Gothic Loveliness | Review of ‘Lady Midnight’ (The Dark Artifices #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

It’s been five years since the battle between Clary and her demonic brother, and now the torch has been passed to another pair of fierce warriors…

Emma lost her parents that day and her life has been nothing but a battle to try to figure out who murdered her parents, leaving her an orphan. Nevertheless, she had Julian, who took on the reigns to be the parent to his family. Together, as parabatai, they held together, but strange murders are taking place, taking the shape of her parents’ death leading them to an unsanctioned peace with fairies that may even hold the key to putting the family back together.

Lady Midnight is the first novel in Cassandra Clare‘s new young adult fantasy series, titled The Dark Artifices, is set in The Mortal Instruments world. Published on March 8, 2016, by Margaret K. McElderry Books, the novel follows a new set of Shadowhunters in Los Angeles.

There is something very special about this novel and very wonderful about how Clare brings to life her novels. Clare uses much material to propel her books, but it’s not plagiarism, it’s very clear that it is the inspiration. Clare used the technique in her Infernal Devices series, poetry as titles and epigraphs. She does the same here with some very gothic material leading the reader on. Clare plays off Shirley Jackson‘s The Lottery and Edgar Allan Poe‘s Annabel Lee to put this novel together, and two see the two heavily influence her story is very creative. Also, together, they make the story excellent. That’s not to say that the novel would have been worse off if Clare hasn’t used them, what it means is Clare is a talented enough writer to let her inspirations guide her and give piece of work wonderful and captivating life.

One of the benefits of this novel is that new fans can pick it up without having to read anything else because Clare quickly summarizes the important details mentioned without slowing down the pace of the novel. She mentions it briefly, gives the readers a sense of everything that happened then moves on to why exactly why it’s important to the story and how shows how it moves the story. Clare does much showing with her story regarding characters facial expressions, just eyes widening, she shows the reader what the character is feeling and doing without telling the reader, allowing the reader to visualize the scene.

Another one of benefits of the novel is the characters. The characters are similar to the Clary and Jace, but their situations also make them incredibly different. Emma is a fighter and spunky just like Jace, coming from a similar background and growing up with one two, but her drive to solve her parents’ murder is what makes her so different from him. It also makes her fun to read. There were times when Jace was just too obnoxious for his own good, Emma is not like that, she’s fun, strong, and loving and her arrogance will just make the reader smile. As for Julian, he is such a soft character, an artist like Clary, but everything he has done to keep his family together has defined him, shaped him and turned him into a somewhat very dangerous character because there is no way to expect something else from him. They are unique enough to make the story fresh.

Now this novel, however thick, moves incredibly fast. One bam after another and the only times it slows down are for those flashbacks that give some history about the characters. Those flashbacks also work as reflectors to what has just happened; readers can see the cause and effect of all that, and it is remarkable. They are also breather moments for the reader to put down the novel and just think about the book with a gaping mouth or wide eyes.

Lady Midnight plays off many gothic tropes and puts together such a great story for the readers making this a captivating read for new and old fans alike. (★★★★☆ | B+)

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