I was hesitant to pick up the first installment in Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series. But, the 670 page paperback seemed only too good to bring on my thirteen hour flight to Chile, where I am studying abroad for the summer. Despite my doubts, Lady Midnight, the 13th novel to take place in Clare’s Shadowhunter Universe, did not disappoint.
Lady Midnight was not beautifully written, but the plot never dragged on, which is quite a feat for a novel nearly 700 pages long. In my mind, this constitutes the perfect airplane read. Not life-changing, but extremely entertaining.
Clare’s ability to masterfully weave a story, giving the reader just enough information to understand what’s going on, but never enough to guess what will happen next, shined in Lady Midnight. The novel brings the Blackthorn family, who made small cameos in the Mortal Instruments series, center stage.
“Everyone is more than one thing…We are more than single actions we undertake, whether they be good or evil.”
Specifically, the novel follows Julian Blackthorn and his parabatai (think: warrior partner for life), Emma Carstairs. Five years after the murder of her parents, Emma uncovers a rash of deaths identical to that of her parents. These new bodies lead to the return of a familiar face to Mortal Instruments fans- Mark Blackthorn. Half faerie, half human, Mark was stolen five years ago by a group of faeries known as the Wild Hunt. However, when faeries begin to fall victim to the murders, Mark is returned to the Blackthorn family in exchanged for the promise of the murderer’s identity.
The core of Lady Midnight is family. While the novel billed as a supernatural murder-mystery-romance, what captivated me most was the family dynamics. Clare has lovingly crafted a portrait of a family; eldest Mark, a stranger in his home, fierce Julian, who steps into a role he didn’t ask for, curious twins Ty and Livvy, determined to prove themselves, quiet Dru, always in background whether she likes it or not, and youngest Tavvy, passionately defended by everyone.
Lady Midnight may not be a ground-breaking literary masterpiece, but it has heart. Long but never boring, it is the perfect airplane read. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll order the sequel from your local library as soon as you’ve turned the last page.