Lady Midnight (2016)
Author: Cassandra Clare
I’m in two minds in regards to Cassie and her recent release of Lady Midnight, her first novel from her new Dark Artifices series. I am a big fan of her Shadowhunter universe and I wish with all my heart that people would read these books and not judge them on the diabolical film or the teeny-weeny Netflix show (which I do love but I also understand how bad it is.) I’d particularly recommend The Infernal Devices trilogy to anyone curious about her work. Anyway, moving along to the book at hand, Lady Midnight is almost like a fan-fiction of Cassandra’s own fiction. I appreciate that she created a universe she loves and she wants to stay there, I want to stay there too but they need a bit more bite, a little more substance. The dynamic needs shaking up. It’s all getting a little too same-y.
Lady Midnight revolved, as ever, around a couple of protagonists. Julian Blackthorn and Emma Carstairs (whom we met in the Mortal Instruments series), are a young pair of parbatai living in the Los Angeles institute with Julians plethora of siblings, Uncle and a shadowhunter on her travel year, Cristina. Emma lives for revenge, craving to find out how and why her parents were killed. Her investigation leads them down the road of breaking the Cold Peace and the laws set after the war to make a deal with the faeries. In exchange for the return of Julian Blackthorns older brother Mark from the Wild Hunt, the fae will work alongside the young Shadowhunters to discover the truth about a series of murders amongst the downwolders and mundane. If you haven’t previously read any of Cassandras books, picking this one up will be a nightmare. You have to have at least read the Mortal Instruments series to grasp whom half of the characters are, understand previous events which are relentlessly mentioned, know the laws of the Clave, know who the Silent Brothers are etc. It’s almost essential. Lady Midnight cannot just be picked up and read unless you want to make yourself a very lost and confused reader in a very vast universe.
I didn’t love Emma, I found her thoughtless and occasionally straight up stupid in her own blind, stumbling and stubborn journey of half-arsed revenge. Up to now, Emma is my least favourite heroine of Cassandra Clare’s novels.
Julian though, I adored. He was strong, versatile. Balancing Shadowhunter life, running the institute for his sick Uncle and bringing up his four younger siblings single-handedly, welcoming back his wild half fae brother and all whilst whilst trying to keep his unruly parabatai alive. I also enjoyed his family, particularly the older twins Livia and Tiberius Blackthorn. I believe Tiberius to also be autistic from the way he’s described and that was a trait I found curious in such a book and commended Julian for coping with.
Mark Blackthorn was probably my favourite though, we know so little of the Seelie and Unseelie court, the Wild Hunt and generally the ways of the faerie in this world and he showed us a whole side to Clare’s universe. Mark is half faerie and half nephilim, learning of his treatment amongst the hunt for his heritage was heartbreaking and he was given such a tale of romantic tragedy, I could not help but fall in love with him.
Lady Midnight is a slow burner, it took a while for my interest to pique and took even longer for anything of real consequence to happen. It was only when Mark Blackthorn was delivered to the Blackthorn family that I really dug in and couldn’t put the book down.
I am interested to see where this will go. I’d like to know more of the parabatai curse and I want to learn more about the faeries! I know the shadowhunters are the be all and end all of Clare’s universe but she’s woven such an intricate world of so many creatures that I think now would be the time for her to explore all of the grey areas she’s left in fog for her readers.
For fans of: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and The Magisterium collections