Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
“Break my heart. Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”
I don't recall giving my permission though. I don't recall allowing Cassandra Clare to wreck havoc on my soul and stomp on its pieces before scattering them to the wind. But she did it anyway.
“A dark time is coming for Shadowhunters. A terrible time. Their power will be crushed, their might thrown down into the dirt, and their blood will run like water through the riverbeds of the world.”
Blood, ashes and despair. That's the perfect way to describe Lord of Shadows, with its somber ambience and the unease that kept creeping up from the pages and sinking into your pores. A war is coming. A war more devastating than ever, since the numbers of the Shadowhunters are alarmingly low and they're torn by inner disputes. There is a rising faction that wishes to strip Downworlders of their rights. To treat them like animals. There is a dangerous book of dark, unholy magic that can unravel the world of the Angel's descendants. There is the Unseelie King who wishes to unite the fairie and destroy everything that stands in his way. A girl raised from the dead, with betrayal in her heart and huge distrust towards the people she can call family. The Blackthorns. It all leads back to them and their allies. Relationships are tested. Unlikely friendships blossom. And two parabatai who love each other more than they should, with a love that threatens to tear their family apart. Can some sacred bonds be broken?
“There is truth in stories,” said Arthur. “There is truth in one of your paintings, boy or in a sunset or a couplet from Homer. Fiction is truth, even if it is not a fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die.”
There is always something mystical in the way Cassandra Clare writes. While her writing skills keep improving, the essence of her novels remains the same. In Lord of Shadows, she weaves a story of yearning, passion, bitterness, anger and desire. Desire painted with fevered touches and swollen lips and cheekbones illuminated by moonlight and hearts clenching with unspoken feelings. Her descriptions are lavish, her battle scenes intense, and her characters gloriously flawed. From the land of Fairie and unhallowed churches to Idris and the London Institute that sparked a strong pang of nostalgia she whispered stories of cursed love, of injustice and bloodshed and fanatism. And she triumphantly proved that Arthur Blackthorn could not be wiser: despite the pain and the hopelessness, without fiction our hearts would be dead.
“Those who cannot love do not understand it.”
When it comes to Emma Carstairs, Lord of Shadows could easily be renamed into Lady of Bad Decisions. Yes I do admire her fierceness and her strong spirit, her compassion and her sassiness, but by the Angel I lost count of the times she hurt Julian "for his own good", when she thought she was self-sacrificing and noble but then mourned her relationship with him when she was the one who broke it. Who broke him. And don't get me started on all those moments when she acted before thinking and ended up endangering everyone close to her. And Julian, well, he also troubled me, especially because he scared me. He was ruthless and cunning for the sake of his family, I can't blame him for that (in fact I love him for that) but if he proceeds with his plan to do you-know-what, I will never forgive him. All this scheming ended up bringing sorrow and huge, fat tears that have not dried yet.
“There were valuable first editions of books in the enormous library, most of them had been scribbled in by some idiot named Will H.”
All those references to Will and the Infernal Devices (scones! Jessamine! the Lightwood mansion - I was almost certain the Demon Pox song would make an appearance) were a sweet torture, tiny daggers piercing my heart but also mending it because I somehow felt closer to Will, my favorite character of the Shadowhunters universe. Kit, Livvy, Ty, I loved their scenes and crime-solving attempts, they were such an endearing and bizarre threesome! And speaking of bizarre threesomes, I don't know what to make of the Mark/Christina/Kieran situation. So many tangled emotions that felt right, despite their oddity, I'm still not certain what I want for them, only more scenes, with unexpected tenderness and craving.
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
The wound the ending inflicted though will not be easy to heal, nor does it feel like a source of light. More likely a source of infinite pain. It was cruel, unfair, and absolutely devastating. No dates slaying frost giants, not even Raziel himself dancing salsa will be able to make amends, my dear Cassandra. I'm off to deal with everything the only way I know.