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lady midnight : book review and discussion

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Lady Midnight // Cassandra Clare

rating : ★★★★★

genre : fantasy

pages : 720

publisher : Magaret K. McElderry Books, released march 8th, 2016

goodreads | amazon | barnes & noble | book depository

 

❝ “When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in 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 of 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. You want—”

He broke off then, as if realizing everyone was looking at him again.

“You want what?” said Dru with enormous eyes.

“Nothing,” Julian said. “I’m just talking.” ❞

― excerpt from Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight

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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.

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disclaimer: I do not own this gif!

HOLY BEEJEZUS.  I’M A HOT MESS.  TWO YEARS I’VE WAITED FOR THIS BOOK, AND MY HUNGER IS NOT SATED.  Simply, for any Shadowhunters fan, this book has ripped their soul and heart to tiny minuscule pieces.  How can I describe my rollercoaster feelings for this darn thing?  Cassandra Clare has done it again.  She’s written a beautiful masterpiece.  I’ve devoured this book in a mere seven-ish hours over the span of two days.  At the moment, I don’t care about all that drama surrounding her, because no matter what, she has created characters that I love and adore and cry for.  Lady Midnight is definitely no exception.

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Here’s my simplified breakdown of Lady Midnight:

  • You can read this without reading TMI or TID (emphasis on can), but I certainly won’t suggest it.  There’s a bunch of cross-references that you wouldn’t get, and therefore will downgrade your reading experience by a lot.
  • The characters: I love them all, even Perfect Diego (snorts obnoxiously).  Their interaction, diversity, development, flawless.
  • THE COVER IS BEAUTIFUL.  I got the exclusive copy from Costco with art in the dust jacket, and ASDOJFASKJFO IT’S AMAZINGLY PLEASING TO MY FANGIRLY HEART.  I’ve attached a photo above if you’d like to see!
  • The TID and TMI cameos made me squeal for joy.
  • Cassandra Clare’s writing has significantly improved.  You can see how she has gotten better at developing her own style and technique, which is wonderful.
  • It’s fast paced.  Quite delightfully so, especially with the romance.  *winks*
  • DON’T EXPECT A HAPPY CONCLUSIVE ENDING.  THIS THING ENDS WITH A CLIFFHANGER.  YOU WILL BE GUARANTEED TO A BOOK HANGOVER.

So, my overall rating is five stars.  I loved this book to the moon and back, and I recommend the entire Shadowhunting world to anyone who loves fantasy.


 

SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT.  DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.

In Lady Midnight, there’s a lot of world building than you may expect.  We get introduced to the Scholomance, which was shut down for a while, but recently opened back up to train Centurions, a.k.a. elite Shadowhunter warriors.  It’s sort of like the University for Shadowhunting.  If you’ve read the novellas (which I am very shameful for have not to), you’d also know they’ve reopened the Shadowhunter Academy since there has been a lack of Shadowhunters after the Dark War since they were massacred.  We get to see more of the faerie world, such as the Unseelie Court, its King, and the Wild Hunt.  This all sort of incorporates itself gradually into the story.

The plot itself was mediocre.  It wasn’t brilliantly original or complex.  In a way, I’m really grateful for the way it was written because it allowed the reader to focus on the characters instead of unraveling the plot.

THE CHARACTERS ARE MARVELOUS.  Tavvy is my favorite out of the four children, Diana was “eh,” and Mark is my bae.  They were oh-so-wonderfully written.  They had depth, a sense of realism, and this altogether vibrance I can’t describe in less than five hundred words.  Clare did an amazing job bringing them off the pages.

Emma Carstairs is so different from the female leads we’ve read from in The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.  She’s sassy, witty, and a bit hotheaded and rash.  She’s a warrior in all aspects, always ready to kick demon butt.  I love her friendship with Cristina immediately; they go together like two peas in a pod.  Her relationship with Julian and the rest of the Blackthorns is so beautiful and special.  They’re inseparable, and have bonded together with tight knots over the years past the Dark War. When she takes the lashes, tears were in my eyes, man.  They were this close *pinches fingers together really close* to falling. Julian Blackthorn is incredibly fierce, soft, loving, and protective.  He’s had to grow up fast, having four children under his care, and practically the entire Los Angeles Institute as well.  His love for Emma is heartbreaking, and the little ways he conceals it from her just tears at your heartstrings.  When he showed her the black room full of paintings of her, it was a really impactful scene to me.  I loved how their love has developed throughout the story.

Sorry if you’ve heard this a million times, but…Mark is my favorite character, hands down.  AND HOT POTATO IS HE ATTRACTIVE He’s gone through the most trials here, and being thrown into this heated mess of overlapping love triangles, responsibility as a caretaker, and finding who he is can’t be easy.  Seeing his sensitive side peek out at certain scenes made my heart flutter and sigh.  Being with the Wild Hunt has really changed him, and watching him readjust to being a Shadowhunter was heart wrenching.  I love it when his faerie-ness gets the best of him, and when he feels utterly confused when he does something abnormal in the human world.

When “Perfect” Diego comes into the story, I didn’t expect it.  I knew Cristina would eventually confront him and Jaime about their past, but not in the first book.  And AHAHAHAHA THIS GUY CRACKS ME UP.  By “perfect,” we mean “perfect.”  He’s hot.  He’s buff.  He’s got a heart.  Everyone is in awe with him being a Centurion, going through training at the Scholomance, speaking fluently in a bunch of languages, and Mark’s over here like:

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disclaimer: this is not my gif!  

AHHAHAHAHHA MARK I LOVE YOU.  I’m not sure how I feel about Diego and Cristina as a couple at the moment, but maybe they’ll grow on me.  Here’s how I feel about Diego in a nutshell:

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Let’s talk about Mark and Kieran.  That was a twist.  Cristina catching them making out on the rooftop was surprising.  I don’t think that their “love” for each other was fabricated in the sense of true, deep love, but rather that they were just conveniently there for each other.  In better words, a distraction.  Their escapades weren’t really to my liking.  I certainly do not ship them together after the entire Kieran-tattletale incident.  Kieran can go throw his acorn-love-letters to some other We’ll just have to see how they work out.

The humor and chemistry between Emma, the Blackthorns, Cristina, and Perfect Diego makes you laugh out loud.  It was written in a very much Cassie-Clare style.  The amount of times I’ve laughed aloud is too many.  I especially loved when the parts where they teased Mark about his faerie-ness.

❝ “You don’t want him,” she said to the pink-haired girl. “He has syphilis.”

The girls stared. “Syphilis?”

“Five percent of people in America have it,” said Ty helpfully.

“I do not have syphilis,” Mark said angrily. “There are no sexually transmitted diseases in Faerieland!”

“Sorry,” Jules said. “You know how syphilis is. Attacks the brain.” ❞

(Clare, page 283)

The entire parabatai love situation threw me off.  It was obvious to me from the start that Julian and Emma had something unique about their bond, and it’s interesting from the start about the big “why.”  Malcolm mentioning the consequences before his untimely death to Emma made myself want to bang my head against the wall.  WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO YOUR CHARACTERS CASSANDRA WHY Emma would do anything to protect Julian, even if it means breaking his heart.  Plus, Cassie Clare has this ongoing trend for forbidden love plot lines (will+tessa and jace+clary).  Then THAT ENDING HAPPENED.  I don’t even want to talk about how abrupt that was.  I love Mark.  I truly do.  BUT WHY.  NOW THERE’S A LOVE HEXAGON OF SORTS, and my POOR HEART CAN’T HANDLE IT.

  When he faced her again, he had never looked to her so much like one of the Fair Folk. His eyes were full of feral amusement, a carelessness that spoke of a world where there was no human Law. He seemed to bring the wildness of Faerie into the room with him: a cold, sweet magic that was nevertheless a bitter at the roots.

“The storm calls you as it calls me, does it not?”

He held out a hand to her, half-beckoning, half-offering.

Why lie?” he said.  ❞

(Clare, page 668)

Malcolm Fade is the murderer.  Nope, didn’t see that one coming, either.  It was bittersweet when Emma got her revenge.  I had grew fond of Malcolm, as did Emma, and finding out he’s been backstabbing them the entire time made me feel conflicted about my feelings.

Kit is a Herondale.  Wait, Kit is a Herondale?!  I predicted that he was of Shadowhunter blood from the start when his father said “he was his most valuable secret,” but he’s a Herondale?!  WHAT EVEN HOW  It’s going to be interesting to see how he adjusts to the Institute and as we learn of his lineage.  I’ve also heard that in the novellas that there’s a story about the “lost Herondale,” which explains why Tessa says they’ve been looking for him for a long time.

Annnnndddd Annabel Lee is alive.  Good job, Malcolm.  Oh goodness, what have we got in our hands now…

Here’s a crackpot theory: Sebastian and the Seelie Queen.  Their offspring.  Yup, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Maybe their demon child might come into play.  YOU NEVER KNOW.

Thanks for reading my discussion and review of Lady Midnight!  Tell me your feelings below!

Signing off after the beep,

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