Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (SPOILERS) & Jemma Soap Box

*builds fortress to protect self from raging Cassie Clare fans*

All the Disclaimers

These are my opinions on the book. Please do not feel like you have to tell me all of the reasons that you loved this book, and in return please do not attack my opinions. I would love to discuss with you, just please do it in a civil way. Thank you! 

As you can see above, this post contains SPOILERS for Lady Midnight. There are NO PLOT spoilers about story; however, the spoilers are contained to my feelings on the Julian and Emma relationship. There will also be TID spoilers and slight TMI spoilers. 

Continue with caution (and please don't kill me).

This is honestly such a hard review for me to write for a couple of reasons:
  1. I was expecting to love this book. So many people who have read this book have called it the best book Clare has published. With the new perspective of a girl who was raised a Shadowhunter wasn't something we had seen from Clare before, so I was excited to see how she tackled it. 
  2. I was--and still am--a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series. I also loved The Infernal Devices, but I definitely had my problems with that trilogy. This is the first really overly critical review I've had to do of Clare's work, apart from Clockwork Princess but I still overall really enjoyed the book. Every book of hers has been 3 stars or above for me. 
  3. I can understand why people love this book. I can see it, and I also hate confrontation and Clare fans are kind of scary when they want to be. 
I also want to state a few things before jumping into my review and discussion of this book:
  1. I started this book when it first came out, and then put it down. Around May 13th, I started the book over again at page one with help from the audiobook. 
  2. At page 313 (approximately 50%) I was about to quit reading the book for good, put it down and never look back because I couldn't stand it (more on this later). However, because of all the rave reviews, I really wanted to continue the story because what if got better? So I tried to continue reading and couldn't force myself to, so I watched a couple of spoiler YouTube discussions to understand things that don't get explained until 30 pages to the end of the book. Without watching those videos, I would have quit reading the book. 
  3. Even though I spoiled myself for the ending, this in no way effects my thoughts and feelings on the book other than I was more aware of the literary devices (and lack thereof) that Clare was using for this build up. 

Okay. Let's start with my main issue with the book and the reason that I almost quit reading multiple times. I was never able to understand Emma and Julian's relationship. Most of the selling point of this novel is that parabatai are forbidden by Clave law to fall in love. Since that was such a big selling point, I expected to know why by the end of the book. There is a small explanation; however, it is not in my opinion sufficient. 

Literally no one in the novel knows why parabatai can't fall in love (except for the Silent Brothers and the Consul) and neither does the audience. The romantic love between Emma and Julian didn't feel forbidden to me because I couldn't understand why it was forbidden. We, the readers, go without explanation, for 658 pages. For 658 pages, I was supposed to trust Clare that there was a big reveal explaining to me--the reader--why Emma and Julian can't fall in love.

When the reason is revealed to both Emma and the readers, there are only ten pages left in the book. Ten. Her parents' murders have been solved, and the killer is presumably dead (but I don't believe it for a second), so that means that the main story arc of the trilogy isn't finding out who killed Emma's parents, it's this parabatai thing. (It's Clary and Jace, first three TMI books all over again.)

I would have found the story much more dramatic and gripping if we, the audience, could see why they can't fall in love. I'm talking a Spinner's End Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince chapter at the beginning of the novel that is from Jem's perspective when he was a Silent Brother being told the story of what happens to parabatai. It could have been a vague third person narrative from describing what happens without explicitly stating anything so as to keep an air of mystery. It could have been a lot of things, but the dramatic irony that I needed to understand the story was completely missing.

Had the story been a first person narrative, I would have understood and accepted Clare's decision without a second thought (well, maybe not, but anyway). However, she wasn’t using the perspective she chose--and the perspective she's been writing in for now 10 books and 2 series of novellas--to the best of her ability.

In addition to the lack of dramatic irony, there are more reasons I couldn't get on board with Emma + Julian. This is a dialogue between Maddie and Bee @ Heart Full of Books that perfectly sums up my feelings about this couple:
Maddie: This could be quite controversial, but we felt Emma and Julian's relationship felt more incestuous than Clary and Jace's did.
Bee: I never really got behind it. That was the main problem. If you can't ship the ship that you're supposed to ship, then it's kind of a sunken ship.
With the strange mix of parabatai, parents, adopted siblings, and best friends that Emma and Julian act as throughout the novel, the couple just felt out of place and uncomfortable to me. As Bee states in their review, "It would have been as if Jace and Isabelle from the Mortal Instruments had gotten together." I could never get behind the relationship. I also felt that it progressed too quickly, and the pair weren't healthy together as they would go from fighting a screaming one minute to kissing the next.



  • The plot, and lack thereof. I felt that the core story of finding the people behind the murders of the faeries and Emma's parents definitely got underwhelmed by the subplot of Emma and Julian's relationship. There were times when I noticed the plot altogether not going anywhere just so that Emma and Julian could have cute fall-in-love scenes. 
  • As much as I adored all of the Blackthorne kids, I felt that they were mainly plot devices. While there were a few scenes at the beginning where we just got to hang out with the whole family, after the investigation really started moving forward, they were mainly written off as "researching" until Clare needed the plot to move forward. 
  • Christina is a really interesting character. I love her story, and I love that we are seeing more racially diverse characters in addition to finally seeing a character with a strong faith! 
  • I definitely felt that a lot of Christina's development and story was stunted a lot by Emma and her "We must go smite the thing! Right this very instant, Christina, let's go!" attitude. I am excited to see where the whole her story goes. 

Mark is my absolute favorite character in the entire book and most of the reason I kept reading the story. Until he came, the humor that I love Clare for so much was scarcely there, and when Mark came he brought in so much of the humor that I know and love. He was my absolute favorite (and he is the only reason I'm considering continuing on with this trilogy).

I do really appreciate that we get a complete plot arc in this story, and how this feels like a complete story with a little teaser of things that are to come. This is definitely a vast improvement in Cassandra Clare's writing that I was a big fan of! Also, one of my biggest complaints with the last TID/TMI books was that there was so much perspective switching at annoying moments, so I appreciated the smoother and less often perspective switches.

Maybe. I definitely am not going to buy the next books before I read them. I will probably check the second out from the library once the initial release hype has died down. If I end up liking the books, I may buy them.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #1)
Published: 8 March 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format - Length: Hardcover - 668
Source: Amazon
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Romance
Goodreads | My Goodreads Rating
Buy it! Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble
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.
Have you read Lady Midnight yet? Tell me what you thought of the book down below! 


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