I’ve been a huge Cassandra Clare fan since I first read The Mortal Instruments series about 6 years ago. Naturally, I was going to buy Lady Midnight. She is arguably the reason why I got into reading (aside from Harry Potter). I totally super fell in love with the story, and have been an avid reader of her stories ever since.
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.
Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?
So this entire book is about love. Like, seriously, everything revolves around love. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good love story. It was just kinda funny to me, and I really felt like Clare wanted to just write a love story about these characters she had created (because forbidden love is sexy, and who doesn’t love a good romance), and then sorta built the plot around them. Which is also fine!! It just wasn’t what I had expected, having read The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. But different is okay. Different is good.
As always, I think Clare is a masterful plot-weaver. I think she does a really good job of leaving hints and clues throughout her stories that readers either glaze over originally, or that mislead the readers so that her plot-twists (or plot-unravelings?) appear very clever. It was good! But, when I realized that the ending was resolved I was of the opinion that this should be a stand-alone book, but in typical Clare fashion, she adds in little “preview” bits that tell the reader the series is going to continue, but with a different objective. Which is okay, just a little disjointing for me personally. I like continuity when it seems natural, and this just kinda sorta didn’t.
First of all, I’m going to say that there are too many family members in the Blackthorn clan haha. I kept getting their names mixed up and I wasn’t really even sure who was who until like maybe 2/3 of the way through the book. I still get Ty and Tavvy mixed up (my brain can’t handle that many shared letters!!). Second, I’m glad that there was a little more diversity in this novel than in her previous novels, with a more mixed-ethnicity and sexual orientation cast. But I was a little disappointed with Emma. Not that there was anything wrong with her, but I feel like she was supposed to be this super-cool, tough Shadowhunter.
Show, don’t tell
Seriously, every character in the book told me that. But I never really saw it for myself. Number one rule: show, don’t tell. I saw a lot of Clary-like recklessness in her (from TMI), but I think she was supposed to be more like Jace, so I was a little confused. Also, I was very frustrated that Emma and Julian were BFFLs, parabatai, and more, and yet they didn’t trust each other enough with their secrets/lies/important information.
Personalities aside, I just kinda thought that would be something they shared with each other due to the closeness of their relationship(s) with each other. There’s a certain thing that Emma learns at the end of the story that she doesn’t tell Julian about and it causes totally unnecessary problems and I can’t fathom why she doesn’t just tell him so that they can work through it together?? My boyfriend is my best friend in the world and I can’t imagine not telling him something like that. I would rely on his love and support and his own personal input to work through it together. I guess it just didn’t feel realistic to me.
Clare definitely should have used this roadblock between them as a way to make them fight and get stronger together and find a way around it. But it’s very YA-lit to cause these unnecessary problems so there’s more angsty love.
Kinda slow tbh. Well, there were a lot of “family” moments where Clare showcased what the typical day in the life of the Blackthorn family clan was like, but she just did it so frequently and showed so many little details that I was like, ehhh… okay… come on now… And honestly I grew a bit tired of it all.
I don’t really know how to categorize this, but I just wanna say something about Clare and her books. I noticed the same thing in the latter three TMI books, and it happened in Lady Midnight as well (though not in TID thankfully). It’s that Clare introduces these minor characters who play minority roles (in ethnicity and sexuality), but because she introduces them as minor characters, it really feels as though she’s doing it just to appease fan bases and to be able to point to them and say Look! Here, I’m a diverse author! while her main characters often remain white-ish and straight.
It wouldn’t bother me so much except that these minor characters aren’t really even given proper roles, I don’t think. I look to other series like JK Rowling’s Harry Potter (which is by no means perfect!! She lacks diversity as well!), where her minor characters play integral parts to the stories and overall plot. Clare’s minor characters, while definitely diverse, aren’t essential to her plot. and are simply thrown in and given their own little romances and tbh I just don’t care about them. It happened with Maya and Kyle in TMI, and now I see it with Cristina, Diego, Kieran, and Mark (somewhat) in TDA. Like, I can skip whole chunks of chapters with these characters and nothing changes in the plot.
I did really like this story. But it isn’t the masterpiece I would expect Clare to have written. Especially since it’s a world she is already very comfortable in and continues to expand. Also, I really felt like this story relied a lot on the reader’s previous knowledge/understanding/experience with City of Heavenly Fire. I think that’s especially true in regards to her characterization of the characters in Lady Midnight. Personally, I feel like I learned a lot more about Emma through City of Heavenly Fire.
I give Lady Midnight 4/5 stars.
And there goes Day 8 of my 14 Day Reading Challenge!! I’ll be honest though, this one was a beast and I couldn’t finish the whole book in one day. I actually read most of it this morning, rather than last night.
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