Imagine you are in love with your best friend, and he loves you back. In fact, you’ve been in love with him since you can remember, and now you’ve finally confessed your feelings and you two start a relationship only to find out that if you continue, it could potentially destroy everyone and everything you love.
This is the main premise behind the latest installment in the Shadowhunters novels by Cassandra Clare, Lord of Shadows, the second novel in the Dark Artifices series. This YA modern fantasy centers around Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, bonded warriors who hunt demons and are descended from Angels. The problem is, because of their sacred bond, they are forbidden to fall in love, and if you read Lady Midnight (which you absolutely must to understand this book), you know that is precisely what happened.
This book picks up a few weeks after the events in the first novel, which I enjoyed because there wasn’t a lot that readers had to catch up on, and Clare did a great job of reminding readers what happened in the previous book without overdoing it with the flashbacks/backtracks. All of your favorite characters are back: Julian, Emma,Mark, Christina, Tavvy, Dru, Livvy, Ty, and of course, Kit. Diana is featured more prominently and you also see a few familiar faces from previous Shadowhunters books, which is always a nice touch for the die-hard fans (like me).
Clare also introduces new characters, which are fantastic foils to the ones that she built in the previous novel. The characters face higher stakes as they begin to discover the effects of Malcolm’s magic after the events of the previous book, and they are tested with new information as they piece together a bigger picture.
One aspect of Clare’s books that I always enjoy are her diverse characters. She does not shy away from representing people of all types in her books, and this one is no different. I especially enjoy the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters, and she expands that in a big way with this novel. Her characters are always her strength in her novels: they are captivating, relatable, complex, and always changing.
Because of the character development, I felt as if the plot suffered a bit in this book. While still exciting at points, there were too many moments where characters were just talking and long stretches of the novel went without action. While dialogue is vital to creating these characters that I love so dearly, I found myself putting this novel down more often than I have with some of her others because of the long, sometimes drawn-out talking scenes.
Despite this, Clare makes up for it with a gut-wrenching and action-packed ending that definitely left me salivating for the next (and final) book in this series. It seems that I’ll be waiting a while, though, because it isn’t slated to come out until Spring of 2019.