Like most readers of Cassandra Clare, I waited a long time for this next part of the Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices, to begin. I was a little bit apprehensive as I opened it, a sliver of doubt creeping in that it wouldn't be as wonderful as The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices. I think I knew in my heart however, that I really didn't have anything to fret about. After the first chapter or two, I immediately connected to the Blackthorn family and Emma because I already knew them from City of Heavenly Fire, they are just older. I was easily able to get right back into the flow of the characters and their stories. Minor hints to the story-line ahead but no spoilers.
I have to say that my favorite character in this book so far is Mark Blackthorm. His struggle was the most difficult in my opinion and his conflicting loyalties and ultimate decision about where he belonged was truly absorbing. He definitely experienced the most inner turmoil, growth and change. I'm really looking forward to reading the continuation of his story because I am confident that his character will be further explored and developed in the books to come. Julian and Emma were of course the power couple of the story and, while I loved their connection, love and loyalty to one another, I knew that, as with every relationship, obstacles would be coming for them so I prepared early for the frustration of them being torn apart in some way. After all, what would a love story be without a little turbulence and unrest?
The plot itself reads much like that of a crime novel and I loved the mystery flavor of the story, the research process, the search for clues, and the investigation really kept the pace going. There were a few times when I thought there might be a lull in the story only to turn the page and go into battle. This was one of those few books that had me reading every chance I got, while I was cooking, helping the kids with homework, etc. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series. Cassandra Clare does not disappoint.