Review - Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Monday, April 11, 2016

Lady Midnight
By Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

 Warning: Contains Mild Spoilers

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.

Lady Midnight is the first installment in The Dark Artifices series and takes place five years after the conclusion of City of Heavenly Fire, the final book in The Mortal Instruments series. It follows Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, two characters that we were introduced to in City of Heavenly Fire. In the conclusion of CoHF, we learned that Julian’s parents did not survive the Dark War, nor did Emma’s who showed up dead on the shore in California, believed to be victims of Sebastian (or Jonathan Morgenstern, take your pick). Emma however, has never believed that that is what befell her parents and in Lady Midnight, we get to learn quite a deal more about all these characters.

Since the conclusion of the Dark War, the Blackthorns and Emma have been learning to cope with the loss of their parents, but as she grew, Emma’s thirst to avenge her parents’ death grew, too. From her training to the missions she goes on, her thoughts are on her parents and the mysterious way that they perished, thrown into the ocean and marked up with an unfamiliar language. Now, five years later, more murders are cropping up and the similarities between their deaths and the Carstairs’ is remarkable. Of course, Emma takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of things and before too long, it’s discovered that many of the recently murdered individuals have Faerie blood – and those of Faerie are concerned. Since the issue of the Cold Peace, Shadowhunters are forbidden to aid Faerie and, as a bargaining chip, they allow Mark Blackthorn – who had been taken by the Wild Hunt – to return home until they solved the mystery. Once the Blackthorns, without the aid of the Clave, have pinned the murderer, then Mark would be allowed to decide if he would stay with his family or return to the Hunt.

With the possibility of having their older brother returned to them for good, as well as Emma finally getting to the bottom of her parents’ death, everyone in the Institute puts their effort into apprehending the wrongdoer and putting a stop to the killing for good. They just didn’t anticipate how much trouble they’d dredge up in the wake of their investigation and, by the end, the Blackthorns are left wondering who they can truly trust...

This is a book that I’ve been waiting for since the moment I put down CoHF, over a year and a half ago. In many ways, it didn’t disappoint. First and foremost, we get a whopping 667 page book. That, in and of itself, is glorious. Moreover, it was very exciting to get to learn about life in a new Institute, as well as getting to know the Blackthorns a little better. We got a peek into Julian’s and Emma’s minds in the previous book, but Lady Midnight really delves into their personality, motives behind their actions, and what events led them to be the people they are today. That Emma and Julian are Parabatai, but also desperately in love with each other is a foil that all readers knew was coming, but I’m truly intrigued to learn more about the Parabatai bond in future books. We’re given a peek into the repercussions of loving your Parabatai in this book, as well as a warning of what could happen if that love grew, but the cryptic explanations only left me wanting to know more! So that’s certainly one reason I will be picking up the sequel.

Additionally, we get a good idea of the personalities and needs of the younger Blackthorns. Ty, in particular, was fun to follow and watch grow as a Shadowhunter throughout the course of the book. In many ways, he is not like average Shadowhunters and he’s one of the main characters that I’m eager know better in later installments. Mark, too, had changed drastically after his years spent in the Hunt. He’s embraced his Faerie side, thinking his family lost from his forever, but when he’s given the choice to stay at the Institute with his family should they succeed in their quest, he’s torn - as he left someone he had grown to love behind. I found his struggles of adjusting to the human world, as well as reconnecting with his siblings who were practically strangers now, particularly engaging. There were many parts of the novel where I could practically feel how torn he was between both worlds. Too, there are a cadre of new characters thrown into the mix, such as Cristina, who is visiting the LA Institute from her home one in Mexico, Diana, the Blackthorn’s tutor, Kit, a supposed mundane with the Sight, and Malcolm Fade, the High Warlock of Los Angeles – all who seem to have their own secrets.

I’m always so impressed with how intricately Clare is able to weave her books together. If you have read The Infernal Devices series, you should already know how well it and The Mortal Instruments fit together chronologically and The Dark Artifices will be no different. Characters from past series are reintroduced in Lady Midnight seamlessly and it’s refreshing to see old characters we’ve grown to love come together again to aid the Blackthorns. Seriously, I’m willing to bet that Clare as an intricate family tree taped up to her study wall of all her characters, as well as a massive plot chart. Her series fits perfectly together like a puzzle!

Moreover, I’m impressed with how easily she is able to weave the story, especially a mystery such as this one. I was left guessing who was the bad guy up until the page it was revealed and it took me completely by surprise! What I found particularly notable was that the “bad guy” didn’t fit your generic evildoer stereotype. In fact, by the end of the story, I found myself feeling sorry for the person, who had been driven to such acts out of desperation. By the end of the novel, we’ve solved one big mystery, but many more unfold and – unfortunately – will only be addressed in later additions, leaving the reader desperately waiting for the next book.

While this book, overall, was amazing, there were a couple of issues I had with it.

First, I’m growing really tired of the Clary carbon copies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a strong female lead in a novel, but for once it would be nice to read about someone who actually struggled to be that great Shadowhunter or heroine. I think that that was what drew me to love Ty so much. He had weaknesses and, overall, was an active character we saw grow in the story. Emma, however, is already being called the next “Great Shadowhunter.” Really? Then why should we worry about her wellbeing if we know that she’ll be able to fight herself out of the horde of demons with nary a scratch? I’m just tired of the seemingly perfect girl leads and, literally, the only different between Clary and Tessa was that Tessa was a warlock. The differences between Emma and Clary? …..She’s…. blonde instead of a redhead? I mean, I really struggle to see it!

Secondly, Clare literally uses the exact same method to “break up” Emma and Julian as she did with Will and Tessa in The Infernal Devices. Knowing that falling in love with her Parabatai is not only illegal but very dangerous, Emma takes it upon herself to break Julian’s heart in an effort to protect him. *Insert facepalm here* Ugh! I will never understand why authors can’t have characters actually talk with one another rather than keep secrets. I mean, sure, it creates more drama, but throughout this whole book we’re told that Julian and Emma are inseparable, that they know each other in and out and that they hardly ever keep secrets from each other. So why couldn’t Emma just talk with Julian about what she discovered? I get that there’s a great amount of plottage to be gained from the deception, but I just found Emma’s motivations behind lying forced and – overall – unfulfilling. Though I’m interested in seeing how Mark’s “favor” for her will play out in the sequel.

Lastly, and this is certainly not a complaint, it’s been leaked that Clare is writing a short story concerning “Malec” (Magnus and Alec) about their first time together. *Fangirl squee* Malec is literally my favorite gay couple I’ve ever read about and I’ll forever blame Clare for my love of yaoi. Anyway, if you’re a Malec shipper like myself, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the short story, whose proceeds will go to The Trevor Project, which helps LGBT youth. Follow Clare on Twitter for more updates.

Overall, this book was an awesome read that satisfied my need for Shadowhunters, at least for the next year or so. You won’t be disappointed with the story, but note that it does fall victim to the typical Clare plot tropes.


  1. I've been wondering how this one was. There haven't been very many reviews for it yet for whatever reason. I think I would like this but I'm not sure about all the drama, plus I only ever read the first three books in the MI series. I did read all the ID ones though. Would I be lost if I read this out of order so to speak do you think?

    1. I guess since it was a long book, people are still making their way through it or still trying to write the review up. It's definitely a good addition to the Shadowhunter world, and while you COULD read this one without having finished the TMI series, I would definitely suggest you read the other's first, otherwise you'll be spoiled on a lot of what happens in the rest of TMI.

  2. My copy came in at the library the other day! I'm so excited to get to it! :)

    1. Yay!!! You'll have to tell me what you think once you're done! I'll be keeping an eye out for that review. ;)