Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com):
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.
Goodreads Rating: 4.58/5 Stars
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
It’s been a couple days since I finished this novel, but I needed the time to process what it was that I just read. Within the 699 pages of this story, so much happened, and so much remains to be revealed within the last novel. Basically, Cassandra Clare did it again with her brilliance and I cannot wait to get the last book in my hands – if waiting until 2019 doesn’t kill me first.
But, even now, I can hardly believe that I finished this novel and that it was in front of my eyes. I’ve been reading these novels for almost a decade now, but the waiting between each installment is always the worst part. That never changes and it never will, but what does change is how I am feeling after finishing each novel. If I’m being completely honest, after finishing this novel I felt empty inside. It was emotionally traumatizing and I loved every minute of it.
Much of my emotional trauma came from the characters, themselves. Emma stated that Julian was scaring her at one point and, honestly, I can say the same. Julian was willing to give up everything – including the parabatai bond for the entire world – which was ultimately terrifying. As a brother, a friend, and a father figure, it is terrifying to know that he will sacrifice anyone and everything to protect them. Especially when it comes to Emma; when he came about the idea of sending one of them into exile, he was too quick to suggest this idea, with the full knowledge that he would be asking Emma to sacrifice her relationships and her family (the Blackthorns). Although avoiding the parabatati curse for as long as possible is ideal, Julian is terrifying with his drive to protect. In the end, his protection will come calling and someone is going to get hurt.
One thing that was apparent to me was the two love triangles that Cassandra had created within this book. For myself, I am growing tired of seeing the love triangle trope withing young adult novels. While it tends to be a staple trope these days, it does get tiresome to see it over and over and over again. Cassandra’s books always have them in there, so I was surprised to see two of them being set up and played around with. In the case of Lord of Shadows, I sensed a triangle being set up between Kit, Ty, and Livvy; another was being created between Cristina, Kieran, and Mark. For the younger kids, it definitely wasn’t as prominent and the lines could have been blurry between romance and friendship; however, that is not the case for Cristina, Kieran, and Mark. When it comes to that triangle, I ship Mark and Cristina all the way (I also was having trust issues with Kieran, so that was probably one of the causes for dislike there). While playing around with the romantic relationships are great and all, I look forward to seeing the triangles resolved soon.
Something that I never noticed as I was reading was the huge hint Cassandra dropped in terms of the possibilities of a love child between Sebastian and the Seelie Queen. Dru played a vital role when it came to this reveal, as she was the one who discovered his existence. If I’m being honest, I didn’t make the connection about the child until I talked about the novel with Michaela (bookishreviewsandmore) and she mentioned the child. I’m curious to see where Cassandra will be taking this subplot in the next book!
I can’t finish this review without talking about how badly that ending wrecked my emotions. I think I hate the Cohort more than I have hated any other Cassandra Clare villain. Being honest, I blame them for the final events of the novel. When we lost Livvy… It hurts to even write that sentence. I had a suspicious feeling that something was going to happen to one of the twins by the end of the novel – we had been spending too much time with them, which was a move to make us care more about the characters – and that, unfortunately, came true. I never realized how much I came to care for Livvy until she was gone. The fallout of this death is going to be one of the worst Cassandra’s books have ever faced and it’ll be interesting to see what events this catalyst.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with this novel! The pages flew by quickly – as they usually do with her novels – and I am already dying to get my hands on the next book. Although this isn’t my favorite book by her, I am excited to get the finale in my hands and to have my emotions crushed forever.
The Shadowhunter Chronicles (In Chronological Order)
- 1878, The Infernal Devices (Trilogy/Completed)
- Clockwork Angel
- Clockwork Prince
- Clockwork Princess
- 1903, The Last Hours (Trilogy/Coming Soon)
- Chain of Gold (2018)
- Chain of Iron (2020)
- Chain of Thorns (2021)
- 2007, The Mortal Instruments (Six Book Series/Completed)
- City of Bones
- City of Ashes
- City of Glass
- City of Fallen Angels
- City of Lost Souls
- City of Heavenly Fire
- Companion Novel: The Shadowhunter’s Codex
- The Bane Chronicles (Novella Compilation/Standalone/Completed)
- 2008, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy (Novella Compilation/Standalone/Completed)
- 2012, The Dark Artifices (Trilogy/Two Books Released)
- Lady Midnight
- Lord of Shadows
- The Queen of Air and Darkness (2019)