Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices) Hardcover – 8 Mar 2016
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About the Author
Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices trilogy, and coauthor of the Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. She also wrote The Shadowhunter's Codex with her husband, Joshua Lewis. Her books have more than 36 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.
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I've been waiting for this book for years. Years.
I was so worried that I wouldn't like, that I'd be disappointed.
But how could I think that? Cassandra Clare has only ever impressed me, only ever made me fall in love with her world. How could I doubt that?
Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking, but I sure don't doubt Cassandra now...
Lady Midnight was stunning.
From the first chapter I was engrossed, and I knew that I had a wild ride ahead of me.
Firstly, I'd like to address the unique nature of this novel when compared to Cassandra Clare's previous writings. Both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices began with a protagonist who was unfamiliar with the Shadowhunter world. Thus, both City of Bones and Clockwork Angel had lengthy beginnings, and took a while to get into the flow and pace of the story.
Lady Midnight - due to the protagonist, Emma, being familiar with the Shadowhunter world - was able to skip past this length introduction, and delve straight into the action.
And the action - there was so much of it! This book never stopped, never even slowed; it was a constant stream of events transpiring, and I loved that! There was never a dull moment!
Likewise, the pacing of this novel was very well done. It was consistently fast - but not too fast - and the transitions between scenes were seamless. This, in hand with the heightened levels of action, made for an engaging novel that I never wanted to put down.
However, I would complain that the chapters were a little lengthy. This isn't the kind of book that you can read spots of here and there - if you feel like reading this book, you're in it for the long haul. The combination of long chapters and an engaging story is deadly; I was reading for hours at a time when meaning to do other things!
Throughout this novel, there are consistent switches in point-of-view. This - I believe - was very beneficial from a reader's perspective, as it allowed for a broader perception of the current events. Because this book was so complex with so many overlapping events, it was great to get a head start, and see little snippets from each perspective.
Without these switches in POV, it is definite that the book would have suffered. Such changes both enabled more of an in-depth insight to the characters, and an invaluable insight into the action.
It also made it so that the book had an even faster pace, because the chapters were split into sections for each POV.
Likewise, this book not only discusses current events from differing perspectives, but past events, too. The flashbacks that were incorporated were endlessly interesting, because many occurred during latter half of The Mortal Instruments series. Having read said series, it was interesting to get an insight into what was happening on the sidelines of Jace and Clary's story.
Also, it was nice to gradually discover the important events that occurred during the 5-year gap between City of Heavenly Fire and Lady Midnight without going into the more mundane aspects (pun intended).
Frankly, through this novel, I have learned much of the Shadowhunter world, especially what it was like for Emma and Julian to grow up in it, and not just be thrown into it like Tessa and Clary were.
Cassandra Clare is renowned for her incorporation of both LGBTQ and differing ethnicities into her novels. Lady Midnight was no different, nationalities and sexuality being approached with an accepting demeanour.
It was so great to read a book wherein such things were the norm - as they should be - and no one was singled out for the things they couldn't control.
It was like magical realism, but with nationality and sexual orientation.
(I loved it.)
Likewise, because the Blackthorn family motto being "lex malla, lex nulla" (or a "bad law, is no law") demonstrates what this book is really about - change. The acceptance of Downworlder-Shadowhunter marriages, and the abolishment of the Cold Peace, alongside scrapping how falling in love with your parabatai is forbidden. I believe that Emma - despite not being a Blackthorn - will be the voice of change, and the next generation of Shadowhunters.
In our modern society, these issues are really relevant, and I'm sure will aid multiple readers around the globe.
In terms of characters, I believe this is the strongest group Clare has created. I would first, however, like to discuss the incorporation of other Shadowhunter characters from previous series: Jem is commonly mentioned, which I really liked, as it allowed for an insight into his life after The Infernal Devices, and also after City of Heavenly Fire; both Clary and Jace were spoken of as if they were famous, which was really amusing, but comforting all the same - it was so great to see that they were continuing with their life together; Magnus was as he always is - flamboyant...surely it would be a crime to neglect to include Magnus in a Shadowhunter novel; Simon and Isabelle...I won't spoil it for you!
Now, in terms of the main characters in Lady Midnight, I would begin by stating how much I admire Emma Carstairs. She is definitely my favourite protagonist of all the Shadowhunter books in existence - she is strong and unwavering, and loves fiercely. She is a warrior, and not afraid of a battle or a head-on altercation. She is outrageously sarcastic and witty and always able to make jokes, even in difficult moments. But she's vulnerable. Despite these powerful aspects of her personality, it is evident that her deep love can cause her pain. She is the image of a strong female protagonist - she is not perfect, and she doesn't try to be.
I loved that about her.
Tarot Rings 5On the other hand, Julian was much more obviously sensitive, and I loved that he wasn't afraid to show his siblings and Emma how much he cares. The development between City of Heavenly Fire and Lady Midnight is astounding, because Julian has grown into a man. It was so great to read about him.
The remainder of the Blackthorn family were equally as great. All were unique, so much so that it was easy to tell them apart even after a few chapters. (I usually find it hard to tell large families apart in books.) Also, there were subtle hints at how things will develop with the children in the future. I understand that the sequel series to The Dark Artifices - The Wicked Powers - follows the younger Blackthorn children, and so it will be interesting to see how they develop in the coming novels in preparation for The Wicked Powers.
Overall, I would not hesitate to proclaim that this is the best introduction to a series Cassandra Clare has ever written. It was jam-packed with action from start to finish, and consisted of the best cast of characters I have ever read about. I loved everything about it, and could not stop thinking about it throughout my entire reading journey. Thus, I awarded it 5/5 stars, and would award it more if I could.
Emma is the main star of this book but each of the Blackthorn children are wonderfully woven into the story; each has peculiar and interesting character traits to set them apart for the reader. Emma is on the hunt for her parents killer. After their bodies were found during the Dark War floating in the sea, The Clave attributed the blame to Sebastian Morgenstern since he was basically the number one murderer of the time right! But Emma, and a few of our favourite characters from previous books, doesn't think this story makes sense. So off she goes on a mission to find the true killer.
I had high hopes for this novel. I loved Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy so much. It's up there with my favourites of all time. And I adored her characters from this trilogy - Tessa, Jem and Will. I liked the Mortal Instruments, but not as much, and when I was introduced to the Blackthorn family in the final instalment of that series I wasn't too excited by them. Probably because I was too busy hoping Clare didn't kill off any of my favourites! Fortunately, I didn't need to worry about not liking the Blackthorns.
Julian is a complex character. He stands very far apart from our usual male protagonists (Jace and Will). Julian is a layered, intricate character with a lot of secrets much like his predecessors BUT you'll be able to get a read on his feelings much easier than other characters before him. You see, Julian has had a pretty unfair deal by having to become the head of his family. But equally, the leader of the Institute, his uncle Arthur appears to be going mad - if the Clave found out, the Blackthorn children would be separated and placed with other families. So the pressure is on for Julian to make sure he keeps his family together. I loved how Cassandra Clare showed this as a burden but not a chore for Julian - she developed his character wonderfully and I really liked him.
Emma is far more transparent. Fuelled by revenge, she is hell-bent on discovering the murderers. And she isn't afraid to break a few rules to get there. I loved how brave, but also fairly hot-headed, she could be. She's even willing to make some forbidden deals with Faerie which could help her find the answer she so desperately wants. I actually found her more interesting than Clary; she has so much fire and it makes for a great read.
I am so intrigued by Parabatai. I have loved this idea from the moment I was introduced to it. This book largely looks at the relationship of Parabatai and the Clave's Law forbidding them to fall in love. I don't think I need to tell you why this is so heavily featured! Cassandra Clare just loves a bit of heartbreak and forbidden romance. I'm really excited to see where she takes this!
It was really exciting to see Mark Blackthorn reintroduced to his family. He is the most complicated character I think I might have come across within Clare's work so far. After spending time in Faerie, whilst his siblings aged and he did not, Mark begins to embrace his half-faerie nature. This means when he is thrust back into his family home as part of a bargain, he isn't as happy to be there as you might expect! I really liked Mark, a character I wasn't too fussed about in her previous series, and he grew on me throughout the book. His faerie quirks, unusual way of speaking and fierce loyalty to his beliefs and his heart were beautifully demonstrated - I didn't expect the ending to go the way it did with him; definitely a surprising character.
Overall, I think this is a strong addition to an interesting, well-established World. The Shadowhunter world is so addictive, and just keeps getting better. I adore how all of the bloodlines tie in together spanning across hundreds of years, and I really enjoy trying to identify who might be linked with who in each book compared to the older series - there seems to be an infinite number of secrets to unfold within these novels. It was fantastic to have some cameo appearances from some of the characters, such as Magnus, Clary, Jace, Tessa and Jem, within this book and there are lots of hints at a big finale including all of these characters in one book.
The only problem for me was this - this book is largely predictable. For the first time, I figured out the villain, their motives and saw all the hints Clare dropped right from the very beginning. This took away some of the excitement for me - usually Clare really keeps me guessing but this time I think she just made it far too obvious for us readers.
This is a great start to what I hope to be a fantastic series - hopefully the plot development will be a little more devious for round two