Monday, 25 July 2016

REVIEW || Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Book Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 8th March, 2016
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback, 698 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
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?
It’s really nice to get a chance to delve back into a world which I found so much enjoyment within but early on I found myself reading it just for the sake of nostalgia rather than any real intrigue, and the excitement soon faded. There’s no amazing writing style to be found - I hate to say that I came to the realization that I found Clare’s writing highly average in this book and it was something I noticed now more than I have in any of her previous works that I have read. Now, it’s been more than two years since I’ve read anything of hers but that’s the honest opinion I have to give now and that doesn’t mean that its bad, in fact it’s really good writing, it’s just not what I had been ready to experience.

The angsty relationship, or lack of thereof, between Emma and Julian was almost unbearable and as annoying as teenage romantic tropes can be. Emma has such a great potential to be a powerful female character and embodies some badass aspects we didn’t see in Clary, yet I feel as though her substance of character chiefly relied on Julian - I realize that they are parabatai and this is somewhat understandable but there was so much more which could have been done with her character.

Yet, it does end up being gratifying in the end because we all have our guilty pleasures.

I think this book was really relying on the fact that its readers are going to already be familiar with the world of shadowhunters, with nuances to old characters and tales woven before these characters’ time - whilst there are descriptions of pivotal incidents and phrases it is acting thought its picking up where the other series have left off (which in a sense it has, following the events of City of Heavenly Fire.) However, I don’t think that’s a great enough reason to not give this new series starter some greater lure than just the premise of continuing the world with another mystery. And I do think it could be a contribution to not hooking new readers on Clare’s writing and into her series. On the other hand, as someone who is knowledgeable in all of these series it was wonderful to hear about familiar characters again.

I did begin enjoying the book much more around the two-hundred-page mark and didn’t have so much constant criticism for it as I had done the previous few chapters. I’m in no way saying that this is a bad book, far from it, but I did have high expectations to fall in love with it strongly and almost immediately and that just didn’t happen. Mark Blackthorn was a saving grace in terms of plot progression, as intended he added an entirely new layer to the story which renewed my hope for this novel and the series as a whole. 

He also ended up being my favourite character and the one which I felt could illicit the most empathy. In spite of all my critiques, the most rewarding part of this work as a whole was the element of family – and furthering that, human nature. And it needs to be stressed as so. I can’t fault what Clare has brought to light in Julian, his siblings and the situations that shape people and who they are, difficult though they may be. It’s an innumerable quality that I don’t think was so strongly touched upon in any of Clare’s previous series, at least in my own wholehearted opinion and it did well becoming an admirable quality of this novel. 

At the end of the day, I was reluctant to put this down and I had butterflies as I turned the last few pages. And I will be buying the sequel, I unequivocally need to know what happens next.

Rating = 3.5 Bookish Birds