21 November 2016

Book Review: Lady Midnight


Lady Midnight Book Review

Rating: ✭
✭ (4.5)

Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Publication: 8 March 2016
Format: Hardcover, 698 pages
Source: Own copy

 "There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart as chained by love."
- page 627.

When the dead bodies of both humans and faeries start accumulating, each with the same strange markings her parents were found murdered with, Emma Carstairs starts to investigate. 
Set on the sandy shores of Los Angeles, Emma, with the help of her Shadowhunter friends, unravels the mystery of her parent’s murder which has been her fighting cause her whole life. She is also fighting for Mark, her parabatai Julian Blackthorn’s older brother who is being held captive by the Faerie.
Along this hunt to uncover the reason behind the deaths, Emma reveals more secrets. Who really killed her parents? What has Julian been hiding? Why are parabatai forbidden to fall in love?

Lady Midnight is the first instalment in the highly anticipated trilogy, The Dark Artifices, by Cassandra Clare. I was so eager to be a part of the Shadow world again and the demon hunting, plot twists and witty humour that came with it. Cassandra Clare didn’t let me down and by the end of the novel I just wanted more, more, more.

It is great that Lady Midnight can be read without having to have read the other Shadowhunter series however I recommend it because they are great books and it enhances the experience of Lady Midnight (as well as bring back all the TMI and TID feels).
Right away, I noticed improvements in Cassandra Clare’s writing compared to her other novels. The book was a lot more grounded and fleshed out. Each character was given a voice and the plot flowed smoothly. Also, much to my enjoyment, Clare was still able to make me laugh even with such a deep story.
Lady Midnight delves deeper into the Shadowhunter world and touches on more mature and darker subjects. Mental illness and sexuality is explored amongst the characters. Ty, one of the Blackthorn siblings, struggles with a mental disorder and there is even a bisexual character. The audience is also introduced to new aspects too, such as The Scholomance, an elite shadowhunter school, and the law against Parabatai falling in love.

The plot was definitely well thought out and carefully planned. It had the perfect balance between romance, character development and plot action but I do think that it was the downfall of the novel. It lacked that ‘special something’ and I felt that at times it dragged. The main plot was a murder mystery, dealing with why Emma’s parents died the way they did but I felt it was empty and didn’t really give any defined answers. However, the plot never lost focus on the characters and I believe that this is what really made the book. 

Clare has written by far the most interesting and developed characters in all of the Shadowhunter universe. Julian and Emma were nothing special in a good way, unlike Jace and Clary or Tessa, they were just normal shadow hunters with no special abilities other than a big dilemma and a big family. There was also role reversal between the two MC’s. Usually Cassie has the boys cracking jokes but this time it was Emma and Julian was the sensitive one. Emma was a bad ass heroine but I still had trouble liking and relating to her, i felt she was too ignorant and stubborn and just in-your-face, contrary, I loved Christina Rosales, an 18 year old residing in the LA institute to observe the difference between their Shadowhunter culture and Mexico’s. The fact she followed all the rules really appealed to me, especially in the Shadowhunter world where everyone makes such rash decisions and acts impulsively. Another example of the interesting and unique cast of Lady Midnight.

Julian was definitely by far my favourite character. I adored how his character was different to most of Cassandra’s other male characters who were often sarcastic and the bad-boy type (but don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those types). Julian had so much responsibility given to him when he was just 12; he is in charge of caring for all his siblings (Mark, Tiberius, Livia, Drusilla and Octavian) and his uncle Arthur, the Los Angeles Institiute, Emma as well as himself. He is so admirable and there is something about his personality and it's mix between tenderness and harshness that was so appealing and enticing, I just wanted more of Julian.

“…everyone who lives under this roof, whether they are bound by blood or not, we are tied together by an invisible net of love and duty and loyalty and honour. That is what it means to be a Shadowhunter.”
The family dynamic between the Blackthorn’s was also a big aspect of this novel and I loved the relationship that they all had with each other. Each one of them complemented the other and protected the other. They even made for extremely funny moments, especially when Mark, unaccustomed to looking after all of them, is left with them alone.

Cassandra has set up the novel well for a sequel and leaves people wondering why Emma’s iratze so powerful when she healed Julian? How will Julian’s and Emma’s relationship turn out? Are we going to learn more about Kieran and Marks time in the hunt?
I definitely recommend Lady Midnight to all people who love fantasy and are fans of the Shadowhunter chronicles or Cassandra Clare’s writing. Lady Midnight intertwines mystery, action, fantasy, romance and humour into a thrilling novel that I thoroughly enjoyed and many others will too. I'm giving it 4.5 stars, 4 for the novel and the extra .5 because I'm bias towards anything with my beloved Shadowhunters.

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