While this review won’t contain spoilers for Lady Midnight, it will contain minor spoilers for the entire Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series. Continue reading at your own risk, but I highly recommend you read those first, along with Tales of Shadowhunter Academy before you come back and read my thoughts on this book.
In a kingdom by the sea…
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 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.
“The law is annoying, but it is also flexible” – probably one of the greatest literary quotes ever.
Once again, I’m blown away at how wonderful the world of Shadowhunters that Cassandra Clare has created is. Even with a new set of characters, a new setting, a new complication, it’s still so great to read, and if anything, I think the quality of the writing and the amount of detail in worldbuilding, character and plot development have increased an exponential amount.
Firstly, the characters. We were introduced to the Blackthorn family during City of Heavenly Fire and the backstory of their complications that they are facing in LA during the events of this book. Emma is this strong, badass female character who is supposedly like the ‘next Jace Herondale’. She also has a sweet and caring side which is displayed when she is affectionately looking after the Blackthorn kids and also in her interactions with Christina, a visiting Shadowhunter from Mexico. Emma is a really great protagonist but she also has conflicting feelings towards her best friend and parabatai, Julian Blackthorn.
Julian is a character whom I admire because he brought up four other children who were younger than him, despite being only seventeen in this book. He is very mature, and this is probably due to the fact that he is the adult figure the other Blackthorns look up to and respect. His relationship with Emma is fun but also intensely frustrating for reasons I won’t name because of spoilers, but I can say that it does have something to do with the parabatai bond.
My favourite character however, was Mark Blackthorn. He is such a fascinating character – his time in the Wild Hunt has transformed this guy into someone who is utterly unfamiliar with the mundane world that the Shadowhunters live in. He speaks nonsense (in a good way) and despite providing comedic relief, is also an intensely passionate character who cares fiercely for the ones he loves.
The overall plot was amazing. In expected Cassandra Clare fashion, there were plot twists that I honestly should’ve seen coming but didn’t. Although not necesscary, I think it’s better to read Tales of Shadowhunter Academy before Lady Midnight as there are numerous references to the novellas throughout the course of the book. That being said, it’s not necesscary, but it does provide greater depth of understanding in the book. There’s investigations of murders which gives the feeling of reading crime, in a good way, along with the different story arcs concerning the different characters and problems that the Shadowhunters have to overcome.
The worldbuilding was also wonderful. We get to explore the Shadowhunter world of Los Angeles in all it’s glory and fashion, which is quite different from the worlds of the New York and London Institute. I think it’s fun to see what different institutes do in different regions of the world. There’s so many elements and details that differ from the worlds that we know of in New York and London, like the geography of the area and the specific references to real places in LA.
We also get to find out what our favourite characters from the Mortal Instruments are up to in their adult lives, which was probably one of the highlights of the entire book (for me at least). In the print edition, there’s a short story that is written from Clary’s point of view which was also amazing, and fun to read.
Overall, I think this is a great start to a new series and I don’t think I can wait another year for the next book to come out!