Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

6 January 2020



Hello Readers & Friends,

My first read of 2020! And it was a corker. I finally picked up Lady Midnight, which I had been putting off purely because of the size. I read it in three days, despite having to go out of my way to read it because my usual favourite places to read (commute, bathtub, etc) didn't work because the damn book was so big and heavy my arm would cramp holding it up!! So to finish in three days when I'm not a quick reader by book-blogger standards is definitely saying something. I gave it five stars, so a brilliant start to the year.

So, onto what I liked and what I didn't like. There will be very vague spoilers below, be warned!

What I enjoyed:

Characters. 
This series is filled with wonderfully diverse and complex characters. Whilst Clare can tend to write to stereotypes (and some, such as Cristina, definitely ticked this box), she also is able to write some really three-dimensional and broken characters, which are wonderful to see.
My favourites were Ty, as I don't think I've ever seen an autistic representation in YA fantasy before, and Mark and Kieran. I would actually love to see a Kieran spin-off similar to her Bane series, set in faerieland. Can she collab with Holly Black and make this happen please??!

Romance.
I really think Clare is Queen of Unrequited Fantasy Romance. She always takes the most cliche storylines (love triangles, especially) but manages to make them so gripping. It's kind of trashy but I love it, it's what she became known for after The Mortal Instruments series and it's what her fanbase loves. Julien is actually the first main love interest in one of her series that I didn't fancy. I have a big space in my heart from Jace from The Mortal Instruments, and I'm hardcore team Jem from The Infernal Devices, but Julien just isn't my type. That said, I love him with Emma and I love reading about their romance. I'd always wondered in other series what would happen if Parabatai fell in love and finally this book is fulfilling my need to know. Also, It's really nice seeing the Parabatai bond in more depth than other books, it's one of the most magical parts of the Shadowhunter world for me.

Setting.
Whilst TID was set in London and TMI was in New York, Lady Midnight finally introduces us to an entirely new Institute, based in LA which is a very starkly different scene from her other series. New York and London, in my opinion as a Londoner, are very similar in that they're crazy busy, kind of dirty and gross, and often quite grey. Having an Institute set by the beach in sunny LA with all the delicious tease of Hollywood was a really cool twist.

Antagonist.
The antagonist, though I guessed it early on, is beautifully complex and broken. Unlike Psycho Sebastian from TMI, our antagonist here is just so distressed and heartbroken and it adds another layer to the storyline.

What I didn't get on with so much:

Tavvy Inconsistencies. 
Is this child three years old or twelve? He spends 90% of the storyline asleep on someone, being carried from room to room like a baby and then at the end he is the one who eloquently delivers one of the biggest realisations of the entire investigation?! That, for me, was a bizarre change of his character. Perhaps Clare wanted him to have a bigger part to play as he had only slept through the rest of the book, but it felt weird.

Classic Clare Ending.
Cassandra Clare always begins a new story at the end of her books so you buy the next, instead of leaving a delicious cliff-hanger. She always does this, but for me it's more annoying. I want this story wrapped up, not a new one started!

Julien's Room
If you know, you know. The 'Julien Room Scene' was beyond creepy for me, it all got a bit Edward-From-Twilight.

Unecessary Plot Lies
Okay, this is my biggest gripe of the book. Not enough to drop it to 4 stars as it happened right at the very end, but I think it will be enough for me to knock a star or two off the next books' rating if I'm honest. It's a very classic Cassandra Clare thing to do, and she writes in a way that is so distinctive to her. In the same way that Stephen King books always have the 'and then it was all fine, just kidding, everything's still fucked' part, Cassandra Clare's books always have a 'and then the character made a lie that she didn't need to in order to keep the plot going' moment. So in this scenario, it's Emma not telling Julien the true reason why Parabatai cannot be in love, and instead deciding to be an asshole to him to push him away from her. (Classic.) It's just frustrating, because now the entire second book will be her pushing him away for no reason, instead of being an adult, telling him the truth, sitting down and working it out together. Very reminiscent of Will in TMI lying to everybody and being a dick to push them away instead of telling them the truth. And I never liked Will as a result of this, so I'm fearful I'll stop liking Emma in the second book, but let's wait and see.

I'm going to wait a while before reading the second as I love this world so much I'm afraid for it all to end, even though Clare is just releasing a new series I still want to drag it out as long as possible. I'm also, for the reason mentioned above, worried it will disappoint me.

As a side note, I would love to see a return to Jace and Clary's world now that they're 'adults'. (They're still five years younger than I am!) It seems like everyone else from TMI series is moving on (very young to be adopting children and marrying, but whatever, this is YA), and they have remained stagnant for some reason. I'd love to know why!

What do you think of the Shadowhunter world?

Love,
C x 


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