Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday Reviews: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare


Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Format Read: Hardback
Rating: Five stars

Description from Goodreads: The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare's Newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. LADY MIDNIGHT is a Shadowhunters novel.

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 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?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters about in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare's Dark Artifices series.

Let me just start out by saying that I am such a huge, and I mean HUGE, Cassandra Clare fan. The Mortal Instruments has been a big part of my life, and it's one of those series that I can think about, or see a cover for, and immediately fall back into my obsession with it. It's a love that never dies-- it just goes through days of calm and days of burning intensity-- and it's all because of Cassandra's writing. She knows how to spin and craft her words into such a beautiful, tangled web that you find yourself okay with being stuck in. Clare is the spider and you are the fly. Your sanity depends on what happens in her next book. You hang on every word, every book, and even when it's finished, you crave more. It's a truly insatiable hunger. Because of this, it's nearly impossible for me to explain to you how deep my love for the Shadowhunter world. It's something that I wanted to express my appreciation for when I met Clare in 2014, but was unable due to being shell-shocked at seeing her in person. 

When you read a work of Cassandra Clare's, you know you're going to be hooked. You know that before you even read a single word. Having read both of Clare's series, the eagerness for LADY MIDNIGHT was immense, especially when it was revealed that the story was to revolve around Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn (BLACKSTAIRS IS MA SHIP). And then we got a title, and a cover, and a release date, and finally the day arrived... the day when I was able to walk into Barnes and Noble and pick up my near-700-page copy of LADY MIDNIGHT (Complete with A LONG CONVERSATION). It was a long time coming, since the last full book in the Shadow world, not including short stories, was CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE, which released in May of 2014, so we've been ready for a full-length novel for about two years now. And finally, we have it.

Of course, it was nothing but perfection.

Having known a little bit about Emma and Julian from TMI, I was excited to see them as teenagers and see how their lives were going to start to play out. Of course, I shipped them from the very first time we got an Emma POV, so that was another thing that kept me on my toes for the book. And then when it came to actually reading the story, I fell in love with the characters just as deeply as I did the characters in either of Clare's previous series, which is something that I adore about the way Cassandra writes. Not only are her worlds solid, but her characters are real. They have their flaws, and their quirks, and they feel like real people versus page people, especially when it comes to Julian and Emma. They have this parabatai bond that makes them the ultimate pair of best friends, and it's something that, as you read, you start to want for yourself. You want a counterpart as protective as Julian, and as fierce as Emma, someone who always has your back, and your best interests at heart. These two have become some of my tip top Clare characters, and I must admit, Julian is one of my top guys, falling second only to Jace Wayland. Another thing. The secondary characters in LADY MIDNIGHT... wow. I found myself growing these attachments to each one of them, even those who only popped in for a scene or two, Ty and Mark being my two favorite secondaries from LM.

As for the plot of the story, I was shocked with it. It went places that I did not expect it to go, and the "Bad guy" ended up being someone that I didn't even have an inkling of suspicion towards, which completely caught me off guard. As per usual, there were zero flaws or holes to be found, and the amount of thought and planning that went into the story was incredible. The way each character has ties to characters from previous books and/or series, and yet the story focuses on THIS series, and not ones that came before.

This is definitely one of those books that, once you start it, you do not want to put it down. I read LADY MIDNIGHT in two days, due to having prior commitments that kept me from just sitting in my chair and reading all day (Like I wanted to). The one night of sleep I got between reading was filled with dreams of Emma and Julian and their Shadowhunting skills, and it consumed every bit of me until I was able to grab the book and finish it.

And when I did finish it.

WOWOWOWOW

Clare has a way of shocking the crap out of us with her twisty endings and then making us wait a year for the next installment *Shakes fist as tears roll down my face*. So much so, in fact, that I ended up finishing the book about ten minutes after my best friend did, and we Skyped as soon as I finished the last page, and the first thing we did was spend a moment in silence with these perplexed expressions on our faces, before screaming and discussing the book and listening to each other's theories and opinions. It was a review in its own self, and I now wish I would have recorded it to share with you guys.

I would give LADY MIDNIGHT five stars. I want to give it more, I want to give it everything, but since I rate on a Goodreads scale, five is the most I can give. It exceeded my expectations by a landslide, and now I'm left in shocked awe, waiting for May of 2017. But at least I have TALES FROM THE SHADOWHUNTER ACADEMY in November to tide me over. Otherwise, I'm not sure how I'd survive this year long wait. 

Nothing but praise for LADY MIDNIGHT. Don't ever abandon this world, Cassie. It's the best one out there.

Happily,
Stephanie

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