Monday, March 21, 2016

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Summary from Goodreads:
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?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.
Oh, I have missed these books so much! I was so happy when my pre-ordered copy arrived.  This is one of those books I contemplated calling in sick to work to stay home and read. I didn’t do that. I couldn’t. I’m too responsible to normally even dream of it. But this is one of those books that makes a girl dream.
I have to say it did have a kind of slow beginning. I think it was slow and kind of not that great in the very beginning for me because there was so much repetition and explanation. I know it’s been a while since the last Immortal Instruments book, but still. I did not all of a sudden forget everything. So, then I go, maybe Clare did this for the newbies who are starting with this book. And I guess you could read this one without reading the others, but I think that would be a dumb move. So many references, cameos, and hints from the previous series come into play. I would not recommend starting with this one. So, it kind of just felt like Clare was info dumping information for no reason, to fans who already knew all that information.
Moving past the repetition, I loved it. Clare’s writing has gotten so much better. I loved her attention to detail, her description of the setting, the hinted at implications for all the characters, etc. This is not the same author who wrote City of Bones. This is an experienced, much more tuned author. Also, this go around involves some tougher stuff. Right off the bat, there’s mental illness, abandonment, neglect, grief, death, and forbidden love. The drama is palpable.
And while the shadowhunters from New York were very independent and left to their own devices more often than not, there was a clear difference between their upbringing and the upbringing of the kids in L.A. Portions of the book really reminded me of Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now. The kids had no parents. Julian raised everyone himself. And that is after having killed his own father (in the previous series) after he was “turned” by Sebastian.
Cassandra Clare is also just so remarkable at writing good characters. I loved all the new characters. I love that Julian was also an artist. I love that one of them seemed to clearly be on the autism spectrum. I loved that no one was simple. And I loved that the Jace character was a girl. Emma was so the Jace character of this book, and it was nice to see.
I also loved all the mentions of Clary and Jace, and Magnus and Alec, and Isabelle and Simon. There was a super adorable short story just about all of them at the end too. But, also, they show up at one point in the book, and I was just so happy to see them. It felt like a really awesome high school reunion.
There’s also of course demons, magic, fighting, warlocks, murder, mystery, quests for revenge, downworld markets, flying motorcycles, fairies, and plenty of twists and turns. It was also kind of refreshing to have a bisexual character added to the mix.
This kind of forbidden love, star-crossed lovers story isn’t my favorite. It feels like classic Cassandra Clare though, and I guess she’s good at writing it. There’s so much more I want to know though about the forbidden aspect of things. And my heart seriously just melted at certain moments in this book. I had some strong ships. And I can’t wait to see how they all result.
Besides the slow, info dumpy beginning, I really was impressed by this one. The writing is even better. The characters are awesome. The story was fun. Things were a little more emotional and dark then I ever felt The Immortal Instruments to really be. I loved the cameos by past characters and all the references also to the Infernal Devices. All in all, this is not a book to be missed. I give it 9/10.

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