By: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Print ARC
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?
First, I was shocked and so grateful to receive an advanced copy of this book. I never dreamed I would, and I’ll be treasuring it always. I, understandably, was incredibly eager to jump right in. I was so happy to soak back into Cassie’s writing and the Shadowhunter world. It had been far too long and it was comforting to be back. I will admit, I never read City of Heavenly Fire so some things were alluded to that I wasn’t 100% sure about. I believe if you’ve read CoHF you met the characters in this book already? Having not read it I went into this with no preconceived notions about the characters. And I don’t feel that detracted from my reading of this book.
Lady Midnight focused on a whole new group of Shadowhunters. It was great to meet new characters that still had strong ties to the past. These characters are related to our past favorites so that was really a nice surprise for me (I hadn’t kept up to date on what this particular series would be based on other than it taking place after the other books).
Now for the big question- how were the new characters? Can they compare to all the ones we’ve loved in the past? My answer- YES. I loved Emma, Julian and Mark. Each one had their own personality and struggles. I think each added to the story and I was very interested to learn more about their pasts and watch them develop. I liked that, once again, we got to see how life at the Institute functions. The descriptions were detailed and, as always, it was very easy to imagine the setting.
Since there was a lot of time spent at the Institute we were introduced to Julian and his siblings. I enjoyed getting to know each of the kids but I’ll admit- I had trouble keeping them all straight and honestly can’t recall any of their names off hand (oops). I’m hoping as the series continues I’ll have a deeper connection to each of them. Regardless of my inability to recall details, each of them helped to build Julian’s character. He was so easy to love, empathize with and feel for.
Emma was an incredibly kick-ass female character. She worked hard to get to the level of Shadowhunter that she was. Driven by the mystery surrounding her parent’s death (she doesn’t believe the official story) she was motivated to push herself further than most would. I thought she was an excellent character. Her and Julian’s dedication to their parabatai relationship was compelling and kept me reading.
There was a shippy romance, and in Clare fashion, our characters were not fated to be together. Clare tends to pull her lovers apart and give them significant reasons why they can’t be together and this novel is no different. There’s also another side romance that was really well done and plays on diversity which was nice to read.
The storyline in this book was surprisingly fast paced (it’s a BIG book) and I was always eager to dive back in. I looked forward to my time with Lady Midnight. Now, you probably notice I gave this one 4 stars…why not 5? Well, the ending left me a bit bleh (a situation happened that I’m dreading for the next book…not sure I’m crazy about the direction things went). Also, there was a good amount of bringing in the old characters that I think most fans will love but for me it felt a bit like…pandering to the fan base? I don’t know. It felt a bit unnecessary.
Those few issues I had weren’t enough to mar my enjoyment of this book. Clare continued to put all the feels in her writing. I was riveted as I so often am by her writing style.
The fast pace, beautifully executed romantic scenes, and dynamic characters all made Lady Midnight a pleasure to read. I can guarantee that if you are a fan of any of Clare’s prior books you’ll adore this one as well. Those that have issue with her books will mostly likely continue to have similar complaints with this new series.
For the question many are asking if you’ve never read a Cassandra Clare book- can you jump in with this series? My answer is that yes, you can. You’ll run across spoilers regarding characters and their romantic endeavors though so be prepared for that. I believe the world is described in enough detail though to allow new fans to be introduced to the Shadowhunter world.