Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight

  • Original Title: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
  • Edition: Hardcover, 698 pages
  • Published: March 8, 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Characters: Emma Carstairs, Julian Blackthorn
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Goodreads

Description: 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?

I’ve actually been stalling on this review for months because I finished reading Lady Midnight on April 17 (according to my Goodreads rating).

It should be no secret by now that I’m a Cassandra Clare superfan. I started reading The Mortal Instruments in early 2010 and I’ve been addicted to this universe ever since, so I may be a bit biased. As with all of the Shadowhunters books, I absolutely loved Lady Midnight.

My favorite character was the lead character, Emma! Even though all of the Shadowhunters series have lead female characters, the secondary characters usually really stand out and become my favorites. In this book though, I thought Emma was really well-written; she’s bad-ass, independent, and intelligent, but she still has flaws and issues that she has to overcome. Spoiler alert, but a pretty obvious one, she loves Julian and that’s a huge bit of the plot but it’s not overwhelming. It doesn’t become this annoying and pining unrequited love story that many young adult books fall prey to in my opinion. It is honestly a feat and a treat. (I do love Tessa, but it took almost two books for her to grow on me. I still can’t stand Clary!)

I’m also a huge fan of Mark Blackthorn! I just love his existence and I want more of him. Can he get his own spin-off like Magnus Bane and Simon Lewis? I definitely hope for more flashbacks of his time with the Wild Hunt too. It sounds horrifyingly beautiful. Honestly, there’s not a character that was my least favorite. Even the villains were interesting in spite of being absolute morons. And I’m so excited to see the relationship between Ty and Kit blossom. Actually, I’m just looking forward to getting to know Kit more because all of his ancestors we’ve met so far have been the absolute best. He’s got a huge legacy to live up to but I know he can do it! (Remember these are not real people, Elle. Breathe.)

At 698 pages this book is massive, but it never felt like it was slow or dragging in action or drama. That being said, the world building and descriptive language is amazingly beautiful. There was so much detail to describe all the settings and characters; you feel like you are in the story. Again, it wasn’t overwhelming, and it didn’t fall into the trap of becoming too technical. It’s actually so good that most times I remember Lady Midnight more in images I’ve created in my mind like scenes from a movie than I do as text on a page.

There was one thing that bothered me intensely, but it’s more of a political issue regarding Ty’s “specialness”. I can understand why Cassandra Clare would be careful about the words she chooses so not to offend any of her readers, but at the same time there’s so little representation of people with special needs, especially ones that are portrayed as heroes instead of victims. It would be nice to firmly at least state that he does have special needs, even if she she doesn’t specifically say that he’s ASD.

Overall, I give this book a whopping, amazing 5 stars! There’s so much more that I could discuss because there’s so much goodness, but I’ll just leave it at this because it would really be overwhelming. Now I’m just impatiently waiting for the next book.

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9 Comments

  1. Wow! I have yet to run across a less-than-five-star review of Lady Midnight. Now I’m really curious to read about Emma and Mark. I agree, I don’t think it would’ve been a bad thing to have that character’s ASD mentioned outright. In a way, I think it gives more credit to people who have it.

    1. It really is an amazing book. I think it’s her best one yet. Emma and Mark are incredible characters. I think you’re going to love it, especially if you’re already a Clare fan. I would’ve liked for her to mention his special needs outright, but it is a sensitive subject and there’s always at least one person who’s going to take offense and cause drama no matter how sensitively or well the subject is handled, so I don’t blame her but also, own it.

  2. I completely agree with your review, especially when you mentioned how you remember parts of this book as scenes in your head like a movie rather than just words on a page. I do the same thing! Cassandra Clare’s writing is so intricate and detailed, but it’s never too overwhelming to read. Great review! <3

    1. I think it was a little darker in tone, especially for a 1st in the series, but I think it was true to her voice. She’s just crafted her storytelling skill a bit more, in a good way I think.

      1. I definitely agree! I totally get that; I’m just not as sure about the whole storyline. I’m just seeing a lot of star-crossed lovers and it’s totally not her fault, but I’m not sure I want more of that….

        1. That’s true. There are a lot of love stories, huh? They didn’t stand out to me except the whole Emma/Julian debacle, but there’s clearly something sinister within the Clave regarding the parabati rule so I’m interested to find out the history of that. If you think about it, she does couple up almost all her characters (Jace/Clary, Simon/Izzy, Malec) so it’s not unusual. It just doesn’t bother me that much (and I hate romance). But since you pointed it out, I can definitely see your point of view!

          1. Absolutely! Buuuuut I feel like since we found out why, there won’t really be much to it? I guess I’m just not sure.
            Oh no that’s not what I meant! I LOVE Emma and Julian (I rather ship them), but I felt like the whole story was based on the romance, whereas in the other books, the romance is important, but not the main thing? If you know what I’m saying?

  3. Loved your review! 🙂
    I really adore Lady Midnight. I think this is my favourite book in the shadowhunting series so far and I can’t wait for the sequel to be released. Emma is such a great character and I really adored Julian! I’m just so afraid that this trilogy won’t end in a happy ending. I’m also very interested in how this whole Kit and Ty story will play out and I really want to see these characters grow. I’m not that big of a Mark fan as you are, though :p

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