Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare | Review

Posted July 24, 2017 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Reviews / 4 Comments

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare | ReviewLady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3), The Bane Chronicles (The Bane Chronicles), Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1), Chain of Iron (The Last Hours, #2)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 8th 2016
Pages: 698 •Goodreads

In a kingdom by the sea…

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?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

Be still my Shadowhunter heart.

It’s been seven years since I picked up my first book set in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world, and I have to say the first book in her Dark Artifices series has reminded me of exactly why I fell in love with the Shadowhunter world in the first place. Her characters are diverse and dynamic, the Institutes are interesting and vibrant settings, and the West Coast setting in Lady Midnight so perfectly captures what it’s like to live in Southern California…this book is a beautiful tribute to LA and so uniquely Californian. I’m in love.

Now I will admit it took me a while to pick up Lady Midnight. Over a year, in fact. I hadn’t read a book set in the Shadowhunter world since City of Heavenly Fire and Lady Midnight is just so long, and I was intimidated by the time commitment. However, when Lord of Shadows was released a few weeks ago and everyone was freaking out about how good it was, I knew I had to dive headfirst back into Clare’s writing. What I found was a new series that could stand on its own while still drawing in multiple threads from both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, a series that introduced me to a family that’s perfectly imperfect and huge in heart, a series that proves Clare’s Shadowhunter world still has so much left to be explored.

I was enchanted by the cover, the premise, and the references to Poe’s work (In a kingdom by the sea…). I want to adopt all of the Blackthorn children or go live in the Institute with their huge, colorful family. Julian is my new favorite person, I love his ruthlessness, his cunning, and that he’s not the typical ~perfectly honorable~ Shadowhunter, because he will lie, cheat, and steal if it means protecting his siblings. I loved meeting the warlocks and werewolves of LA, and seeing how different they are from their New York counterparts. I loved the desert and beach setting of the institute with its huge windows and airy rooms, so in contrast with the darker institutes we’ve seen before. I loved seeing a parabati pairing that was of different genders and that was cultivated so young, and how it contrasted with that of Alec and Jace or Will and Jem. I loved the cameos by Jem, Tessa, Clary, Jace, and many others, and how it felt very natural and not forced. I loved the introduction of characters from the Mexico City institute, and how Cristina (a character who shares the same spelling of my name! Hooray! This makes me ridiculously happy) shows you can be a more reserved and graceful person and still a strong Shadowhunter. I pretty much loved everything about Lady Midnight and returning to the Shadowhunter world and learning about a new Shadowhunter family with their own trials and tragedies, and how they compare to the ancestors that readers have met or heard about in the past.

I did have a few minor quibbles with this book that kept me from rating it a full five stars. At times I felt that the narrative dragged a little bit, and nothing was really happening rather than everyone just hanging out at the Institute. While I like Emma as a character, I find that she’s a bit too similar to Jace/Will for my taste. I know it’s her goal to be the best Shadowhunter since Jace, however it seems like Clare always has to have this robust, cocky, snarky humored protagonist and again, while I love Emma, I’d love to see a series without that element in a main character. It takes quite a bit of time for anything to get revealed, and when it does I found myself not 100% clear on what had happened View Spoiler » However I still really enjoyed Lady Midnight and pretty much immediately started Lord of Shadows afterward and am loving it!

Overall: Lady Midnight brought all of the aspects that I loved from the original Shadowhunter books but set them against a beautiful and magical Southern California setting. While the plot stands on its own, it’s given an extra boost by cameos and threads from previous characters and series, weaving Clare’s universe together seamlessly. While Lady Midnight was a little slow at times, I am in love with the LA Institute and the fierce and resilient family who runs it. I can’t wait to continue on with the upcoming books and series that Clare has planned!


4 responses to “Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare | Review

    • Thank you, Lenna! I really enjoy her books still. The first few books of the Mortal Instruments series are a bit hit or miss (you can tell it’s from the 2000s paranormal romance craze) but she’s really developed her urban fantasy world into something unique and special!

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