Lord of Shadows (Dark Artifices) Hardcover – 23 May 2017
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About the Author
Cassandra Clare is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Lady Midnight, Lord of Shadows, and Queen of Air and Darkness, as well as the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. She is the coauthor of The Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages and made into a feature film and a TV show. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.
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The fact that this book took me 4 months to read should give you some indication of how much I struggled with this novel. I am someone who cannot put a book down, if I start it I will finish it but I found it extremely difficult to do that here. For the first time in my life, I had to stop reading a book halfway through and read something else to get myself motivated. I hated having to do it but I feel like if I hadn’t I would still have at least 250 pages to go now!
So, what was wrong with it? Well, for me the first part of this book doesn’t even get 1 star. It was so unbelieveably dull! Nothing happened! There are only so many boring conversations and monotonous meetings a person can sit through in 300 pages and I feel like Clare exhausted that limit around page 54.
It also doesn’t help that I felt like I’ve read this all before. Every single plot point and character seemed like it had been plucked straight out of Clare’s earlier novels, tweaked ever so slightly and dropped into Part 1 of Lord of Shadows. I think that’s why I found all of the conversations and meeting so so hard to read. When I read a new book I expect to be reading new material, not something that I’ve already read in Clare’s books or watched in the Shadowhunters TV show.
Which brings me onto my next problem with Part 1 - Clary! I was thrilled when Clary and Jace turned up at the start of the novel... until Clary quickly started to make everything about her! I am all for more Jace and Clary stories, but if Clare isn’t going to do that then write another book about Jace and Clary! Don’t give them (what’s is undoubtedly going to turn into) a main plot point or twist in what is supposed to be someone else’s book! I don’t know whether my irritation with Clary is partly to do with the fact that I can’t stand her in the TV show, but whatever it is, it didn’t help that I had to put this book down for a long time because I was so mad that Clary had made herself the centre of attention in what was not supposed to be her story!
Here is my summary of Part 1: A group of hateful Shadowhunters want to enslave the downworlders and bring back the “golden age” of shadowhunting and Clary swoops in with a few words that make her the only thing you can think about for most of the book. Sound familiar? It should, it’s the premise of every single book in The Mortal Instruments series! It seemed like Clare chose this particular storyline on purpose to reflect what is currently going on in the world. Changing certain key names to Shadowhunter names and turning real-life people into downworlders doesn’t make it feel any less like Clare is trying to make a political statement in this book. While that is fine and I applaud her for doing so, I read fantasy books like these to escape from the harsh reality of the real world not to have it consistently thrown in my face. I want read these books to read about how the good guys win and the oppressors are crushed under the might of those they seek to enslave. It’s not a realistic view I know, but that’s why the genre is called fantasy fiction.
Part 2 was infinitely better, but by that time the damage had been done for me with this book so Part 2 only managed to scrape a couple of stars out of me. It still wasn’t brilliant, but it was far more exciting.
First of all, the Shadowhunters actually stopped sitting around talking and got up and did something! They went on missions like Shadowhunters are supposed to do and everything! Shocked? I was when it happened because I genuinely thought the entire book was going to be long, long, long conversations and nothing more! The missions were even exciting and made me want to read more.
The final chapter was Clare’s writing at her best, but it was too much for the final chapter. The final chapter of a book is supposed to be when everything settles down a little bit because all of the exciting stuff has happened. All of the most exciting parts of the book aren’t meant to be kept for the last chapter! I could feel my heart beating in my chest while reading it, I should have been feeling that excitement through all 700 pages not just the last 50.
This goes back to what I was saying saying about the long conversations. I feel as though Clare spent so much of this book with relationships; a subtle touch of the hand here, some unspoken subtext there, the constant will-they-won’t-they that she lost sight of what the story was actually supposed to be about. I also have to ask, how many LGBT characters is too many? I should say right now to avoid any backlash that my view is that love is love and I have no problem whatsoever with gay characters (Malec is one of my ultimate OTP’s and I will fight anyone who says that they should not be together (Zara Dearborn I’m talking to you)). People should be whoever they want to be and be with whoever they want to be, but at a certain point it stopped feeling as though these were just relationships and started to feel as though Clare was simply writing them that way to make herself seem more accepting. But, back to my original point, if Clare hadn’t spent more than three quarters of the book on relationships, this book would have either been less than half the size or would have been just as long but had more actual plot in it.
I don’t think that the fact that I cannot stand Emma Carstairs helped matters either. I’m sorry, but she’s is an annoying, whiny little brat who says one thing but does another, and bitches at someone because they haven’t done something that she didn’t tell them outright that she wanted them to do but was thinking that maybe they might do it anyway. As such, I hated reading chapters from her POV. Sadly, there were a lot of them! Thankfully, the chapters from Mark, Christina, Julian and Kit’s POV’s more than made up for it.
It also didn’t help that most of the book that took place in London felt like it was written by someone who has never been to London! Which is bad because I know Clare has visited England many times! I never truly appreciated how hard it is to read a bad description of a place when you know what it should look like. To read characters going from one place to another by taking streets that you know either would not take them to their intended destination or are nowhere near where they are currently supposed to be. Also, as someone who lives in the South West of England and frequently takes the train from London to Cornwall I feel the need to mention that I have been in first class many times on those trains and, despite Clare’s description of Julian and Emma having a compartment all to themselves and the woman with the refreshment trolley rattling down the narrow hall outside it, the trains from London to Cornwall are nothing like the Hogwarts Express! You do not get single compartments to yourselves no matter how much you pay for first class tickets! Everyone sits in a carriage together. The only difference is that in first class you only have 20-30 people in a carriage instead of 80. Despite everything that I had read up until that point that is nothing at all like the London I know, the description of the train is what made me cringe the most!
Ironically, after what I said about Jace and Clary earlier, Magnus and Alec were one of my favourite things about the entire novel! I was beyond thrilled when they turned up in part 2 and loved that they stuck around to help out the Blackthorn’s. I think the reason that I feel so differently is because Malec didn’t try to take over the story. They were there as additional characters but didn’t take anything away from the Blackthorn’s. This is what I expect from seeing my favourite characters return, nothing more.
SPOILER ALERT!! After thinking about it overnight I've realised how pointless Livvy Blackthorn's death is. Yes, they had to find out who killed Malcolm Fade but there were two people in the hall who were claiming to kill Malcolm, Annabel was just one of them. Why on earth couldn't they give the sword to Zara Dearborn and ask her the questions when Annabel said that she didn't want to? Jia and Robert knew that she had valid reasons to not want to touch the sword, so why not then go to Zara and ask her the questions? It may not have proved that Annabel did it, but it would certainly prove that Zara didn't and they may have even been able to discredit her and the Cohort with further questions that way. Now the Blackthorn's are in mourning and out for revenge when everything could have gone so much smoother.
In conclusion, an absolutely terrible start followed by a pretty good second half and finishing with a brilliant ending. Not even a little bit what I expected from a Shadowhunters novel. Sadly, I really feel as though Clare has run out of ideas and is just rehashing the same old story over and over again. She’s beating a dead horse at this point and I don’t know how much more of it I can take.
I really enjoyed being back in the shadowhunter world with the blackthorns and everyone else. I loved how the book started off with normal everyday life of the shadowhunter and just got so much more complex and intense as the story went on. There is soo much happening in this book I don't even know how Cassandra Clare kept track of it all. It was so entertaining and emersive i absolutly loved it.
I also loved the charecters in the dark artifices series there all so different and loveable. I really admire how CC gives time to each charecter with her constantly changing POVS throughout the book and i love the relationships and friendships between each charecter and how everyone is connected to everyone else but it somehow worlds like their own little ecosystem. I really enjoyed the development of each charecter in this book as well as the development of relationships with each other. I loved how Kit became really close to Lizzy and Ty and the confusing love triangle between Mark, Keiran and Christiana. I personally think this story is really driven by the charecters and it's one of the reasons I love it so much.
The story had so many sections throughout the book that all connected at the end and there were so many variables that you never knew where the story was going or what would happen next. It was really entertaining I honestly can't find a fault with it, the book was a bit long at 700 pages but I also feel like that it was the perfect size, nothing was to vague or dragged out. The book was so complex that I really can't say much more without spoiling something.
Overall I was so happy to be back in this world I loved the charecter development and the world building and I really enjoyed Cassandra Clare's writing. The story was so complex and entertaining I can't find a fault with it would deffinetly recommend
Now with a long wait for the next book I say read it and to all the lucky ones who haven't read any of Cassandra`s books read them all...