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Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices) Hardcover – March 8, 2016
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Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn have grown up together, struggling with the deaths of their respective parents and the responsibilities of caring for Julian's younger siblings after the Dark War. Five years after they convince the Clave to allow Emma to stay with the Blackthorns in Los Angeles, Emma and Julian realize that they are drawn to each other in a way prohibited by the rules of their parabatai bond. Julian's older brother Mark returns, conditionally, from the Wild Hunt to help the duo investigate recent murders that Emma believes may be connected to those of her parents. The Clave insists that her parents' deaths were related to the war, so true to Shadowhunter form, the teens take matters into their own hands, enlisting the help of the warlock Malcolm Fade and their tutor, Diana Wrayburn, as they pursue a dangerous truth that will unlock secrets of betrayal, obsession, and revenge. Complications abound, with multiple cliff-hangers that hint at the hard-hitting drama to come as the series continues. Clare delivers spectacular Shadowhunter fare with her trademark street tough yet emotionally fragile adolescent characters taking on adult roles and includes plenty of violent action and passionate romance to satisfy fans of "The Infernal Devices" and "The Mortal Instruments" series, who will be thrilled to see some of their favorite characters from the previous books make appearances. VERDICT A must-have for libraries with devoted Shadowhunter fans, who will undoubtedly be waiting for this emotionally intense beginning to her new series.—Kerry Sutherland, Akron-Summit County Public Library, OH --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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By the Angel, this book is phenomenal! As I’ve said before, I rarely give books a perfect score, but this one and ACOMAF have come pretty damn close. There are so many great things I have to say about Lady Midnight, so let me begin by saying bravo, Ms. Clare. Bravo. I truly think Lady Midnight is your best one yet.
WHAT I LOVED
The story starts off in the Shadow Market, a place where Downworlders and mundanes with the Sight sell their wares, and we are briefly introduced to a mysterious character named Johnny Rook and his equally intriguing son, Kit. From there, we catch our first glimpse of our witty heroine, Emma Carstairs, who is accompanied by a fellow Shadowhunter. She is at the market to further her investigation into her parents’ suspicious murders. Rook has some useful secrets to sell, and these secrets reveal a bigger mystery at hand. *Cue the X-Files music.*
Some weird stuff is going down that may or may not be related to the death of Emma’s parents and though the Clave would prevent her from continuing an investigation into these strange occurrences, nothing is going to stand in the way of Emma and her thirst for vengeance.
The beginning is much more fast paced than most of her other novels in the Shadowhunter’s series. It took me a while to get into the first book in both the Infernal Devices and the Mortal Instruments, but I had no such issue with Lady Midnight. Once I started reading, it was very hard to stop.
Clare does an excellent job in capturing my attention and maintaining it unto the very end. There was never a dull moment in this monstrously big book. I was far too invested in the relationships that were built up and torn down throughout the novel. While the mystery aspect is compelling, the focus of the story rests on the characters. The who-dunnit element of the plot is complimentary yet subordinate to the family dynamics and romantic pairings of the novel. There are periods in which the action subsides or is purely absent, but I was never bored during these periods because the focus shifts to the Blackthorn family, their slow exploration of the mysterious deaths, and of course, the romance.
The characters are the highlight of this book. Julian is, by far, my favorite character, second only to his brothers, Mark and Ty. His character is sensitive, artistic, loving, secretive, and just plain good. His perception of love is among the most romantic and mature I’ve read so far in a young adult fantasy novel. He loves his family more than life itself and he acts as the Papa Bear to his brothers and sisters, believing them to be his children, his babies, that he must care for until they don’t need him anymore.
The times where he contemplates the what ifs in life are among the most heartbreaking. He’s been forced into a situation where he must be the father, rather than the brother, to his siblings and he constantly reflects on the decisions he makes, hoping that when the time comes for his babies to leave, they won’t resent him in the end.
The interactions between Emma and Julian are heartwarming and realistic as they trade witty remarks in their casual banter and slowly begin to realize their true feelings for one another. Their interactions are sweet and pure and everything you could wish for in a YA romance. And though I loved Jemma, and I ship it to the ends of the earth, I was more in love with Julian and his family.
Each member of the Blackthorn family is a character all their own and completely lovable. Mark is the lost child, even though he is the eldest. Dru is the horror film junkie and resident sweetheart. Livvy is the spunky twin with warrior potential. Ty is the lovably different one and twin to Livvy. And Tavvy is the baby. I loved each and every one of them so much that I nearly got a heart attack during the events in the end.
Clare did well to portray diversity in a cast of characters that differ in ethnicity, language, class, sexual orientation, living situation, mental health, and so much more. You can always count on Clare to give you an LGBTQ+ romance that steals your heart and tears it up over and over again. The author also touches on some more serious topics regarding mental health and learning disabilities and these issues are represented mostly in Ty and his Uncle Arthur. So there’s never a lack of great content in the novel.
Another thing I greatly appreciated was the tie-in of my favorite poem, Annabel Lee. The way Clare brought the poem to life was creative and original and superbly done. Each of the chapter titles are lines from the poem, and at first I thought that was all there was to it, but the titles are reflective of the story, the mystery, as a whole.
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE AS MUCH
I had only a couple issues with this book. The first being the representation of the female characters. While both Emma and Cristina are strong and capable females who don’t need no man, there isn’t much else I could say about them. While Julian, Mark, and Ty are given remarkable complexities to their characters, Emma can mostly be summed up as a warrioress with a chip on her shoulder who tries too hard to be witty and is way too ditzy in some cases, especially in the case of love.
"His voice was rough; he looked as if he hadn’t slept. Emma wondered what could have kept him up. Research?"
By this time, a brick could have deciphered Julian’s feelings. No one should be that clueless, especially not our fearless heroine. Besides her, seemingly, deliberate ignorance, Emma is solely focused on solving her parents’ murders and getting revenge. I enjoyed the times she interacts with the Blackthorns, and though she lives with them, she still seems apart from them due to her single-minded purpose. She’s a likable character, better than Clary IMO, but still not the heroine I wish Clare would write.
As for Cristina, I didn’t much care for her storyline. She’s a great companion to Emma and seems like a nice person, but I didn’t trust her the whole book and I don’t think that was Clare’s intention. I know next to nothing about the girl and though she’s a friend, I can’t seem to care about what she does or does not do. She really is that uninteresting in my eyes.
My last issue with this book: There’s not nearly enough Magnus Bane.
But that’s it! Lady Midnight was close to perfection in its storyline, cast of characters, action, romance, diversity, and humor (so much of this that I chuckled more than a few times while reading). Plus, the few twists at the end hurt like a b****, but it was worth it.
I will start off by saying that I am extremely disappointed in myself for reading this so early in the game. I mean honestly it just came out two seconds ago, and we all know the second installment won't be out anytime soon. Possibly another 1-2 years (which I understand why they take long to come out, if it was rushed the work won't be nearly as amazing). However it's too late to cry over the proverbial spilled milk. Anywho lets begin! Our story centers around Emma Carstairs trying to find who murdered her parents 5 years ago, as well as finding the person responsible for the many murders taking place in Los Angeles. I was very curious on how this mystery was going to start, and if you've read City of Heavenly Fire at the very end of the book you get a clue about how. Since it's been so long since I read COHF I honestly forgot about the little clue we got. However once the Shadowhunters of the Los Angeles Institute get help from some unlikely allies the race to solve the mystery of the multiple murders that are happening in LA. The theme of revenge is very much present in this novel and it definitely adds a tone of seriousness to the novel. We actually witnessed some of the aftermath of Emma's parents murder in COHF, and how much it affected Emma. I really appreciated being able to begin the novel without having to be retaught everything about the Shadowhunter world. Some authors will give a refresher in each novel, but more often than not this annoys me as I want to get to the meat of the story without preamble. Cassie smoothly transitioned into a new series with a fresh perspective and has managed to add more diverse and complexities to an already phenomenal world. She keeps you on your toes at all times and I can't wait to see what it will further develop into in the future. The characters in this novel were so well developed and felt so human to me, I really appreciated that we first met them when they were children and it's crazy cool to get to see how they've grown and developed in the 5 years since the Dark War happened. Emma, Julian, and the gang are much more mature than those of Clary, Jace & co. from the MI were so that alone is a big contributor to the tone of the novel. All the characters in this novel are so very well developed and I found myself completely smitten with them all very early in the book. There personalities are all so very different but they all manage to coexist as a family even with the tough past they all endured. I also must say that I loved loved seeing some of our favorite characters from the previous series like Clary, Jace, Magnus, & Tessa! I have my fingers crossed that we will see even more of them in this series as it progresses. Last thing I will touch on so that I don't accidentally slide into spoilers territory is the Emma and Julian romance. My goodness is it a roller coaster ride, their situation very much reminds me of Clary & Jace when they believed they were brother and sister early on in the Mortal Instruments. The forbidden romance element is there as they are parabatai, so expect to be shouting at your book, and there even may be a couple of tears ( that's if you're uber-sensitive like myself haha). When we learned the reason why parabtai are forbidden to fall in love I nearly fell out of my chair! It's so very hard to review complex books like these without spoilers because they literally are everywhere! I am contemplating the idea of doing a video review with spoilers because there are endless things I can say and would like to hear you guys' perspectives and opinions too! Cassie has flawlessly laid the groundwork for the remaining to novels in the series and I am already chomping at the bit for the release of the next book. I will be back tomorrow with a review of an audibook that I am just about finished up with. As always, until next time!
Check out my blog for more fun reviews at obsessivecompulsivereads.com
Updated @ 9:07 pm same day ::
I finished it !!! Aga!!! So good ! Can't not wait for the next one ! It's totally left open for pain and heartbreak to come for Emma ! And smi good news at the end ! Also a surprise , if you read the Simon mini kindle series , your going to like the little character add in :) so shocked !
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