Friday, April 20, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series? Yes, book 1 of the Dark Artifices Trilogy
Pages: 698
Publication Date: March 8, 2016  
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: I got a hardcover edition of Lady Midnight from my local library.
In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

As a fan of the Shadowhunter world, reading Lady Midnight has been a long time coming. When I started this blog almost three years ago, I reviewed Clockwork Angel, the first book in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy. Fast foward three years, and I'm reviewing Lady Midnight, the first book in Clare's Dark Artifices series. I have been playing catch-up with Clare's books for more than three years now, and it's invigorating to think that I am almost caught up. Throughout the years, I have started to read my books more critically. Clare, however, has honed her writing skills the more critical I've become, and has yet to truly disappoint me. Lady Midnight, although not my favorite in the Shadowhunter world, is a strong addition to the universe Clare has created.

Lady Midnight is the first book in the Dark Artifices trilogy. If you are unaware, Cassandra Clare's novels (since City of Bones) have been set in the same universe. So, if you want to read Lady Midnight and have a good grasp on the world and the characters, you are going to have to read six books prior to this one. I recommend reading Clare's novels by publication date. This is important, since Clare published The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices at the same time. If you don't read by publication order, some major plot points will be spoiled for you. Of course, if you don't mind being spoiled, read Clare's novels in whatever order suits you!

Looking at Cassandra Clare's other first in series I've read (City of Bones, Clockwork Angel) this is by far my favorite. Clare's writing has immensely improved since City of Bones. The world makes more sense, and the characters have more depth. My problem with Clockwork Angel was that it moved too slowly, and I got bored at times. This did not happen with Lady Midnight! Maybe it's because I am now accustomed to Clare's world and her writing style, but Lady Midnight was such a smoother read that City of Bones or Clockwork Angel. Plus, the readers finally get an answer to a question that's been with us since City of Bones - why can't parabatai fall in love, and what happens if they do?

While the murders and mystery throughout Lady Midnight is the plot of the novel, I would argue that Jules and Emma's relationship is the heart of it. Throughout the book, we see Julian and Emma struggle to hold back their feelings for each other. As parabatai, a romantic relationship is strictly forbidden. As readers, we don't know why and what the ramifications are. Since City of Bones, the readers know that parabatai romances are forbidden, and it was rewarding to get some, albeit vague, answers. 

Clare's other books also have romance, but there seemed to be more focus on romance in this book. Whether it be that Clare knows what hooks readers, or that this will connect to the overarching plot of the unjust Clave, focusing on their relationships works. I loved seeing Julian and Emma fight against their feelings. Clare is not afraid to write flawed and vulnerable characters, and in doing so, made me care about their relationship and what was happening in the novel.
My main issue was the extensive cast of characters. As with every first book in Clare's series, there are a large cast of characters the reader is introduced to. Every single time, I have gotten confused on who's who, and Lady Midnight is no exception. Julian has five siblings (Mark, Livvy, Tavvy, Ty, Dru) and keeping track of them was disorienting. I couldn't remember their ages, and mixed their character arcs with each other several times while reading the book. While this disorientation is probably what it is like raising five children, I need clarity in my books. Confusing the characters once or twice would have been fine. Unfortunately, I was still mixing them up by the end of the almost 700 page book.

While I might have had my problems with Lady Midnight, it is my favorite first book of hers. I am looking forward to how everything plays out in Lord of Shadows, which I am planning on reading during July or August.  

With that, I give this book
 4 out of 5 Stars!


  1. Agreed - it is the best series opener of her books. :) Great review!

    1. Thanks Lauren! I really think that this might become my favorite of hers. :)