I go into every Cassandra Clare novel reminding myself I’m likely to cry by the end. Typically this warning is a reminder when I read a final installment of her series’, but I try to keep it in the back of my mind for every book (including the novellas). Even with my reminder, I was not prepared for how much I would cry reading Lord of Shadows.
Caution: Spoilers Ahead
When we last saw Emma, she was convincing Mark to pretend to be falling in love with her. While I don’t think it’s beautiful that they’re lying to everyone around them, I think the friendship formed from this fake relationship is really lovely.
The thing about Cassie’s writing, at least in my opinion, is she knows how to write relationships I’m invested in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic relationship or just a friendship. I love the way she writes about the bonds formed between her characters. This is important to me in the novels I consume so I was happy to see it continue on in Lord of Shadows.
Emma and Cristina’s relationship is almost on par with Simon and Clary’s friendship. As far as friendships go, I’m equally as invested in both of these relationships. As this novel progressed, I found myself wishing Emma and Cristina could be parabati. It would certainly make Emma and Julian’s relationship easier.
Mark and Emma’s friendship, under the ruse of dating, is also one I came to adore. As they pretended to be falling in love, I noticed they were getting closer and closer as friends. Mark is one of my favorite characters in the Shadowhunters Chronicales, so to get more of him, especially moments where he’s re-learning how to be a Shadowhunter, was something I really cherished about this novel. I didn’t necessarily like that Emma and Mark were pretending (because I prefer Mark with Kieran or Cristina) but I liked that Mark had someone else to rely on as the story progressed.
I struggled with Kieran in this novel. I harbored so much residual hatred for him from Lady Midnight, I couldn’t quite feel bad for him when he was taken to the Unseelie Court. I didn’t necessarily want him to die at the hands of his father, but that doesn’t mean I liked him. I think after he was rescued by Mark, Emma, Jules, and Cristina I started to like him more. I didn’t like that he was behaving like a jealous boyfriend, but I get why he was that way.
Kit, Ty, and Livvy really stood out in this one. Their little trio is very much how I imagine Jace, Izzy, and Alec’s trio to be when Jace came to live at the New York Institute. I imagine that Kit and Jace felt very much the same way when they joined their respective Institutes because Herondale’s are all quite alike. I loved that Kit was Livvy’s first kiss even though it seems Kit is more intrigued by Ty than Livvy. The friendship in this group was really important to me as this novel progressed.
While nothing is really complicated about the friendships in Lord of Shadows, the romantic relationships are completely opposite.
First, Julian and Emma… Oh boy, how to even explain. Their relationship seems to be becoming a raging fire…. Even though Mark and Emma pretended to date until after the came home from Faerie, I could tell it was hurting Julian a lot. Mark, of course, didn’t know how much it was hurting Jules because he thought it was to hurt Cameron. When Emma and Mark break up, I would compare Jules and Emma’s relationship to throwing gasoline on a fire. It really ramps up and starts to affect their bond. I know this is one of the main principles of the novel and I’m not doing it any justice whatsoever, so basically: I spent this whole novel rooting for Emma and Jules. I don’t want to give too many spoilers…
Kieran and Mark or Mark and Cristina Or Mark, Kieran, and Cristina? This was even more complicated than Julian and Emma. I like Mark and Kieran together. Kieran was the person who helped keep Mark safe in the Wild Hunt so I feel like I can forgive Kieran for his sins… But Cristina helped keep Mark sane when he returned from the Hunt. And she’s a genuinely kind person. So I have to root for her and Mark. But I can also see Cristina and Kieran as a couple because he takes care of her after he slays Erec. And I can see all of them together because of the love Kieran and Cristina both have for Mark. Basically, Lord of Shadows sits on the precipice of a thrupple. I live for it.
One relationship I did not question whatsoever was Gwyn and Diana. She is such a badass woman, she deserves someone equally badass. Who’s more badass than the leader of the Wild Hunt? We learn that Diana is harboring a secret and we learn what her secret is and I couldn’t possibly love Cassie any more for including a variety of characters in her novels.
Was there anything that pissed me off relationship wise? Yes. Of course! The Mortal Instruments introduced me to Cassie’s writing, so to read that Clary turned Jace down when he asked her to marry him – even though she had a valid reason – really wound me up. I yelled. I cried. I cursed Clary out in my head. But ultimately, I got it. However, if Clary and Jace don’t end up married how is there hope for any other relationship in this world Cassie created?
Okay… enough about the relationships in this novel. Let’s talk about the worst parts of Lord of Shadows: the Centurions.
If any one character, besides Valentine, defined “Shadowhunter Superiority” it’s Zara Dearborn. This isn’t used lightly; Zara is a raging bitch. I was surprised when she introduced herself as perfect Diego’s fiancee. I was heartbroken for Cristina or course because Diego doesn’t seem that bad.
When Manuel and Zara have their secret meeting and the little trio of spies catches them, I couldn’t help but compare their ideas for the Downworld to Nazi Germany. I’m sure this was Cassie’s intent too. While Lady Midnight was about catching Annabel Blackthorn, Lord of Shadows seems to be more about taking down Zara and her cronies. Or maybe they’re the underlying problem… after recapturing Annabel.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading more about the Blackthorns and Emma. There were character deaths, one in particular, I will never recover from and there were super sweet moments as well. At the time of writing this, I have finished Queen of Air and Darkness and can safely report Lord of Shadows is my favorite of The Dark Artifices trilogy.
Note: I really had to reign myself in on this one… I could have written about every tiny detail that was important to me, but I really wanted to focus on the building up of relationships in this one. Call me sentimental! ha