Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
In this continuation of the Dark Artifices series, the Shadowhunters of the Los Angeles Institute go into Faerie to save a friend from execution, then search for the Black Volume of the Dead, which is in the hands of a recently resurrected woman with a grudge. Then they are pursued by legendary deathless faerie warriors and astonishingly kill one of them. The heart of the story is the forbidden love between Julian and Emma, parabatai with a magic bond that is supposed to stay strictly platonic. The angst in this installment comes from Emma trying to deny that love to Julian, while he pines. Their climactic scene is some of Clare’s most intense and sexy writing yet. The relationships of Julian’s siblings, and their new friend Kit Herondale also develop. Julian’s ruthlessness in protecting his family is revealed.
I was particularly pleased by the political turn that the story took in this volume, making it seem more timely than Clare could have anticipated when she was writing the book a year or two ago. At the end of the Mortal War, covered in the Mortal Instruments series, the Shadowhunters declared the Cold Peace, which penalized and stigmatized the Faeries. Here’s an astute description of the effects of that agreement, very applicable to today’s political climate: “When a decision like that is made by a government, it emboldens those who are already prejudiced to speak their deepest thoughts of hate. They assume they are simply brave enough to say what everyone really thinks” (105). In this book, a group of young bigots calling themselves the Cohort is making a power play, and Julian and his friends are hoping to stop them.