Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
THIS HAS SPOILERS!!!!!!! I have a non spoiler review posted on my blog.
Published: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.58/5
My Rating: 5/5
The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.
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?
ARE YOU FREAKING READY FOR THIS DISCUSSION BECAUSE I JUST FINISHED THE BOOK AND ME:
HANDS DOWN. THE BEST.
HOLY FREAKING BATMAN.
Firstly, go ahead and check out my non spoiler review here so you can kinda see my general feels. This discussion is PURELY to talk about the amount of fangirling, OH-MY-GOD!!! moments, and freaking pure bliss and happiness. There are post-its upon post-its in my book that NEED to be talked about.
Can we just QUICKLY talk about the beginning of the book? The storyline of Kit and Rook seemed like it was going somewhere super interesting then it was just cut off… I was so thrown off by this! What the hell was that? Why are they relevant? Is Emma dragging Kit back to the Institute? Now, since we’ve all read the book (RIGHT?) I’m going to save this huge “OH MY GOD!!??!” moment for later.
In each of Clare’s Shadowhunter series (The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments) we see the deep-rooted love she has to make a really witty character as comic relief. Of course, these characters were always Herondale’s (Will in TID and Jace in TMI), but it takes a really unexpected and awesome turn when we see that role being filled by a Carstairs.
I’m not necessarily saying that only the Herondale’s had the right to solid wit, but it was just interesting to see another family take the defining characteristic of another family. In this spin off series Emma Carstairs is basically the new Jace Herondale – an orphan, stubborn, brave, witty as hell, and noble.
“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.”
“That is not the motto and Diana is going to kill you.“
It turns out that Emma has been alone at the LA Institute all summer because the Blackthorns have gone to Europe. I honestly kind of forgot how much I liked the relationship of Emma and Julian until the moment they see each other again. Julian had come off a bit standoffish and then this:
She felt a light touch on her arm.
It was Julian. With his fingers he began to trace words against her skin – it was something they had been doing their whole lives. Ever since they realized they needed a way to silently communicate during boring study sessions or time with adults. A-R-E-Y-O-U-A-L-R-I-G-H-T?
She nodded at him. He was looking at her with faint concern, which was a relief.
Can we say aww? Because it was so sweet. This silent method of communication only Julian and her shared literally made me ship them in 5 seconds. Flat. You can easily see a glimpse how much love there is between the two of them, and though it was a little (read: obviously) angsty, I loved it. The development of their romantic relationship was perfect.
“Emma,” he said, his voice sounding blurry with sleep.
I thought you were going to come to my room, she wanted to say, but she couldn’t. He looked so tired, it melted her heart. She reached out to brush his hair out of his eyes, paused, and put her hand to his shoulder instead. He had rolled onto his side; she recognized the worn T-shirt and sweatpants he wore.
His eyes were starting to flutter closed again.
“Jules,” she said impulsively. “Can I stay?”
It was their code, the short version of the longer request: Stay and make me forget my nightmares. Stay and sleep next to me. Stay and chase the bad dreams away, the memories of blood, of dead parents, of Endarkened warriors with eyes like dead black coals.
I didn’t catch onto the reference at the end, but then I remembered how Julian’s dad was “possessed” in CoHF and it kind of breaks your heart. We see these characters five years after the incident and it honestly makes you wonder how hard learning to cope was. We see glimpses of Emma’s closet and know her obsession with the murders was her method of “coping”, but we don’t really see how Julian coped. Quite frankly, Julian got the shit end of the stick. Not only did he have to kill his father, he had to learn to become a parent, cope with his lost siblings, be a parabatai, and learn to run the Institute. Julian literally does so much it’s almost incomprehensible.
We also kind of see Clare take a jab at the Shadowhunters TV show and it kind of made me laugh. But also made me a little disappointed? Because I really love seeing the Shadowhunter world come to life.
Technically, the Institute wasn’t supposed to have a computer in it.
The Clave resisted the advent of modernity but even more so any engagement with mundane culture.
As an aside, when Clary and Jace do make an appearance in the books I envisioned TV-Jace and not movie-Jace. I only wish TV-Jace had a British accent and the wit of movie-Jace. Maybe their love child would be the perfect Jace? He’s way too macho in the TV series.
BIG REVEAL #1: MARK RETURNS!!!!!!!!
GUYSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I screeched when I read this! And my heart also broke, because the Fey never give back what they take. And didn’t the deal the Blackthorns struck with the Fae seemed way too good to be true? I actually expected the Fae to take back Mark by the end of the book, but thank god Clare didn’t leave us with that gaping cliffhanger of death.
The development of Mark’s character is so painstakingly transparent in this book that it made me so happy by the end. However it was the beginning that really stuck with me:
“Mark” he said. “Mark Antony Blackthorn. Please. It’s not a dream. You’re really here. You’re home.”
He reached for Mark’s hand. Mark whipped it back, away from him. “You are a lying smoke.”
“I’m your brother.”
“I have no brothers and sisters, no family. I am alone. I ride with the Wild Hunt. I am loyal to Gwyn the Hunter.” Mark recited the words as if by rote.
“I am not Gwyn,” said Julian. “I’m a Blackthorn. I have Blackthorn blood in me, just like you.”
“You are a phantom and a shadow. You are the cruelty of hope.” Mark turned his face away. “Why do you punish me? I have done nothing to displease the Hunt.”
“There is no punishment here.” Julian took a step closer to Mark. Mark didn’t move, but his body trembled. “This is home. I can prove it to you.”
[. . .]
“We were up in the training room. We heard noises, and you went downstairs. But before you went you said something to me. Do you remember?”
Mark stood very still.
“You said ‘Stay with Emma,'” Julian said. “You said to stay with her, and I have. We’re parabatai now. I’ve looked after her for years and I always will, because you asked me to, because it was the last thing you ever said to me, because-“
He remembered, then, that Cristina was there, and cut himself off abruptly. Mark was staring at him, silent. Julian felt despair well up inside him. Maybe this was a trick of the faeries, maybe they had given Mark back, but so broken and hollowed out that he wasn’t Mark anymore. Maybe-
Mark nearly fell forward, and threw his arms around Julian
[. . .]
“Julian,” Mark said, muffled, his body shaking. “Julian, my brother, my brother.”
GOD MY HEART FREAKING MELTED FOREVERRRRRRR. Happy sigh, this was really sweet.
Also, I’m still kind of laughing at the weird names the Blackthorn children were all given. It’s so random.
ONE FINAL NOTE ON MARK:
Cristina hesitated for a moment, blood rising into her face, but it was clear Mark wasn’t being touched against his will. Mark’s hands were tangled in Kieran’s hair, and he was kissing him as fiercely as if he were starving. Their bodies were pressed together tightly, nevertheless, Kieran clutched at Mark’s waist, his hands moving restlessly, desperately, as if he could pull Mark closer still.
WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?? WHAT??? This scene threw me for a total loop. Clare made such a weird love triangle between Mark, Cristina, and Kieran. I kept switching between which of them I shipped together more. But then obviously Perfect Diego happened and then whipping happened, and then… nothing. Mark ends up with nobody and it was just like what was the point? I just wan’t him to be happy, damnit.
Julian and Emma finally cross a line no parabatai’s were supposed to cross. And honestly I was freaking out. This ship has SAILED, folks
The wall that usually hid the truth deep in his eyes had crumbled: she could see the panic there, the desperation, the relief that had punched through his defenses.
He was still holding her wrist. she didn’t know if she leaned into him first or if he pulled her toward him. Maybe both. They crashed together like stars colliding, and then he was kissing her.
Jules. Julian. Kissing her.
GAHHHHHH. AND IT ONLY GETS MORE STEAMY AND ANGSTY AND I KIND OF LOVE IT??
“I tried to stop,” he said. “That’s why I went to England. I thought if I was away from you, maybe I’d stop feeling what I was feeling. But as soon as I got back, the first second that I saw you, I knew it hadn’t made any difference.” He looked around the room, his expression almost resigned. “Why all these paintings of you? Because I’m an artist, Emma. These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”
And now for the biggest spoiler in the history of HOLY FUCK!!!!!!!!
“You must grieve later. Right now you are in grave danger. More of these things may come, and worse things as well.”
He looked at her through the haze. His mouth tasted bitter. “Are you a Shadowhunter?”
“I am not,” Tessa Gray said with a surprising firmness. “But you are.” She reached her hand down toward him. “Come now,” she said. “On your feet, Christopher Herondale. We’ve been looking for you for a long time.”
She had looked at Kit with love and sadness when she had gone over to him and held out her hand.
“But Kit is short for Christopher, is it not?” Tessa asked now, still gently. Kit said nothing. “Christopher Jonathan Herondale is your true name. And your father was Jonathan, too, right?”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!?!?!
IS HE CLARYS BROTHER? IS THIS A THING? HE KNOWS? DOES HE NOT KNOW? HOW DID TESSA AND JEM KNOW? WHAT?!?!?!?
CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS??
oh my god.
oh my god!!
I have to stop here because I’m like re-freaking out over this HUGE MONUMENTAL REVEAL. I don’t even care about Malcolm and the weird Lady Midnight storyline, this was the butter. This was the freaking earth shattering reveal. The climax of ALL climaxes in literature because holy SHIT.
What did you guys think!?!? Did you expect that? Did it blow your mind? Was there anything else that really made you squeal or be angry about? I’m honestly 100% satisfied with this novel. I loved it. I freaking loved it and am bowing the the literary Goddess that is Cassandra Clare.
Naysayers can say it’s stupid and she’s milking it, but this was totally worth it.