Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Series: The Dark Artifices
Published: March 8, 2016, 720 pages
My copy: Hardcover, purchased from Amazon
My rating: 5/5 stars
Summary: 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. [Goodreads]
Warning: this review contains spoilers for The Infernal Devices + The Mortal Instruments. Proceed with caution.
So, obviously, this book was amazing (it’s Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunters, how could it be anything else but extraordinary?). I got home yesterday and it was here (!!!!), and I read the whole thing in about six hours, maybe a little more. Part of me wanted to go really slow and savor every word, but by the third chapter I knew I would finish it before I went to bed. That’s not saying that I didn’t savor every word and enjoy it, because I totally did, I’m just a fast reader. I already need the second one, and Lady Midnight has been out for a day. Oops?
Right from the start, I was totally in love with the main character, Emma Carstairs. Yes, those Carstairs. She’s not a born hero like Jace or Clary from TMI, she had to work hard to get to be the powerful Nephilim that she is. Her parents were killed during the Dark War five years ago, and although the Clave (Shadowhunter government) said that they were killed by Sebastian Morgenstern, she doesn’t believe them. So when bodies begin to show up in the way her parents bodies were found, she immediately jumps into an investigation. She’s determined, sarcastic and strong while also being sweet and loving to those she cares about, like the Blackthorns. The Blackthorn kids (Helen, Mark, Julian, Livia, Tiberius, Drusilla and Octavian) are the family that live in the Institute with Emma, and are some of the most interesting and colorful characters Cassandra Clare has ever written. I adore them. Helen is still on a remote island after being basically exiled in City of Heavenly Fire, while Mark makes a return from the faeries Wild Hunt that shakes up the whole family. The younger kids–Livvy, Ty, Dru, Tavvy–are important, too, but they are out-shown by Julian, who is obviously the most important Blackthorn to Emma, being her parabatai, a person that she is bonded to for life.
Julian is absolutely my favorite character in this series, hands down, no contest. I forget that he’s a warrior while reading about him because he is so kind, since he’s been a parent to his younger siblings for five years since Helen and Mark have been gone. He and Emma have such a complex relationship because they’ve been together for their whole lives, platonically up until a little while ago, but of course, since it’s a Cassandra Clare novel, we have the forbidden love trope. For those of you who don’t know, parabatai are forbidden by Clave law to be involved romantically with each other, which causes extreme complications for Emma and Jules. Prepare to have your heart broken, put back together, broken, put back together, and then shattered into a million pieces (the last chapter is titled Sever my Soul, and oh boy, that is what happened).
“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”
Seriously, I was stifling screams all throughout this book. For instance, whenever characters from the other series showed up. Magnus, Alec, Clary, Jace, Jem, Tessa and others make small appearances to give advice or help, and there’s even a short story back at the NYC Institute in the back of the book to give you all the feels x98743. However, the focus remains on Emma’s story, where it should be. The mystery of the murders was basically solved by the end, which confused me, but the epilogue was a paragraph that managed to pump me up for the next book while simultaneously worrying for the characters safety. I have very high hopes for Lord of Shadows, the second book.
“Then why are you here?” Emma demanded. “Oh, is this one of those missed-connections things? We met the other night, you felt a spark? Sorry, but I don’t date trees.”
“I am not a tree.” Iarlath looked angry, his bark peeling slightly.
This book is long, but there’s so much going on with many different things that there were only a few dull moments, and then I was back on a rollercoaster of emotion. I really enjoyed the family aspect that Clare gave us in this novel, as well as Emma’s friendship with Christina. Christina is a shadowhunter from Mexico that seems to be Emma’s confidant in the huge situation of her and Julian, and she is such a strong person that doesn’t let emotions get in the way when something needs to be done. Speaking of Christina’s origins, I love how Cassie doesn’t throw diverse characters in your face like they’re so different. She doesn’t give the LGBT+ or non-white characters special attention for being different from the straight, white characters, she gives them attention for their courage, kindness or other redeeming quality.
All in all, this book was amazing. If you haven’t read anything of Cassandra Clare’s, I recommend that you get started!! Lady Midnight is one of her best yet, and I am so happy to be back in the shadowhunters world. The writing was great, the characters were intricate and lovable (aside from the villains, which were supremely evil), there was enough humor to keep it from being too heavy, the plot was heartwarming, heartbreaking, heart racing intense (my heart is still recovering, obviously)!
“That’s not the spirit of the law, Emma. Remember? The Law is hard, but it is the Law.”
“I thought it was ‘the Law is annoying, but it is also flexible.'”
Have you read Lady Midnight? I would love to talk about it with you guys (I’m still freaking out), so let me know what you though or if you’re reading it/planning to read it!