Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 8th March 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
“A gentle boy with a gentle soul, but every soul contains its own opposite, and the opposite of gentleness was ruthlessness—the beautiful wreckage of mercy.”
It’s been years since I read The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and the Bane Chronicles. I didn’t think I would step back into the world of shadowhunters but a friend kept insisting that Lady Midnight was worth reading and so when I saw it in paperback with lovely blue pages, I got it.
Lady Midnight is written around multiple murders that seem to be connected to Emma Carstairs’ parents’ deaths five years ago. When the LA Institute is illegally approached by the Fair Folk (due to laws put in place after the war with Sebastian Morgenstern in TMI), Emma and the other shadowhunters of the Institute agree to investigate the murders and the cult surrounding them, in return for Julian Blackthorn’s (Emma’s parabatai) brother Mark, who has been living a tortured life with the Wild Hunt for the past five years. The Blackthorn family has much to figure out in a short period of time, as the Clave has many laws in place that they just don’t agree with and finding a way around them isn’t going to be easy, especially the one about parabatai falling in love. “Lex malla, lex nulla. A bad law is no law.”
It’s been a while since I’ve read Clare’s work and the first 200 pages felt quite similar to her previous books, which isn’t a bad thing- I had just been hoping for something new from her. But as the story progressed, I got pulled back into the world I once loved and I realize now having finished Lady Midnight just how much Clare’s writing style has improved. There was a new found seriousness in how she formed situations and a lot of harsh realities were intertwined in the story and I loved the feelings they evoked in me. “We are bound together, Emma, bound together—I breathe when you breathe, I bleed when you bleed, I’m yours and you’re mine, you’ve always been mine, and I have always, always belonged to you!”
The character development was so much better than in TMI and TID and every single character felt real and flawed and well thought out. It was nice of Clare to include old characters like Jace and Clary but I could have done with a little less of them. It’s always great to catch up with old characters but Lady Midnight just felt so separate from previous series that I wish that past characters had made less appearances.
Emma Carstairs was a surprisingly brilliant leading lady. She was funny, quick witted, and communicative. Her relationship with her parabatai, Julian, felt wholesome and they’re both wonderful for each other, as friends or more. The Blackthorn family was solid and loving and everything each sibling did was for the love of another. They were all lovely.
The mystery surrounding the murders was well planned out, though a bit predictable. However, the relationships between characters more than made up for that and I was reading too quickly to really stop and think too much about anything except the whole parabatai issue, anyway.
The very last chapter has got my head whirling around in circles and I need the next book terribly. Not to spoil it for future Lady Midnight readers, but the ending is a trope I haven’t read in a really long time that I used to adore so I’m excited to jump back into that asap because it is a very consuming storyline.
I didn’t think I would ever return to the shadowhunter world but I’m really glad I did. Lady Midnight had a different feeling to Clare’s other novels. It felt more mature, the characters had more depth and the world building was phenomenal. Gone are the days of characters that feel more like Chosen Ones and less like real people. Whether you’ve read previous books by Clare or not, I would suggest reading Lady Midnight. It’s creative, consuming, well written, and should definitely be on your bookshelf.