Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
By Cassandra Clare
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age: Young Adult
Published: Simon and Schuster (March, 2016)
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…
The Shadowhunters are back and in angelic form (see what I did there?). In Lady Midnight, we follow the older Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn (five years has passed since the events of City of Heavenly Fire from The Mortal Instruments series) as they investigate the mystery behind Emma’s parents’ murder. Now seventeen years old, the pair have matured considerably and are now Parabatai, responsible for looking after the younger Blackthorn children. Emma’s vengeful motive for tracking down her parents’ murderer has seemingly consumed her these past years and Julian is weighed down with the responsibility of parenting his younger siblings.
Clare has explored the connection between Parabatai in each of her series’ and The Dark Artifices is no different. In fact, the plot revolves around this mystical bond in a way that Clare hasn’t done before. As a result, we see the rifts that are created because of the restrictions of such a bond and how both Emma and Julian choose to combat them.
I never tire of reading tales from the Shadow world simply because Clare’s writing is so encompassing. From a writer’s perspective, I wholeheartedly admire her world-building skills and if I can ever emulate even a fraction of the detail she uses to describe her worlds, I will consider it a job well done.
I think my main problem with the writing in Lady Midnight (or perhaps with Clare’s writing in general, though I won’t be able to tell until I finish The Infernal Devices) is her characterisation. I often found myself thinking that I could map Emma and Julian’s traits onto Clary and Jace: Emma’s snarkiness is reminiscent of Jace and Julian’s artistic talents are reminiscent of Clary. Obviously, there is history between the Carstairs’ and Herondales which may explain this, but is there also a link between the Fairchilds and Blackthorns?
I gave Lady Midnight 4 instead of 5 stars because of Clare’s characterisation. Aside from this, the story is a wonderfully vivid tale of revenge and longing and the chaos that ensues when these two coinciding phenomena inevitably cross paths.
I would recommend this book if you have read The Mortal Instruments beforehand (The Infernal Devices is slightly less essential thus far) since the book often references the previous cast of characters. Also, the novel makes some assumptions of prior knowledge of the Shadow World, though Clare does re-explain most things.