by Cassandra Clare
Paperback, 669 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Margaret K. McEldeberry Books
In a secret world where half-angel warriors called Shadowhunters are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word. A parabatai is your best friend and battle partner. Parabatai can be everything to each other–but they can never fall in love.
Emma Carstairs ia a Shadowhunter, the best in her generation. Together with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Loa Angeles, where faeries–the most powerful of supranatural creatures–teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When bodies–both faerie and human-turn up, bearing marks that match those found on Emma’s own murdered parents, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge–and Julian’s chance to get back to his brother, a prisoner of the faerie Courts. All they have to do is solve the murders within two weeks… and before the murderer target them.
I wasn’t the most excited person to read this book when it was first announced, but everyone has been screaming on how good this series is, how similar it is with TID and even better than TID. As TID is my favorite series of all time, I knew I had to give this book a chance.
The story set 5 years after the event in TMI, with new cast of characters and new institute, which is the Los Angeles Institute. I admit, the first 40% was a struggle for me. I feel like the pacing was off, the first 100 pages or so was spent with info dumping about the shadowhunter rules, government and wars, along with the various Blackthorn siblings. The next 100 pages was spent building up Emma and Julian relationships. While it did help us getting to know the characters, I wish we spent less time of the rules and wars as it was too long, even as a refresher. Which means that this book could have 100 pages less as this introduction was wayy to long.
Around the 300 pages mark, the pacing picked up and the plot become so much more complicated, it was hard to put down! I have to say that CC has clearly grown as a writer, she did really well in crafting the story and the political tug-of-war happening in this book. I wish the story is not pitched as “forbidden parabatai romance” because it really overlooks the intricate plot that’s being laid down here. I love the direction of the story and can see it develop into something more complex!
As earlier mentioned, at the center of this story is Emma Carstairs, Julian Blackthorn, along with the rest of the Blackthorn siblings and other shadowhunters. I have to say, I love them as an individual characters and working as a team!
- Julian, with the huge responsibilities he took on ever since the Dark War (he was t w e l v e) and secrets burdened on him ever since. He is so kind and gentle, but he’s also fiercely loyal and protective to his people.
- Emma, with her desire for answers and revenge on her parents murder. As the result, she trained really hard and is the best shadowhunter of her generation. She chose to stay in the LA institute with the Blackthorns and this is one of the main reason they undergo the parabatai ceremony- which they both immediately regretted. While she has been living with the Blackthorns for a long time and treated as part of the family, she’s also know she’s not actually one and it’s both interesting and sad to see her reading the situation, knowing when to stay or when to give them time.
- Cristina, who’s visiting but also running from her past. I love her addition to the story, as a confidante and pillar of strength for Emma. She managed to become part of the Blackthorns in such a short time and gained their trust.
- Ty and Livvy, the twins, two side of the same coin that speaks in a connection only they could understand. I love reading their relationship, how Livvy seems to be the more outgoing while Ty is the quiet one, but actually they’re both mischievous and capable in battle. I think CC handles the autism rep really well here!
- Dru and Tavvy, the babies of the family. Not much can be said here as Tavvy was sleeping most of the time and Dru barely appear, so I hope I could see them more in the next book!
- And finally, my favorite, Mark! I love his personality, where he’s quiet and speak like a faerie, but also often being indignant and baffled like an annoyed human. But what I love the most is how his journey is treated- Mark and his family are learning about assumptions and expectations expected of them. It’s been so long and they all been through so much, that while they do love each other, it was a rough journey for them at the beginning to getting to know each other. There’s also a lot of things they’ve been missing in the period they’re separated, so they’re relearning to be a family together again.
Outside of the main cast, we have Perfect Diego, which I’m excited to see more in the next books as he’s a Centurion and I’m looking forward to see him fighting! The faeries which includes Kieran, Gwyn, Iarlath all have different degrees of morality and I find it really interesting to watch.
And of course, we have cameos from past Shadowhunter series characters! Jem and Tessa still sent the old pang for me. Seeing them is always a bittersweet experience. I’m genuinely happy to see the TMI cast! I just love how happy, relaxed and sure they are, like they belong with each other and free of any weights. It’s like they know there will always be threat for shadowhunters, but as long as they’re together everything will be alright. Especially Jace and Clary! I didn’t enjoy their dynamics in the latter TMI books, but they seemed to be genuinely happy and really fits with each other. Furthermore, they’ve also matured as shown by the level of kindness and guidance they showed Emma and Julian, as well as the responsibilities the have as head of New York Institute. So yeah, I’m feeling nostalgic but also delighted to see them!
The ending and reveal is amazing! Even though I predicted some aspects of it, I did not predicted some others so it still pack a punch for me. I can’t believe I sympathize with the villain, but after reading the original poem I do understand where he’s coming from.
Overall, Lady Midnight is a great opener to another Shadowhunter Armageddon. While it was too long and the beginning was too slow, the story eventually picked up and revealed an intricate and complicated plot. The cast of characters are all perfect and at the center of it, this story places HUGE emphasis on family. I’m excited to see more of these characters and where the story will go next!