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Review: Lady Midnight

You have to respect an author who is completely dedicated to her series and the world she's created for it. That kind of loyalty is likely part of the reason Cassandra Clare is one of the top young adult authors right now, thanks to her Shadowhunter novels, which continue with the Dark Artifices series and the first novel, Lady Midnight. I'm not ashamed that I'm in my mid-twenties and still read young adult novels. Why should I be, when the novels are this good and the world is this in depth? Though Lady Midnight isn't my favourite of the Shadowhunter novels, my expectations for this new series are high and being met so far. The story is interesting, the characters complex, the twists shocking, and the action steady. Definitely a must for all Shadowhunter fans, though I'm willing to bet you've already read the novel three times already and swooned over Jace's random appearances. Yeah, slight spoiler alert– Jace comes back to say hello, more than once. 

 

This cover... Guys, I can't even... Absolutely stunning!

 

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.

 

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There events that in City of Heavenly Fire that prelude what happens in Lady Midnight, so many of the characters were familiar to me. That being said, it was awesome to watch them grow and interact as young adults. I don't know if I really loved the plot that was being told. I just didn't find it as interesting as I wanted it to be until the end, and it took a long time to get there. This book is over 700 pages long, which is waaaay longer than most books I've read in a while. That being said, there was enough going on that I was never bored, and the plot paid off massively in the end, especially since the epilogue was short and made it monumentally clear that Emma, Julien, and their friends didn't have as much success as they thought they did.

 

The characters are plentiful and complex, just as they were in The Mortal Instruments. There were a couple new additions, but for the most part I recognized everyone. I found Emma to be a great female lead– strong-willed, adventurous, loyal, and willing to break her own heart to protect the people she loves. Julien is one of my favourite characters because his devotion to his family and to Emma makes him dangerous, something you don't expect when you begin reading the novel. I truly enjoyed watching him grow and wonder how far his dedication and love will take him in the end. Tied with him for favourite characters is Mark, Julien's brother and a hybrid of Faerie and Shadowhunter. His growth was complicated and unpredictable, and I was itching to see where he ended up. I also really enjoyed his interactions with the characters, both old and new, and his budding relationships as his priorities altered. 

 

I've always loved the complexity and politics of the Shadowhunter and Downworld societies, and odds are I don't need to further compliment Clare on the incredible detail she's placed in her books (though I guess I just did anyway, so go figure), but another highlight of Lady Midnight was reading about the parabatai, the ultimate friendship bond between two Shadowhunters. It's a bond that has been shown in both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, though it's never been as deeply explored in either of those series as it has been here. Probably because the two people involved with this particular bond have begun to fall in love.

 

Oh, come on– if you know anything about Cassandra's Clare, you know that's absolutely not a spoiler; it's an expectation. Clare writes with a romantic style, focusing on details that make the romantic interactions seem even more visceral and alive. If I have one complaint, it's that I was able to predict the ending. Actually, that's a lie– I couldn't predict who the real bad guy was (seriously, I did not see that coming), and I definitely couldn't have predicted the epilogue, but the speedbump that our young lovers encountered? Yeah. I saw that coming.

 

To be fair, it's not a bad thing, really. As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to true romance in novels, the characters have to truly put their love to the test. When it seems hopeless (and I have no doubt that this is a relationship that will get tested to the max), we want to root for the characters to find a way for their love to blossom and grow to epic proportions. We want it to be worth the hurt and pain. And most of the time, it is.

 

I've been waiting for this book for a long time, and I got exactly what I expected and wanted. Clare is an amazing author and it's clear that she loves her fans just as much as she loves this world. Beloved characters such as Jace, Clary, Magnus, and Alec reappear to make us smile and swoon a little (if anybody wants to know if Jace and Clary are still going strong, they totally are), and Jem and Tessa appear to add some mystery. I hope I see more of them soon. 

 

If you've been on the fence about The Mortal Instruments series, give Lady Midnight a try. Yes, it's a young adult novel, but it's written so beautifully and carries so much heart that the recommended age group doesn't matter. You'll read it and sigh like me... probably because you'll want more of the Shadowhunter world, and realize that the release date for the next novel is too far away. 

 

Amy