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 been 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 abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.
I always feel like I have to take a bath after I read a Cassandra Clare book. This part of my review will be eliminated from the GoodReads version of it due to its policies. But as a person I find Cassandra Clare to be rather foul. I’ve read multiple reports of past behavior particularly concerning her behavior in fandom, and it has me wanting to take a sip of something really strong after every revelation I read. Then there’s the fact that TMI series has been exploited to the point you want to call protective services (if book series had protective services) to keep it from being pimped out anymore.
Still though, despite ethical dilemmas I ended up reading her books. And when Lady Midnight came out I was sort of in the mood for a throw back to early 2000’s plagiarized fan fiction. Plus, I really was interested to see if Clare could actually make me eat my words that the series hadn’t been milked completely dry.
Note, I did not eat my words.
Rather, I got drunk with how predictable Cassie Clare is and always will be.
Before I discuss the rampant use of cliches, I want to discuss Clare’s writing. I really wonder if the editor’s read some of the crap she wrote. Seriously, some of the prose is just awful. There are metaphors that just don’t make sense. Descriptions that are unnecessary and just plain stupid. The change in viewpoints can get confusing as well because there’s no breaks clearly indicating that the perspective is changing.
I usually overlook the technical aspects, but this is this woman’s tenth publication and by this point I would hope that there would have been some growth in prose. But yeah, it’s not going to happen.
I am not going to rant on the technical aspects though, because their pretty common in all Cassie Claire books. Rather, I’m going to discuss the formula for a typical Cassandra Clare book. After reading ten of them and part of the infamous fan fic (because I live such an excited life, I tell you) Cassie Clare almost always follows the same formula and uses the same tropes.
1) Love Triangles:
Oh yeah, there is a love triangle in this one. Or should I say love pentagons or octagons or whatever happens when several triangles overlap. I sort of got a headache over the potential relationships in this book. And honestly, while the ship that will probably be the main ship was a lot more tolerable than Clace, the relationships here were even shallower than those in TMI.
2) Abusive Relationships:
There is at least one maybe two potentially abusive relationships here. One characters relationship I really didn’t live because it basically seemed like this character had stockholm syndrome with the other character and it didn’t seem totally consensual. I didn’t like how Clare tried to romanticize it. It was just bad and a cheap way to insert diversity into the book. I really hope that that one character dies a firey death beause I don’t want his victim to get back with him. Said victim is better off in the potentially annoying love triangle that they’re being set up to be with. Also, the jury is out on another abusive relationship which seemes to more emotionally abusive than the previous discussed relationship, but I’ll have to read more information before I make a final verdict.
3) Bad Ass=Dumb Ass Main Character:
Seriously. Emma might’ve been able to use a sword better than Clary, but she still had to be rescued just as much as her and Tessa. It just gets exhausting how impulsively stupid the shadow hunters are. I’m like really. Common sense, it’s a thing. Get it Clare, please.
4) Jace (aka fannon Draco) Ass Kissing: Yeah, still happens here. Even though Jace isn’t physically in the book until the end of this masterpiece.. The adoration is that eye roll worthy. I’m like get a room already. Because you totally know Clare wants to be with Jace despite being a fictional character.
5) You Must Read All My Books to Get My Inside Jokes: Yeah.
6) Counteradictory Information: The whole forbidden love angle. Um, yeah, that doesn’t really explain the whole Alec attraciton to Jace if parabatai were forbidden from being in a relationship in an earlier book. I’m sure Clare has explained this on her Tumblr or Twitter account. But I really could care less.
7) Clare Pretending She’s JK Rowling: So now there’s a Shadow Hunter Academy. I guess I would’ve known this if I read all the little short stories that Clare outsourced to her friends, but I didn’t. Instead, I was just snorting about how much Clare WANTS to be Rowling. There was even the return of the flying motor bike in this installment. All kidding though, I get so tired of it. TMI might have scored a bad movie and a quasi bad TV series, but it is no Harry Potter it is like a poor Harry Potter knock off had a relationship with Edward Cullen and had a baby that was about as ugly as Michelle Tanner. That’s not a good thing, people. The characters are even HP knock offs. Though, these newer characters were a little bit harder to place to their HP counterparts, so I suppose that is progress (somewhat).
9) Herondales: Because there always must be one long lost Herondale in these stupid books. I hate that fucking family. We know their name is really Malfoy and they just went to Idris when they were put in the Wizarding World Witness Protection (aka let Cassandra Clare disguise them with golden eyes and darker blonde hair). This further supports the reason that Jo really should’ve just done us a favor and killed them off instead of letting them go into Clare protection.
I really wanted to list ten cliches for this review because it would’ve been nice to do a top ten list, but a lot of the other cliches sort of overlap. At this point in the review, I am going to be fair and list the sort of new elements that The Dark Artifacts series provides:
1) Setting: It’s in Los Angeles so that has to count for something I guess.
2) A Blonde Main Character: This makes identifying Emma as either Hermione or Ginny much more difficult. The trick is she’s really a female Malfoy. You realize this when there’s the comparisons to Jace.
3)A New Warlock: Don’t worry, Magnus just had to go on vacation for most of the book, I’m sure he will still have the go to warlock position in future installments.
Okay, I’m done bitching (for now). Honestly, I will probably finish this series. As I said, these books are sort of a weird trip down nostalgia and honestly I sort of want to see when it’s finally going to all crash and burn. Much how I watched Fuller House for the same reason (hence, the Full and Fuller House gifs in this review). BUT, but I don’t know if I’ll be reviewing them after this one. I don’t like giving Clare’s books press and honestly I’m afraid my reviews for this shit are getting a little repetitive.
Overall Rating: A C. The writing is bad, but the story is oddly engaging.