Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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.”
Review: I have to admit, I did not have high hopes for Lady Midnight. While I did enjoy reading Cassandra Clare’s vastly popular Mortal Instruments series, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the writing or plot development. The series was addicting, but not necessarily because it was particularly special or well-written. For that reason, I went into Lady Midnight with relatively low expectations, buoyed by a desire to return to the Shadowhunter world for a little bit. At the conclusion of the novel, I have to say I was really impressed. Lady Midnight is a vast improvement over Clare’s previous works. I think this improvement largely stems from enhanced character and plot development. Not only were Emma and Julian more likeable main characters than Jace and Clary had ever been, but Clare also devoted a lot of time to delving deeper into the personalities of Julian’s large family, from innocent youngest child Tavvy to odd-ball Ty. There was something refreshing about reading a Shadowhunter book that didn’t solely focus on the evil-doings of Sebastian Morgenstern, and I was genuinely surprised when I found out the culprit behind the demonic plot unfurling in Los Angeles. I also thought that the book benefited from Clare really going into detail on what it means to be parabatai; while Alec and Jace are parabatai, and their specific relationship is discussed to a certain extent throughout the Mortal Instruments series, the Emma/Julian parabatai relationship (and all the complications that come with having more-than-familial feelings about your parabatai) was more greatly explored in Lady Midnight. There is also a lot more humor in Lady Midnight than I found in any of the Mortal Instruments books. For example, the following exchange between Emma and the Blackthorn family occurred after Julian was almost killed by a mysterious person with poisoned arrows.
Emma: “But he hurt Jules, so when we track him down, I’m going to chop him up and feed him to my fish.”
Julian: “You don’t have a fish.”
Emma: “Well, I’m going to buy some. I’m going to buy goldfish and feed them blood until they acquire a taste for human flesh.”
Altogether, I think the Dark Artifices series shows a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.