Lord of Shadows: a pretty harsh review (and analysis on the great and not so great parts)
(Super long sorry)
(Unpopular opinions sorry)
I loved this book while reading it, the plot flowed well, the characters were quite lovable, but once I finished it- it felt like I had read nothing at all. The only feelings I had came from the whole situation with Kieran and Mark and Cristina, and that was just because I’m a total sucker for sad romances where one loves the other way more than they are loved back but ANYWAYS.
(THE KIERARKTINA ANALYSIS IS NEAR THE END)
Isn’t even half as threatening or formidable of an archenemy as Sebastian Morgenstern, and that makes the whole story quite weak already
She’s going to do something that will bite the shadowhunters in their arse the moment Julian gives him the Black Book. Predictable. She could’ve done way more manipulation on the others as well.
Zara and the Cohort
Everyone who fought in the way againt the Circle/Valentine is still alive. There is no way that within 10 years people who go back to wanting to brand downworlders and such. They remember the last time someone wanted to do that a massive war broke out and their relatives died. Also Zara is a two-dimensional character: her goal is weak, and she doesn’t seem to have any human/likeable qualities. So she’s a Regina-George-type character, made to be hated, but the Unseelie King has already taken that role. Repeat: Sebastian Morgenstern was a way better villian, since he had a single human quality: he wanted to be with his family, his sister and his brother. This brings us onto my next point
Both the villians and the heros both had very single-trait, non in-depth personalities, probably due to the amount of characters and arcs.
Emma: too unflawed. Her emotions are quite simple throughout the book (there could’ve been great inner turmoil about whether she could give up being shadowhunter to love/protect Julian). She killed a rider too easily- making her seem to powerful.
Julian: He was a pretty horrible person in this bk but in terms of character depth he’s not too bad. He loves his family and would do anything for them and it’s shown in a variety of ways. I’ve been comparing him to Cersei, since he’s on the whole “family is most important” and “manipulation” thing. However, considering that he’s practically been running the family, he should definitely sound less whiny and more mature.
Cristina: I don’t even know what to say. I can’t even remember what you did apart from sing lullabies and be attached to Mark. Her lack of more personality sucks because Kieran keeps saying she’s really nice and kind and stuff, but it’s not that supported really. She could’ve contributed way more to the fantastic love triangle, by trying to actively push Mark away because she’s seen how much Kieran loves him. Her selfishness here doesn’t lone up with her wanting to end the Cold Peace for both faeries and shadowhunter’s gain.
Mark: I hate him and love him. Cassie made a good decision in making him quite the douchebag, not quite loving Kieran as much as he loves him and not caring enough about Kieran’s feelings. But that makes him the most realistic of all characters: he feels regret since he’s practically ditched Kieran the minute he didnt need him (I mean there’s the whole “you made my brother and sister get tortured but you saved my other brother” thing which should’ve been Mark’s excuse to himself about why he’s not choosing Kieran, but he’s doesn’t and runs around with Cristina anyways. Interesting.
Kieran: I love him to much to make any judgement. Also he’s a faerie- they aren’t exactly “humans” and their emotions are more 2D so…
Ty: Better character compared to some others, and we now understand mildly how the twins and Kit work together as a team (since Kit needs to become one of the only people that understand Ty due to Liv’s death) . Also his loyalty to family as seen by the letter to Annabel. Cassie has laid great groundwork for him. Can’t wait for him to be a main character.
Kit: He and Ty need potential to evolve in the next series so I’m giving them some slack. I’ll do more analysis on their relationship later.
Liv: She loves her brother and is curious about Kit and she’s a generally more “realistic” character. Really thats it. I wish I felt tears for her death. I dont. Cassie could’ve developed her even more as a character, but then that would make her death more painful so. But her importance to Ty and the rest of the family is written enough that it would justify the changes that will happen due to her death.
Dru: TBH Cassie could’ve not spread the characters out so much that we’re kinda at a lost. Time spent writing about Dru could’ve been used on main-er characters, but Jaime needed an introduction. So did she. Looking forward to reading more about her in TWP.
Diego: A character with multiple loyalties! Yay!
Diana: It would’ve been way more influential if she had been forced by Julian to explain why she couldn’t apply for the institute instead of dropping it like a “bonus” story which makes her seem like then token LGBT character. It’s a great plot twist that couldn’t have seemed even more forced. It’s kinda sad that a brilliant character reveal was ruined
Gywp: He’s leader of the Wild Hunt and I know he’s in love with Diana but he’s not Magnus, who’s always had nothing better to do than help hot shadowhunters. (Jkjk)
Magnus/Alec/Jace/Clary: domestically cute and cameos that contribute to the main arcs.
Now, onto the more controversial topics:
Julian/Emma: This entire book is supposed to be about them balancing dealing for their love of each other with saving the world. It’s written in a whiny way and not nearly enough character (If you’ve read the Throne of Glass series, then you’ll understand- they needed the long-ass training scene between Aelin and Rowan). We never read about how they fall in love and that makes the emotions quite plastic…? It would’ve been fantastic to read more about how they fell in love instead of how they are insanely tortured now. It doesn’t emotionally appeal to me at all.
Cristina/Mark/Kieran: Words cannot express how much I fucking love this romance arc. It gives me so many feels, and half of them make me cry. I’ll analyse Kierark first. When it first debuted it felt like the “token hot gay ship thats thrown in for the fangirls to get off to”, but then as time passes we slowly learn how toxic this relationship really is. Kieran doesn’t love anything else in this world apart from Mark, having no family, no friends to love him. Whereas with Mark, he’s always been surrounded with love, with his half-brothers and sisters, Emma, Helen… etc. He doesn’t understand how much he means to Kieran, and Kieran definitely loves Mark more. In the Wild Hunt, it’s shown just how much Mark depended on Kieran to stay sane, which suggests, as Cristina says, that Mark owes a debt to Kieran. But it is not nearly that simple. Kieran’s love for Mark is what kept him sane, and love is unconditional in most cases, including this. It is undeniable that Mark, despite him having the possibility of not being in love with Kieran when they first become lovers, due to it merely being what he needed, it is certain that Mark does feel for Kieran. Even when Kieran betrays Mark, Kieran believes it to only bring Mark back to him. I see someone so broken that they’d do anything to have their lover back, not a selfish bastard who doesn’t cate about Mark at all. Kieran doesn’t understand “Family”, and in his defence the Blackthorns are a large enough family to survive without Mark. I’m not saying Kieran is entirely blameless, but its a totally understandable thing to want things to go back to how they used to be, and that is extremely human and (“I betcha you would have done the same”). Their love is insanely primitive and raw, and it is more of a “need” to both of them. Kieran needs someone to give him love, Mark needed someone to keep him sane.
Then we move onto Mark. For some reason, the faerie-blooded characters seem to act the most human in this series. Mark is a bloody douche for stringing Kieran on, while pursuing Cristina, but then that’s exactly what he craves. He needs someone to love him, in a simple way. He craves normality, and that comes in the form of Cristina, whom he finds himself attracted to, originally physical (he says he wants Cristina and that Kieran wouldn’t mind: he was not emotionally attracted to Cristina. But now that he’s spent time and realised how easy she is to love, he loves her). Kieran and Mark’s relationship is not just sexual, or romantic, or friendship, or brotherhood- it’s insanely complex and dependent and its toxic but they will never be able to remove the bond between them. They’ve experienced life and death together. But Mark doesn’t want to be burdened by such a heavy emotional relationship anymore, and that’s understandable, so he turns to Cristina. Kieran cannot bring himself to hate Cristina, since she wants the Cold Peace to end and that shows how much she cares for everyone and how she uncharacteristically wants to protect faerie rights despite being a shadowhunter. Cristina also oddly finds their relationship arousing instead of being jealous of Kieran, which leads to some of the fandom wishing for a polyamorous relationship. (Including me to an extent). On one hand Cristina could neutralise the toxicity of Kierark and also slowly teach Kieran to love other people, which would result in him not requiring the entirety of Mark’s love. (Cuz currently, Kieran love mark with 100% of his heart and wants Mark to do the same. If Kieran loved other people it would be less toxic, since Mark does HAVE to share his love with his family even if Cristina is out of the picture ) On the other hand, it would be great for Kieran to find someone who will love him as much or even more than he loves them. The smol deserves more love in his life, don’t you think? Also, I forgot to mention that Kieran does need to go back to the Wild Hunt, or he might become Unseelie King, and then Kierkark could actually be impossible, but I firmly believe they’ll always love each other, maybe not as much as before, but they’ve left quite the imprint on each other’s lives
(The stars will go out before I forget you, Mark Blackthorn)
Ty/Kit: LIKE THEY COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER SO WELL TY DOESN’T OPEN UP EASILY WHEREAS KIT DOES (he’s already attached to the Blackthorns) And Kit is so much more outgoing and cool and GAH its a great ship looking SO forward to TWP. (Srsly I have so much hopes for TWP cuz in my opinion TDA is a bit of a weak arc and the only redeeming characters seem to be Mark’s drama (I don’t think we’re going to see this in TWP I’m sad)
Gwyp/Diana: super cute and deserves more love
I love Cassandra Claire’s style and how she can make character relationships insanely lovable. The fact that she always protects the characters all of us love from dying is great too. But @cassandraclaire if you see this, please do consider these points made by a fangirl who is nitpicking a bit (I hope this series ends up as good as TID) for the greater good😂 (Also Diego/Kieran ain’t too bad of a ship either😏😂)
If you disagree with any of these, I am open to dicussions:) Just please don’t blindly hate on this: all of us are entitled to opinions, you have yours and I have mine. Let’s respect each other, okay?