HNS Book Review: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare

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Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 720
Year:  2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
l B & N  l Book Depository l Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

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.

Reviewer’s Thoughts:

Lady Midnight is an underwhelming start for a series.

I’ve read several of Clare’s books and by now, I am familiar with her writing style. She doesn’t steer clear from the usual tropes you often read in any particular genre. They could be stereotypical and cliché, but it is the kind of trite that usually work for readers, myself included. This monstrous of a book isn’t an exception.

The Dark Artifices promises a chain of urban mysteries, forbidden romance and familial bond.

Character Dynamics

The family aspect of The Dark Artifices is proving itself to be the highlight of this series. When you grow up in a large family and you are one of the older kids, you have this sense of responsibility for your younger siblings. That’s what Julian morphed himself into. After losing a third of his family to the Dark War, Julian has to stand as his siblings’ parent and older brother. I simply love the lengths the Blackthorn’s children would do for each other. Their interaction and unique dynamics are interesting to watch.

Romance

Do you know romance rhymes with nuisance?

Julian and Emma’s heightening tension expanded throughout the book. I’ll freely call it as “cliché.” Clearly, it is one that didn’t work well for me. They are not exactly annoying, but I despise how the book dragged because of them.

The amount of the main pair’s passive-aggrieve slash star-crossed spectacle could have been spent on other important things like Mark and Kieran for once.

Kieran tasted of blood and cold night sky and for a moment Mark was flying free with the Hunt. The night sky was his road to conquer. He rode a silver-white horse made of moonlight down a path of stars. Surrounded by shouts and laughter and cries, he cut a path through the night that opened the world to his searching eyes; he saw places no human gaze had seen, hidden waterfalls and secret valleys. He stopped to rest on the peaks of icebergs and galloped his horse down the foam of waterfalls, the white arms of water nymphs reaching up to catch at him. He lay with Kieran in the grass of a high Alpine meadow, hand in hand, and counted a thousand billion stars.

They oozes of sexual tension. I enjoyed reading their scenes.

The flowery and savagery nature of their dynamics is attention grabbing. I had to clutch my heart hard. I smell a dark and cruel future for these children.

Additionally, I foresee a promising m/m ship. Yo. From the minimal sparks I’ve seen, I’m here for this. However, a part of me is sordidly disappointed. I was waiting for Clare to integrally include an f/f pairing to her books. By that, I mean not to be sidelined, to be only mention in passing for special occasions. Will we ever see the day?

Politics

It wouldn’t be a Shadowhunter book if there is no slander and discussion how the Clave functions. The Law is hard, but it is the Law. As expected, politics are included.

Neurodiversity

Additionally, Clare brought up mental disorder and autism spectrum disorder to the table. It seems the descendants of Angels are incapable of understanding the unique gifts and struggles of Shadowhunters. Similarly, it reflects the contemporary world we live in.

“Madness” was the faerie word for it; it was a faerie punishment, in fact, the bringing down of madness, the shattering of someone’s mind. “Lunacy” was what shadowhunters called it. Emma had a sense there were different words for it among mundanes–a faint sense she had from bits and pieces of movies she had seen, books she had read. That there was a less cruel and absolute way to think about those whose minds ran differently than most–whose thoughts gave them pain and fear. But the Clave is cruel and absolute. It was there in the word that described the code by which they lived. The Law is hard, but it is the Law.

Tiberius Blackthorn, also known as Ty, is autistic. I couldn’t vouch about the realistic depiction, but I could tell you how I see his character. He is brilliant, and has an obsession with Sherlock Holmes. He fascinates himself as a detective. He is a capable combat fighter, but has no intention of leaning towards it. His strengths are painted, so are his difficulties.

His siblings could also be seen (in a handful of scenes) reinstating there is nothing wrong with him. He has a very supportive family support. Throughout the entire novel Julian made some minimal notes how his autism is part of his identity. Hopefully, in the next installment we would see more of Ty.

Plot & Climax

I’m not a fanatic of Shadowhunters’ series. It would not be surprising that I wasn’t moved by the climax. I’m not disappointed either, I rarely read for plot these days.

This book has a handful of scenes that are excessive to the plot. It takes away the mystery and anticipation I always seek. Hence, why the book is extremely long, and why some of the contents are tedious. Despite that, I still see a lot of readers munching this series.

Lady Midnight is specifically crafted for Clare’s fans and for anyone who has an ample amount of patience. I’m excited to see how the sequel would built-up.

About the Author

7dVr3HIhSue discovered the magical world filled with words at a young age. They have been her constant companion ever since. In addition to being a full time bookworm, and a dessert enthusiastic, she also runs the first fansite for Vampire Academy’s Lucy Fry called Lucy Fry Source. When she’s not tucked between the pages of her books, you can find her at her personal blog. You can also follow Sue on instagram and goodreads.

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About Kerly Sue

Sue discovered the magical world filled with words at a young age. They have been her constant companion ever since. In addition to being a full time bookworm, and a dessert enthusiastic, she also runs the first fansite for Vampire Academy’s Lucy Fry called Lucy Fry Source. When she’s not tucked between the pages of her books, you can find her at her personal blog. You can also follow Sue on instagram and goodreads.