and her talking about always being friends, I was like no, I’m not ready. And then she died and I’m like holy bajeezus. But honestly, her character arc was always pointing towards this moment, from the very beginning. I think it was a good move on Cassandra Clare’s part since it not only moves the plot in a different direction, but also shows that she would take the risk of killing a main character off. She had never truly taken that risk before and now that she has, the effect is huge. It’s also good that it was in the second book since, as Cassandra Clare once said, killing a big character in the final book, during the most action, means there is no time to mourn. In this case, the characters have room to mourn and move on. I honestly don’t know how Ty is going to do it though. They were so close.

Diana Wrayburn!! Her plot was so unexpected, but so amazing. It is awesome that Cassandra Clare included a trans character. She is such a strong individual. I love her so much. Her POVs were never boring to read and I feel like she is going to have an even bigger role to play in Queen of Air and Darkness. Also, I loved the unexpected ship between her and Gwyn. Gwyn was just a big sweetheart in this book.

Drusilla Blackthorn had some big secrets of her own. I love that she is a plus sized Shadowhunter. Also her and Jaime’s friendship was so cute. Speaking of that, Jaime had an awesome plotline in this book. I kind of wish he was still the asshole they teased him to be but it was still an awesome twist to find out what he truly is doing. I feel like he is going to be super important in book 3. But, let’s talk about Ash real quick. Oh my god. I can’t be the only one that is like that is Sebastian and the Seelie Queen’s child. I never believed in that theory until now. I literally screamed when he appeared. But something tells me he’s going to be super important in the Wicked Powers, maybe even a love interest for Dru.

As for the TMI characters, it was great to see them again and especially see them grow in their lives. Jace and Clary are running an institute and doing missions for the Clave, that are actually sanctioned by the Clave. It’s so strange. Also, Clary’s dreams though…I honestly have no idea how they can come into play. Meanwhile, Alec and Magnus had so many domestic moments. I love them and their sons so much. And Magnus (and Tessa) are sick, which is another stressful thing. Also…RIP Robert Lightwood. Another death that I called that I wish didn’t come true.

The Plot: Oh my god. This book took Lady Midnight’s three plotlines and threw them in the water. There were so many plotlines in this book. I was not expecting everything to be happening that was happening.

Okay, so let’s start with the Cohort. The Cohort’s plotline is not one I would have expected to appear in the Dark Artifices, I always thought it would appear in the Wicked Powers. However, it definitely was one of the most aggravating, frustrating, and exciting plotlines in this book. It was so well developed. Like, of course there would be hate groups after the Cold Peace. History repeats itself, and I’m so glad Kit keeps bringing that up in his POV.

The Faerie plotline felt kind of hard to grasp at first but once it came together, I was like oh so that’s the Big Bad. Honestly, the Unseelie King is a good Big Bad too, especially since Shadowhunters won’t be able to use their angelic powers against him. Also, the Seelie Queen surprised me in this book, but it’s not the Seelie Queen unless there is a bargain involved. This cannot end well.

Annabel Blackthorn. What a twist. When she killed Malcolm, I was like wha??? I always thought she would come back and be forever in a murderous rage. Instead, she actually is just a normal person trying to be chill and protect the Black Book while being sought out by Julian, Emma, Ty, the Unseelie King, etc. I felt so bad for her in the end…and then she killed Livvy and Robert and I felt less bad.

The Parabatai bond. Ah, yes. Emma’s plan did not work at all. Thank the writing gods that Emma actually talked to Julian about it and they actually communicated and actually came up with a plan. But the very fact that Julian considered the idea of ending all parabatai bonds made me go oh hell no. But so far, the curse hasn’t really done anything but give Emma and Julian superpowers. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Now, I have to say one of the most surprising things about this book is how it all came together in the end, like omg. I mean, the plan was riding on so much. Like everything had to happen in such a specific way. I had so much anxiety during those last 100 pages. I was not prepared for what was about to happen. Then we get to the last 30 pages and my Game of Thrones red wedding senses began tingling. Like the second certain characters were leaving the hall and certain characters were staying in there I was like, DID SOMEBODY LOCK THE DOORS, ARE THERE ANY CROSSBOWS IN THE ROOM, IS ANYBODY PLAYING ANY MUSIC???????!!!! But I just couldn’t believe how nicely all the plots came together in the end, like Annabel Blackthorn is there to testify but gets interrupted by the Cohort and kills Robert Lightwood-who was the only one that could help put Emma and Julian in exile to break the parabatai bond-and Livvy Blackthorn and gets saved by the Unseelie King. I was shocked how well it all slid together. I cannot wait to see how this all comes into play next book…in two years. Two whole years.

Favorite Character: Kit Herondale

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