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review - lady midnight

I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW + DISCUSSION: lady midnight, by cassandra clareLady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 8th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Friendship, Love & Romance, Romance, Siblings, Young Adult
Pages: 720
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository

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.

note: all quotations are taken from the uncorrected proof and may differ from the finished copy. they’re subject to change.

saying LADY MIDNGHT is an emotional rollercoaster ride is an understatement.

i’m shell-shocked by cassandra clare’s improvement in writing, world building, character development, EVERYTHING. especially since i just finished rereading her first two novels, it’s so obviously clear as to how much she’s grown as an author. she keeps getting better and better. her ability to create more depth in the shadow world never fazes to amaze me. i personally don’t find the writing to be very special, but THE WORLD is so incredible. we see characters we know from TMI and TID (which made me SO GIDDY) and now THEY’RE the side characters. more secrets about their government unravel, more family relationships explained, and MORE ANGST. it’s also nice because it’s written in a way that doesn’t require you to read the companion series.

“Everyone is more than one thing… We are more than single actions we undertake, whether they be good or evil.” (pg. 565, ARC)

my favorite part of LADY MIDNIGHT is not the intricately thought out plot – which is very intricate and very well thoughout out – but the depth of our cast. i remember reading THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS and finding everyone a bit flat or “too perfect.” clary and jace (from TMI) were both born to be legends and, to me, they were cutouts of The Chosen One. our main characters in LM, emma and julian, aren’t naturally “special” but work to where they’re at. i could easily connect with them because they’re just regular people shadowhunters, who are trying to make the most out of what’s thrown at them. and it’s not only our two leads who i adore; EVERYONE is incredibly fleshed out and unique. clare made it so easy for me to connect with all of them, which led me to feel ALL THE FEELZ. i also love how there are many diverse characters and aspects, but they weren’t the main focus; it’s there and it’s important but it’s not flung in your face.

the plot has such a nice balance between action, romance, suspense, and magic. although the book is the size of a monster, there weren’t many parts that felt dragged or unnecessary (a few, but not many). one of the conflicts the story follows is family centered, which i LOVE because i feel like there’s more to YA than romance and monsters; LADY MIDNIGHT has all three! *sly grin* but yes, this book has a perfect mix of everything.

“The choices we make, make us.” (pg. 608, ARC)

if you couldn’t tell from my paragraphs of gushing, I LOVE THIS NOVEL. i usually try to be very picky and critical with my books, but i honestly couldn’t find anything i truly disliked. it made me fall in love with the world and characters and everything about everything. (it also made me feel like i was being stabbed in the heart a few million times, but i suppose i’m a bit masochistic.)

Rating Report
Overall: 4.8

spoiler-filled discussion beginning. PLEASE do not continue reading unless you want to be severely spoiled. and let me tell you, YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED. GO READ THIS BOOK!

these relationships – platonic or not – destroyed me.

emma and julian’s relationship is the reason why i cry at night. before starting, i already knew they were going to end up together; who else could it possibly be? emma and cameron? HAH. however, i didn’t know how PERFECT they were for each other. even when they were fighting or had so-called awkward moments, they were so in sync. i love them together; i love everything about them. cassandra clare seems to LOVE the “forbidden love” trope *cough jace and clary & will and tessa* and although it hurts me, i can’t get enough of it either. every time one of them mentioned their parabatai thing, it’d be like

i LOVE the blackthorns. we hardly see family dynamics as a big part of YA – it’s usually centered on action!!! or romance!!! – but family was just as, if not more, important in this story. all the blackthorns and their interactions and reactions are so natural, fluid, and distinct. jules and tavvy and dru and livvy and ty and mark (and emma!) make me smile so hard.

“And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.” – jules to emma, pg. 540 (ARC)

can we take a moment of silence for MARK AND KIERAN. when cristina first walks in on them kissing, i actually had to close the book and scream into my pillow. i love LGBT+ relationships – especially in cassie clare novels. *cough MALEC cough* it made me happy to know that mark had someone to keep him sane while he was in the hunt. that being said, i was devestated when kieran told the fey about mark, which led to julian and emma being whipped (BRB CRYING AND DYING), which led mark to hate kieran. *more crying* even though mark chose to stay with the blackthorns, i hope he and kieran will work things out. (because there’s NO WAY cristina and mark will be a thing; and there’s NO WAY IN HELL emma and mark will be a thing.)

let’s cry together about this plot.

since i just mentioned mark and emma, i thought it’d be a good idea to discuss the heart-stabbing ending cassie left us with. the last chapter is entitled SEVER MY SOUL and that is actually such an accurate representation of what it felt like. CASSIE, DO YOU ENJOY HURTING US READERS?? (500% sure she gets off on this.) when jem told emma about the truth behind the parabatai law, i was surprisingly alright with it. i didn’t see the big issue. AND THEN emma goes off and tells jules she doesn’t actually like him that way YOU’RE A LIAR EMMA STOP THIS GO TELL HIM THE TRUTH UGHHHHHH and tries to “save their relationship” or whatever. after that, she makes this god-awful deal with mark to be “fake in love” and i just

but before that, we find out that KIT IS A HERONDALE. OH. MY. GOODNESS. i didn’t see that coming AT ALL, and i kinda of thought it was a little random and out of nowhere. (but apparently, there’re hints in THE SHADOWHUNTER CHRONICLES and THE BANE CHRONICLES but i’m not 100% sure because i haven’t read those yet.) the prologue starts in kit’s perspective and i’m like, “WHO’S THIS KID? WHERE’S EMMA AND JULIAN? ARE YOU EVEN IMPORTANT?” aaaaaaaand he ends up being a shadowhunter AND a herondale. but it’s kinda funny when jem and tessa appear to him and they’re like COME, YOU’RE A SHADOWHUNTER, and kit is literally like

did you suspect the murderer was going to be malcom? i didn’t see it coming, but i don’t think i was as surprised. malcom was helping them for… what reason, exactly? it didn’t make sense that the high warlock of los angeles would freely roam about; magnus was only helping the shadowhunters because of alec (and also because magnus is THE BEST). but i learned to trust malcom and that was my sad mistake. when they actually found out it was him, it seemed a bit anticlimactic. i didn’t fully register or accept it was malcom yet and they’d already been running to the convergence site for tavvy. that whole part was very intense, but also slightly (just slightly) dull. i think the pacing could’ve been somehow improved at this point.

these characters are too precious for this world.

specifically, julian blackthorn. I LOVE HIM TO DEATH. i didn’t remember him to be thaaaaaat remarkable in CoHF – in my defense, i forgot 90% of that book – but he clearly shone through in LADY MIDNIGHT. he was so different from cassie’s other male leads because he wasn’t obnoxiously capital-g Great. will, jace, and jem are all powerful shadowhunters, and you KNOW they are. julian’s a powerful shadowhunter, but he’s much more than that because he’s also a loving brother and an artist and all these other things. i’m not saying will, jace, and jem aren’t other things besides being a shadowhunter, but they – specifically will and jace – took so much pride in being a shadowhunter that all other details were fleeting. but for julian, i think of him as a brother first before thinking of him as a shadowhunter. AND I LOVE THAT. he’s not your average male-lead, which makes him EVEN BETTER. TEAM JULES BLACKTHORN FOR LIFE.

“And if there were two things he believed were limitless, it was love and imagination.” (pg. 168, ARC)

cristina is a new character that i couldn’t trust at first. but after a few chapters, i quickly realized she’d be one of my favorites because cristina is so steady. she’s like the rock while everyone is tumbling down their black hole-ish problems. she has her own conflicts as well, but she chooses bear the weight on her own instead of sharing it with others. cristina is such a quietly strong character – unlike emma – and i sincerely admire her for that. and because she doesn’t come off as jubilant or flamboyant, people like me tend to underestimate her at first.

our entire cast has a sort of muted shine that i adore. everyone is special and unique and unexpectedly so. nobody seemed remarkably remarkable for the first half of the book, but they all seem to grow on you. (except for emma and julian, who are basically STARS IN MY EYES.) emma is a very loud character compared to the rest of this cast, but sometimes you need that. THEIR CHEMSITRY IS GREAT AND I LOVE THE LA INSTITUTE.

what was your favorite part of the book? favorite character? let me know your thoughts!!

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a nineteen-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.