Lady Midnight is the first book in a new Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices, by Cassandra Clare. This book in the series follows Emma and Julian and the Blackthorn family as they try to figure out who is committing a set of murders. This book also sets up the larger story of Julian and Emma’s complicated love story.
I have read both of Cassandra Clare’s other series, The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. Both are series I highly enjoyed. There is also a set of novellas that bridge the time period between this series and The Mortal Instruments. I have only read one of those, mostly because they are only in digital format at the moment. Once they are in print, I will mostly likely read them as well. So, I am very familiar with this universe, which I think contributed to my enjoyment of this book.
While I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to have read the previous series to be able to enjoy this one, I highly recommend that you do. One of the things I love about Cassandra Clare and these series is that they are all connected. While each series has their own story, that is completed in a satisfying manner, the characters live on throughout the other books. This is not a series where the other characters are mentioned in passing but pushed aside, as if they don’t exist. She does a great job at incorporating them into the stories. They all build on each other. Each story adds characters and relationships that add depth to the next series. While I do think you would enjoy the story by itself, I think you get much more out of it if you read the series through from the start.
Lady Midnight was a strong start to this new series. Emma and Julian, as well as Julian’s siblings, make a deal with the Fae. There have been a number of murders, ritualistic looking in nature, and the Fae want to know who is doing the killing. Some of the victims are Fae, and they want to know who is killing their people. But because of past events, this has to be a covert mission. The Fae make a deal to get the help. If Emma, Julian, and his siblings bring them the murderer they will release Julian’s brother Mark, who they essentially have as a prisoner.
While the story started off a bit slow, it required laying out of this portion of the world and establishing the connections between the characters, it picked up once the investigation began. About that point in the story is where the other main aspect of the story really came into play as well.
Emma and Julian are what is called parabatai. In the Shadowhunter world, that means they are bonded. They are each other’s other half. They fight together, make each other stronger and will die for one another. There is a strong bond of love between them, but what is not allowed is romantic love. Emma and Julian ended up in the parabatai relationship out of desperation not to lose one another and to not be separated. What they figure out quickly in this book is that that was a mistake. They are in love with one another, but that is forbidden. The consequences for breaking this law is exile and even possibly death.
This is going to be one of the main overarching stories of this series and was introduced well in this book. The beginning was a bit repetitive, with them both continuously stating that something is different about the way they see each other and their relationship. It took a minute for them to come to the conclusion that they loved one another. But once they did, the romance sped up quick. Of course, it wouldn’t be a story without conflict entering into that relationship. Though to create this conflict Clare did use one of my least favorite type of storylines. (I did a whole post on this topic). I am not too annoyed yet because it came right at the end. I will give it until the next book to see how it is handled and if it works or not.
I enjoyed this book immensely, mainly because of the characters. Emma is sassy and has an attitude. She is very independent, almost dangerously so. Emma is someone who makes her own decisions and fights for herself. I liked her strength. I think seeing her grow and come to terms with having to let people help her and be close to her will be interesting.
Mark, Julian’s brother that was returned to them from the Fae, was interesting. He has been with the Fae a long time and he has changed a lot. He talks different and doesn’t quite understand human ways anymore. Seeing him adapt and remember what is truly important to him was great to watch. It will be interesting to see how he continues to adapt to being the older brother and if he can step up into the position that Julian has held this whole time.
Julian was my favorite character. He has this strong and sweet side. The way he adores his siblings was heartwarming. He acts as their father (their parents having passed away). He will do anything for them. I loved how he knew each one so well and did what was needed for each other them. Ty, who seems to be Autistic or Aspergers, requires certain ways of helping him live in the world. Julian accepts his brother, loves him and will do anything to make his life easier. I loved the way he would reference that there was nothing wrong with Ty, that he just experienced the world differently.
Julian adores his family and Emma though that adoration appears to be a bit dangerous. Julian will do anything to protect them, and the extent he willing to go to help them is a bit scary at times. He makes some choices throughout the story that could escalate in the future books. He will manipulate and even kill for them. I am worried that he will go a step too far.
If you have read either of Cassandra Clare’s other series you will enjoy this book. I think this will be a strong series with an interesting overarching story line. Our past favorites make some great cameos and appear to be set up to play bigger roles as the books move forward. This book sets up the series well and makes you eager to see what is going to happen next.