Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices)
LADY MIDNIGHT is the first book in a spinoff series of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Clare has written the six-book series The Mortal Instruments, and the prequel trilogy, The Infernal Devices. She recently released THE IRON TRIAL with Holly Black, which is the first book in a middle grade fantasy series.
The main characters, Emma and Julian, were actually introduced in the final Mortal Instruments book, but they were 12-years-old at the time. LADY MIDNIGHT builds on their story, and starts when they’re about 17. Because it builds off of the lore of the other books, there’s less explanation for the reader about the schematics of their world. I fully recommend reading Cassandra Clare’s other books before diving into LADY MIDNIGHT, in part because the world will make a lot more sense.
LADY MIDNIGHT takes place in Los Angeles, a very different setting from Cassandra Clare’s other books. We get to see a lot of the Shadow World that we didn’t see in other books. The book actually starts out in what is called the Shadow Market, a place where people come to sell black market magical items. We also see the LA Institute, so this book really gives longtime fans a great look at other parts of Clare's fascinating world.
"Every part of LADY MIDNIGHT was well done, from the pacing to the character development...I would honestly recommend this book to everyone --- though your experience will definitely be improved if you read her other books first."
Emma is quite possibly one of my favorite heroines ever. Unlike the main characters of many popular fantasy novels, Emma isn’t new to the Shadow World. Like the rest of the characters, she’s lived in it her whole life. When she was 12-years-old, her parents were murdered, forever shaping the rest of Emma's life. She is easily one of the best Shadowhunters around, and doesn’t hide away from her strengths, taking the kick-butt attitude of other female heroines to a whole new level. I loved seeing that right off the bat!
While Emma is a fighter, Julian is an artist. He can fight as well as the next person, but his heart just isn't in it. Instead, Julian fights demons and other beings to protect his family. In fact, Julian has done a lot for his family --- you see, when Julian was 12, he lost his parents as well. This is part of why Emma and Julian bond so easily and so well. Julian also has four younger siblings who he has had to raise for five years due to extenuating circumstances. Let’s just say he’s great with kids. I really liked Julian as well. Clare created a nice balance for Emma in him, and he was a rock that everyone could lean on. In some ways he seems naive, but when you get down to it, he’s seen just how horrible the world can be. I loved how easily Clare created that balance, making it at once believable and enjoyable to read about.
Every part of LADY MIDNIGHT was well done, from the pacing to the character development. I was rooting for Emma and Julian’s romance from page one, even though I knew it was forbidden. I loved getting to meet Mark, Kieran, Ty and Christina, along with the rest of the characters. I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to love this book. I knew I was going to read it and like it, as I’ve liked everything else Clare’s written, but just how much I loved it blew me away.
Along with being a fantasy, a romance and an adventure story, LADY MIDNIGHT is also a mystery. Mystery and fantasy don’t always mix well, in my opinion, but this one really did. Each character plays an important role in solving the puzzle and none of them seem thrown in haphazardly. There are so many twists and turns as the plot progresses that I honestly had no idea where the story was headed until it got there. LADY MIDNIGHT was a nice change of pace from the more predictable books I’ve read recently.
I would honestly recommend this book to everyone --- though your experience will definitely be improved if you read her other books first. It was an amazing read and even though I read it a month ago, I can’t stop thinking about it. It tore out my heart and shattered my soul in all the right ways. I cannot wait for the sequel, LORD OF SHADOWS, and will probably reread this several times over while I wait for it. If you haven’t read any of Cassandra Clare’s books, pick them up right now so that you can read LADY MIDNIGHT with the same amount of love that I did!
Reviewed by Isabel C., Teen Board Member on March 29, 2016