So while this view is spoiler free for Lord of Shadows, it does contain minor spoilers for the previous books in the series (Lady Midnight). If you don’t want to be spoiled, I highly suggest you go read that first and then come back.
Sunny Los Angeles can be a dark place indeed in Cassandra Clare’s Lord of Shadows, the sequel to the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Lady Midnight. Lord of Shadows is a Shadowhunters novel.
Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?
And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.
I’ll start by saying that book is hands-down, probably one of the best books that Clare has written. It has literally everything you want in a fantasy series – world building, political intrigue, great character development, fantastic plot development and a killer ending. Okay, so maybe the ending wasn’t something that everyone wanted, but it was a fantastic book, and that’s what counts. It’s going to be difficult to talk about this book in depth without spoiling anything, so I’m going to be as detailed as I can without (hopefully) spoiling too much.
For me, the standout of this book was most definitely the writing. It’s detailed and descriptive, yet there’s a subtlety embedded that leaves you as the reader to ponder what is going on. I love how there are also references to previous books and timelines of the previous Shadowhunter world – they’re so subtle, and you wouldn’t even know what it meant unless you’ve read the other series in the Shadowhunter Chronicles. In saying that, you definitely don’t need to have read the other books in the series to understand what’s going on, although it definitely enhances your reading experience if you do.
The world-building was also pretty good – we were introduced to some insight on why certain “mundane” traditions and beliefs are rejected in Shadowhunter society, especially in regards to mental illness and views on the LGBTQI+ community. There’s also a lot more travelling to different places compared to Lady Midnight. By far my favourite moments in the book were the ones in the London Institute. Honestly, although there wasn’t a lot of world-building in the book, but what we got was definitely executed very well.
The plot and character development were basically interlinked – it’s so difficult to talk about it in depth without spoiling, but it’s suffice to say that it was brilliant. The plot is definitely driven by the character development as well as external events that are happening at the same time. As a result, there’s so much angst and drama throughout the book that really pushed the plot forward. The pace wasn’t too fast or too slow – it was somewhere in between and I was always eagerly anticipating the twists and turns until the ending, where I was utterly disappointed that we have to wait anther two years to see how it all goes down.
We got introduced to a bunch of new and old characters, some of who were familiar from Tales of Shadowhunter Academy which was nice to see. I loved all the Ty and Kit moments m- it was really special to see Kit come into his own and also for Ty to come out of his comfort zone. Diana’s sass was also awesome. I love the say she completely shuts down the self-pompous, arrogant Zara (and rightly so) – she’s so fierce but also has a sweet yet insecure side to her. The drama between the main few characters – Emma, Julian, Christina, Mark and Kieran was also very intense but a worthwhile read. It was really interesting to see how everything that was set up in Lady Midnight played out, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends in A Queen of Air and Darkness.
Overall, it was a really well rounded book with a good mixture of plot, character development and world building. Despite the length of the book, it’s most definitely worth the 700 pages of text that fills you with a rollercoaster of emotions. I definitely think that this book (and series) is worth your time, especially if you’ve read all the others.