“”We are chained, but you-“ He spoke the word with scorn. “You are free.””
If I haven’t made it abundantly clear, I absolutely loved this book. It’s certainly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Cassandra has yet to even disappointment me in the slightest. The Shadowhunter Chronicles remains to be my all time favorite series, just as Cassandra remains to be my all time favorite author. It was the Mortal Instruments that opened my eyes to the Young Adult genre, and it also inspired me to write more. The Shadowhunter Chronicles has a permanent place close to my heart, and this book certainly flew past my already very high expectations.
“As long as there is love and memory, there is no true death.”
The characters felt very real. They all had their good sides and their bad sides. They all had problems, and they all seemed so… I don’t know how Cassandra does it. She’s able to write not just one, but a legion of characters that take only a page to fall in love with.
I was immediately immersed in the book from the first page, and the rest of it flew by. Of course, I’ve read every single snippet ever posted and was already super excited for this release. I can’t say this for sure, but this might be the best book I read this year. It’s early, but it’s going to be quite difficult to top such a spectacular work or art.
The plot was perfect. It was not too fast, nor was it too slow. The pace was exactly what I want from a book like this. As expected from one of Cassandra’s books, there were twists and turns in every chapter. I loved it. In fact, I have nothing but praise for this book. It will be cherished on my shelves forever.
I seriously am having trouble adjusting to the fact that I’m going to have to wait another whole year for the next book. And another year for the last book. After I finished this book, I just lay on my bed and felt unsure of what to do with the rest of my life. You may be thinking, wow, Anji, how dumb are you if you are getting this attached to a book.
If you’re thinking something along those lines, you obviously have not read any of Cassandra Clare’s books. She has a way of writing that is just… amazing. Her characters and relationships are written so realistically that they almost come to life. The plots of her stories are so well thought out and her books all flow together perfectly. Reading one series in the Shadowhutner Chronicles is an amazing experience. Reading all of them? The experience is indescribable. These books are good on their own, but they connect with each other easily. Really, don’t just read one series. Read them all. It really heightens the experience.
For those of you who were unaware, Lady Midnight is the first book in the Dark Artifices. The Dark Artifices is basically the sequel series to the Mortal Instruments. It takes place five years after the war fought in by Jace, Clary and all the rest of the Shadow World. This book follows Emma Carstairs, (if you read The Mortal Instruments, you may recognize her as the little girl who aided the gang in their fight) who is chasing the demons of her past. Hell bent on revenge against whatever murdered her parents. But Emma’s not alone. She has her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, as well as his entire, hectic family.
It took less than a chapter with the Blackthorns for me to completely fall in love with each and every one of the Blackthorn children. Julian, Emma’s parabatai, is not the eldest, but he cares for the rest of his family as if they were his own. Ty and Livvy are the next oldest. Ty has a different mindset, but he is quite the brilliant child. Livvy acts basically like your average teenage girl, minus the fact that she was born and raised to be a warrior. Dru is the next in the line. She’s a ten year old girl, who has an obsession with horror movies. And then there’s Tavvy, the youngest, only seven years old. Each of the Blackthorn children have certain defining traits, but they all have a great love for one another. I really enjoyed witnessing their family bonds, it was one of the more heart warming aspects of the book.
“In that smile was all the love and wonder of a little boy who’d lost his brother, and against all odds, gotten him back.”
Of course, there’s also Mark Blackthorn, who is thrown back to his family. Both Mark and the rest of the Blackthorns are unsure how to act around one another. I also quite enjoyed watching Mark readjust to his family. The family he hadn’t seen in years.
Emma and Julian are the main protagonists of the story. While reading it, one really gets a feel for these characters, their feelings and their reactions. In fact, I imagine it would be quite hard not to become attached to these wonderfully written characters. I sure fell in love with them mighty quick.
““Love isn’t chasing someone to the airport. Love means you see someone. That’s all.””
“”When you love someone, they become part of who you are. They’re everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins. Their touch stays on your skin and their voice stays in your ears and their thoughts stay in your mind. You know their dreams because their nightmares pierce your heart and their good dreams are your dreams too. And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows to all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them.””
From the start, it’s easy to feel the tension between the two parabatai. As Emma notes several times, something is different between them. The Shadowhunters must follow many rules, one of the big ones is never fall in love with your parabatai. Of course, the Blackthorns seem to have a history of breaking the rules. After all, their family motto is A Bad Law is No Law.
““This is not a love story.”
“Every story is a love story.””
I feel that it’s not a spoiler that these two have forbidden feelings towards each other. It was information that was released long before the book was. There are few things I enjoy reading about more than forbidden love, and this was a great aspect of the book. Like everything else Cassandra writes, the way these feelings were introduced and then shown later felt real and just to their characters. It wasn’t anything like instalove, it grew on the the reader. It was something the reader can root for.
““Laws are meaningless, child. There is nothing more important than love. And no law is higher.””
The big difference between this book and the other series in the Shadowhunter chronicles is that Emma Carsairs is already a trained Shadowhunter. She already knows of the Shadow World, and she already knows the rest of the characters. The other two protagonists, Clary and Tessa, knew nothing of the Shadow World and had to be instructed on everything in it.
““What is it?” She straightened. “A Raum demon? A-“
“I think it’s a mini poodle.””
“”Oh, I’m sorry. Is there a different highway you’d like to die on? BECAUSE WE CAN ARRANGE THAT.”
Emma was described to be the female version of Jace, minus the extra angel blood. I can definitely see how that could apply to her. She trains hard, and she’s a very good shadowhutner. The best of her generation.
““Don’t be sarcastic. My job is being sarcastic and quippy. Your job is getting shaken down for information.”” Yup. Definitely female Jace.
It was really nice, reading about a strong protagonist that could fend for herself- not that I didn’t love reading about both Clary and Tessa, but Emma was different because she could already fend for herself form the beginning. Both Clary and Tessa had to learn (yet they still remain to be some of my favorite protagonists.) Emma was everything I expected her to be, strong, determined and smart. She was quite the fun protagonist to read about.
““You told him Shadowhunters were DIY about killing?”
“We’re DIY about everything.””
“In the dark and the shadows where secrets lived, that was where Julian survived. It was how he had managed for years.”
“Sometimes it was hard not to feel bitter, Julian reflected, that all the allies and friends in his life were either people he had to lie to, ridiculous, or both.”
“”You are the boy who does what has to be done because no one else will.””
Julian, on the other hand, surprised me. I expected him to be gentle and kind. But from the beginning, he’s filled with secrets and burdens that are slowly tearing him apart. He was still kind and gentle, but his burdens added another aspect to his character that I was certainly not expecting. This is a perfect example of how Cassandra writes very real, very round characters. I still loved Julian, despite all his problems (they may have made me love him even more).
I doubt this is to anyone’s surprise, but I’m giving this book a 10/10 stars. Lady Midnight, in my eyes, is perfect. I would not change a single thing. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Even if y’all haven’t read The Mortal Instruments or the Infernal Devices, you can still enjoy this thrilling and fantastic novel. Though, I do recommend both the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices to y’all, also, because those are some of my favorite books. Cassandra has a fantastic way of writing that will have you laughing until your sides hurt as well as literally sitting on the edge of your seat in suspense.
Anyway, here’s the synopsis:
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.
Alright, if you haven’t read the novel, I don’t recommend you read farther, because I’m about to start delving into a series of spoilers, and I don’t want to spoil y’all! Come back when you’ve read the book :)
SPOILERS BELOW FOR LADY MIDNIGHT
Let’s start by talking about the epilogue. Annabel opened her eyes. I kinda doubt that was a surprise to many, I was expecting it to occur anytime after Malcolm was thrown into the ocean. Though, I have to wonder what kind of trouble she’ll be on the LA shadowhunters, due to the fact that they killed her love and all. I’m wondering how much damage she’ll be able to do. Does she have powers? (From Malcolm) or is she just a regular Shadowhunter? Either way, I’m sure she’ll find a way to bring a whole lot of trouble down on the Blackthorns and friends.
And then of course, can we just discuss that ISABELLE AND SIMON WERE HAVING THEIR ENGAGEMENT PARTY. Like seriously, when I read about that I almost cried with joy. GO SIZZY. Though, Isabelle Lightwood is gonna turn into Isabelle Lovelace… maybe she should keep her maiden name ‘cause I feel like Isabelle Lightwood has a better ring to it, aha.
One of the bigger things nagging at the back of my mind while reading this book was who the heck is Johnny Rook? I was suspicious the entire story because Cassandra would not have mentioned him if he had not been important, she especially would not be giving a point of view to his son if they were unimportant characters. And my question was answered. THEY ARE HERONDALES. Oh, the feels. When Kit said that Jace Herondale was the worst, I laughed, but it also hurt my heart. I really hope that he and Jace meet. (they probably will) and I hope he warms up to the LA Institute inhabitants, and does not become an enemy.
Of course, there is some irony to that situation, because if you think about it, Kit is basically Clary. He didn’t know he was a shaodwhunter, his father did and never told him. He only found out he was a shadow hunter when his father was killed (given Jocelyn wasn’t killed, but whatever) in his own home and he was taken to the institute. All that needs to happen now to complete the circle is a Fairchild finding a Carstairs who didn’t know of their Shadowhunter blood.
““I was going to give a toast and it was going to be glorious. Simon would never be able to show his face in public again.””
It was really great to hear that all out favorite characters have their happy endings. Jace and Clary are legends, and they’re running the New York institute together. Alec and Magnus are clearly happy, Isabelle and Simon are engaged, and Jem and Tessa are so obviously happy together. This book made me feel very nostalgic, all my babies are growing up. Haha. Seriously, though, when Emma mentioned Will throwing his hands in the fire to save Jem’s medicine I just felt so emotional. I plan on rereading (for the thousanth time) the rest of the Shadowhunters books very shortly.
“He was clearly not a member of the Perfect Diego Appreciation Society.”
Let’s talk Mark, shall we? Before I even started this book, I loved Mark Blackthorn. He is just a difficult character for me to not like. He’s broken, lost and confused. For some strange reason I like that type. It really hurt my heart, watching Mark not recognize his family. When Livia came in with a seraph blade to protect Ty- ah, I just. Hmm. That was one of my favorite moments in the book. I couldn’t help but love Mark more and more as we got to know his character better. I gotta admit, I’m rooting for him and Cristina to be endgame, sorry Perfect Diego. The most heartbreaking moment about him had to either be when he found out Helen had been exiled, or when he saw Cristina and Perfect Diego. I really love Mark’s character, and I hope we get to find out even more about him in future books.
““I was just on my way to the library when Mr. Hot and Sexy showed up and said he had information.”
“Whoa.” Emma held up her hand. “Mr. Hot and Sexy?”
“Perfect Diego,” Mark grumbled.
“Okay, look, I know you haven’t been back from Faerie all that long, but here in the human world, Mr. Hot and Sexy is not an effective insult.””
Ty and Livvy had to be my favorite of the younger siblings. They just had so much good character in them, I believe Tavvy and Dru will get more character development when they get older, but since Livvy and Ty are already older, I enjoyed reading about them a lot. I really hope that they end up becoming parabatai, you can really sense that they have a special connection. There was that adorable moment near the end where Ty tackled Livvy to shield her. That was so cute, I just couldn’t even… I especially can’t wait to read the Wicked Powers now, because isn’t it about the younger Blackthorns?
I really loved seeing Julian’s fatherly love for his siblings, and how it developed throughout the book- and I loved seeing the appreciation his siblings had for him as well.
““Tavvy!” Julian said. “Don’t run with lollipops in your mouth. You could choke.”
Tavvy removed the lollipop and stared at it the way someone might stare at a loaded gun. “And die?”
“Hideously,” Julian said. “Fatally, fatally die.””
““Twelve dead bodies.” Tavvy emerged from under the table. “Were they all running with lollipops?””
I really enjoyed and yet felt tortured about the tension between Mark and Julian, it felt natural, at the same time I just wanted them to reconcile already. But that made it all the more satisfying when they finally did, though, I’m not sure how reconciled they’ll be when Julian hears that Mark and Emma are in love… That should be interesting and torturous at the same time. Aw, the kitchen scene with Tavvy in the sugar was so heart breaking, Julian exploding at Mark and Mark just being confused at why his brother was mad. I knew that Julian would volunteer to be whipped for Mark, just like I knew Emma would do it for Julian, but that moment was quite the emotional one for me. The strong love that was shown in that scene just warmed my heart and made me smile. Sometimes (all the time) I wish I was a Shadowhunter with a loyal parabatai. These characters are lucky.
““Wither thou goest, I will go, whatever stupid thing you do, I shall do also’?” Emma said. “Was that the vow?””
“”These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.””
Here’s an unavoidable subject. Julian and Emma. I ship them so hard. Like, I’ve shipped them for a long time, but just seeing them together made me want them together even more. As y’all may know, I do love my romance drama, so I feel like I’m really going to enjoy this whole Emma and Mark thing, but only because I know Julian is endgame and that neither Emma nor Mark feel that way about each other. The tension between the two characters was obvious from the beginning and when the two slept together on the beach… Aw that was so cute and satisfying at the same time. In the past, I’ve had annoyances at characters sleeping together too soon, but this wasn’t too soon at all. No, this felt like it was right. I’m really looking forward to seeing the dynamic between these two parbatai in future books.
And last but not least, let’s talk Malcolm. Was anyone expecting that? I certainly wasn’t. It was a very dark twist to a character that seems to light and silly. Congratulations to Cassandra. There aren’t a lot of authors who can surprise me with a plot twist like that. I don’t know what was more heartbreaking about him, that he found out that his lost love had been buried alive, or died thinking all his friends had betrayed him. With Annabel alive again, I sure don’t think we’ve seen the last of Malcolm.
Anyway, that was a long review, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I!