I FINISHED LADY MIDNIGHT!! My most anticipated book of 2016, and it well and truly lived up to my expectations. It is incredible.
For anyone who is not a part of the Shadowhunters fandom, and doesn't know what Lady Midnight is about,it is the first installment in Cassandra Clare's new Dark Artifices series. It follows Emma Carstairs, who lives in the LA institute with the Blackthorn family. When mysterious murders begin to occur over the city, Emma and her parabatai Julian, along with other members of the institute must uncover the killer. Of course, this is a super broad summary!!
This book is full of friendship, family, love, and so many intricate aspects of the Shadowhunter world that we haven't learnt about before in Cassandra Clare's previous series. The characters are so well fleshed out, and that includes minor characters as well as the protagonists. The relationships are complicated and beautiful. And the storyline interweaves magically; I literally never guessed what was going to come next!! This is definitely my favourite first book in a series by Cassandra Clare, and I am so desperate to find out how the series is going to go from here.
Ahhhhh, I am so ridiculously excited about this book. Cassandra Clare really does just keep getting better and better with her writing, and now I cannot wait to see where this series will go!!
I'll start with my thoughts on the characters. I absolutely LOVE the characters in this book. Emma is such an intricate character - she's so strong, yet so gentle, and you can really see how her past has developed her into the person that she is. Similarly, it's so evident how Julian has developed as a result of having to be the parent for his siblings. Even throughout the book itself you see how they continue to grow both as individuals, and in relation to one another.
I also loved Cristina and Diego! Cristina is such a wonderful friend, not just to Emma, but to the whole Blackthorn family. And Diego is hilarious, I was so not expecting it when he appeared, and at first I thought he was kind of two dimensional, but he continued to surprise me in his character development.
And, of course, all of the Blackthorn children - each and every one of them are so detailed and interesting. I was so excited when Mark came back, and found every scene with him so intriguing. His faerie quirks mixed with his Shadowhunter history are constantly at war with one another, until finally he realises that his family really is everything. That was such a beautiful moment when he made up his mind to definitely stay with them. The younger children, despite there being so many of them, are all just as detailed. I love how learning difficulties, mental illness, and sexuality are all explored subtly through the characters.
Now for the relationships. There are SO many beautiful relationships in this book, whether they be romantic, friends, or family. I'll tackle the main one first - Julian and Emma. Where to start. I love how, even though you don't directly see it, you can see how their long history together affects the way that they act around one another. And while the romantic feelings sort of appear straight away, it doesn't feel insta-lovey at all, because you know that they've been together since they were young, especially if you've read TMI. I found this relationship so deeply entrenched in their characters, and such a beautiful and gentle thing. They knew each other so well, yet continued to be amazed by one another.
The family relationships are also major, which I adore. Cassandra Clare captures how difficult it is for Julian to act as a parent rather than a brother for the children, which is so heart-breaking. Every one of them has a different relationship with one another, so it was always interesting to read scenes between any of the characters.
I also really enjoyed the relationship between Mark and Kieran, it was another heart-wrenching one. It felt so real and intense, and even though Kieran was pretty awful at times, it was still so upsetting when they had to leave each other.
Now, finally, for the plot!! What an incredible story. I never knew what was going to happen next, and continued to be surprised right to the very last page. Can I just say - Malcolm. I did not suspect him at all! I thought he seemed like such a cool character, and was so sad when he turned out to be the killer. It was amazing how Cassandra made you really connect with his story at the same time as not liking him for being a murderer, particularly when Emma says that she'd probably do the same for Julian.
How awesome was it when Jace, Clary and Magnus appear at the end!! I got so excited; it was so funny seeing how their characters had developed too. Also, I'm not sure if it's in every copy of the book, but the short story at the end about Simon's wedding!! SO GOOD. I actually could not deal with that.
So overall, as you can clearly tell, I am totally obsessed with this book and have no idea how I'm going to wait for the next book in the series.
Let me know in the comments if you've read Lady Midnight, what are your thoughts? How amazing is it!!