Well, that was a lot to take in, and that ending was certainly a killer. Literally.
Cassandra Clare, you can’t just drop the Clary-is-going-to-die-soon bomb on us, and then not mention it again in the remaining near 700 pages. Because once that exploded in my face, I couldn’t be bothered to care about Emma and Julian and their relationship woes. All I could focus on was that a member of one of my all-time favorite YA couples had portended her death. Clary and Jace, a couple who overcame pure evil multiple times to get their HEA, aren’t going to get it now? And you just drop that little doozy, send them on an impossible and highly dangerous mission into Faerie, and then don’t mention it again? WTF, Cassandra Clare?
Since I have many months to ponder and wonder over that, I guess I might as well get on with this review. I didn’t love Lord of Shadows. In fact, of all the Shadowhunter books I have read (and that would be all of them) this is my least favorite. The day this book was released, I eagerly opened it up and began reading with an intensity that few authors can elicit from me, but Clare did…for about 450 pages, which was about the time that I realized my reading pace had become glacial. I was bored with it. There was simply too much relationship drama and not enough momentum with the overall storyline. There was too much Christina and all her potential suitors. And who can forget the endless, angst-ridden saga of the Emma/Julian forbidden love? Their relationship doesn’t hold my attention. I said this when I read Lady Midnight and the second Dark Artifices book only enforced my opinion: I do not like Julian. I find him completely untrustworthy. There isn’t anything he won’t do for his family. From anyone else, it seems like a cliché, but there really isn’t anything he won’t do to get what he wants, which is one big happy family and his Emma. He doesn’t care who else might get hurt in the process. Kieran says that Julian has a ruthless heart, and he’s right. In his desire to get what he wants, Julian has found a way to break his parabatai bond with Emma even if it means destroying every parabatai bond in the Shadowhunter world. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he goes through with it. Of course, with an ending like that, it might be a moot point.
I also didn’t care for all of the jumping about from one storyline to another. In most of Clare’s books, this method works well to move the story along and provide multiple points of view, but in Lord of Shadows, it happened so frequently that it bogged down the momentum. In some instances, the new viewpoint was so brief that it didn’t serve much of a purpose. I’d rather keep the story going than interrupt it.
And was it just me or was anyone else astounded that The Cohort didn’t elicit a single comparison to Valentine? Here is a hate group that is calling for a registry of Downworlders – think Hitler’s Germany – and thrives on their belief that Shadowhunters are better than faeries, vampires, werewolves, and warlocks, yet not a single character who fought Valentine or survived the Dark War brought on by Valentine’s son compares The Cohort to The Circle. Seriously? How does that not get a mention?
The ending, which was tragic and abrupt, seemed to come out of nowhere and wasted characters who had the potential to be amazing and instead were just fodder for shock value. The conclusion certainly leaves a lot of questions. What’s up with Cortana? Why are the universe’s oldest faeries afraid of it? Why can it destroy the Mortal Sword? Who is Mark eventually going to end up with? What is really wrong with Magnus? Will any of our beloved Shadowhunters and Downworlders ever get a happily ever after? We’re in for a long wait to find out. And despite not loving Lord of Shadows, I still can’t wait for the next Dark Artifices release….which according to Goodreads won’t be published until 2019. WTF, Cassandra Clare?!?!?!?!