When living in a city near the sea, it is inevitable for you to feel that this city is your kingdom. A kingdom by the sea, full of memories, places you love, your favourite tastes and the people you can’t live without!
This is the universe Cassandra Clare manages to create in her new, Shadowhunters novel, Lady Midnight, the first book in The Dark Artifices series, followed by Lord of Shadows, which was published almost a couple of months ago.
As the synopsis of the novel says…
“In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word. A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other – but they can never fall in love.
Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter. She lives for battle. Alongside her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries – the most powerful of supernatural creatures – teeter on the edge of war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries are found murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held by the faerie Courts. All they have to do is solve the murders within two weeks… and before the murderer targets them.”
Two weeks… That’s how long it took me to finish this particular book, due to finals, work and tutoring. I won’t lie, folks. This is the longest it has taken me to read a book for the past, I don’t know, probably fifteen years; aka when I was ten.
Lady Midnight was a pleasant surprise, considering the fact that I didn’t love The Mortal Instruments series, neither hated them. I loved The Infernal Devices series though, and I was eager to read what Cassie Clare had up her sleeve for the Shadowhunters next.
This new story struggled me at first, mostly because of the amount of characters it has. Sure, the protagonists are Emma and Julian, and sure, we get to see the development of their personalities as the plot unfolds, but there are also the younger siblings, four to be exact, the older brothers, a lunatic uncle, the sort of mysterious tutor, the funny warlock friend, the Shadowhunter from the Mexico City Institute and so many other people. Like Johnny Rook, his son, the Guardian and the Followers. This is a HUGE amount of characters. And I have let out some; like the faeries being mentioned and appearing throughout the whole book.
You got confused? I know I did! For the first couple of chapters I was going back and forth to check whether what I had read was valid, whether I hadn’t mixed up -yet again- inside my mind Ty and Tavvy, whether there was some sort of connection between the scenes that were preceding or following. Man, it was confusing!
But my expectations were high for this novel, so I didn’t give up! And I think I’m glad I didn’t!
There were so many vivid and colourful descriptions, something that I personally adore and appreciate in a good book, so many real and surreal images that made me feel attached to the characters eventually, so much strength in those family bonds…
Sure, there were points were the narration was a bit slow and the amount of characters and events happening was driving me off, but in the end, I realised that everything had its purpose. That’s another thing I value; that authors rarely make mistakes when building a whole new world. The reader just has to be a bit patient and have faith in the writer, whose work chose to read, and everything will fall into place eventually.
Take Julian for instance… He has a reason why he acts the way he does. He wants to protect someone. He has to hide something from someone. Because when everything is revealed, things take a pretty dangerous path; something which is obviously evolving and being told in Lord Of Shadows, or at least this is my personal theory for the sequel.
The biggest surprise of them all, and probably the biggest shock as well, is the revelation of the story’s villain. I was expecting for someone else and yet I felt betrayed when I found out who was responsible for all those murders. That means I got to care for those characters, got to know then and feel for them, got to make them part of my everyday schedule; and being betrayed by one was not the ideal ending for me. But I guess anyone can betray anyone, and you can’t trust anybody nowadays.
Overall, and without spoiling much for you guys, I think that Lady Midnight was a great start to a very promising new series. Yes, it was difficult at first to get to know all the characters, because there are so many of them, old and new ones, but once I got to understand their motives and their personalities, I felt like I could live in a family like that; and in a way, it reminded me of my own family. Don’t ask… Some parts of the story of my life are revealed in my own WIPs after all and they don’t belong in that kind of post.
However, Lady Midnight is a book every fantasy fan will like; especially if you’ve already read the rest of Cassandra Clare’s novels you’re gonna love it. I know I read the second instalment of The Dark Artifices series, Lord of Shadows, and it didn’t disappoint me!
Till next time… Toodles!
P.S.: What would you do if they told you you couldn’t love a particular person? Does the Law matter more than your family? Is a bad law no law at all?