TITLE: Lady Midnight
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
SERIES: The Dark Artifices #1
PUBLICATION: March 8, 2016
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books
The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.
It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?
Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.
*Spoilers from other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles might be randomly placed in this review. I used the white font color for spoilers for Lady Midnight itself to avoid spoiling to those who haven’t read the book yet (highlight them if you want to read them). Read at your own risk.*
Reading Lady Midnight has been a long process for me. I started it when the book was released, and finished it only recently because of school, and because I was marathoning a TV series. I’m glad though, because I didn’t binge read it, thus I had the time to adjust and let some new information sink in, and relish upon memories that I have of the other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles.
First of all, I’d like to point out how this is Cassandra Clare’s most beautifully written book at present. I look back to City of Bones up to City of Heavenly Fire, and even Clockwork Angel up to Clockwork Princess and admit that those books are those of the best I have ever read. The stories they contain are those I have learned to know and really love, but I can’t help but arrive at the thought that Cassie has improved so much as a writer and Lady Midnight is an evidence to that. Her writing style in Lady Midnight is much like a mix of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, along with some new and unique qualities she is letting us know and love. Establishing the world of this book came through like a breeze for her, since we already have knowledge about the Shadow World, and all we needed was a little refresher, which she has provided well for us. Cassie writes in such a way that you would want to read on and on, but still not let the book overwhelm you with sudden information dumps.
The plot of the book is magnificent. And I love how it slowly developed at the early parts of the book, and how it unfolded slowly but surely at the latter parts one after the other. The plot twists contained in the latter part of the book just made me scream and question myself, and slowly made me realize the truth in them, since there really is no trivial information Cassie speaks about in her books. What you might think is a small and useless piece of information that is just there to help tell the story might not be small after all. The slow unfolding of the plot and the villains in the story is another factor that just grips you and keeps you glued to the pages. And well, plus the random and casual appearances of some characters we loved in TMI and TID. I just really love how Cassie shows us that they are only in one universe, and that there is continuity between the events occurring to their worlds.
Aside from all of that, we all know how Cassie creates characters which are easy to get attached to. And yes, even her villains are somehow hard to hate because she lets them have not purely evil intentions at all. Cassie lets her readers understand the intentions of each of her characters and the drive that controls each of their own decisions. *Malcolm Fade only wants to resurrect the woman he loves after all, that’s why he did the things he did. City of Heavenly Fire is where we met the Blackthorn children and Emma, and to be honest is also where I found them confusing. Every time Ty, Livvy, Dru, and Tavvy are mentioned, I just read on and don’t pay too much attention because they’re just too many and I didn’t know who’s who between them, as well as the fact that they aren’t the characters CoHF is focused upon. But Lady Midnight made me understand their characters and know who they are, what they like, and the way their minds work, which I’m glad about. Now I can go on reading about them and not get confused anymore.
While reading about Emma Carstairs, I can’t help but think how alike she is with Jace in the way she thinks, fights, and trains. She is very determined, and somehow her knowledge about how good she is in being a Shadowhunter makes her more Jace-y. What makes her different from Jace though, is her motivation for fighting and for doing what she does. She is driven by revenge for the death of her parents during the Dark War. After all, she believes that Sebastian Morgenstern isn’t the one responsible for the loss of her parents. *The event in this book, which is Emma finally knowing that Malcolm Fade was the one who murdered her parents as a test to see whether the spell works, as well ad her killing the warlock, thus leaves the question of what her motives will be in the next two books. Another thing I adore her for is her drive to protect Julian at all costs. They are parabatai after all, they’re best friends and each other is all they’ve got for seventeen years now. They’ve been through a lot, and her love for Julian adds up to that drive even more.
On the other hand, Julian Blackthorn is another remarkable character in this story. I adore how he takes care of his family and how he is willing to do anything just to keep them together and happy. I love how tough he is, and how he also always thinks about Emma’s well-being before his. He is passionate in everything he does, and if Emma is driven by revenge, Jules is driven by keeping his family together. *I am somehow scared for how well he can lie and manipulate people though, after all, he did convict Nightshade of a crime he did not commit just to avoid being questioned by Robert Lightwood. And that quality of his, I’d like to see being resolved in the next books.
And as for the other characters: Mark Blackthorn was somehow a character I saw coming. And how Cassie wrote about him coming back into the human world from the Wild Hunt was beautiful. *I adore his character, although I had mixed feelings about his “Why lie?” line at the end.; Cristina Mendoza Rosales was literally every best friend a girl could wish for. She understood Emma’s decisions and respected them, and always got her back no matter what happened. I love her character, and I’m glad Emma has her. The way she also helped Mark realize that he had a place in the Blackthorn family, and the way she became his friend when he had none made me love her character more.; and as for Ty, Livvy, Dru, and Tavvy, I loved how they always somehow lightened up the mood of the story when they come into the scene. Plus the way they coordinated well as a team to solve the story’s mysteries was always fun to read about.
*The forbidden romance about Jules and Emma was a pain to read about. Reading about how great their love is for each other and knowing that they can’t do anything to take their relationship further because of the Law only brought tears to my eyes. I’d like to see them happy and together, but they can’t be because they would only end up destroying each other. And I know Cassie will eventually tell us the story of why the Law about parabatai not being allowed to be in love with each other was made, and I’m looking forward to reading about that in the next books.
All in all, the story was a great and exhilarating roller coaster ride. It was a beautiful ticket back to the Shadow World we know, and it was a wonderful experience to be able to read about new heroes, and discover their characteristics and motivations. Lady Midnight is one beautiful book that will give you all the feels, some pain, realizations, and wishes that will set you off waiting for the next books to come around. A highly recommended book for those who love urban fantasy, faeries, Shadowhunters, forbidden romance, and thrilling reads.
5 out of 5 stars!
Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Tehran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old.
Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and which later inspired her current pen name).
After college, Cassie lived in Los Angeles and New York where she worked at various entertainment magazines and even some rather suspect tabloids where she reported on Brad and Angelina’s world travels and Britney Spears’ wardrobe malfunctions. She started working on her YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan, her favourite city. She turned to writing fantasy fiction full time in 2006 and hopes never to have to write about Paris Hilton again.
Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.
City of Bones was her first novel.