Lord of Shadow by Cassandra Claire
Read by James Marsters
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I debated about writing a review for this book, mostly because so much has already been said about it that I didn’t feel that I could add much more. You can check out the gazillion reviews on Goodreads (ok, only 5,363 as of today, but that is a lot for one book) to see how everyone else thinks about it. So what could I say that hasn’t already been said, not much probably. But then I thought that I haven’t seen one that mentions the audio version, so I decided that someone needed to speak to that so here we are.
I’m going to mention briefly what I really liked about the book and what I didn’t before I get to the audio part of the review.
I love Magnus! Since my first read of City of Bones, Magnus has been my favorite character. I love his droll humor and his sense of dress. I adore him with Alex as well, and Magnus as a dad just cracks me up. It was so fun to see him so much in this book. He always makes an appearance in the books, but this was a bigger one than in Lady Midnight and it made me so happy!
Kit Herondale is an awesome new character. I have a soft spot for thieves and conmen and Kit is just adorable in this role. The friendship that he develops with Ty is just beautiful and wonderful. They really get each other. They also make such a good team along with Ty’s sister Livvy. I also liked seeing the Shadowhunter world through his eyes. He often shook his head at some of the things they didn’t understand or know about, like mental illness and autism. This group of kids where also good for a quick snarky remark which often made me laugh.
Cristina and Mark would also make a good couple and I hope that they continue their relationship and take it to the next level soon. I also find myself at times rooting for Kieran and Mark to continue their relationship. I like Kieran a lot even though he is fae and can be difficult at times.
Too much angst and drama, especially between Emma and Julian. I get it, they are parabatai and therefore can’t fall in love. I get it! I don’t need to be beaten over the head with it. But now that they are in love, lets either get a solution going or let the bad evil thing that is suppose to happen, happen. I love both Jules and Emma, but their storyline is getting a little stale and drawn out. Time to move on.
Some of the side stories were good and nice, but not necessary and not important to the main story line of Shadowhunter vs. Downworlders or even Emma and Jules story. The one that comes to mind is Diana’s backstory. I had pretty much already guessed her issue and therefore didn’t really need the whole story in the middle of this book. These backstories and side stories maybe should have been regulated to a short story collection. That would have made the book shorter and a little more enjoyable.
James Marsters was awesome to listen to. He has a deep, resonate voice that was easy to listen to for hours ( 23 hours and 30 minutes to be exact). You can tell when different characters talk, they all have a distinct accent or way of talking. I especially liked his voices for the fae folk and some of the other creatures that are encountered in the story. Some were quite amusing. Check out his voice here at AudioFile Magazine’s website.
This is the first book in the Shadowhunters series that James has narrated. He has done many books for the author Jim Butcher and some classic books, but I couldn’t find much else listed for him. He is mostly known as an actor and that certainly shows in this audiobook. He reads with passion and also with humor and can handle the diverse cast of characters in this book. I hope to listen to another book that he narrates very soon.
I enjoyed this second book in this Shadowhunters series more than Lady Midnight. If you were one of the naysayers to the first book, give this one a try before giving up on the series. I will say that the ending blew me away. I sat in stunned silence for most of the last 20-30 pages as things unfolded. It will be a long wait to the next book.
I guess I had more to say about the book than I thought. I hope you enjoyed the review. Let me know in the comments what you thought of Lord of Shadows. Did you read it or listen to it?