Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 paws
Synopsis: Lady Midnight revisits the Shadowhunter world five years after the end of City of Heavenly Fire. We follow Emma Carstairs as she seeks revenge for the murder of her parents, along with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, as he steps into a fatherly role in order to hold his family together. Based in sunny Los Angeles, Emma and Julian navigate the tense atmosphere created by the conflict between Nephilim and Faeries as an unexpected member of the Blackthorn family is used as a bargaining chip between the two groups.
“Lex malla, lex nulla. A bad law is no law.”
I loved this book! Are we shocked? I mean, it’s Cassandra Clare. If you’re still reading her books at this point, I’m assuming that you’ve probably liked her past ones, and will continue to like everything she writes. I’m in it for the long run, Cassy.
Because I loved so much in this book, let’s start off with everything I liked!
I love Emma and the sarcastic queen that she is. So feisty, so fiery and I’m HERE for a powerful, unapologetic, female character. Her sarcasm is amazing and great comic relief throughout the book, even in some of the most tense situations without her coming off as insensitive. Here are some of my favorite Emma quotes:
“That’s not the spirit of the Law, Emma. Remember? ‘The Law is hard but it is the Law.’” “I thought it was ‘the Law is annoying, but it is also flexible.’”
“I don’t want to die on the Pacific Coast Highway!” Sterling wailed. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Emma’s voice dropped acid. “Is there a different highway you’d like to die on? BECAUSE WE CAN ARRANGE THAT.”
“Deprive me of my chance to regain Annabel, and you will pay with agony,” he snarled. “Can’t be worse than the agony of hearing you talk,” Emma said.
So basically, she’s my spirit animal.
If we talk about Emma, we have to talk about her other half, Julian. He’s known to most as an artsy, gentle older brother but he would do anything to protect those he loves. Now that his parents are gone, and his uncle is an absentee leader of the Institute, Julian feels like he has to take care of everyone in his life; from his siblings, to his uncle, to Emma. It’s clear that he’s struggling under the pressure of all of this but he can’t talk to anyone about it because all he wants to do is make sure his family is safe and feels loved. His four younger siblings have become like his own children. This makes Julian feel lesser because he’s always taking care of them and telling them what to do rather than being a fun brother for them (omg my poor baby someone give him a vacation!!). He’s loyal, loving, protective, and in way over his head but he’s just doing the best he can –how can you not love him?
We meet a new character, Christina Rosales, in this book who I think will end up being one of my favorites! (Did I just curse her to die later on in this series? Actually, don’t answer that) She’s a Shadowhunter from Mexico who is taking her travel year to visit and learn in the LA Institute. She’s a sweet friend to Emma, and someone who always knows the right thing to say. She an Emma click immediately, but Christina continues to hide some secrets about her life in Mexico. Still, she quickly became close to the Blackthorns and was a reliable friend to all of them. I can’t wait to learn more about her (and her “Perfect Diego”) in the next books!
Overall, I love how well the characters are developed and how many layers each of them has. They all serve their own purpose in the story and aren’t just there as fillers. I feel like I could write a book for every side character just based on all the information we get in Lady Midnight.
Cassandra Clare included flashbacks as well as visits from old friends! The parallels made between the flashbacks and the present time were evident as they were used to either explain something that’s currently happening or to point out how much has changed. I’m picky about my flashbacks but I felt they were used really well here.
Now let’s get to the juicy stuff: romance. In some ways, the romance is predictable and in some ways, it’s not. You definitely know what’s going to happen in a *certain* situation but it feels like such a slow burn. The alternating POVs and the dramatic irony were so key for this because you already know how everyone feels but the actual characters don’t. So you’re just waiting and waiting until the moment finally happens and the buildup was spot on for me.
I may have been able to guess about some things in the book, but a few things caught me by surprise too. I honestly wasn’t expecting any love triangles in this one (why? -I’m not totally sure to be honest, wishful thinking maybe) but NOPE. We’ve got a love triangle people and I’m just gonna embrace it. We also have fake dating, one of my favorite tropes, but this fake dating is going to hurt one of my favorite characters so I’m very conflicted on this specific situation. And this is just going to lead us to another love triangle/square/pentagon, so bring on the heartache!!
Now, onto the (few) things I didn’t completely enjoy about this book.
It took me a while to get all the Blackthorn kids straight; longer than I would have expected. The older siblings I had a good grasp on from previous books, but the four younger kids gave me a bit of a hard time. I couldn’t remember who was what age and what each of their personalities and interests were for about the first 75-100 pages. I feel like we got an overload of details about each kid at the beginning of the book, but it got sorted out later on.
Let’s talk villains (this may be semi-spoilery, no explicit spoilers but it gives away things that might make you guess a spoiler so better safe than sorry). Why can’t everyone just be genuine? Why are there so many villains who act for so long like they care about the main characters just to turn their back on them when the time is right? The elaborate scheme of fakeness just seems old and played out to me, especially seeing as a similar situation occurred in The Mortal Instruments. I’m just over this source of evil, like you really want me to believe that someone would put all that time and energy into helping people and pretending to care for them, knowing full well that they were going to sabotage them in the end? Mayne I just don’t have that villainous mind, but this seems wild.
All-in-all, this was another amazing book from someone who I will throw all of my money at for new books! There’s a huge reveal at the end that I did NOT see coming and I can’t wait to see what it means for the future! And that cliffhanger…darn you Cassandra Clare, darn you to heck. But lucky me, I’m about to pick up Lord of Shadows right now!
One tip I’ll leave you with: try to read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy before reading this! I almost skipped it because I’m not always a fan of short stories but the events in Lady Midnight make a lot more sense if you get the background on everything from Simon’s stories in the Shadowhunter Academy. You can find my review of the book here!
Have a Paw-some day!