Hi Everyone! It’s Becky. I recently finished the audiobook of the new Cassandra Clare book “Lord of Shadows” and after a few days to organize my reactions I am here to share all of my many thoughts on this book.
First, the audiobook is awesome! It’s read by James Masters (Yep! Spike from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and he rocked it. I believe there is a scene where he actually did five different accents. A very impressive feat in my own humble opinion. If you’re one of those people who have been waffling on whether or not you want to venture into the world of audiobooks Spike and wonder reading is the perfect place to start. Then there is the cover.
Second, we need to discussion that cover. This book jacket is gorgeous! It all dark and moody with it’s beautiful blacks and grays and blues. The cover is everything it should be: dark, spooky, and just a little romantic. I would have read this based just on the cover even if I hadn’t read all the other books in the Shadowhunter universe.
Now let’s talk about the book. “Lord of Shadows” which is the second book in the “Dark Artifices” series picks up shortly after “Lady Midnight” with our angel blooded demon fighters trying to keep a hold of the Los Angeles Institute. Doomed lovers and parabatais Emma Carstairs and Jules Blackthorne are being kept apart because of a curse linked to their parabatai bond. Emma has decided to make Jules stop loving her by pretending to have a romance with Jules long lost but recently returned half-faerie brother Mark. However, their heartbreak isn’t the only hurdle to a happy life at the LA Institute. There is a new demon threat and the infiltration of hordes of Centurions that may uncover Carstairs and Blackthorn secrets that need to be kept in the dark to protect their lives.
This book was a weird enigma. The book is long…really long weighing in at almost 700 pages. This isn’t unusual for Clare’s books and as a fan of her books I know when I hunker down to indulge in the newest installment of the Shadowhunter world that it is going to be quite a long hunkering down. However, “Lord of Shadows” had a weird temporal effect when it both felt as if the narrative was zipping along quickly but that nothing was happening or being resolved. This made the book feel both quick paced and sluggish. This issue may have been made greater spanning arch of Clare’s storytelling, “Lord of Shadows” includes Emma, Christina (Emma’s friend and fellow Shadowhutner), the visiting Shadowhunters, Kit (or the lost Herondale), and many many Blackthorns. This large cast of characters isn’t unusual in Clare’s work but the characters felt better developed in her previous series. After finishing book two of The Dark Artifices Series I still don’t feel like I know Emma or the Blackthorns which makes it difficult for me to care about them and the scores of other newly introduced characters. I’m okay with not feeling like every character is my best friend however when a major death happens near the end of the novel I didn’t care in the way that I should have. As I closed the book on page 700 I realized that the only characters I really cared about were Alec and Magnus in the slight role in the story (I am officially desperate for a Malec book!). Which leads us to my other problem with the book. To fully appreciate “Lord of Shadows” you have to read all of Clare’s other books. I’m not just talking about just The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices. You have to have read the “The Bane Chronicles” and “Tales From the Shadow Hunters Academy” to really understand all the nuances of the story. There are characters and events referenced that only a reader of all of Clare’s book would be able to understand.
Bottomline: This is a Cassandra Clare book that feels like a Cassandra Clare book which is awesome if you’re a fan (such as myself) or would be a miserable read if you are not a fan. The new characters introduced in The Dark Artifices have never really come to life like the characters in The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices series. However, the new character’s short comings are completely made up for by the appearances of fan favorites from past novels (Clarly, Jace, Magnus and Alec all make appearances). The best part of the story is the doomed love between Emma and Jules with everything else feeling just kind of like the norm. If you are fan you will love this but if you’re not a long standing reader of the Clare’s series you shouldn’t start with “Lord of Shadows” instead pick up a copy of “City of Bones” I promise you it will be worth your time.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5