fantasy · review · shadowhunters · young adult

Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

“Cristina handed Emma’s stele back to her. ‘I’ve always wanted a parabatai.’ She said a little wistfully. ‘Someone who is sworn to protect you and watch your back. A best friend forever, for your whole life.”

 

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Blurb: “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. She lives for battle. Alongside her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols Los Angeles. Where vampires party on the sunset strip and faeries – the most powerful of supernatural creatures – teeter on the edge of war with the Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries are found 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 by the faerie courts. All they 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?”

 It has been a long two year wait but Cassandra Clare is finally back in our book-loving hearts with a brand new Shadowhunter series called The Dark Artifices. Following Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, readers are thrown back into the Shadowhunter world, but this time in a new location. The characters reside in the Los Angeles Institute meaning that those who know Cassandra’s works well are completely out of their comfort zones, minus the snippets of information about runes and parabatai that – if you have read her other series – is all too familiar. If you’re new to Cassandra’s work, or looking to get into it, this is a fantastic place to start because it lives up to the hype that has been mounting up in the final months to release.

The brilliant thing about Cassandra Clare’s writing is that you know it will make sense. Everything is planned to such an extent that there aren’t any plot holes sneaking through. Just when you think you’ve worked out what’s going to happen, she throws another curve ball at you, leaving you stumped. I’ve seen many people trying to guess the ending to Lady Midnight but no one could possibly predict the actual ending. Personally, I never saw it coming.

I will admit that I struggled to get into this book at first. While The Dark Artifices is an entirely new series, there is a massive amount of information dump for the first 100 pages. Details are given about how the Shadowhunter world works and its inhabitants but as Lady Midnight is set five years after the events in City of Heavenly Fire a lot of the information being thrown at me were things I already knew so I had to take into account that someone should be able to pick up this book not having read any of the other Shadowhunter books. I do have to say that if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments series yet and plan to, read that first and then come back to Lady Midnight.

Emma Carstairs is being crippled by her need for the revenge of her parent’s murders. The Clave tells her the deaths were the work of Sebastian Morgenstern but Emma knows that isn’t true. When she discovers another body drowned and covered in the same unnerving markings that her parents were, her suspicions are confirmed. Julian Blackthorn is her parabatai which carries a lot of weight in the Shadowhunter world and he is one of the only people who believes Emma. Together they start to uncover the true darkness hiding behind these murders while struggling to keep their parabatai bond intact.

The idea of parabatai is something I’ve always found fascinating in this world and it was interesting to see the negative side of that play out in the sense of not being sure if you want a parabatai anymore and feeling any pain they feel, after all it’s a life-long commitment.

I didn’t reckon much to Emma Carstairs in City of Heavenly Fire and when I found out that she was going to lead this new series, I was slightly worried. I have never been so wrong. Emma is a fantastic character. She’s sassy, determined, and her narrative is so strong that she feels like a real person. Emma lives at the Los Angeles Institute with Diana Wrayburn and the blackthorn family which is quite big. As a result, Emma’s storyline is very frequently overshadowed by what is happening with the Blackthorns which really put me off the book at times. While the Blackthorn storyline was important, it just seemed to push Emma out of the picture to the point where she became more of a side character to Julian. This is what led me to giving Lady Midnight a four star rating instead of five stars.

Another character addition I enjoyed was Cristina who is staying at the institute for a year. She fit in so well to the group and provided a good branch of support for Emma whenever it was needed. She was insightful, funny and just the kind of person you’d want to have your back.

Along with the information dumps and blackthorn storyline taking over, there are so many references and even appearances from Jace and Clary that (although they had connections to Emma) it just felt like Cassie was pandering to fans of The Mortal Instruments and although I adore that series with all of my heart, I wanted this to be more about the new.

This may be an unpopular opinion but I adore the faeries and the seelie court. They’re just so difficult to believe because while they can’t lie, they can evade the truth and so you never really know what to expect from them. It keeps you on your toes while reading any chapters with them in.

Overall, Lady Midnight lives up the hype and is a fantastic adventure but isn’t without its flaws.
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