The long awaited first book in Cassandra Clare’s new shadowhunter series has finally made its appearance after such a long, agonizing and grueling 2 year wait (cue the violins.)
I’ll admit I was initially put off by how Clare used the the sixth book of The Mortal Instruments series, City of Heavenly Fire, to jump start a new series. Though as we slowly approached the launch date any feelings I may have had in the past have been subtly replaced with an excited anticipation for the series. In all actuality the Blackthorn family captured my undivided attention when I first met them 2 years ago. Their diamond strong family bond resonated deep within my soul plus the intriguing character, Mark Blackthorn, interested me a great deal.
Lady Midnight is the first book (of three) in the spinoff series, The Dark Artifices, set in sunny Los Angeles, California. Cassandra Clare has several spin off series including The Infernal Devices, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and The Bane Chronicles. In theory these three could be read without reading the series that started it all, The Mortal Instruments. The Dark Artifices is different though, it is not a stand alone series. Unfortunately, you would have needed to read The Moral Instruments series in order to understand even a word of this novel. Hmmm… maybe not so unfortunately… they are outstanding books. Plus you could finish the novels start to finish as the series ended, umm hell yes. One of my favorite parts of entering a fandom late is the ability to read book after book in the series without having to wait (as I am an impatient little girl when it comes to books.)
The Dark Artifices series takes place 5 years after City of Heavenly Fire. I suspect Clare made the time gap long enough to mature the characters up physically and mentally. I wholeheartedly support this! If anyone has read my review for The Mortal Instruments series then you already know I enjoy mature content rather than the “eye rolling” teen content that is littered throughout young adult novels. Initially, I attributed that to my age but when I sat down and thought on the subject I realized that I’ve always loved mature subject matter written into young adult fantasy novels. I do believe that it adds to overall character development in this particular genre spectacularly well. But, if I may, as far as the genre is concerned, I only read young adult novels when the prospect of an enticing fantasy series comes across my inbox. Anyway, I do enjoy the journey of seeing characters develop into strong human beings and there are certainly plenty of mature subjects littered throughout Lady Midnight including betrayal, treason, forbidden love and murder, to help the characters along. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure Lady Midnight would have blown me away had it been written less maturely.
On that note, let me reiterate, Lady Midnight blew me away – it was alluring, twisted and thrilling. Young adult novels can be fairly predictable at times and though this has its fair share of predictability I’d classify this more so as a murder mystery. The Blackthorn family, along with Emma Carstairs and Christina Rosales, enter into a secret plus forbidden alliance with the fair folk in order to uncover a murderer. The forefront of their doing so having to do with Mark Blackthorn, the brother who was taken by the fair folk 5 years earlier. In helping the fair folk, Mark is awarded temporary leave to help with the investigation, much to the delight of his brothers and sisters.
Considering this novel was only released a little over a month ago I won’t say anymore than that on the plot as not to give away any spoilers!
Clare did a fantastic job weaving the lives of these characters together in a way that you could really become invested in them, as if you could lift your head up from a book and see Emma sitting across from you. I do believe one of the many reasons the characters were so remarably easy to relate too was because Clare has been teasing her fans with snippets of them for years and always with a sense that family reigns above else. The snippets came to us in the form of Cassandra Jean drawings, special chapter releases and her simply answering fan questions. Though I have not read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy yet, I have read that some of the Blackthorns make an apperance in that series. They made a large impression when we first met them and they have lived up to every single expectation.
Her writing, while great before, seems to be getting better with each book. It flowed beautifuly from sentence to sentence while keeping me from anticipating any events. It was easy to read, easy to follow and kept my mind sufficiently occupied.
Really phenomenal job 5/5