Review: ‘Lady Midnight’ by Cassandra Clare

25494343In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

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.

[From Goodreads.]

Book details

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

ISBN: 9781442468351

Series: The Dark Artifices, #1



Writing this review is extremely difficult, and not necessarily because I can’t find the words to articulate my feelings. I’m torn between my appreciation for an incredible author whose work I’ve cherished for years, and my emotional state having finished a book I’ve been anticipating for ages.

Maybe I’ll focus on my positive feelings about this book first. From a stylistic perspective, it’s close to flawless. I’ve always loved Cassandra Clare’s style, and she definitely didn’t disappoint in that regard. Her writing is magnificent, and her characters – as usual – seemed to be standing right beside me the whole way through. Plot-wise, I personally preferred the way Clare designed and unraveled events in The Infernal Devices, but that could have a lot to do with my bias towards William Herondale.

Lady Midnight is, in itself, a phenomenal story. It’s action-packed, with a classic Cassandra Clare take on love and drama – as in, there’s a lot of it, and when the metaphorical Shadowhunter shiz hits the fan, it hits it hard. Emma Carstairs is probably one of my favourite characters of all time. She’s fiery and fierce and funny… I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be her or have her as a best friend. The train of events Cassandra Clare wove around her carried on from a couple of key moments in her previous series, so I would definitely recommend reading The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices first if you haven’t yet. (Read them even if you don’t plan on reading Lady Midnight. They’re incredible. Definitely in my top five favourite series.)

Regardless of the emotional state this book left me in (which I’ll elaborate on shortly) I’m giving it a five-star rating. Cassandra Clare is undoubtedly a brilliant writer. However, I’m emotionally invested in every single one of her stories, which was probably why this one left me feeling ill-at-ease and unfulfilled.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love this book. I loved it too much. Unfortunately for me, this meant that when Clare pulled a little too hard on my heartstrings or twisted the plot a little too fiercely, I broke. I spent about three hundred pages of this book bawling my eyes out. But this had very little to do with my disappointment in Lady Midnight. Rather, it was the sense that the book was meant to make me cry. At times, it felt as though Clare had sat in front of her computer screen and thought, “Hmmm… I wonder what would really tear my readers apart?”

I’ve come to expect emotional rollercoasters from Clare’s series, but Lady Midnight threw me through the air without a safety belt. To me, each plot twist was aimed like a sucker punch, instead of being delicately and intricately planned to set my mind reeling. My emotions weren’t twisted into knots and pushed to their limits – Cassie Clare sliced them into ribbons and set them on fire. By the time I finished reading this book, it felt like I’d been run over by a truck.

I don’t know if there was an intention to shock, jostle and destabilize readers, but either way I was left feeling a little… abused. And then I had to wonder, how much of what I was put through was actually necessary? Were all those shockwave plot twists essential to the storyline, or were they thrown in to push me to my limits?

In any case, I’m a total mess right now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust another author with my mind again. This book has totally ruined me. But it was brilliant all the same.

Oh, and just a forewarning: Don’t read the short story at the end. Just don’t do it. You can read the epilogue, but then close the book and put it on your shelf and forget about it for the rest of your life. Okay? Okay.

5 stars

Rating: 5/5

Recommended to: People that are already dead inside.


The Last Word

Prepare yourself for a rant that may or may not include caps lock.

*Spoiler alert*


CASSANDRA CLARE, WHY DO ALL YOUR CHARACTERS MAKE SUCH BAD LIFE DECISIONS?I just want them to live happily ever after. Immediately. Please?

Honestly, I don’t think I can put myself through the emotional trauma of reading the second book. When I finished Lady Midnight at midnight (ironically), I sent my sister (who had finished it mere days before me) about fifty angry messages and voice notes. Crying and screaming into my phone did not help with the anger I felt at how everything was “resolved”. I still haven’t recovered, almost a week later. I don’t think I ever will.


  1. Kat says:

    I’m not sure which timeline this book slots into — though I still need to read all the other books in this universe, since I have only read City of Bones (and that was YEARS ago), but still, I like the idea of creating dozens of different stories within in the same world. And, although I’m not much of a fan of Clare herself, I’d like to get back into reading her work!


    1. amybouwer says:

      This book is set quite a while after the ending of The Mortal Instruments, and it involves characters that were introduced in both her previous series. I think that’s what made this book so special – that it gave even more characters from the same world a new story, and also expanded on the plots she’d already developed. I really enjoyed her writing, especially in The Infernal Devices… I hope you enjoy her series as much as I did if you do get back into reading them!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. HopefulReads says:

    There’s something about the suffering that makes us love books even more. Cassandra Clare certainly excels at it. I of course loved this one too but my heart still aches months after reading it. I’ll just be in pain til the next release and probably more so after that one.

    Liked by 1 person

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