I wanted to reread Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows before Queen of Air and Darkness came out earlier this week, but my books were in storage for a few months while I moved from Hawaii to Texas and I didn’t get them back until too late to time it perfectly. I thought about skipping the rereads and going straight to the new book, but I’ve learned that lesson way too many times to put myself through it again, so I’m forcing myself to delay reading the new book. It’s a good a thing, too, because—while I remember most of the major things from Lady Midnight—there are a lot of minor things that’d I’d forgotten.
Summary: What’s it about?
Years ago, Emma Carstairs’ parents were murdered during Sebastian Morgenstern’s war (if you don’t know what that is, go back and read The Mortal Instruments series, starting with City of Bones). Everyone tells her that her parents were victims of that war, but she knows better, and—with the help of her parabatai Julian Blackthorn—has been investigating the murders on her own. When she becomes aware of a string of bodies that are marked the same way per parents’ were, Emma knows she’s closer than she’s ever been to finding the murderer. Amidst romantic woes, secrets, a Cold Peace that discriminates against faeries, the return of a long-lost family member, and more, Emma—along with the Blackthorn family and her new friend Cristina—investigates the murders, discovers a cult, and strives to unmask a necromancer.
Review: What’d I think?
I remember I was initially reticent about The Dark Artifices series because I disliked Emma and Julian’s sections in City of Heavenly Fire. Happily, they’re a lot more compelling when they’re older and when they’re at the center of their own story rather than on the outskirts of someone else’s. As a whole, Lady Midnight does a really good job of expanding the world set up in The Mortal Instruments. It’s now a much darker world. After all this time, readers that have been with this series since the start have aged up a little, and this trilogy ages with them and increases the emphasis on moral ambiguity. The Cold Peace in particular is fascinating. The villains are motivated by love and the heroes by revenge. One of the main characters is a talented and ruthless liar. There’s no line between good and evil here, and that’s exciting. Morally ambiguous YA fantasy is my favorite.
One thing that has really interested me about Clare’s writing over the course of all her shadowhunter novels is the way that things have developed over the course of the books. The parabatai bond particularly stands out to me. It is a huge deal in Lady Midnight. Back in City of Bones, it was a thing… but not a thing. As that series progressed, Alec and Jace’s relationship got stronger and more magical, and by the end it was essentially what it is now. However, the part about romantic love between parabatais is definitely new for the Dark Artifices. If it weren’t new, law-abiding Alec would have been absolutely flipping out about it back in the day. It’s an interesting inconsistency, and even though it is a mild plot hole, it’s more interesting to think of it as watching the creative process in real time, so that’s how I look at it.
Faeries are probably my favorite fantasy creatures. I love the darkness mixed with the glamour and royalty, and I’m fascinated by the mix of deceitfulness and the inability to lie. Bringing the faeries to the forefront is really cool, and I love how central they are here.