Lady Midnight ~ Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #1)
Why didn't I read this sooner????
There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart was chained by love.
Soooo I really wanted to give this 5 stars. It is by far the best book Cassandra Clare has ever written. Unironically. TMI had mostly crap characters with a pretty cool plot; TID had great characters with a lame plot; this had stellar characters with an amazing plot. It really threw me for a loop. The big plot twists didn't come out of nowhere but also weren't super obvious. When we get the big reveal, I literally gasped and rethought the whole book, zeroing in on those little details she planted that didn't seem important at the time but actually meant everything. It was so well done!
The characters in this really stole the show. Cristina starts strong and honestly, stayed there. She was an icon and I stan. Emma wasn't a cardboard cut out of a Strong Female Character either; she felt like an actual teenager and I seriously appreciated that. Julian was fantastic and really delivered on his character premise of boy forced to raise his siblings. Love him a lot. Mark sometimes felt too Holly Black-esque but I liked him a lot. The whole fam was great and actually behaved like siblings in a large family, which was honestly so wonderful. I'm the 5th of 6 kids so I know very well what big families are like, and books usually get the dynamic wrong. So kudos to Clare on that! Malcolm and Diana were also really great!
The plot was freaking fantastic!!!! It did family drama, murder mystery, and cult conspiracy all so well, tying together everything so seamlessly! I loved every minute of it! I was worried as I neared the end that it would retcon like crazy just to setup a sequel, but it actually flowed quite naturally and did the framework all on its own without any convoluted additions.
Now, on to why this is 4 stars and not 5, even though I basically loved everything about this book:
Well, Clare couldn't help but include a love dodecahedron (between the main cast, therefore making the characters lovesick puppies for no good reason) and calling back to TMI in the most convoluted and needless ways. She's been trying to shoehorn into every single release that ~the love between Jace and Clary is the most pure, most lovely, most amazing love in the whole entire world; that no one loves as strongly or as completely as they love each other. They are perfect for each other in every single way~ yadda yadda yadda. :\ :| It gets a little mind numbing after 10 books. And their inclusion in this book just felt like Clare was trying to toot her own horn. The self-indulgence was ridiculous. She might as well change her pen name to Cassandra Clace at this point.
And to add to that, Clare just straight up reused some plot points and plot devices. Granted, they probably worked better here than in her previous work, but it was really annoying to basically just read the mix-and-match version of her other series. It didn't negatively impact the plot but it did hamper my enjoyment.
All in all, though, I loved it, and I'm extremely eager to read the next one.
Buy the book here: