WARNING: There will be spoilers in this review!
Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?
A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.
Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.
When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.
My Rating: 5 Stars
When I finished this book, I was simultaneously so upset and also empty inside that I had to go on an hour long walk around my neighborhood before I could even begin to process what I had just read. I love Cassandra Clare’s writing.
Julian’s character development throughout this story startled and concerned me. All throughout Lady Midnight I desperately wanted Emma and Julian to find a way to be together without destroying themselves and their family, but after this book, I’m not so sure anymore. Julian is still willing to do whatever it takes for that to happen, but the price is getting too high. The Black Book’s way out is to end every parabatai bond, which Julian is too eager to do. Even Emma doesn’t think that’s a good idea. And when Magnus presented an alternative to go to Robert Lightwood and have exile be an option, Julian was too willing for Emma to be the one to go into exile. I understand that Julian has his family to think of, but it rubbed me the wrong way how okay with that he was. He really is willing to sacrifice anything for his family, even Emma, and that is scary.
Also, super worried about Magnus and Clary. Clary’s visions of her own death is just scary. She’s still so young and I hope that she lives. She and Jace deserve to be happy. And Magnus the fish dying at the beginning, and Magnus’ deteriorating health throughout the story concerned me. If something happens to Magnus and Alec has to raise their children by himself I am going to be devastated for him.
When we got the glimpse of the little blonde boy with green eyes when Dru fell into the portal in Jaime’s bag, I was repeatedly hitting the couch I was sitting on because I was freaking out, and I couldn’t text my friend about it because she wasn’t at that point in the book yet. Is this finally the Sebastian-Seelie Queen demon child? The “weapon” that the Seelie Queen is desperately trying to get back? I’m extremely suspicious of this kid.
The Kieran-Mark-Cristina relationship was both amusing and startling. This is shaping up to be a very interesting love triangle. I ship Mark and Cristina, but I am curious to hear what exactly Kieran thinks about Cristina. He got cut off when he was going to say something about her, and I’m dying to know what he would’ve said. I was skeptical of Kieran throughout this whole book because I wasn’t sure if we would be able to trust him, especially after what happened in the last book, but I was pleasantly surprised when we were able to trust him.
Some small topics I want to touch on but not go into detail with because I would rant and this review would be endless: Where were Izzy and Simon? I feel like they should’ve been, at least, at the Clave meeting at the end. Moving on to the Cohort: I hate them. Not all of them. But Zara was infuriating. Although I did gain a new respect for Perfect Diego when we learned about the real reason he’s engaged to that horrible girl. Also, I knew that Malcolm was still alive so when he came sauntering up to the Institute I was not surprised, but I was glad when Annabelle killed him and he was finally dead.
I loved getting to hear more from the other Blackthorn children in this story. I would’ve liked to have heard from Dru a little more, but I liked her part with Jaime. I was worried he was using her, and I’m still a little suspicious of him, but I liked seeing Dru in a situation where she wasn’t responsible for Tavvy.
I loved learning about Diana’s backstory. I definitely didn’t see that coming. I was so suspicious of her during the last book and even a little during this book because we knew that she was hiding something from us, and we’ve had plenty of betrayal in the past with adults in the Institute. I wish Diana could be the head of Los Angeles Institute but that’s unlikely. I hope the Clave doesn’t find out because that would just make things even worse for the Blackthorn kids. I love the diversity in Cassie’s books, it’s so true to real life and the diversity of people that are around us every day.
Seeing Ty and Livvy more in this story, and Kit’s friendship with them, made me so happy. Kit using his mundane knowledge to try and understand Ty’s autism was adorable and so sweet. Especially that scene when Ty asks Kit to hold him tight. I adore their friendship. The three of them sneaking around as detectives was so fun to watch. They’re such smart kids and I loved watching the twins accept Kit as one of them so quickly. And when Ty decided to not go to Scholomance, I was relieved. And he was so excited to have Livvy be his parabatai, but I had really been hoping for Kit and Ty to be parabatai. Maybe now they will be, given the ending. Speaking of the ending…
When Robert died, I was so upset. Thinking about how that’s going to affect Alec and Izzy and how devastated they will be broke my heart. And knowing that he was the only real chance that Emma and Julian had made it even worse. But I am relieved that maybe Emma won’t have to be exiled now, and maybe they can find another way to break the parabatai bond. And when Livvy died, I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. I legitimately couldn’t breathe when I read it. The reactions from everyone in the Blackthorn family… there are no words for how sad that was. I can’t even imagine how her death will affect them all in the next book. Especially Ty. And Julian. Julian would set the world on fire to keep his family safe, and he couldn’t save his little sister. And seeing the Lightwoods deal with Robert’s death will be just as bad, if we get to see that.
Lastly, the ending raised a bunch of questions for me. When Cortana cut the Mortal Sword, I was wondering: how did Cortana do that? Is Cortana going to be the new Mortal Sword? What will that mean for Emma now, since Cortana is hers? Also, where did Annabelle go when she disappeared? I hope the Blackthorn children get revenge on her, because I’m furious about Livvy’s death and I can only imagine how the Blackthorn children will be feeling.
Let me know what your favorite part of Lord of Shadows was in the comments! I can’t believe we have to wait two years for the final book; I don’t know how I’ll make it that long without knowing what happens next.