Book Critique – Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices # 2)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

For review of the first Shadowhunter Chronicles series, The Mortal Instruments: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5

My Recommendation: With forbidden love and lurking consequences of their decisions, Julian and Emma's next journey takes readers through more twists and turns, shocking revelations, heart breaking outcomes and as well as involving the political games surrounding the shadowhunters and downworlders; an interesting sequel.

Lord of Shadows is the second book in The Dark Artifices series by Cassandra Clare published in May of 2017. This is the third set of books in The Shadowhunter Chronicles, the second set being The Infernal Devices, which I am yet to read.

The plot in this particular book is set in modern day Los Angeles in an alternate world where humans, vampires, werewolves, magical fey, demons and shadow hunters co-exist. It begins two weeks after the events in the previous book, Lady Midnight. 

Emma Carstairs, Julian Blackthorn and his siblings are adjusting to the changes at the Los Angeles Institute - Emma dating Mark Antony Blackthorn who is now back from the Wild Hunt; Christopher "Kit" Jonathan Herondale - previously Kit Rook - living at the institute. Just as things seem to settle into a lull, the Centurions arrive to search for the body of Malcolm Fade and the Black Volume of the Dead from the ocean where he got washed off when Emma kills him.

With the Centurions come a plethora of troubles to the doorstep of Emma and Julian in the form of shocks and troubling waters. As usual Emma and Julian are aided by their co-conspirators - Cristina Mendoza Rosales (another shadowhunter from Mexico); Diana Wrayburn (their tutor); the rest of the Blackthorn kids; Kit Herondale - to fight the familiar enemies like The Queen of Seelie Court and newer threats. 

Similar to the first book in this series, Cassandra centers her plot around another poem by Edgar Allan Poe - Dream-Land. In fact, she again has the titles of each chapter and the various parts of the book, directly taken from the poem. She however comes back to dividing the book into parts.

Cassandra spins a situation involving the Shadowhunters and Downworlders in the wake of the Dark War from The Mortal Instruments, which is so similar to the current political situation in our country here. When the head of the country can speak hatred, it is easy for everyone below to pick up the threads and spread it, easy for those who had suppressed their feelings before and become more vocal now; easy to send the country back to the dark ages. A brave controversial topic the author wove cleverly into this urban fantasy novel. 

Again She also doesn’t shun against mixing the characters with varied sexual preferences - gays, bisexual - or gender neutrality. A familiar theme carried forward from The Mortal Instruments series. Although she doesn’t go very far from the characters from that series either - they keep playing prominent role even here.

Considerable mention of The Wild Hunt, Unseelie Court and Seelie Court is seen again in the plot which kept on taking me back to Wild Hunt series by Nancy Corrigan. Although that series is an erotic romance fiction involving humans, fairies, wild immortal hunters from hell. My review of those books are here. Waiting for the author to pick up that series again

Cassandra gives a present to the readers with this book similar to what she did with the last book of The Mortal Instruments - City of Heavenly Fire. She gives a peek into the different runes the Shadowhunters use. Interesting calligraphic representations, as you can see clearly here.

As intense as the previous book was, this book doesn’t reduce it in anyway. In fact it adds more twists, creates more questions and puts more perils in the path of Emma and Julian, along with Jace, Clary and others. With unexpected twists and turns, normally expected, the Blackthorn kids and Emma continually come up with solutions and path to move forward in finding the truth. And yet they face the ultimate tragedy in their lives that would forever change their course. How this all will pan out in the next book will be interesting to read.

An intense second book in this set of books in The Shadowhunter Chronicles, focusing on the Blackthorns and Carstairs, while taking the reader on an adventure through the Shadowhunter World, facing perils at every turn of the page while striving to figure out solutions and find love.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. The book is divided into parts - Part I titled "Dreamland"; Part II titled "Thule"; 

b. Helen Blackthorn is still in exile at Wrangel Island. 

c. Current fate of Shadowhunter heroes from The Mortal Instruments that we have come to love them -  Jace Herondale and Clary Fairchild go on a mission to find the weapon with the Courts of Faerie (Seelie and Unseelie Courts) that Sebastian Morgenstern had left with, a weapon that would harm the shadowhunters. Jace proposes to Clary, but Clary says no asking for more time. Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane adopt a second son - Rafael - an orphan shadowhunter from Argentina (Last book we saw that they had adopted a warlock child named Max); they also head the Shadowhunter-Downworlder Alliance along with Maia Roberts (head of Werewolves) and Lily Chen (head of the Vampire Clan). Alec becomes temporary head of London Institute. Magnus, Tess and all the warlocks are becoming sick. 

d. Malcolm Fade returns back from dead, kills Arthur Blackthorn and brings Annabel Blakcthorn back from dead with flesh and blood. Annabel kills Malcolm and takes the Black Volume of Dead. 

e. Mark Blackthorn gets to meet his faerie side relatives - Nene, his mother Lady Nerissa's sister

f. Kit, Livvy and Ty meet Shade, a hooded warlock, who helps them read the aletheia crystal - a memory-holder. Who is Shade?

g. The love quartet turns into a love between Mark and Cristina finally, but they both are yet to act on it. However Kieran says Cristina is his something, what is that something? Kieran goes to Scholomance with Diego at the end of the plot.

h. Dru meets a faerie named Ash with green eyes in the faerie land. Who is Ash?

i. Emma and Julian decide to go on exile while Magnus and his friends try to find a way to break their parabatai bond without harming them or other parabatai and overcome the curse. They talk to Robert Lightwood on the terms of the exile, but he is killed by Annabel before the terms are executed. So are they in exile in the next book? 

j. The Riders of Mannan, made of seven members -  Karn, Etarlam, Eochaid, Delan, Airmed, Fal, and Ethna (the only female member) - attack the Blackthorns for the Black Volume of Dead. Emma kills Fal in the ensuing battle. The Riders vow vengeance against Emma, but they recognize something in Kit Herondale adding more mystery to Kit.

k. Annabel kills Livvy in her frenzy at the Council meeting, and then is abducted by the King of Unseelie Court. 

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. What are the old ties between Herondales and the Silent Brothers? Perhaps would be part of this series now that we have Kit Herondale also in the mix along with Jace.

b. In City of Souls, the angel Raziel, calls Simon as Simon Maccabees, an ancestor of Simon. I expected Cassandra to expand this in her future books of that series. But she hadnt. Wonder if that will come up again in this series.

c. In City of Heavenly Fire:

i. There is no closure to Lilith yet in this plot as well. 

ii. What will be consequences that Magnus and Isabelle face for putting a spell on Simon to get his memories back, the ones taken by Asmodeus in order to send Simon and his friends back to the living world. 

iii. The Fair Folk - fairies - are punished severely by The Clave at the end of the war for their role in the war waged by Sebastian Morgenstern, despite objections from a few set of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Cassandra leaves it open that they would come back to fight the Shadowhunters with vengeance. The fate of Seelie Queen is not shown either. But the Dark Artifices plot seems to spiral into this Cold Peace where there might be a show down between the Shadowhunters and the Fair Folk.

d. In the first book, Livvy wants her twin Ty to be her parabatai. But Ty refuses, instead he wants to join the Scholomance - a school for more elite Shadowhunters. But in this book, Ty decides not to join the Scholomance. Why does Ty's hair look different than the rest of Blackthorns - not the step-siblings?

e. Drusilla seemed to have a crush on Diego in the first book, but in this it seems that Jaime and Dru perhaps would be eventually paired.

f. Brother Zachariah aka James "Jem" Carstairs and Theresa "Tessa" Gray are married now. An ancestor to Emma, he tells her that he would be back soon with Emma and Julian as he need their help in something. Tess and Jem have been looking for a cure the warlocks are facing. 

g. Diana Wrayburn, who has been assigned as the tutor to the kids at the Los Angeles Institute. In this book we see that Gwyn ap Nudd, leader of the Wild Hunt, dates Diana, and she finally reveals her big secret and her past.

h. How will Julian and Emma get through their forbidden love and find a key to break the law that forbade to love your parabatai in the way of wife and husband? 

i. To save his family and institute, Julian throws a false trail at Anselm Nightshade - the head vampire of LA - to steer the Inquisitor away from the Institute and them. More to see about Anselm in the next plot perhaps and see how he will execute his revenge against the Institute for falsely incriminating him. 

j. Diego's infamous brother Jaime arrives at the Blackthorn's home while they are residing in London Institute.

3. Characters that potentially could be part of the future series from The Shadowhunter Chronicles, that appear in The Mortal Instruments series are:

a. From the Infernal Devices - Magnus Bane (the High Warlock of New York); Camille Belcourt (current leader of the vampire clan in New York); Woolsey Scott (founder of the Wolf Guard, The Praetor); William "Will" Herondale - connected to the dead inquisitor Imogen Herondale.

4. Some of the places, food, movies and books that are referenced:

a. Quote from the Hymn to Proserpine by Algernon Charles Swinburne - And bitter as blood is the spray; and the crests are as fangs that devour.

b. Quote from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Her skin was as white as leprosy, The Night-Mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she.

c. Kit, Livvy and Ty go to the London Shadowmarket beneath the London Bridge, which is quite different from what London represents. This book enlightened me that we see The Tower Bridge representing London always. Interesting. 

d. Quote by William Butler Yeats - The Land of Faery, Where nobody gets old and godly and grave, Where nobody gets old and crafty and wise, Where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue

5. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 222, Line 8 from bottom, it should be "…Not one of her…"

b. In the beginning of Pg, 306, Gwyn ap Nudd quotes "There are more things in heaven and earth, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." This is a direct quote from William Shakespeare's Hamlet- a quote by Horatio. However, in this book, Cassandra has her characters mention that this quote is from A Midsummer Night's Dream. I checked and rechecked but failed to find the same quote in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Cassandra mis-entered here. 


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