Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 698
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.
“There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart was chained by love.”
Lady Midnight is a poignant story with a forbidden love at its core. Cassie shows the darker side of her unforgiving and sometimes cruel world and opens up new arcs that, I’m sure, will attract Shadowhunter lovers who have been dying to see what happens to Julian, his family, and Emma.
Five years have past since the Dark War, where the Downworld was severed in two, and Shadowhunters suffered major losses after Clary’s brother, Jonathan (Sebastian) Morgenstern, waged war with them. Emma Carstairs, who lost her parents in that war, looks for retribution, and when she finds similar deaths matching her parents’, and the Fair Folk presents her and Julian, who hopes to find a way to save his brother Mark, with an offer to find the killer, she can’t turn it down. The only problem is that she may be falling for her parabatai.
Cassie’s earlier series have always been my guilty pleasure. And while I enjoyed some of her past work, Lady Midnight, the first instalment in Dark Artifices, has a stronger potential than the others. Cassie injects darker tones and arcs that have kept me on the edge.
But what I enjoy the most is how Cassie explores the faerie world in more depth, builds her characters, represents the LGBTQ community, and makes this book a character-driven piece. Because of the alliance with Jonathan, the Fair Folk lost its seat on the Council and has no protection or lands. And all Shadowhunters and the Downworlders must follow this new treaty, the Cold Peace. The Council, especially the Shadowhunters, ostracizes these people. And while the war is over, tension is now rising and causing more havoc. Cassie plays off and mirrors current political tensions in our own society.
What shines in this novel is the Blackthorn family (and in extension Emma). In City of Heavenly Fire, the Blackthorns face a devastating lost when they discover that the Wild Hunt took possession of Mark after the Seelie Queen and Jonathan gave him up to Gwyn, the leader of the Hunt. And once the treaty was enacted, their sister Helen, who is also half-fae, is banished to Wrangel Island.
“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”
For the past five years, Julian—with the help from his parabatai, Emma—has been holding his family together. I cannot express how much I enjoy reading about this broken yet determined character. That poor boy just breaks my heart. And his struggle and secrets will break yours. I love both his and Emma’s character developments. And Tiberius, who also has autism, snags what’s left of my heart.
Mark has always stuck out to me. I’ve been waiting to read his story when I last read COHF. Since the Wild Hunt took control of him, pain riddles his past. Sometimes reading his scenes was difficult to get through. But Cassie captures PTSD quite well. His love interest comes from his years in the Hunt. Unfortunately, I cannot stand Kieran, son of the Unseelie King. Fight me on my opinion, but their connection seems controlling. I felt as if Kieran owns Mark, and I hated this arc. If that love interest was written in a different way, I’d support it. Mark’s other potential love interest is with Cristina Mendoza Rosales, who I think is a breath of fresh air.
Emma stands out from the rest. Even though she lives with the Blackthorns, she survives off her vengeance alone. It fuels her need to avenge her family. She reminds me a little of Jace. Fans of the Shadowhunter world haven’t seen the disastrous consequences of parabatais falling in love. Obviously, Emma and Julian travel down this road, which has a chance to split their family apart.
With this new Shadowhunter series, Cassie gives you a dark and gritty storyline, a forbidden love, intriguing plot twists, and characters who will surely melt your heart. I’m curious to see what she has next in Lord of Shadows.