Rated Reads

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, book 2)

by Cassandra Clare

Rated: Moderate

At the end of Lady Midnight, the necromancer who had been sacrificing people to try to bring back a loved one from the dead has been killed himself; the Blackthorn children’s oldest brother, half-faerie Mark, is most likely permanently released from the Wild Hunt, and Emma has learned that there is a serious and horrific reason the Clave forbids parabatai from falling in love. So she decides to do whatever she can to protect her beloved parabatai, Julian, even if it breaks her own heart.

As Lord of Shadows opens, Mark and Emma are pretending to be dating, and the Blackthorns are trying to get about their business at the Los Angeles Institute. They’re still a little shocked by the betrayal of someone they trusted but relieved that it’s over. However, new threats arise. Of course. Sea demons are attacking all around the area, and they piece together that it likely has something to do with the dead, traitorous warlock, who managed to disappear in the water with the Black Volume of the Dead. Meanwhile, a large team of highly trained Shadowhunters called the Centurions gets sent to the L.A. Institute to help figure out what’s going on and defeat the demons. Which would be fine, except that the Blackthorns and company don’t need outsiders figuring out some of their secrets, including the big one that Julian is running the Institute in place of his addled uncle, Arthur, who does so in name only.

When the leader of the Wild Hunt, Gwyn, comes to Mark asking him to rescue Kieran, his former lover, from a death sentence, everything comes to a head. So Mark, Cristina, Emma and Julian all go to Faerie to rescue Kieran, and while they’re there, they are given clues and insights as to how to find the Black Volume and solve some of their biggest problems.

Our heroes go through Faerie and then to England to accomplish their mission. They are aided here and there by Clary and Jace, by Magnus and Alec. Tessa and Jem make an appearance as well.

This book has the peril and action, along with some wry wit, of the other Shadowhunter books. This was a bit more humorous than Lady Midnight but not as fun as the original three books of the Shadowhunter world, the first of The Mortal Instruments series. It does bring in more of the beloved characters from those books, so those previously young, upstart heroes are now the slightly older, wiser and respected leaders who can help another set of brash teens doing things they’re not supposed to. Magnus in particular is just as entertaining as always.

These books have gotten more and more mature, with more sexual content (though actual sex scenes “cut to black” after making out) and more bisexual and homosexual characters, as well as a transgender character. It seems like about half the characters are bisexual or homosexual, and having relationships with either male or female is rather fluid. As with the first book in the series, it would be ideal for teens to be having discussions with their parents about the issues and topics that are prevalent here.

Rated: Moderate. There are only a few uses of mild and moderate language. Violence and sexual content are more prevalent. There’s always lots of action and danger, injuries and death with a fair amount of gore. Sexual content includes some intense makeout scenes between Julian and Emma, including one that is said to go on to sex; makeout scenes between not just Mark and the male faerie Kieran, but also between Mark and female Shadowhunter Cristina.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, book 2)
  • by Cassandra Clare
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: