Best-selling author Cassandra Clare, called the queen of young adult fantasy, released her latest on May 23, "Lord of Shadows," the second book in The Dark Artifices series and sequel to "Lady Midnight."
"Lord of Shadows" is another addition to Clare's world, which consists of nearly a dozen books spanning multiple series of her Shadowhunters — half-angel, half-human beings who protect the world from demons and serve as something of a police force for Downworlders, aka faeries, vampires, warlocks, etc.
The Dark Artifices series focuses on the Blackthorn family and Emma Carstairs. Picking up where "Lady Midnight" leaves off, "Lord of Shadows" begins with demons returning in greater force to the Los Angeles area where the Blackthorns live. A team of expert Shadowhunters is now lodging in the Blackthorns' home and has taken over solving the issue, to the Blackthorns' frustration.
Meanwhile, Emma is pretending to date Mark Blackthorn, the half-faerie brother of her parabatai (a pair of warriors bound together forever by oath), Julian, with whom she is actually in love. But, knowing that being in love would curse them with madness due to their special parabatai bond, Emma must feign love for Mark to protect Julian.
The story rushes forward as the characters discover that Mark's ex-lover, a faerie prince named Kieran, is on death row. This news leads Mark, Julian, Emma and their friend Cristina to enter the dangerous faerie land to save him, getting mixed up in a deal with the Seelie Queen in the process.
Multiple love triangles, star-crossed lovers, mysteries, intrigues, betrayal, action, friendship and magic fill these pages, and all of it combined keeps the reader involved from beginning to end. About half of the story takes place in London, with multiple references to Clare's Victorian Infernal Devices series, giving fans a full helping of what they love about her books.
There is, however, a giant twist at the very end that will likely have fans reeling. Avid readers will want to prepare themselves for the worst.
Aside from the traumatic ending, readers can expect to enjoy a quick read despite the book's length — this is the sort of book readers can expect to read well into the night.
"Lord of Shadows" contains a few scattered instances of profanity; many instances of explicit, described violence, and some vague, fade-to-black sexual scenes. It also includes a described homosexual relationship.