Book Review : Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
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.
A Sneak Peek Into the Story :
There was no one else on the beach, it was entirely deserted but for Emma. Who was motionlessly standing there, the ocean spread out before her. It was as beautiful and deadly as the creatures who lived inside it. Staring out at the ocean from where she was standing, Emma felt what she always felt : a mixture of yearning and terror, a desire to throw herself into the green cold that was like the desire to drive too fast, jump too high and leap into the battle unarmed.
Thanatos, Jules uncle Arthur would have called it. The heart’s desire for death.
The sea suddenly began to draw back. It rushed away from her, leaving dying fish flopping in its wake, heaps of seaweed, the ruins of wrecked ships, the detritus of the bottom of the sea. Emma knew she should run, but her limbs were paralyzed with fear as the water gathered itself up into a tower, a massive wall with clear sides. Inside, she could see the dolphins, failing sharks, and –– the bodies of her parents.
It was as if they were trapped in a massive coffin of glass, her mother limp and twitching, her father’s hand reaching out to her through the foam and the waves, trying to get to her. Maybe even calling out to her for help––
Emma sat upright on the bed, immediately reaching for her sword Cortana that she bring with her everywhere. Sweat beaded on her forehead as she slowly registered her surroundings. She was in the institute, in her bedroom, and surrounded by concrete walls. You are safe, Emma. You are safe. She repeated that for a few times before she was able to function and think clearly.
It was three in the morning, the hallways were dark and silent. Emma quietly moved across her bedroom and tiptoed out of her bedroom, with only one person in her mind.
“Emma had lost her parents; she had thought she knew what loss was, was prepared for it. But nothing had prepared her for the feeling that the idea of losing Jules wrenched out of her: that the sky would go dark forever, that there would never be solid ground again.”
Arriving at the end of the hall, she slowly pushed the door open and slipped inside. She almost hadn’t expected him to be there. Emma had thought that he might have gone to his studio –– surely he’d missed painting there –– but no, he was sprawled on his bed, asleep. His arm was stretched behind his head, pulling his T-shirt up. She glanced away from the bare skin revealed under the hem and clambered onto the bed, reaching for his shoulder.
“Sometimes, she thought, it was as if she were a kite, and Julian the flier: She soared above the ground, and he kept her tethered to the earth. Without him she would be lost among the clouds.”
“Julian,” she whispered into the darkness. “Jules.”
He stirred, eyes cracking open slightly. In the moonlight, the looked silvery-gray.
“Emma,” he said, his voice thick with sleep.
“Jules,” she said impulsively. “Can I stay?”
It was their code, the short version of the longer request : Stay and make me forget my nightmares. Stay and sleep next to me. Stay and chase the bad dreams away, the memories of blood, and of dead parents.
It was a request they’d both made, more than once. Since they were little kids, they’d crawled into each other’s beds to sleep. Emma had once imagined their dreams mingling as they’d let go of consciousness together, sharing bits and pieces of each other’s sleeping worlds. It was one of the things about being parabatai that made it a magic toward which she had yearned : In a way, it meant you were never alone. Waking and sleeping, in battle and out of it, you had someone twinned by your side, bound to your life and hopes and happiness, a near perfect support.
To that request, Julian moved aside, his eyes held open and voice muffled. “Stay.”
3 Words to Sum Up This Book :
Drawn-out, Eloquent, Stale
I thought I knew Cassandra Clare. I mean, so far she had published three series, all circling around Shadowhunters –– but that’s beside the point. And I completely finished and enjoyed one series out of those three. So I guess you can’t say that I know this author well, but I suppose we can say I know what her writing style is like and I know what to expect from her.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me just simply say what I think about this book : It’s boring. As
All this time I thought Cassandra Clare was my one true love when it comes to Young Adult novels. I thought she was the apple to my eyes, and when it comes to writing a book, she knows what she’s doing. All based on the fact that I read one of her series, and loved it so much that I would sacrifice all my donuts for those books. Apparently –– and I say this with a hint of sadness, not too much cause your girl can’t really be bothered –– times have changed.
The series I read by Ms.Clare was called The Infernal Devices. I would happily rave about that series right here right now, but since that’s not why we are all here today, I shall spare you the headache from my fangirling. I just wanted to preface that : No matter how badly I shit talk about Lady Midnight from here onwards and how I probably will not read another book by Cassandra Clare again –– probably being the keyword –– I will forever stand by my love for The Infernal Devices series.
The plot for that series was complex, unpredictable. It managed to keep me on my toes from start to finish without effort, unlike its cousin right here.
Lady Midnight was like, how do I word this, the spinoff from The Mortal Instruments (another one of her series). Be it character wise or plot wise. It was written with a sprinkle of originality, a dash of well written lyrical proses, and followed by a heavy glob of angst and love hexagon. Why a hexagon, you ask? Cause love triangles are a thing of the past now, and we young adults just love learning about new shapes.
We have our female protagonist : Emma –– whose last name I forgot, and don’t care enough to look up. At first, I enjoyed her sassy, self-righteous, sarcastic personality. It was fun and entertaining, until it wasn’t. Eventually, she became this girl who always has a “comeback” for everything that anyone says.
It got to the point where it seems like this girl can’t stand not having the last word in a conversation. This Emma girl who started off as entertaining, eventually turned into someone who seems to always thinks her way is the only right way and that everyone should follow her lead without question.
“I’ve only been here for two months and you’ve forgotten three dates with Cameron, skipped his birthday, and now you’ve dumped him because it was a slow patrol night.”
“He always wanted to play video games,” said Emma. “I hate video games.”
“No one is perfect, Emma.”
“But some people are perfect for each other. Don’t you think that has to be true?”
Cassandra Clare’s effort to try to play Emma off as fun, and quirky and oh-look-at-me-i’m-such-a-relatable-teenager didn’t seem to work in this book. Or maybe that’s just my picky ass.
“We are well known for our jests, japes, and ballads,” the faerie said, clearly offended.
“Some of our ballads last for weeks.”
“I don’t have that kind of time,” Emma said. “I’m a Shadowhunter. Quip fast, die young.”
And then we have the woe-is-me Julian Blackthorn. I mean, damn, but this boy’s life is what tragedies are made of. His parents died, he had to take care of his brothers and sisters all by himself all the while trying to get his exiled elder brother and sister back and fight his unstoppable forbidden love for his parabatai. I get it, the cards you’ve been dealt has been shitty. Life has not been kind to you, and for that I apologize on the behalf of Cassandra Clare for making our precious boy suffer.
However, that still does not excuse his one second cold, next second hot attitude. I get that Julian has had to deal with more than what a 17 year old should deal with, I totally get that. But Cassandra Clare trying to use all of that to shape him into this broken-despaired-mysterious boy that we all apparently fucking love just doesn’t work for me. But it seems like its the only card Ms.Clare have up her sleeves when it comes to creating a male protagonist.
“He hadn’t wanted to leave Emma, but at the same time he’d thought it would help.
Like an addict getting away from the source of his addiction.”
Make them suffer, portray them as broken boys, but still give them a dash of mysteriousness to them so that it hooks the readers and makes the readers want to fix and heal him. Because we all so love a broken boy, right?
For supporting characters, we have Mark Blackthorn (the long lost elder brother), Christina (the girl who happens to be Emma’s new bestie, who ran away from Mexico for whatever reason) and all the Blackthorn siblings.
I don’t have much to point out when it comes to these bunch of characters, as they did add a little jest and excitement to the story. Especially the Blackthorn siblings with all their quirks.
But one thing that I need to point out is the relationship between Mark and Christina. I honestly don’t know what’s going on between these two. They seem to continuously bounce back and forth between I want to fuck you until you see stars and we can’t be together because Cassandra Clare needs more angst in her books.
“Lean closer,” he said. “For years I have had no mirror; I have learned to make do. The eyes of another can be a mirror more effective than water. If you will look at me, I can see my reflection in yours.”
I’ll probably need to read the next book to find out what happens to their “relationship”, but ain’t nobody got the time to waste on a lengthy ass predictable book to find out what happened to these two.
This book is long.
It’s not just long, but it’s freaking long.
It’s the : Cassandra you better squeeze out 688 pages out your ass or I’ll murder your entire family type of long.
I mean, this overly dragged out book could have been written in under 400 pages or less. But nooo. Because why in the hell would one write a book that is 400 pages and speed things up a little bit to keep the readers interested when you can write an encyclopedia of a book in which you continuously drag out the storyline?
Sweet, young love.
Don’t get me wrong, I love love. Heck, I love it so much that I only read romance for 6 years straight, and I’m still not bored of it.
However, I have come to realize that I love reading about love when they people in the story actually fight for their love. They put effort in their relationship, they bleed, cry, even kill for that love. That is the type of love story that I love reading.
I’m sorry to burst the bubble folks, but this ain’t no love story. I don’t exactly know what this is, but romance this book is not.
“Laws are meaningless, child,” Malcolm said in a low voice that somehow still carried.
“There is nothing more important than love. And no law higher.”
All the characters in this book do, is mope around and wallow in their despair about how their “one true love” betrayed them. Or that “they should be alone forever because they don’t deserve anyone”.
I mean look, all these characters are like what? I would guess seventeen years old. And contrary to what these YA books tell you about 17 years olds finding their one true love and whatnot, most people don’t really stay with the person they fall in love with at 17. Moreover, there are no such thing as “one true love.” And there is definitely no such thing as, “if I can’t be with him, there is no one else for me.”
The Verdict :
You know, for the amount of 4/5 stars ratings this book have on Goodreads, it’s kind of sad that I absolutely loathe this book.
I mean, I get that I have been moving from YA genres slowly but surely, but I have always seen Cassandra Clare’s works as a steady read that I would always love and enjoy despite my taste changing. But it seems like it’s been proven that that is not always the case.
Would I recommend this book? Probably for someone who is younger, around age 12-17. Or if you really enjoy a shit ton of angst (and I really mean a lot of angst) and love triangles, then you might want to check this book out. Because what Lady Midnight lacks in plot, they really do deliver in angst and love triangles as there never seem to be shortage in that field.