Lord of Shadows is the second book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. I liked it as much as the first one, but Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows are very different books. Their flaws remain the same, though: infodumps and too many romantic subplots.
I just think that fake love triangle + love pentagon + side (hinted) love triangle is far too much. I didn’t care for most of the relationships; I only cared about the Christina/Mark/Kieran side of the love pentagon, and I don’t think it will end the way I want (polyamory is the way, you can keep Diego).
I also could have done without the infodumps. This author thinks I can’t remember anything about the previous book, and she also feels the need to tell me everything about all the 9 books + 2 collections of shorts she published. If I were interested in them, I’d read them. (I have read most of them, but that’s not the point.) It was nice to see how the author got better since City of Bones, anyway, but that’s not difficult, and there’s still room for improvement.
This book was darker, and maybe that’s a good thing, but I missed the atmosphere of the first book. I liked that it subverted some tropes, but most of them are played straight and that’s kind of boring. Sometimes you could see the Infernal Plot Devices at work, and that’s not good writing. It was so blatant it felt manipulative at times.
I liked that Cassandra Clare is trying to incorporate more diversity in her works, but revealing that a character is trans as a plot twist is probably a bad idea.
Also, all the queer couples are either m/m or m/f. The only f/f couple appears for only one scene, because no one cares about f/f, as usual.
The amatonormativity was annoying. There’s not much to say about it, but not feeling romantic love doesn’t make you a worse person.
I still don’t care about Emma+Julian. I’m not even sure I want them to be together. Julian is controlling and I don’t like that in a love interest. That’s a shame, because he’s the most interesting and complex LI this author has written so far.
Another thing I didn’t like: the Ty/Kit/Livvy plotline. For spoilery reasons.
I’m here for the siblings, the family dynamics and Christina/Mark/Kieran. And Annabel. I liked Annabel, even her unhinged version.
My rating: ★★★¼