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Stories keep the heart alive in Cassandra Clare’s “Lord of Shadows”

Cassandra Clare‘s Lord of Shadows is the sequel we’ve all been waiting for. It has just the same amount of beautifully constructed, high intensity, deep, yet comedic content we love to see from a typical Shadowhunter novel.

Lord of Shadows is the second book in her trilogy, The Dark Artifices and is set five years after The Mortal Instruments series. It delves deeper into the Shadowhunter world than we’ve ever seen before — from the repercussions of the Cold Peace, the rising tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, to the nuclear bombs waiting to detonate between character relationships, everything about this series expands into a bigger and better tale than could have been anticipated.

Clare takes us on another heart-breaking, awe-inspiring and all-consuming adventure full of passion, excitement and danger.

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.

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Tissues are definitely required for the end of this book, and it breaks my heart to think I need to wait until December 2018 to find out what happens next in the third book, Queen of Air and Darkness.

I loved the way we saw more of the characters, and was particularly impressed because there were certain risks with Lord of Shadows that weren’t always taken in past books. From cover to cover this novel left me satisfied, elated, heart-broken and blown away all at the same time.

The thing that I loved most about the book, was Clare’s deeper meaning.

The message I took from Lord of Shadows was this: Stories keep the heart alive.

Whether you’re an artist, a writer, or a reader, stories keep the heart alive. Creativity give you a pulse that makes life worth living, and stories are sometimes the most important thing. Isn’t the best part about fiction the fact it’s or getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth?

In the novel, Arthur tells Julian:

“There is truth in stories,” said Arthur. “There is truth in one of your paintings, boy or in a sunset or a couplet from Homer. Fiction is truth, even if it is not a fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die.”
— Cassandra Clare, Lord of Shadows

Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words.

Because the truth is, people think stories are shaped by people, but in fact, it’s the other way around.

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