Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy
Published: 8th March 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
My Rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
“Shadow Market nights were Kit’s favourite.”
General Thoughts (non-spoiler)
I’m not going to say too much in this section because I’m dying to get into the spoilers. But what I can tell you is this: I love this story so much. It drew me in, addicted me, made me feel all mushy inside, panicked me, scared me and actually physically made me hurt. In my experience, Shadowhunter books are the only type that can evoke all of those emotions in me at once. If you’ve never picked up a book by Cassandra Clare then I highly suggest that you do so now. R I G H T N O W.
Review (contains spoilers)
There is literally so much to talk about with this book and I’m not even sure if I’m going to be able to cover it all. To help me out though, I’m going to split this review up into a few different sections. Also, I’ll try to be as brief as I can because the last time I reviewed a Shadowhunter book it ended up being over four thousand words… aha..
One of the things I love so much about this book is that not many of these characters are new to us – we’ve read about them in previous Shadowhunter books so we can just jump straight in.
Emma is one of my favourite new female characters, she is absolutely freaking hilarious and fierce and fantastic. When I first read about her in City of Heavenly Fire I knew she would end up being great because we witness (kind of) one of the most defining points in her life – her parents being murdered. Because of this her whole world is driven by revenge (well, and passion for the Blackthorns) and it’s going to be so interesting to see how her character is going to be affected in later books now that she knows what really happened to her parents. I feel like it was a bit on an anti-climax that her parents basically died for nothing but maybe that will funnel Emma’s rage in the future over other issues? Who knows.
One of my favourite funny moments in Lady Midnight is between Emma and Cristina because it clearly defines Emma’s sarcasm but also her daring. She breaks the rules for the people she loves and what she thinks is right, which made me love her so much more. This is that moment:
“That’s not the spirit of the law, Emma. Remember? The Law is hard, but it is the Law.”
“I thought it was ‘the Law is annoying, but it is also flexible.”
Next up… Julian Blackthorn. My heart breaks every time I think about Julian because he has been through so much. He’s had to take care of his four younger brothers and sisters for five years, since the age of twelve, run the institute by himself, keep his family safe, guard his secrets and has been illegally in love with his parabati for like ever. Poor guy.
At first I thought Julian was great, not exactly the swoon worthy hero (like Will and Jace), but still great. Towards the end of the book I started getting a little wary of him though. I understand that everything he does is to protect the ones he loves but as someone said in the book, he has a ruthless heart and I’m actually kind of scared of what he could end up doing in later books. What he did to Nightshade was super shady and I felt like it was a bit out of character for him at the time but it totally wasn’t now that I think about him – his family was in danger and he solved the issue, with no regard for the consequences.
“A gentle boy with a gentle soul, but every soul contains its own opposite, and the opposite of gentleness was ruthlessness—the beautiful wreckage of mercy.”
One of the reasons why I’m so worried about Julian is because of this whole looming “Emma and Mark” weird ass fake/maybe not so fake relationship. I think this could be what pushes him over the edge and who knows what the hell he could end up doing. It actually gives me chills just thinking about it.
“We are bound together, Emma, bound together—I breathe when you breathe, I bleed when you bleed, I’m yours and you’re mine, you’ve always been mine, and I have always, always belonged to you!”
I mean, this quote was super cute when Julian said it to Emma but now I’m kinda like “oh, that sounds weird and possessive and if he goes crazy I don’t even know what he’ll do to fight for Emma and what that will cost his relationship with his family”. You know?
Julian is a very interesting and complex character, I’ll definitely be keeping a suspicious eye out for him in later books.
OH MY LORD. This was so unexpected but I fell in love with Mark, so in love. I knew that he’d be back in this book and I’ve been worried about him ever since I read the Shadowhunter Academy because he looked like he was going a bit mad, and he pretty much has.
I swear, some of the best and funniest moments in this book is involving Mark trying to integrate himself back into being a normal human and not some melodramatic faery (or his family tormenting him). Anyway, here are some of those hilarious moments for your enjoyment:
“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.”
“Why are you wearing a T-shirt under your other T-shirt?” Livvy asked.
“In case one of them is stolen,” Marked said, as if it were entirely normal.”
On a more serious note though, I really do like Mark as a character and I can’t wait to see how he develops and if he ever truly will become a real Shadowhunter again or if the faery part of him is just too strong.
I’m glad we’re finally getting to see a strong female friendship from the beginning in this book between Emma and Cristina. I know Cassie has great friendships in her books but not really any girl ones – I know Isabelle and Clary are friends but Izzy really didn’t like her at the beginning.
Overall, I like Cristina. I thought she was maybe a bit shady at the beginning because it seemed like she was hiding her past but we later find out about that so it’s pretty much all good. Except for one other thing… I can’t remember at which point I read this but it’s definitely in the book somewhere. We’re hearing Cristina’s inner monologue when she mentions something along the lines of Mark and Helen being one of the reasons why she came to the LA institute because she needs to tell them something. BUT SHE’S CUT OFF. That has been niggling in the back of my mind ever since. It could have something to do with the fact that she studied faeries back in Mexico but something just makes me doubt that. I can’t wait to find out what’s going on with that.
Malcolm Fade and Diana Wrayburn
So many questionable characters in this book, I don’t even know who to trust anymore.
I’ll start off with Diana because I’m dying to know more about her past and why the hell she didn’t warn the Blackthorn kids about her suspicions of Malcolm before shit really went and hit the fan. I feel like, ultimately, she can be trusted but she still has a lot of secrets which I’m eager to find out about.
As for Malcolm Fade, well… I feel betrayed. I forget that not all Downworlders are good because of Magnus and that’s one of the main reason why I never questioned Malcolm. Also because he ties his shoelaces together and enjoys romantic comedies. Do I think he’s really dead though? Absolutely not. I still don’t even think Camille is dead. Always suspect it unless you see a body (and even if you see a body, still question it because Cassandra Clare’s storylines are cray).
Ty, Livvy, Dru and Tavvy Blackthorn
Overall, I liked these four kids as supporting characters and felt like I got just enough of them – they weren’t shoved in my face every five minutes. One thing that annoyed me so bad though was that they walked in on EVERYTHING REMOTELY ROMANTIC BETWEEN EMMA AND JULES. I understand it though and it shows again just how little privacy Julian has and how much the kids depend on him.
As for Ty and Livvy, I’m definitely the most interested in them out of the kids because of Ty wanting to become a Centurion and Livvy wanting to be his parabati. I’m also curious about people finding out about Ty and his autism (is it autism? I don’t know). I’m a little scared for him honestly, especially because of the way Julian talks about what the clave do to people who are “different”. I’m worried for Arthur in that respect too.
It was also such a shame hearing how Dru feels about her body (although it is nice to hear that even the mighty Shadowhunters can be a little chubby and suffer from a slow metabolism). I just hope she stays strong as a character.
DUN, DUN, DUN. Bombshell of the century… not. Lol, I pretty much had my suspicions about this so I wasn’t too shocked when I found out that Kit was the missing Herondale. I knew after reading Shaodhwunter Academy that what Jem and Tessa would be looking for in LA would probably be members of this missing Herondale line. Plus, I read on the Shadowhunter Wiki that the last trilogy Cassandra will write in this world includes a Herondale that is not Jace. I though at the time that it could be that Jace and Clary had kids but it seemed unlikely, and I now guess that it’s talking about Kit.
I’m super excited to see how this storyline unfolds and if Kit will end up being a great Herondale or a not so great Herondale, since it is pretty hit or miss with that bloodline.
The Romantic Relationships:
Julian and Emma
I ship this relationship, I really do. I knew after reading City of Heavenly Fire that this whole parabati thing would be a huge mistake and the lack of communication and waiting for something to happen between the two in this book killed me for a good few hundred pages.
But then we get the almost kisses and the growing feelings and the stronger runes and the sex. This shocked me but only because in Cassie’s other books we’ve had to wait a million years before our ships get super intimate. I actually quite like that they had sex this early though and it makes sense since they’ve known each other their whole lives and are clearly already in love with each other. I also think that this probably had to happen to ensure that their bond was stronger for the parabati thing to become so serious. Cassie actually wrote an extended version of this scene, if you know what I mean, of her Tumblr which you can find if you click right here.
I guessed what would happen if two parabati fell in love and was totally right – you know, the whole “becoming as strong as warlocks and destroying everything” plot line. This is actually incredibly interesting and I’m dying to know just how bad things could get if two parabati continued to love and be in a relationship with each other even if they knew the risks.
I’m not too sure where the future of this couple lies but I assume that they’ll end up together because Cassie quite likes a happy ending. I feel like they must end up breaking the parabati curse, or stop being each other’s parabati somehow… Either that or they just won’t care and become super ridiculously powerful and end the world (unlikely, but an interesting thought).
Cristina and Mark
I ship this so hard. None of this shite with Perfect Diego or Kieran, nono #CarkForever. I loved the thought of these two together and I hope they do end up being in the future but as of right now I don’t really see how that could happen because of this weird Mark and Emma storyline and the fact that Perfect bloody Diego is back in town.
I’m going to keep shipping these two pretty hard and just keep my fingers crossed that they actually get together in a later book.
Mark and Kieran
This surprised me a lot. Like, a lot a lot. It probably shouldn’t have, but it did. One of the reasons for this was that Mark’s life in The Hunt sounded horrendous and because I was all about Cristina and Mark being together.
Anyway, I thought this relationship was sweet. I loved the little flashbacks to when Mark and Kieran were in The Hunt together and when they’d be cuddled up together at night but as soon as Kieran betrayed him I was like oh hell no. Kieran showed how much of a selfish person he was by trying to get Mark brought back to The Hunt against his own will and that really didn’t sit well with me. For these reasons (and Cristina) I am very much sinking this ship.
Cristina and Perfect Diego
To be honest, I don’t have too much against Diego apart from that he kept Jaime’s plan to gain power through Cristina to himself. That was so sketchy, especially since he was supposed to be in love with Cristina. I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world if these two ended up together in the last book of the series but I still prefer my other ship for Cristina.
I am interested in Diego though because he is a Centurion and we’ve never heard of this type of Shadowhunter before. All we know is that they are the elite and take care of faery business but nothing else, as of yet…
Emma and Mark??!?!!!!??!?!??!?!!!!!!
Nononononononononononoooooooooooo! What on earth is going on with the world?
Ok, this is such a stupid freaking idea and it’s going to cause so many problems and I’m dreading it already and ugh. WHYYY?!?!?
I understand Emma’s reasoning for wanting to fake date Mark (even though I think it’s going to be a bloody disaster) but the fact that he said a the end “Why lie?” is going to haunt me till the next book comes out. If they end up actually dating it will hurt not only Jules, but Cristina. I’m so confused about this plot line and I’m honestly so worried about it, especially because I already think Julian will end up stir crazy. I’ll just need to wait it out and see what happens… but I don’t think it’s going to end well (AND WHAT IF THEY ACTUALLY FALL IN LOVE?? So many damn possibilities).
I enjoyed the main overarching storyline of this book. It included all the characters well and gave them specific roles that match their personalities and characteristics, which I liked a lot. Also, a lot of things happened along the way which surprised me and I love that in a book.
As I’ve already said, I had absolutely no clue who could have been The Guardian and was thoroughly shocked when I found out it was Malcolm. But his reasonings really pulled at my heartstrings. Cassie’s villains always have such understandable (also questionable) reasons as to why they do the things that they do and it makes them so interesting and 3D.
What actually shocked me more than Malcolm being The Guardian was how him and his love, Annabelle were treated when people found out about them being together. I just.. How could the Blackthorns lock her up in a tomb and leave her to die? Just because she was in love with a warlock? I know that it was before the Accords were written and Downworlders were treated differently, but still.. it’s so messed up.
And she’s still bloody alive! Annabelle’s resurrection was successful which is probably one of the most surprising things that happened in this book for me. It’s easy to see how it could have happened I suppose.. Blackthorn blood was more than likely shed at least a little in that battle with Malcolm and his followers. I’m worried about what she’s going to do now that she’s awoken and whether or not Malcolm is actually alive to greet her. I mean, she could be a crazy psycho or she could be normal and go to try and be with the other Blackthorns (even though her ancestors killed her?? Maybe unlikely). Whatever major plot line happens throughout this series I’m sure Annabelle will be at the centre of it – with or without Malcolm.
My review is coming to an end but I couldn’t finish it without mentioning the cameos made from other Shadowhunter books.
I loved seeing Jem and Tessa again, even though they clearly won’t be major characters in the coming book because they’re off to find Malcolm’s body and that black spell book. I wish Jem could be in Emma’s life more but I do understand the reasons why he’s not.
I also freaking loved having Jace, Magnus and Clary back in this book for a little while and finding out that Izzy and Simon are engaged and Clary and Jace run the New York institute. It was amazing seeing what’s happened to them since the Cold Peace and that they’re all happy and doing well.
I’m going to be talking about something which happened in the short story at the end of Lady Midnight now, about the TMI characters, so if you haven’t read that then skip over this next little bit.
Ok, so I love that everyone is happy and I may be reading into this a little bit too much but I’m kind of confused. In the short story at the end of Lady Midnight we witness Jace proposing to Clary.. but she hesitates. Then they’re interrupted and blah blah but in her inner monologue she mentions that she DREADS GIVING JACE THE ANSWER. Why would she dread it, unless she was going to say no? Or that she didn’t want to marry him?? What’s going on because I ship them so hard and omg they cannot break up! I mean, I don’t think they’ll break up but it was weird and clearly left like that for a specific reason…
Characters: 5/5 Stars
Plot: 5/5 Stars
Ending: 5/5 Stars
Originality: 5/5 Stars
Cover: 5/5 Stars (a jawdroppingly beautiful cover)
“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”
Oops.. I tried to cut down the length of this review but there’s just so must to talk about in Shadowhunter books (sorry about that)! Anyway, as I’ve said, I love this book and pretty much everything Cassandra Clare writes. I highly suggest this one to all!