Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Check out our review of Lady Midnight below.

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Fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series were thrilled when she announced that she would continue to tell stories from their beloved Shadowhunter world in multiple upcoming series, including The Dark Artifices series. The first novel, Lady Midnight was released last month and I could not wait to get my hands on it! I have been reading Cassie’s novels since I picked up City of Bones on a whim when it first hit the shelves. I’ve been through the joy, angst, brutal cliff-hangers, and torture that are central to Clare’s books over and over again, and it never gets old. I love the Shadowhunter stories because they reel me in and keep me hooked until I find myself forsaking everything else in my mundane real life in order to read and find out what happens next. The characters that Clare creates are intriguing and infuriating and just downright loveable. Lady Midnight was no exception.

Lady Midnight takes place five years after the final Mortal Instruments book in the Los Angeles Institute, where seventeen-year-old Emma Carstairs lives with the Blackthorn family, which consists of seventeen-year-old Julian and his four younger brothers and sisters, who he has essentially raised since the events in City of Heavenly Fire left them orphans. Emma sort of reminds me of a female version of Jace. She has a ton of baggage, but she doesn’t share it with anyone. She’s snarky and funny, and she loves fiercely. She can also kick some serious butt. She’s a fantastic character! Julian is more subdued, but he has a lot of depth to him, and I spent most of the book just wanting to give him a hug. I also thoroughly enjoyed the new characters who were introduced, specifically Christina and Diego, who are from the Mexico City Institute and have some interesting backstories.

Emma and Julian are parabatai which, in the Shadowhunter world, means that they have bound themselves as something more than best friends or siblings, but the relationship is meant to be strictly platonic. But, since nothing can be easy for young couples in Clare’s books, Emma and Julian, of course, hold some serious flames for one another. Since their love is forbidden, they cannot pursue the relationship even though the chemistry jumps off the page and squeezes the heart of the reader. There are moments where I honestly just wanted to jump into the story and have some serious words with these main characters. It’s painful to read… but in the good way that only a well-written, angsty Cassandra Clare novel can be.

Love story aside, however, the plot of Lady Midnight centralizes on the Institute inhabitants’ mission to infiltrate a secret society with a group of followers who have been killing mundanes with fey ancestry. They need to track down the leader of this organization to stop the murders. The fey, who lost their Shadowhunter protection due to their alignment with Sebastian Morgenstern in The Mortal Instruments, make an irresistible offer that Julian and his family cannot refuse (regarding their brother, Mark, who was taken from them in City of Heavenly Fire), and get drawn into the hunt, despite having been forbidden to do so by the Clave. Emma, believing that these events are related to the death of her parents, is also keen on joining the investigation. Anything else I could tell you about the plot would be considered a spoiler, so I will leave you with this: if you are a fan of The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices, you will love this book. Like all of the Shadowhunter stories, this one incorporates some of our favorite characters and little Easter eggs from all of the other books. I cannot wait to see what is in store in the next book, Lord of Shadows, which will arrive next year along with the first in The Last Hours series. Enjoy!