Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance  

Publishing Info: May 2018 by Simon and Schuster Children’s UK (first published 2017)

Pages: 699

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Lord of Shadows is the second book in the Dark Artifices trilogy. The first in the series, Lady Midnight, instantly became one of my favourite Shadowhunters books when I read it earlier this year. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed Lord of Shadows, I didn’t get quite the same feeling from it as the first book.

Lord of Shadows is very long and felt too drawn out to me. Too much time seems to be spent on the relationship drama, and the main plot falls to the wayside too often. Relationships are always a big part of Cassandra Clare’s books, but the plot was very strong in Lady Midnight with a clear arc and goal for the characters. While the characters did have a goal in Lord of Shadows, that didn’t become clear until a fair chunk into the book, and then the main conflict seemed secondary to character drama for too much of the remaining pages. The final, shocking chapter felt too rushed and ended very suddenly.

The Blackthorn family and their dynamics is part of what I loved about Lady Midnight, and is also one of the best aspects of Lord of Shadows. While I did feel the relationships dominated too much at times, I did appreciate the character development in this book. We got to see a lot more of some of the characters, such as Kit, Ty and Diana. I wasn’t keen on Kit at first but he grew on me and I liked seeing how he came to terms with his new position (can’t say more without spoiling Lady Midnight!).  

The Blackthorns end up in the London Institute for a time, and readers of The Infernal Devices will enjoy some references to that series. I haven’t read Chain of Gold yet, but there also seemed to be some references to the characters from the Last Hours series, which was published after the Dark Artifices series. It always astonishes me how far in advance Cassandra Clare seems to plan this stuff out!

I gave Lady Midnight 5 stars because I just fell in love with the story and the characters. Sadly, Lord of Shadows didn’t hit the same note for me. I’m still excited to see how the trilogy concludes in Queen of Air and Darkness though, especially after that final chapter took the story in a direction I hadn’t anticipated. I’m glad I don’t have to wait for it to be released. However, the final book in the series is an absolute monster at 870 pages so I’m really hoping the angst doesn’t take over too much…     

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my Autumn 2020 TBR

I don’t usually set a TBR as I’m quite a mood reader, but there are some books I would really like to get to during the last months of 2020! I do love this time of year. Summer is too hot and winter is too cold, but there’s something about autumn, the colours of the leaves on the trees and warm drinks.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin – I loved Serpent & Dove so I can’t wait for the sequel. I hope it’s as good as the first, but I have seen mixed reviews for it.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – This is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai. I don’t think I’ve read a Shakespeare retelling before so I’m looking forward to seeing how Chloe Gong retells Romeo and Juliet. I have an eARC of this one so I’ll be reading it soon.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – This book has been on my Kindle for so long I have resolved to read it by the end of the year. It sounds so good!

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Mid-year Reading Round Up 2020

I have had a really good year for reading so far! I’ve had more time for reading than usual since I’ve not been able to go anywhere, so I am going to smash my reading challenge goal this year. I set a goal of reading 30 books which at the beginning of the year I thought would be a hard target since I only read 20 last year, but I’ve already surpassed 20 and it’s only halfway through the year!

So far I have read 23 books this year with the following ratings:

5 stars – 3

4.5 stars – 1

4 stars – 7  

3.5 stars – 3

3 stars – 8  

2 stars – 1

I’ve read quite a lot of 3 and 3.5 star books. Hopefully the second half of the year will have more higher rated ones!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – This was one of the first books I read this year and it blew me away. It was so unique but also gripping. I also read the sequel, Gemina, which I also loved, though I only gave it 4 stars as I enjoyed Illuminae more.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – This book is just so good. I had to give it 5 stars. I couldn’t think of anything negative to say about it. It’s so well written with great characters and an important message. 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – I love Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters world and I can’t believe it took me so long to start the Dark Artifices series!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – As I loved Illuminae, I decided to pick up another of this writing duo’s sci-fi novels and was not disappointed!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have to mention a few of the 4 star reads that particularly stood out.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas – This book was a great finale to the main trilogy. The stakes were high and I was hooked all the way through!

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin – There was so much hype for this book so I was worried it wouldn’t live up to that but it really surprised me and I actually loved it. I can’t wait for Blood & Honey to come out in September!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – This is another one that surprised me. I wasn’t sure it would be for me but it was so good!

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller – This book wasn’t on my radar at all but I got it in Fairyloot’s February box so decided to give it a go and really enjoyed it. It’s a short, fun, standalone fantasy romance.

What are your favourite reads of 2020 so far? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Tuesday: Summer Reads

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm! Today’s theme is Summer Reads. I’m not generally a seasonal reader i.e. I don’t read summery books in summer, spooky books in October etc. So my Top 5 will be 5 books I really want to read this summer.

Burn by Patrick Ness – The only Patrick Ness book I have read is More Than This which I really enjoyed, so I’ve been wanting to read more of his work. When I saw the synopsis for Burn I was instantly intrigued. Plus it has dragons, so…

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer – I was surprised by how much I enjoyed A Curse So Dark and Lonely so the sequel is high on my TBR list. I’m excited to return to the world of Emberfall and see what Grey is up to!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – I’ve had this book on my shelf for a year now but just haven’t got round to reading it. With the sequel coming out this summer, I really want to read Spin the Dawn soon.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein – I haven’t read this book since I was a kid and I’ve been wanting to re-read it for ages. So I’m hoping to finally get round to it this summer.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra ClareLady Midnight was just so good and I’m super excited to return to the world of the Shadowhunters for the sequel. 

Are you a seasonal reader? Are there any summery books you’re looking forward to? What books are you excited to read this summer? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to drop a link to your Top 5 Tuesday post!  

April 2020 Wrap Up

April has been a strange month. Adapting the way we live has been a challenge. It’s been strange getting used to working at home all the time and not being able to meet and see people. NHS and key works are all doing such an amazing job right now keeping us alive and keeping the country moving. These are hard times but we will reach the other side eventually.

Since I’ve not been able to go anywhere, I have found more time for doing things I enjoy like reading and writing, which is one plus of this situation. Always look for the positives!

Reading

I finally started Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices series. Lady Midnight was such a good book. I just loved getting to know this new cast of characters. I was one of the lucky people to get an eARC of The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant which was one of my anticipated reads for this year. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. It was a good read but I didn’t love it. Since I loved Illuminae, I decided to pick up Aurora Rising, the first book in Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s new series. I adored this book so much. It was fast paced and I was hooked all the way through. Finally, I just finished reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber and will be posting my review for that soon. Sadly, this is another book I found a tad disappointing. I think perhaps this book just wasn’t for me.

Book Haul

I’m so missing being able to go into bookshops and browse! I pre-ordered The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman. The Devouring Gray was one of my favourite books from last year, so I had to get my hands on the sequel. More people need to read this book, so if you haven’t picked up The Devouring Gray yet, I’d recommend it! I also received my Fairyloot and Illumicrate copies of Chain of Gold. I won’t post photos of their exclusive editions here as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn’t had their box yet!

Writing

It’s been full steam ahead for my Arthurian legend retelling idea. I’ve been doing lots of research around the legends and also getting to know my characters through making character charts. I’m having lots of fun planning this one!

What have you been getting up to? Are there any books you read this month that you absolutely loved? I hope you’re all managing to stay safe and well!

Top 5 Tuesday: Series I Want To Start

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm! There are a lot of series hanging around on my TBR list that I want to start reading. But I also have a lot that I’m part way through and need to finish, so I’m trying to balance my time between continuing series and starting new ones!

Nikolai duology by Leigh Bardugo – I love the Grishaverse so of course this book made the list. But I still need to read Crooked Kingdom first before I can read King of Scars. I’m intrigued to see where Nikolai’s story goes after the events of the Shadow and Bone trilogy.

Legend series by Marie Lu – The first book I read by Marie Lu was The Young Elites and I loved her writing style so I’m keen to read more of her work. I still need to read the last book in the Young Elites trilogy but I want to start reading Legend too.

The Last Hours series by Cassandra Clare – Chain of Gold is the first in a new series in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhutners world. I’m still obsessed with her books so I’m excited to start her next series.

Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness – The premise of these books is really intriguing. I bought a set of the series a few years ago but haven’t read them yet.

Camelot Rising series by Kiersten White – I haven’t read any of Kiersten White’s books before but I just knew I had to read this King Arthur retelling. I’ve always loved anything inspired by Arthurian legends since I was a child and I still do.

What series are you excited to start? Let me know in the comments!

Fairyloot Chain of Gold Unboxing

My Fairyloot Chain of Gold Collector’s Edition box finally arrived! It was delayed by more than a month due to the coronavirus crises, which was obviously completely out of Fairyloot’s hands. I felt they did a good job of keeping us informed about the delays as they got new information. Since I ordered it in January it meant there was quite a long wait to finally get my hands on my first Collector’s Edition box and I was super excited to open it and see what was inside.

Included in the box were a special edition of Chain of Gold and four items, one of which was already revealed by Fairyloot to be a replica of the Mortal Cup. So let’s see what was inside…

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Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance  

Publishing Info: January 2017 by Simon and Schuster Children’s UK (first published 2016)

Pages: 669

Star Rating: 5/5

Back Cover Summary:

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

I have loved Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series for what feels like a very long time. City of Bones was my introduction to her world many, many years ago. She releases books so quickly, I’m trying to catch up! I thought I might get bored of them, but I haven’t so far. I love returning to the world of the Shadowhunters every time I pick up one of her books.

Lady Midnight is the first in the Dark Artifices series and is set a few years after The Mortal Instruments. When I finished reading it, I just sort of sat at stared at my bedroom wall for a minute because I had so many feelings about this book. The characters and their relationships are what makes this book so good. I just became so invested in the Blackthorn family. And Cassandra Clare is really good at giving you hope for characters and then tearing your heart to shreds (in the way a good book does).

Emma and Julian are the two main characters, but all of the others stole my heart too. From Cristina, to Mark, Livvy, Ty, Dru and little Tavvy. I loved seeing the family interact and how Julian has had to bring them up, they’re like his own children despite him being their older brother. It was also great seeing how Mark changed over the course of the book and I’m interested to see where his character goes in the next book.  

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Top 10 Tuesday: Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is the 10 most recent additions to my bookshelf! Two of the books on this list were Christmas presents. Number 1 is the most recent book I’ve bought working back.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

1. Defy the Fates by Claudia Gray

2. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Collector’s Edition)

4. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (10th Anniversary Edition)

7. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

8. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

9. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

10. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Of these, I’ve read Blood Heir and Illuminae (and have already read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and City of Bones in the past) and am halfway through The Assassin’s Blade. I’m currently reading Defy the Fates, which is the final book in a trilogy.