Review of ‘Lady Midnight’ by Cassandra Clare

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As you may have seen in my post, My Shadowhunter Journey, I have been absorbed into this incredible new world that I have to share with you all! Lady Midnight is the first book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, which is Cassandra Clare’s 3rd Shadowhunter series.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book


Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.
A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.
Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.
Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

My Review

From one of the most highly regarded young adult fiction writers, Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight is Book 1 in The Dark Artifices trilogy. As well as continuing on in the Shadowhunter world, the story also bleeds into the genre of mystery, with the characters faced with a series of murders they have to solve.

Years after the Dark War, Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn are bound as parabatai, and live in the Los Angeles Institute with the rest of the Blackthorn family. After losing her parents, Emma wants to know exactly how they died all those years ago. The Clave insists Sebastian Morgenstern was behind it, but Emma has other ideas. She is determined to figure out what really happened. With the help of her parabatai and his siblings, an investigation gets underway, after some testing cicumstances for the Blackthorns and the Institute. The romance weaving into a dramatic storyline builds the character development to higher heights than previous Shadowhunter books, and also allows the reader to engage more with how this fantastical world works.

Everything that happens in Lady Midnight has been carefully structured, showing the reader what is happening, and allowing them to try and work out what is happening before the characters reach their final conclusion, like any great crime novel would. With so many different relationships and events happening throughout the plot line, the story is by no means predictable! As the characters discover more about the investigation, and about themselves, the pace continues to speed up, resulting in the climactic ending that all readers desire.

As with the majority of stories, some slower moments were to be expected, particularly when Clare briefly recaps previous stories, or more ‘mundane’ activity at the Institute, but this definitely does not take away from the excitement in the res t of the book. Everything was clearly planned and logical, with the perfect amount of threads adding up at the end, and leaving enough questions, to have readers satisfied but wanting more. Thankfully, Book 2 is here!

I absolutely loved Emma and Julian, and how their characters had developed from the 12 yr-olds we saw in parts of City of Heavenly Fire (if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments, then you should go and do that… right now!) The way everything carried over from the first to the third series, such as the parabatai bond, the friendship, and the romance, and seeing how it has grown in the depth and detail, has really made these character realistic in a fantasy world. I also loved how members of the New York Institute, featured in series 1, made an appearance, which allowed readers loyal to the Shadowhunter Chronicles to see how they have grown and changed as well.

Despite Clare writing in the fantasy genre, she does it in a way for the stories to also stay connected to the real world, such as setting the characters in real places. The reality does not change with the characters. Yes, they are Shadowhunters and Downworlders, but the environment that surrounds them makes them seem a lot more realistic. A particular scene comes to mind, when Julian is making pancakes, which is such a normal thing to be doing, and allows the reader to be reminded that while these characters are different, they can still be relatable.

I was definitely hooked by the storyline, and the way it was written revealed just enough to raise questions to keep the reader guessing as the story progressed. My favourite part of the book was Jem revealed to Emma the secrets behind the parabatai bond, and why it is forbidden to fall in love with each other. This scene was proof that Clare is ever expanding the Shadow World and allowing us to learn new things about the intricate world she has woven. Emma’s reaction was completely appropriate, in my opinion, and sets up more to come with her relationship with Julian, mark and Cristina. Also, questions were raised at the end with Kit, and how he will fit into Lord of Shadows, which is quite an exciting prospect. The scenes written particularly well were the ones that went into specific details about the Shadow World, just because it shows how much thought has gone into Clare’s creation, and also raises ‘what if’ questions that can be developed and discovered as more Shadowhunter books are written.

There were definitely comical moments in the book, particularly those that were more mundane and seeing the characters engage in matters that they are not necessarily used to dealing with (the scene with Mark and the children in the kitchen springs to mind). There were some emotional scenes as well, but these were more heart-breaking in terms of romantic feelings, as opposed to sad, ‘characters dying’ emotion.

Reading Lady Midnight opened my eyes to the Shadow World a lot further than I thought possible, and the fantasy fiction I am living in at the moment is coming very close to the detail we see in Harry Potter. I think it is so important that we learn about fictional worlds like these, because it allows an escape from reality, and the more believable it is, the more we, as readers, are allowed to escape.

 

I would definitely recommend reading Lady Midnight, but not until you have read the 9 books that come before. Despite it being a separate series, background knowledge is a must to fully understand and appreciate the writing. Fans of fantasy will be sucked in to this one! By far the most enjoyable Shadowhunter book I have read so far!

My Rating: 5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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