Lady Midnight* by Cassandra Clare
The Dark Artifices #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on March 8, 2016
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?
Reading this book was like coming home to a family I already know. To characters that are so familiar and yet strange.
And to read what had been going on during those five years between the last book and this new one was a very interesting ride.
Emma is searching for the real murderer of her parents. But not everyone is happy about it and so she brings herself again and again in precarious situations. And when all of the sudden corpses appear in Los Angeles, marked with signs her parents also had on their bodies, it is quite clear for Emma: her search isn´t over. She is even more convinced when a surprise visit by a faerie delegation shows up on Institute grounds, demanding that the Shadowhunters solve the situation. With the appearance of the faerie and Emma´s digging comes a cruel as much as brutal truth to light and things happen that not only affect her but Julian and his siblings as well.
Lady Midnight is told from the first-person perspective by Emma. That throws the reader from the beginning into a very intense, emotional and fantastic haunting story in which the reader gets to know bit by bit what had happened over the past five years since the end of the Dark war (the story of the last part of the City of – series). Cassandra Clare has a hand to mix fantasy elements with some of the thriller genre. She has kept her simple writing style, uses a clear and direct language set up great dialogues, brilliant written scenes and character traits which turn out to be very valuable for the ongoing plot and even Clary and Jace have a memorable scene.
The Shadowhunter world has changed a lot. There are rules that seem even more cruel and harder than before the cold peace hasn´t changed the situation for the better and turf wars are commonplace.
Julian is right in the middle of all this and tries with everything he has at his disposal to keep his left family together. A fight he fights on a daily base and how he does it, is absolutely breath taking; and immense remarkable.
Good, Lady Midnight is the start of a new series by the author, but there are a lot of scenes and information’s that refer to the story of the City of – books and let the reader remember things, which happened in those novels. What I found very special is the fact, that the modern in form of computers, cell phones and other things is combined in a refined way with the sometimes a bit old fashioned rules and the kind of a bit peculiar dress style of the Shadowhunters. That brings freshness, a swing and cockiness to the story, though the plot itself isn´t always that light and easygoing.
Almost superhuman inner strength an unbreakable will and the power of the love of a family. With Lady Midnight the author shows what it means for a single boy, to keep the rest of his siblings together, at all costs.
Julian has made a great change from the once twelve-year old to the young man he is now. He takes things in his own hands, protects what is dear to him and fights and lives a life since years that you wouldn´t want to wish your bitter enemies. When he stands one day in front of the Inquisitor Robert and has to give him answers, a truth comes to light that not only has a special meaning to the reader but also for the characters itself. What a fantastic young man.
For Emma things are not the same as for Julian. She has no clue about what he does since years. She is only focused on finding the truth about her parents´ sudden death; is driven by cold revenge and a rage that´s not easy to describe. Convinced that Sebastian Morgenstern isn´t the one who killed her parents and with that not responsible for the Dark war, she runs again and again against a wall. The ignorance and vanity of the council is something she disdains and so it is no surprise that she does her own search. But what she discovers isn´t only a huge surprise to herself but for others as well. And with the truth she finds, pain and even more dead people arise.
Oh yes, the author has set up again some fantastic characters with edges, weaknesses and even more strength. And the conflicts that show up, the twists and turns and the loyalty shown they all play a brilliant game together.
This is, no doubt, by far the best book I´ve ever read by the author. With Lady Midnight she combines in a fascinating and fantastically inspiring way fantasy, thriller and passion to a great story. Highly recommended and a must-read for all Cassandra Clare fans, that´s for sure!
*I read the German edition new release May 16, 2016 by Goldmann
Cassandra Clare, born to American parents in Teheran, Iran, is the author of the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Lady Midnight, as well as the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Device trilogy. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages, a feature film, and a TV show, Shadowhunters, currently airing on Freeform. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts.