Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: LORD OF SHADOWS by Cassandra Clare

Rating: 5/5 stars

The characters in Lord of Shadows are just so excellent. Every character has such a distinct, dynamic personality, and I really loved that. Julian might be my favorite, just because of how much he cares about his siblings and how he will go to any lengths to protect the people he loves.

Emma was great, too. She is turning out to be fierce just like Clary, but she still has her own voice. I liked watching her work to overcome struggle after struggle. Also, I love Emma’s obsession with chocolate that is prevalent throughout the book.
“We’ll have to get our energy the old-fashioned way.”
Mark looked puzzled. “Drugs?”
“Chocolate,” Emma said. “I brought chocolate. Mark, where do you even come up with these things?”
Kit was also excellent, and I’m glad to see him becoming more of a regular in this series and learning the ways of the Shadowhunters. I love his relationship with Tiberius, who is such a precious ray of sunshine. As I said in my review of Lady Midnight, I really enjoy seeing all of Julian’s siblings playing important roles in the story. I’m glad that Mark’s role got bigger in Lord of Shadows, too, because I love Mark. He is just different from the others, and I feel that he is the trustworthy friend that everyone needs.

What’s nice about Cassandra Clare’s books is that no matter how many points-of-view they’re told from (and this one had so many I lost count), it never feels confusing or overwhelming. Because the entire story is third-person POV and has such a large cast of characters, it feels natural to hear from so many of those characters. It keeps everyone’s story straight since there are a lot of things happening at the same time with different characters in different locations. It’s like in a movie when it switches between scenes of different people—that’s how this book (and all her books, really) felt, and I really enjoyed it. I will add, though, that I listened to this book on audio, so I don’t know if that influenced my ability to keep viewpoints straight or not.

Something else that’s neat about this series is how Clare subtly includes lots of diversity. I rather dislike when a person’s race or sexual orientation becomes who they are, and they seem to have no other defining traits aside from that, but that was not the case at all with any of the characters in this book. There was lots of representation, which was great to see, but no one made a big deal about it, which seemed very natural to me and added to the excellence of this story.

The ending of the book slayed me. So many questions left unanswered and details dangling in the air waiting for more information to come. I am so excited to read Queen of Air and Darkness later this year. This is one of the only times I can think of when I read a book and had to wait for the next book to be published. I very rarely start series that are not complete because I don’t want to lose interest in a story or forget what happened in previous books while I’m waiting for a new book, but after binge-reading The Mortal Instruments and some of The Infernal Devices, plus Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, I only wanted more stories set in this world and decided to start Lady Midnight right away. I am so glad I did because now I have something to look forward to later this year. Lord of Shadows’s ending was utterly insane with many unexpected events happening, and I really want to know what happens next.

I realized when reading this book how cool it actually is that Clare keeps writing books in this world. If you think about any fantasy series, when the last book ends it’s not like there are never any problems or villains ever again and life goes back to being boring; no, there will always be more adventures to go on and enemies to fight. But, as readers, we are just supposed to imagine the future for the characters and infer what would happen after the end, even after a really good ending that wraps everything up. But what’s so awesome about all the Shadowhunter books is that we do get to see a future for the Mortal Instruments characters in the Dark Artifices series. Clary and Jace still show up even though only as cameos now, but it’s still neat to see what happened after the “happily ever after” at the end of City of Heavenly Fire. And even then, that secondary trilogy was what happened after City of Glass. I guess this is a rather obvious observation, but I never thought about it before and it makes me happy.

After eleven Shadowhunter books, I can say that Lord of Shadows was the best one yet. The plot was fast-paced and interesting, the characters were so realistic and experienced great development and relationships, and the overall writing was engaging enough throughout the 700-page tome that I never felt like the story was dragging. I honestly was so invested in the book that I didn’t stop reading to write my review (which I usually do in segments throughout a book) until it was over. Because of that, I do not have much to say as far as spoilers or specific details go, but just know this book was excellent. If you liked any of the books that take place in the Shadowhunter universe so far, I would highly recommend reading The Dark Artifices.

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