Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
|Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare|
|Reviewer: Tanja Jennings|
|Summary: Lady Midnight opens another thrilling chapter in the popular Shadow Hunter Chronicles. It is part of a companion sequel trilogy to 'The Mortal Instruments'. Intense, passionate, sensual and intoxicating, it is a heady concoction which absorbs the reader from start to finish. Cassandra Clare offers a roller coaster ride of dark magic, tortured forbidden love, kick ass combat sequences, secrets, lies, betrayal and murder film noir style among the Down World denizens of LA.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 688||Date: March 2016|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK|
|External links: Author's website|
Cassandra Clare is particularly impassioned about her latest book as it's set in the City of Angels where she grew up. She recalls, I was an imaginative teenager, always seeing supernatural creatures and potential magic around every corner, describing Los Angeles as a fascinating, modern, sprawling city set in a place of dramatic natural beauty, where mountains and desert and ocean meet. Clare further explains, The better you know a city, the more fun you can have transforming its landmarks and lesser-known spaces into something magical. This is certainly true of the settings she has chosen for the LA Shadowhunter Institute, which looks out on the desert and the ocean, and the Warlock Malcolm Fade's Malibu movie star mansion complete with a glamoured crystal stairway. Her characters also visit one of her favourite places, Canter's Deli.
Clare's novel is imbued with her love of film noir, classical texts and the murky literary gothic world of Edgar Allan Poe. These influences charge her urban crime fantasy with mystery and imagination. It works as a standalone though will appeal especially to teenage fans of 'The Mortal Instruments' who will be happy to rejoin brave Shadowhunter warriors Emma and Jules last seen battling for their lives at the age of 12 during the Dark Wars in 'The City of Heavenly Fire' and now facing painful decisions.
As Nephilim, the feisty, courageous and self-sacrificing Emma Carstairs and the intensely brooding, caring, creative and resourceful Julian Blackthorn patrol the mean streets of LA keeping werewolves, vampires and demons at bay. They have taken the sacred bond of the parabatai which enables them to draw on each other's strengths in battle. This magical union increases the power of their runic marks which they administer with a stele. The trouble is the law decrees that while Philia [friendship] and Agape [spiritual love] are acceptable, Eros [romantic love] is not. As they become entangled they must struggle with a tempest tossed tide of feelings. To further complicate matters Emma is obsessed with avenging the brutal murder of her parents and Julian seeks to win back from the faeries what he lost.
The protagonists' parabatai vow (inspired by the biblical Book of Samuel where Jonathan and David make a covenant), which declares Whither thou goest, I will go, has resulted in Emma living at the LA Shadowhunter Institute with Julian and his siblings whom he has sworn to protect at all costs. From the start the reader is welcomed into their warm family dynamic. 15 year old Ty is on the autistic spectrum, His beautiful, curious, kaleidoscopic mind is not like everyone else's. He needs to be shielded from the draconian Clave who would view his diversity unfavourably. His twin Livvy is devoted to him and can handle a mean blade. Their 13 year old sister Dru is a connoisseur of horror movies and 7 year old Tavvy likes sugar. Cristina, a Shadowhunter from Mexico is also staying with them and coping with her own private woes. Julian's tutor Diana cautions him that he is walking the edge of a razor blade but just what is he trying to hide?
When a spate of gruesome murders of mundanes and Down Worlders occur, Emma is struck by the similarity of the demonic inscriptions on their bodies to those cut into her parents' bodies five years before. Hunting for clues and pursuing suspects the courageous Shadowhunters embark on a perilous path which puts their lives in jeopardy as they risk everything to stop the serial killer before they strike again. Old grudges from the Dark Wars run deep and they will face many obstacles, including the manipulative treachery of the glamorous Fey, before they come close to the terrifying truth.
A calamitous battle of Good vs. Evil rages as with all Clare's books but this novel is her tribute to the seamy world of Phillip Marlowe. In it she has juxtaposed seedy backstreet bars, untrustworthy characters and dingy alleys with the glitz and glamour of a sinister theatre and savage sea demons on Santa Monica pier. Lady Midnight crackles with excitement, as all the Blackthorns take a part in solving the mystery. Clare keeps dropping hints for perceptive readers as the events build up to a nail biting finale. She also doesn't disappoint ardent Shadowhunter fans as well loved characters from The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal devices make brief cameos.
Central characters are placed in life threatening situations. Julian and Emma are often infinitesimal moments away from lingering kisses as they sigh with longing, cast each other tortured looks and flirt with disaster. While their encounters, especially for the world weary among us, do liberally indulge in 'From Here to Eternity' cloying tempestuous melodrama (Surely kisses weren't meant to be like that, so all encompassing that they ripped through you like lightning, tore down your defences and decimated your self control) devotees of Clare's world and true romantics will enjoy it.
What is particularly good about Lady Midnight is that Clare reflects the real world by exploring a myriad of sexual preferences, ethnicity and motivation among her characters, whether fantastical or human. She explores prejudice through the harsh attitudes of the Clave while dealing with the dichotomy of love and hate, loyalty and duty, parental responsibility and personal goals and the body vs. the heart in diverse relationships. As she explains, Characters in fantasy books have to feel real, no matter what supernatural elements they tangle with. It's always been important to me that my characters reflect the real diversity of the human experience. I aim to work against the erasure of people of colour, neuro atypical people, people whose identities don't fall in line with what is considered normal.
If you wish to explore the Shadowhunter universe further just open this compelling book. You will experience high octane action, explosive spells, sultry sensuality, extreme sacrifice and demonic mayhem within its pages.
What role does Mark play (a character who is described as broken inside like a piece of pottery cracked along the glaze)? Who is Helen and why has she been exiled? Who are Kieran and Iarlath? Why does Johnny Rook sell secrets in the Shadow Market and try to keep his son hidden from sight? Who are the mysterious cult of Followers? Why do they meet at the Midnight Theatre? Why do the Shadowhunters decide to protect Sterling? Who is Belinda? What is the significance of a rhyme that mentions Blackthorn blood? What does 'main de gloire' signify? Why does each chapter have a title that is a line from a poem? Who is Annabelle Lee? Why are ley lines important? Why is Emma drawn to the convergence? Which scene from the book does its eye catching cover depict as Emma faces her greatest fear? Why are parabatai prohibited from falling in love?
All these answers and more are revealed in the intriguing 'Lady Midnight'.
If you can't wait for the sequel 'Lord of Shadows', tension filled writing engages you and you like supernatural romantic fantasy served with a side of demons you should start with book one of the Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones. Alternatively you might like to experience Shadowhunters steampunk style in The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel, Volume 1: The Manga (Manga Edition) by Cassandra Clare and HyeKyung Baek For more demonic adventures you can immerse yourself in The Demon Trappers: Forsaken by Jana Oliver and Demon Road by Derek Landy. Alternatively, perhaps the mythology of demons and other worldly creatures will tempt you. You can read all about their genesis in the absorbing A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits by Carol and Dinah Mack.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare at Amazon.com.
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