Tuesday, 11 July 2017

{English} Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) - Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter books are still not boring!

For fans of: all The Shadowhunter Chronicles books, fairies
Publication: 2017
ISBN: 1442468408
Pages: 701

Blurb: 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.

Cover: It matches the one of Lady Midnight perfectly, I can't decide which one I like best. The London skyline gives a hint on where the story will take us, though it's also set in Los Angeles, Faerie and Idris.

Content: There is so much going on here, I don't know where to start, especially without giving away too many spoilers.
I've waited a year for this sequel to an amazing opening and had to wait more than a month longer than the release date was. I wanted to read this so bad and luckily, I wasn't disappointed. When I started to read, it was like no time had passed at all. The story picks up seamlessly where Lady Midnight stopped. While reading I noticed how dear and familiar the Blackthorns, Emma and Christina had grown to me.

Emma and Julian try to stay away from eachother, but the author constantly puts them into situations where they have to share a bed with eachother. I roled my eyes more than once at that. Don't get me wrong, I ship them really hard, but those scenes didn't feel as authentic as others to me.

With Alec and Helen we've got homosexual characters, Magnus and Mark are bisexual and in Lord of Shadows we discover that there's also a transgender character in this story. I'm just not sure what to think of it, since it is used as a plot device.

Something I really disliked is the amount of love triangles. I hate love triangles and then there are at least two of them in just one book. I know, Cassandra Clare loves love triangles (as we saw in The Mortal Instruments and then there's a very special one in The Infernal Devices), but was that really necessary?

A new character, Zara Dearborn, was introduced and I hated her immediately. She and her Cohort are the most aweful thing I could think of right now. They reminded me of all those populistic political paries that are in the media right now. It's easy to blame others for your faults and that's what makes them so dangerous.

The whole story around Malcolm and Annabel was very intrigueing.
And the end. The end really killed me. It was painful, so very painful.

Writing Style: Lord of Shadows is the 14th Shadowhunter novel on my shelf. One might think it would get boring, but it's not. On the contrary, Cassandra Clare manages to improve her storytelling by each new series. The Dark Artifices feature a lot more crime novel aspects then the other books, which goes really well together with all that demon hunting.
We get to know even more parts of the Shadowhunter universe, like the Centurions, the fairy realms and the parabatai bond. There are still plenty of mystieries, so I hope everything will come clear in the last book of this trilogy, The Queen of Air and Darkness.

I love how there are so many Blackthorn siblings, but each of them is different, has their own interests. They might look alike, but that doesn't say anything about their minds.
There were many plotlines in this book, more than in the prequel, I think? Sometimes it was a tad too much, but in the end it always turned out to be necessary that this or that person's POV was shown. Even the younger Blackthorns and Kit had their important role.
It was just when Clary and Jace showed up that I thought: Come on guys, get out of the spotlight already! Well, Magnus and Alec were very present in the second half of this book, but there was a more valid reason to it. You can tell that Magnus Bane is Cassandra Clare's most favourite character and I honestly can't blame her for that.

It was nice to visit the London Institute again. All the little hints to previous residents and then there's Jessamine! I honestly can't wait for The Last Hours. When The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours were announced at the same time, I anticipated The Last Hours much more than The Dark Artifices, to be honest. Mainly because I liked The Infernal Devices more than The Mortal Instruments and London is much more awesome than Los Angeles.
Well, Cassandra Clare has shown me that LA can be the perfect place for a Shadowhunter novel too. She describes it very lively and catches the non-touristic side of it. If she writes of touristic places, she shows them from the point of view of locals, a fact that makes the city more realistic.
A big part of the story is set in the fairy realms. We've already seen glimpses of it, but here we get to know much more detail. The Unseelie Court is fascinating, certainly as much as the Seelie Court. I bet it's not the last time we've been to this place.

My conclusion: Even though I don't like Cassandra Clare as a person, I will buy all of her future Shadowhunter novels.
So... When is The Queen of Air and Darkness coming out?

My rating: 4/5 Buttons

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