Lady Midnight

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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 Shadowhunter, one in a long line of Shadowhunters tasked with protecting the world from demons. With her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of an secret Los Angeles where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries start turning up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were murdered years ago, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge — and Julian’s chance to get back his half-faerie brother, Mark, who was kidnapped five years ago. All Emma, Mark and Julian have to do  is solve the murders within two weeks . . . before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. As she uncovers the past, she begins to peel away the secrets of the present: 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?

Lady Midnight is the first book in a new series by Cassandra Clare that is set in the Shadowhunter world. The new trilogy, The Dark Artifices (TDA), is connected to and set in the same universe as the pervious two series by Clare, The Mortal Instruments (TMI) and The Infernal Devices (TID), and the numerous spin-off novellas. It centers on two parabatai, Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorne, Shadowhunters in the Los Angeles institute and their investigation into the murders of several mundanes (humans not connected with the Shadow world and without the sight) and several half-breed Downworlders (Downworlders are creatures that are in the Shadow world, but aren’t Shadowhunters). Not all is as it seems, and Emma and Julian’s investigation leads them to unearth many new things.

Whilst this book obviously has parts and information that will be familiar to anyone who has read TMI or TID in particular, it was still fresh this was caused the many characters. Emma is a good example. She initially reminded me of Jace from TMI. She seemed a little arrogant and prone to making sarcastic one-liners. However, she had an innate softness to her that Jace rarely seemed to display, though admittedly this could be because she is a point-of-view character from the start while Jace wasn’t. Her recklessness and the reasons behind it, her parents murders, were similar to both Jace’s and Will Herondale’s (TID) but they were more of a vulnerability than the reasons behind either Will or Jace’s recklessness.

Julian, the male protagonist, is very different from both Jace and Will. He is mature and serious, though he still has lightness in him that sometimes comes out. This is almost entirely because of the responsibility he had to shoulder at the end of TMI. Due to certain events, at 12 years old he was forced to become the parent to his younger siblings, twins Ty and Livvy, Dru and the baby of the family Tavvy, after his older sister Helen is exiled and his older brother Mark is taken by faeries. In saying this I also think he had a serious personality to begin. The family dynamics caused by the situation as well as the personalities of all the Blackthorne siblings is a key component in this book and in separating it from TMI and TID.

In terms of this being a part of a wider concept, I think a richness was added to the story. Clare was able to focus on the plot and the characters, without having to be telling readers every little thing about the Shadowhunter world because she could kind of rely on knowing that a lot of her audience probably would have read TMI and TID, though she references any major points or facts relevant to Lady Midnight. This connection also allowed events from the end of TMI to be seen from a different angle, and also allowed several characters from both TMI and TID to appear in this story. However, this connection wasn’t always a good thing. Sometimes something would be mentioned, but wouldn’t be explained and because I haven’t read TMI and TID in a while, it would take me a second to place it, which kind of took me out of the story for a minute.

SPOILER ALERT, Emma and Julian fall in love in Lady Midnight despite parabatai falling in love being expressly forbidden. I love them as a couple, but I don’t particularly like the their love was dealt with. Although I knew it was coming, to me there wasn’t as much preamble as I have come to expect from Clare. I liked this because it is different from the normal build up in a lot of YA books, but it did throw me a little.

I was also thrown by the actions of the Clave in the intervening years between the end of TMI and the beginning of Lady Midnight. I thought they would have learnt from the Dark War (the war that occurs at the end of TMI), and they have in their treatment of warlocks, vampires and werewolves, but they haven’t in their treatment of the faeries, and something called the Cold Peace. It might be ridiculously obvious, but I think that this is going to have a major impact on events in the next two novels.

The ending both finishes the novel, but leaves enough open, both clearly and hinted at, for the rest of the series. Whilst I didn’t like certain parts of the ending involving Mark, Julian and Emma, I can understand the reasons behind what happens, which I think is a credit to Clare’s work. I can’t wait to see where the next book takes the story when it is released in April next year.

Whilst in my opinion not Clare’s best, Lady Midnight is a great book that I highly recommend.

4 stars out of 5.

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