synopsis from goodreads.com:
In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.
A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.
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?
Let me just start by saying that everything Cassandra Clare writes is PERFECTION. She is my absolute favorite author after J.K. Rowling. Because of that, I have no idea why I put off reading this book for so long. I mean, I’ve had Lady Midnight on my shelf for months. But I FINALLY read it and loved it SO much!
I am going to try something different for this review – I’m going to have a spoiler-free section and then a section filled with spoilers, because I just want to talk about everything that happened! So if you don’t want to be spoiled for the book, just stop reading after the spoiler-free section!
Lady Midnight is the first book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, which is Clare’s third series in her Shadowhunter Chronicles. You should really read The Infernal Devices trilogy and The Mortal Instruments series before getting to The Dark Artifices trilogy! Everything will make a lot more sense if you do, and those other two series are just as good as this one!
I’ve never written a review on one of Cassandra Clare’s books before. I know that this review won’t do the book justice, but I’m going to try anyway!
This is Cassie’s most sophisticated work by far. City of Bones was her first novel, and you can tell how much she’s grown as a writer from that first book to Lady Midnight. Her writing has always been so beautiful and engaging to readers of all ages, but this writing is more in-depth and grown-up, if that makes any sense. And I LOVED it!! She’s also so amazing at the subtle humor (*ahem* all of Jace’s lines), and I enjoyed those parts in this book! I really hope I can write like her someday!
This plot was so ingenious. It expands on what we already knew of Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family from City of Heavenly Fire. I fell in love with the Blackthorns and Emma when I was reading The Mortal Instruments series, and I love how Cassie included them in that last installment of the other series!
So this follows Emma and Julian as they investigate Emma’s parents’ murders, get involved with faeries, and deal with the Cold Peace, the new treatie made between faeries and the rest of the Shadow World. It was so cool to learn more about faeires and the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. We get to delve more into faerie politics of the world in this book, which was really interesting. The plot was so dark and the pacing was perfect – with both intense moments and slower, heartfelt moments with all the Blackthorn siblings and Emma. It really showed both the physical and emotional aspects of all the characters. And that reveal at the end was really shocking!! I did NOT see it coming at all! Which is good, because I hate when books are too predictable.
And the characters!!! I’m in love with ALL of them!! Emma, with her fighting skills and reckless behavior (she’s totally a Gryffindor). Julian, who was gentle and responsible and would do anything for his siblings and Emma. Her recklessness and his gentleness were what made them such a great pair and why they worked together so well. I just love the idea of parabatai, and Julian and Emma are amazing together. And that law about parabatai not being able to fall in love? I HATE IT.
“Sometimes, she thought, it was as if she were a kite, and Julian the flier: She soared above the ground, and he kept her tethered to the earth. Without him she would be lost among the clouds.”
“‘You are two halves of a whole. You must be different, like light and shadow – he brings you caution to temper your recklessness, and you bring him recklessness to temper his caution. Without each other you would not function as well as you do. That is what parabatai means.’” – Cristina Rosales to Emma Carstairs
I also love all of the other Blackthorn siblings so much!! I love the representation of whatever disability Ty has, I love how Livvy is so fierce and so protective of her twin, I love how sweet and smart Dru is, and Tavvy is just adorable. Mark’s character was so interesting to me, and Cristina Rosales is one of those underrated characters that I freaking love!!
Cassie’s ability to create vivid, relatable, and lovable characters that will always stick with her readers is incredible!! I’m only one book into this trilogy, but I already love the characters as much as the ones from TMI or TID!
So overall, Cassandra Clare is a genius and Lady Midnight was absolutely fantastic!!! You MUST read it!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Let me just start off by saying how stupid it is that the Law says that parabatai can’t fall in love!!! And then we found out that the reason is because it gives even more power to any parabatai in true, requited love and this power will eventually destroy them. UGH.
Julian has loved Emma for years. And his private painting room was full of paintings of Emma. There were tears in my eyes while reading that part.
“’These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.’” – Julian to Emma
When there are problems in books, I always try to work through them in my head, but I have NO IDEA how Julian and Emma are going to get around this! AND THE END. As soon as Tessa said that it was easier to get someone to stop loving you (*ahem* Will Herondale) than to stop loving them, I knew what Emma was going to do. Emma knew that the one thing that Julian wouldn’t be able to get over was if she and Mark started dating!! So then she said those things to Julian and went to Mark! How is this thing with Mark going to work out?
Cassie must take pleasure in ripping out our hearts over and over again. Because the tears were real, you guys.
I loved seeing how Julian took care of everyone. Their uncle basically did nothing to help them, and their tutor was only there some of the time so Julian practically raised his younger siblings! He learned to cook and take care of the Institute and correspond with the Clave leaders all on his own. I’m so impressed. He’s one of my favorite male bookish characters now.
“People often acted as if Julian couldn’t be a warrior because he was gentle in his life, gentle to his friends and family. People were wrong.”
And Emma was honestly the best. She’s so much like Jace and Will with her reckless behavior, and I love it.
“‘Everyone said you would be the next Jace Herondale. The next great Shadowhunter warrior.’” – Cristina to Emma
I really loved Cristina and her and Emma’s friendship!! I never hear a lot of people talking about her, but she was such a great character! Also, “Perfect Diego” made me laugh so much when he came into the story. But I totally ship Cristina and Mark.
The Blackthorns are the best Shadowhunter family!! They all care so much for each other and defend and protect each other every second of every day. Livvy and Ty are so close as twins. Ty is so smart and unique, and Livvy is SO FIERCE.
When Mark came back, I practically screamed! I hated that he was taken against his will to the Wild Hunt. At least he grew to bear it, though. One of the worst parts of the book was the whipping scene. Julian volunteered to take the punishment instead of Mark, who had already been through so much with the faeries. And then Emma took it instead. Their love for each other kills me.
I’m so overjoyed and relieved that Mark is staying!!
“‘No matter what happens,’ Mark said, “I will stay here. I will always, always stay here.’ He put his arms around Julian and held him tightly. Julian exhaled, as if he were letting go of something heavy that he had carried for a long time, and leaning on Mark’s shoulder, he let his older brother bear just a little of his weight.”
I was so shocked that Malcom Fade was the Guardian! And he killed Emma’s parents for a freaking experiment! My heart just hurts for Emma. He’s spent time with the Blackthorns for years, and then he just turned around and betrayed them because he hated the Blackthorn ancestors. I get it – he wants to awake his true love, Annabel Lee Blackthorn (a.k.a. Lady Midnight), who was killed by her family who scorned her for loving a warlock before it was acceptable. And I almost feel bad for him. But his little cult of Followers was so messed up. Everything Malcom did was messed up, am I right?
I’m really glad Emma got to kill him in the end. She needed to get back at him for her parents’ deaths. But then the EPILOGUE!!! I guess Annabel rose from the dead anyway? And how?
But probably the most shocking part of this book was KIT. The LOST HERONDALE. I read Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy a few months ago, and I remember the story that the warlock Catarina Loss told Simon Lewis about how Tobias Herondale went mad and was killed, but his son still lived because Catarina took care of him. So Jace isn’t the last of the Herondales! I always knew that this lost line of Herondales would come into play sometime in the future.
Kit Rook is actually a Shadowhunter. A Herondale!!! He’s who Jem Carstairs and Tessa Gray have been searching for, ever since Emma and Julian’s parabatai ceremony when Jem told Emma he had to leave to go look for something. AHHH! I can’t wait to learn more about Kit and his story!!
I also wanted to mention how much I loved seeing Jem and Tessa, my favorites from The Infernal Devices. And then Clary and Jace and Magnus showed up at the end of the book!! They had just come from Simon and Isabelle’s engagement party. My favorite couple from TMI are getting married!!! Excuse me while I go cry.
Well, now you know all my general and spoilery thoughts on Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight! I can’t wait to read Lord of Shadows, which is high on my TBR for January!! I know it’s going to destroy me, but I can’t live much longer without knowing what’s going to happen to these characters!
I’m sorry for this extremely long book review, but I took so many notes and had so many thoughts on this book, so I feel like it was necessary!! If you’ve read this book, what are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading my bookish babblings!