There’s a spoiler disclaimer at the top of this section’s homepage, so if you’re here and reading this now, I’d assume you’ve seen all the warning and caution signs. But just in case! I’ll say it one more time: there are spoilers from this point forward! Read at your own risk.
Okay then! Welcome to the spoilery review of Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare! This is where I share my uncensored slightly-censored thoughts and feelings about the people and events of Book 1 of The Dark Artifices series (and subsequently all other Shadowhunter Chronicles installments). I apologize in advance for the lengthy review, but the book was 600+ pages so it’s warranted.
Los Angeles! One thing I love (and hate) about books and TV shows is that they make these places look so appealing! 😀 It makes me want to live in these cities and towns (and mystical lands – duh! That one’s a no-brainer), but I also know that it’s not necessarily as alluring in real life as it is in books and television (Reality Check!). I was also kinda SUPER jealous that the L.A. institute was situated right on the beach. It sounded amazing. Can I live there, please?
We also got to see a bit of Faerie through the travels of the Wild Hunt. A very little bit, but still enough to get a sense of the beauty and magic and darkness that is the land of the Fey. Remember, folks, if you visit – don’t eat or drink anything! (Don’t. Touch. Anything!)
Favorite: L.A. Institute – specifically, Julian’s bedroom. No, guys, not like that. His room is painted sea- and sky-blue with murals covering the walls, including a Sleeping Beauty scene that takes up an entire wall. And Julian’s an artist – so you know it’s GORGEOUS. I already never wanna leave my room, so if my room looked like that, there’d be no hope.
Emma Carstairs: Honestly, I didn’t care too much for Emma when she was first introduced in the TMI series (I wanted more Clary and the gang), but she’s obviously grown on me since then. She’s strong, independent, sassy, determined (maybe to a fault), and a hard worker. She cares about her family (a.k.a. the Blackthorns) and would do absolutely anything for them. Not just because Julian is her parabatai (or because she’s in love with him), but because they. Are. Her. Family. All the Blackthorns. She’s cared for them like they were her own siblings. Heck, maybe even like they were her own kids. And if Julian had let her in on all of his parenting and institution-running secrets, she would no doubt have been more than capable of helping him out. Come on, Jules. You go, Emma!
Julian Blackthorn: I really liked Julian! He’s smart, super artsy, strong, sensitive, sensible (for the most part), and fortunately/unfortunately the pillar of his family. He’s definitely taken on more than anyone should and done an amazing job, although it’s clearly taken its toll on him. I still think he should have confided in Emma. I understand why he didn’t, but I think it would’ve worked out better for the both of them. They balance each other out and they both need that. Did I mention he’s in love with her? No, not yet? Well, he is. Enter some very sexy times and heartbreak.
Side-note: I recently found out that in the original drafts, Julian was a clove-cigarette-kind-of-guy and boy am I glad they changed that. I’d take nail-biting as a stress response any day.
Cristina Rosales: Cristina is awesome! She’s the logical, sensible, levelheaded, and even-keeled one, but she’s also passionate. She has her baggage and I like that we eventually find out what that is. Or rather, who that is. **Cough**Perfect Diego**Cough** She’s obviously strong, and I don’t just mean physically. In fact, she’s almost too perfect. So I like that she gets a bit flustered when it comes to Mark and even more flustered when it comes to Diego. Whose team are you on? I’m Team Mark 😀 What’s their ship name, anyway? Marktina? Markina? Martina? ….Cristark?
Mark Blackthorn: Speaking of Mark 😛 I’m so glad he’s back! And that he chose to remain back! I was actually a bit worried. Especially once we found out about Kieran. Very steamy, btw. Well done, Cassandra Clare! More on their relationship later. Mark’s got quite a bit going on. Poor guy was subjected to all kinds of horrible things in Faerie, but he’s grown quite a bit throughout Lady Midnight and I love that he’s slowly able to reconnect with his family. It’s a work-in-progress, but I’ll take it.
Livvy and Tiberius Blackthorn: Love the twins! They’re so different, yet so connected. They really look out for each other. I like that Livvy’s a free spirit – strong and independent – and Ty’s the family genius/detective. He’s brilliant and I imagine him almost exactly like Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. (And Ty and Kit! Looking forward to seeing how their relationship evolves :D)
Drusilla Blackthorn: I liked Dru, but we didn’t get to see too much of her in this book. I’m sure that’ll change and I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.
Tavvy Blackthorn: Adorable! And, in true Blackthorn fashion, all too clever at such a young age. Let’s not forget it was little Tavvy that busted this case WIDE open. Well, he solved the poem riddle anyway.
Perfect Diego: Perfect Diego didn’t actually seem that perfect to me. Maybe because he made the pretty huge mistake of almost killing Julian. And not knowing the arrows were poisoned in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him well enough; but to me he was only okay. AND! He didn’t stick up for Cristina when his drunken brother was badmouthing her. Not just any old badmouthing – no, this was mutinous badmouthing. Come on, Diego. But I’m biased. Team Mark, remember? 😛
Kieran: Kieran’s definitely an interesting character. I liked him, but he’s clearly got a lot to learn (as do all the characters). I saw some spoilery snippets for the next book that make me like him even more, so we’ll see what happens.
Diana: Plot hints everywhere! Whatever Diana’s hiding will be revealed in one of the future books for sure. Clare definitely built up suspense around her backstory and I’m excited to learn her secrets.
Malcolm: MALCOLM! Wow. Talk about two-faced. He hid his secret very well. More on the plot twist below.
Forbidden Parabatai Love: **high-pitched fangirl squealing turns into high-pitched squeals of despair** I need Emma and Julian to be together. Emma and Julian need Emma and Julian to be together. The world needs Emma and Julian to be together! It was all so good before Emma got scared off. And yeah, she had a good reason – but I’m still skeptical given our knowledge of all things Clave. One theory I have is that the Clave made up the whole going crazy part because they feared the power that a romantically involved pair could wield. If only there were someone really really old (who might have been alive when all this originally went down) to ask…Magnus!
Thoughts on how Emma plans to use Mark at the end? I really hope they don’t actually do anything. Lying to Julian about getting physical with Mark is one thing, but actually getting physical with Mark is something completely different. I am not a fan.
**SIGH** As distraught as I was by how this book ended, I have faith in Cassandra Clare. Her main characters always end up together – Clary + Jace, Isabelle + Simon, Alec + Magnus, Tessa + Will, Tessa + Jem. We just have to endure the heartbreak in the meantime. Hang in there, guys!
Faerie Love: **whistles** I did not see Kieran and Mark’s relationship coming. That was a nice surprise and I loved that Mark had at least one good thing going for him while he was in Faerie. With that being said, I don’t think it’s a very healthy relationship. Cristina made some excellent points.
Side-note: Separate from Faerie Love, but still fey-related – Gwyn. I really hope we see more of him, because he’s such an intriguing character! Obviously tough and someone you do not want to mess with, but he’s got other things going on too and I hope we get to learn more about him.
Betrayal: I’ll say it again – MALCOLM!!! There were a few hints dropped here and there throughout the book that could tie Malcolm to the Guardian, but given his relationship with the Blackthorn kiddos I never seriously considered him as a possibility. What happened to him and Annabelle is tragic, but I do not agree with his methods. (Also, should we be concerned that Julian actually quoted Malcolm towards the end? “There’s nothing more important than love- And no Law higher”. Please, Jules, try not to do anything…stupid.)
And thank goodness none of the Blackthorn siblings were killed! If another youngest-child-of-a-prestigious-Shadowhunter-family were to be killed, I might have gone on strike.
I loved this book. There’s really no other way to put it. The characters were diverse and multi-faceted, the surprises and plot twists were on par, the relationships were awesome and frustrating, and I can’t wait till the next book. Let me just set up my countdown clock and bury myself in fan art and sneak peek searches **slouches over keyboard and types madly**