book review: lady midnight by cassandra clare ~ an wildly compelling story

25494343.jpgPublisher: McElderry Books
Release Date
: March 8 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads Blurb: 

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.


I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED THIS LONG TO READ THIS BOOK!! Reading this book was ten kinds of exciting – what with the forbidden romance and murders and revenge. 

Lady Midnight is the first book in The Dark Artifices series which is a companion series to The Mortal Instruments. I first read The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices back in 8th grade (it’s been 3.5 years haha). Part of the reason why I read this book is because I was hoping to see some of the characters I’m familiar with – Jace, Clary, Alec, Magnus, etc. I was not disappointed by the cameos these characters make but this book still primarily focuses on the Blackthorn family and its friends.  

Things I Loved 

  • The characters are all three dimensional with fleshed out back stories that made me want to learn more about them. The book mostly focuses on Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn but characters like Christina, Ty, Mark, Arthur, Livvy, Dru, etc. also get to shine in the spotlight now and then. 
  • I really admired Emma for being so brave and driven. She knows what she wants (in this case: revenge!) and she won’t let anyone stop her from achieving her goals. She’s very badass but it’s also made clear that she has worked hard to get to where she has. She trains relentlessly and has multiple scars. 

“I just have to get more proof. Convince the Clave. Because as long as this is laid as Sebastian’s door, the real murderer, the personal responsible, won’t be punished. And I don’t think I could stand that.”

  • Julian, however, interested me more than Emma. His actions are sometimes unexpected and while he is compassionate, he can also be ruthless if his family’s safety is threatened. From a young age, he has to look after his siblings because their parents died in the Dark War. He is incredibly thoughtful, loving, and protective. 

“Julian couldn’t help the ghost of a smile. It was what you wanted to hear, wasn’t it, from your children? that they knew they were loved?” 

  • Mark Blackthorn is part-faerie and part-Shadowhunter. I think I enjoyed learning about him and his past the most. He is a complicated character and is is treated as an outsider by both faeries and Shadowhunters alike. He is wild and brave. When he first comes back to the Blackthorns, my heart ached for him because he feels lonely as he doesn’t recognize his family members. He was abducted five years ago and in that time, some things have changed (e.g. his siblings’ appearances). But the love his family gives him transforms him and I found that very powerful. 

“The world is terrible,” said Mark tonelessly. “And some are drawn down into it and drown there, and some rise above and carry others with them.” 

“I don’t know,” Mark said, looking down at his own long pale fingers tangled in the little boy’s brown curls. “He just – Julian left, and Tavvy fell asleep on my lap.”
He sounded amazed, wondering.
“Of course he did,” Cristina said. “He’s your brother. He trusts you.”
“Nobody trusts a Hunter,” Mark said.” 

“I want to look like my family,” Mark said. “I cannot have the Blackthorn coloring, but I can look as much like Nephilim as possible.” 

  • Some of the characters from The Mortal Instruments series briefly interact with the main characters of this book. Magnus Bane has always been one of my favorites but it was interesting to see him from the perspective of Emma or even one of the Blackthorns. (Sidenote: Magnus and Alec adopt 2 sons and I pretty much died of happiness when I found out about this.) 

“She’d always liked Magnus. He seemed to bring a sense of infinite possibility with him wherever he went. he looked the same as the last time time she’d seen him, down to his sardonic smile and the heavy jewelled rings on his fingers.” 

  • THE PLOT TWISTS ARE AWESOME. I’m keeping this review spoiler free so I won’t specify but I’m sure those of you who have read the book know what I’m talking about. I also did not at all expect the murderer to be who it turns out to be. Cassandra Clare creates a very complicated plot with multiple threads that are tightly woven together to produce a beautiful book. 
  • Great ending!! I still wanted more though which is why I’m glad I bought the sequel too. 
  • There are so many cutesy family moments. I’m an only child so I live for these books that have siblings showing each other love and looking out for each other. 

“You belong where you’re loved.” 

  • The forbidden romance between Julian and Emma is a major subplot and I thankfully did not hate it. Juliana and Emma are parabatai and Shadowhunter Law forbids parabatai to fall in love. So when they do fall in love, some problems arise. (Like how the hell are they supposed to keep it secret?) Although there are times when some of the romantic lines become almost cliché, I personally felt that the way in which the author portrays Emma and Julian’s romance is unique and different. They draw strength from each other and fight fiercely. 

““Being told that love is forbidden does not kill love. It strengthens it.” 

“He knew in the way that she was a part of him, the way her breathing was his breathing, and her dreams were his dreams, and her blood was his blood, and when her heart stopped he knew that his would too, and he would be glad, because he wouldn’t want to live one second in a world that didn’t have her in it.” 

“She knew what people said about parabatai, knew that it was meant to be a loss as profound as that of a spouse or a sibling. Emma had lost her parents; she had thought she knew what loss was, was prepared for it. But nothing had prepared her for the feeling that the idea of losing Jules wrenched out of her: that sky would go dark forever, that there would never be solid ground again.”

  • Overall, it was very exciting to read a book that delved deeper into the Shadowhunter world. I loved the magic and the sass. It’s also great how the author explains things like steles and runes so that even newbies to the Shadowhunter world won’t feel confused. (It’s also a great refresher for someone like me who’s read at least 10 (?) books set in the Shadowhunter world.) So if you haven’t read any of Cassandra Clare’s books, you should still check out this series! 
  • IT’S A LONG BOOK!! It’s been awhile since I read a 700 page book but I was glad it was so long. I couldn’t get enough of the characters!! 

TLDR; I loved Lady Midnight so so much and I am now devouring the sequel to this book. 

So what did you think of this book? Are you interested in reading this series? What are some good YA urban fantasy books you’ve read recently? Feel free to share in the comments! 


15 thoughts on “book review: lady midnight by cassandra clare ~ an wildly compelling story

  1. I’m so glad you like doing this one! I know many people adore this, and my friend has been getting me to read the Infernal devices series forever. But I unfortunately was not a fan of City of Bones when I first read it in middle school (lol) and would probably not start on these thick spin-offs. Maybe one day? Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hm I feel like The Infernal Devices is slightly different from City of Bones though. The aesthetic and vibes are kind of cool. Oh I read City of Bones in Middle School too haha. It’s ironic because I’ve been a fan ever since reading it but it put you off reading the author’s other books. Yeah it’s way too much effort to read every Shadowhunters series if you aren’t truly invested tbh. The books in this series are really long too – about 700 pages each I think. (But since I’ve just been reading all of Cassandra Clare’s books as they release, it’s not as daunting I guess?)


  2. I was a bit meh about City of Bones so I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to read this series, but seeing your 5/5 rating definitely makes me want to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Zoe! It’s too bad you didn’t really enjoy City of Bones but you might end up enjoying this series more. I’m glad you’re going to give it a try! 😀


  3. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Tasya! I really loved this one too when I read it last year, but I’ve yet to pick up the sequel. I agree with you about Julian; he’s a very compelling character, and I’ve heard he gets even more interesting in the second book, so I’m excited for that. Great review. 🙂

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Aimal! My name’s actually Rachana haha. Oh you should totally read the sequel! I feel like it’s just as good (if not better) than the 1st book. Thanks for dropping by!


      1. Ughhh, I’m so sorry. I was blog-hopping so I had Tasya’s link open too and I must have gotten it mixed up! Sorry :((

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha well you MIGHT get a book hangover (let’s be honest, these books are really good) but Cassandra Clare has published so many books that I think you’ll find yourself taking awhile just to get through all of them. Anyway, I hope the book meets (and even exceeds) your expectations!


  4. I sooo agree with everything you stated. I’m glad you loved it so much. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Lord of Shadows, it gets so much better. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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