Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices | Book 1
Pages: 720 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (March 8, 2016)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)


GoodReads 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.

Note: This review will not be the most coherent one I have ever written because I loved Lady Midnight so much and I’m so excited to write a review for it.

**If you haven’t read Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments yet, Lady Midnight contains major spoilers. There are minor spoilers from The Infernal Devices**

The novel, Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare describes Shadowhunter Emma Carstair’s efforts to avenge her parents’ murders after the Dark War. “Lady Midnight” is written from the third-person perspectives of Emma Carstairs (the main character), Julian Blackthorn (her parabatai/bonded friend), Christina Mendoza Rosales (Emma’s friend), and Mark Blackthorn (Julian’s brother). “Lady Midnight” features several literary conflicts: character vs. character, character vs. self, and character vs. supernatural.

Where do I start? Lady Midnight was an absolutely wonderful read from front to back. Cassandra Clare nailed everything from plot development, character development, witty dialogues, and intriguing titles chapter titles. Clare effortlessly balances the  book’s fast pacing with the characters’ witty banter and difficult decision making.

I’ll start off with the protagonist: Emma Carstairs. Cassandra Clare does a great job of creating so many strong female protagonists, while still developing their differences. Emma Carstairs was no exception and since she had more page time in Lady Midnight than in City of Heavenly Fire, I connected and emphasized with her character more. Plus Cassandra Clare has a way of making me as a reader enjoy spending time with these characters–I guiltily confess sometimes more than actual people.

CAUTION: Review contains minor spoilers if you plan to read Lady Midnight.

In all of Clare’s books that I’ve read, quotes from Shakespeare or other writers are usually featured in part of the chapter titles or part titles. Curiously, Clare used Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” for all the chapter titles, which I recognized from our poetry unit. There was actual significance to the chapter titles too. Poe’s poem was integrated into Lady Midnight’s complex and unpredictable plot as an explanation of the murderer’s motivation. I found Clare’s use and interpretation of the poem to be highly clever and interesting.

When I was reviewing Clare’s Clockwork Angel from The Infernal Devices, one of my critiques was how Clare had in both The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instrument used kidnapped family members to draw the main character into the Shadow World, and by extension, the main plot. However in “Lady Midnight” all of the characters were already a part of the Shadow World making world development less essential (which is why I think it would be harder for someone who has never read any of Cassandra Clare’s books to follow). Rather than the disappearance of a family member (with previous knowledge of the Shadow World) drawing the previously ignorant main character into the Shadow World, the murders of Emma’s parents delved into the plot since they were directly connected.

One of my favorite parts of Clare’s novels is the rich character development, which always makes the novel even more intriguing since I actually care about what happens to the characters. I liked how Emma was different from the other two protagonists in the preceding series (Clary Fray and Tessa Gray), both in temper and skill set.

Then there was Cristina who I found to be interesting because she of her more calm and compassionate personality than what I’ve seen of other Shadowhunter characters.

Oddly I found the murderer who orchestrated all of the bloodshed (who I will not name) to be a rather interesting character. Until they were revealed, I never once suspected the character and maybe it was because they were previously introduced in “The Mortal Instruments.”

While Lady Midnight did not end on a killer cliffhanger like Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena did, there was still this quiet suspended tension that’s making me eagerly anticipate the sequel.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy fast-paced YA urban fantasy. Note: I would highly not recommend reading “Lady Midnight” before The Infernal Devices trilogy and The Mortal Instruments series, since the book contains major spoilers for the preceding series.


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