Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2), by Cassandra Clare

I’ve been sobbing for a good 10 minutes now… What is it with Clare’s books that I always end up crying like a baby?

I doubt this review will make much sense, because I am still so emotional over this book. I wish I could have read it in one sitting, but I had to leave for vacation and I was forced to take a break from it, which I think made me enjoyed it a bit less than I would have had I finished it at once. It was still, however, a great book, one full of twists and cleverly crafted paths, interesting characters and emotional scenes.

The reason I’m enjoying this particular series so much is because we get to explore the Faerie world, mythology, and folklore a lot more than in Clare’s previous works. Faeries are no longer just side-characters, but are now put front and centre, moving the plot and largely participating in it. Faeries were unexplored territory, so Clare has the “freedom” and the opportunity to do as she pleases with them, move them in directions and down paths that her Shadowhunter characters couldn’t have followed. It’s an interesting world she is building, possibly in preparation for Τhe Wicked Powers series.

Once again, the strongest character – and the strongest asset of the book – for me, was Julian, whom I’ve come to view more as a morally grey character, an anti-hero of sorts than a golden boy/the next big hero. He cares for his family and his family only; the world could burn if that meant his family were safe. He’s been forced to grow up too fast, be responsible for his siblings, become a parent of four at just the age of 12. He is patient, he is kind, he is loving, and I admire him for it. But he is also a liar, ruthless when he needs to be, a person who does what needs to be done, even – or especially – when no one else will. He is, by far, one of the most interesting, most complex characters Clare has created, and a joy to read about.

“People say we’re unlucky because we don’t have parents. But I think they are unlucky because they don’t have a brother like mine.”

I know I said this on my review for Lady Midnight as well, and I still stand by it: Emma doesn’t really work for me as a main character. Don’t get me wrong, I like her, but that’s literally it. Other characters of the series outshine her, such as Julian, Mark, Cristina, Ty, even Kieran and Kit now. I was hoping she’d surprise me in this book, but my feelings towards her have not changed.

I have to give it to Clare; she keeps bringing back beloved characters from her previous works, whether in subtle references or actual guest appearances, and they are always in character, painted in a brand new light that allows the readers to view them from someone else’s point of view. Case in point: Clary and Jace were my least favourite of the core six characters of The Mortal Instruments series. But, in The Dark Artifices I finally managed to see them as the heroes they were supposed to be all along. Through Emma’s eyes, her admiration, love, and respect for them, I finally saw them as something more than the annoying kids I thought they were back in TMI, recognizing now both their flaws and virtues. I especially loved the appearances of Magnus and Alec, two of my favourite characters and one of the greatest couples Clare has created.

I have to say that I found the Cohort such an interesting and original idea. By including an extremist, fascist group in one of her series, Clare possibly parallels the world of Shadowhunters with reality, portraying a bigotry and blind hatred many of us are used to. I do think, however, that the characters/members of the Cohort were very one-dimensional, obviously created to be nothing but the bad guys, with no depth or thought going into them. They all pale in comparison to the Blackthorns and their friends, and I think that lack of depth takes something away from the entire storyline.

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