I’ve tried and tried and tried to read something a little serious this summer, but I don’t know what’s happened to me this summer, but I suddenly seem to have developed the attention span of a toddler.
What with the onset of summer holidays, weekends horse-riding with Piglet, raising a new pup (yes! Follow my instagram for some puppygrams), and general laziness, I’ve just not thought through my reading too much, and have slightly relaxed blogging diligently about every book I read.
Anyway, coming back to the point of this post, which is to rave about Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This book had me reading compulsively late into the night.
About the book
This is the first book in The Dark Artifices series, and is set in the Shadowhunter world that Cassandra Clare has set up in two other series – The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.
I finished the entire The Mortal Instruments series a couple of weeks back, and though the books have some serious writing, plotting, and character development flaws, I loved them for the world-building. Cassandra Clare just nailed it, and so when I saw a beautiful looking cover of Lady Midnight in the library, I was intrigued enough to check out the blurb. And once I realized it was set in the same Shadowhunter world, and that several characters from The Mortal Instruments also spill over into Lady Midnight, I was sold. Into my bag went the book.
This book (and the series) tells the stories of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn who were just children in The Mortal Instruments.
Now they are teenagers living in the Los Angeles institute. Emma is haunted by the murder of her parents (happens offline in The Mortal Instruments) and wants to find the culprits. Julian is weighed down by his responsibilities to his younger brothers and sisters (his parents are dead, and his elder brother is kidnapped by fairies – again back story from The Mortal Instruments). When a chance comes for both of them to meet their respective goals – revenge for Emma, and a chance to get his brother back for Julian, they both jump headlong into mystery and danger.
So, does this mean you need to have read the entire The Mortal Instruments before you start on this book? Well, that depends.
I would answer Yes, because that means you are really interested in these characters and world already, and know their back story, and so are already attached to them. Plus Julian has so many brothers and sisters (with nicknames) that if you haven’t read the earlier books, you might spend the first section of the book a little confused as to who is who.
But also, I must say that Clare really takes her time setting up the story, and the characters in the first 50-100 pages, and so you shouldn’t feel too lost.
That said, this book is a chunkster, and the first part is pretty much scene setting, so a little patience is required.
What I loved about this book
I just love that Clare has improved so much as a writer. She got a lot of flak for some of the books in The Mortal Instruments, and she’s learnt some lessons, and just aced this one.
Character build-up of Julian and Emma: Note perfect. Both Julian and Emma are so well-drawn out. Their characters and that of the people around them are really well-developed, and so different from Clary and Jace and the others from The Mortal Instruments. Here Emma and Julian’s problems seem so natural, and so are their reactions and emotions. Julian especially is awesome. He shows some unsettling, obsessive sides to his character, which really intrigued me, and I can’t wait to see how he develops in the later books.
Terrific action, and bad-assery: Well, this is a Shadowhunter novel, so of course the action is going to be top-notch. What I did love though is that it was always appropriate, and the story and suspense never took a backseat.
Excellent suspense: I thought the whole murder angle was pretty well plotted out. The suspense pretty much lasted the entirety of the novel, and while the identity of the killer wasn’t totally gasp-inducing, I thought CC did an excellent and believable job setting up all the clues, and the red herrings, and all.
So what did I dislike in this book?
Pretty much nothing. Yes, there was the slow start, but it wasn’t slow enough to dissuade me from digging into it.
So, overall, this is pretty much two thumbs up from me.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon.