Thursday, 10 March 2016

Review: Lady Midnight


Lady Midnight
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Simon & Schuster! 

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?


"The Law is annoying, but it is also flexible"

* SPOILER FREE, UNLESS YOU COUNT THE MENTION OF NEW CHARACTERS!*

Oh my god you guys...it's finally here! FINALLY HERE IN OUR ACTUAL HANDS! I'm so incredibly grateful that I got to read and review an ARC of the book because it was AMAZING! The first thing I'm going to say to you guys is that you need to read City of Heavenly Fire before you read this, and I think the Shadowhunter Academy books as well, I haven't read those because I'm waiting for the bind up, but I did watch a video on them so I know what happens! But yeah, once you've at least read CoHF you can dive right on in to Lady Midnight! 

The Shadowhunters Chronicles will always hold a special place in my heart. They are very dear to me and will always be one of my favourite series. I picked up Clockwork Angel from the library, completely loved it...and went out and bought CA as well as the first and only three TMI books out at the time, and then endured the waiting for each new book! I have fond memories of staying up all night reading Clockwork Princess with friends, going to a signing in London before the movie came out, and the moment myself and some friends realised we'd all read the books and where forever bonded over them. 

You can see why the books mean a lot to me, so hopefully you'll know that everything I'm telling you about this book is 100% true, because I've not been shy with my opinion about the show! I just want you guys to know that this review is honest through and through! Although...the book did remind me of everything wrong with the show....which may be a problem haha! 

Opening the book and reading the first lines gave me such a feeling of excitement and euphoria and kind of a little bit of nostalgia. I mean...this is a brand new Shadowhunters book with new characters, so I had some flashbacks to first reading City of Bones! I eagerly dived in to the book, excited to meet new characters. I'd loved the glimpses we got of Emma and Julian and the other Blackthorns in CoHF and I was excited to get to see more of them! 

The book opens up in a really cool location, with a new character who I thought was an odd choice for the prologue, but at the same time I figured there was more to it! There's a lot of recapping in the beginning, you will get spoiled for CoHF if you haven't read it! The events refresher was very helpful for me, if I had all the time in the world I'd have re-read everything, but I didn't, so I dived straight in. I remember most of the big events of CoHF but there where some things that had slipped my mind and I was reminded of! There's also a lot of what this means, and what this is which, while I already knew, did bring back in to the world quite nicely. But generally, there's no messing about, we're straight in with Emma and the plot of the book, the murders and so on. 

Once I started reading I was completely thrown head first back in to the world of the books like I'd never been away. The world and settings where vivid, the Shadow Market comes to life welcoming you back, and then you're in a brand new institute, spotting the differences between it and the New York institute and excited to see what happened to it after CoHF. Each and every single setting in the book is vivid and atmospheric, and pulls you in to the book, from the institute, to the Shadow Market, to the various locations around LA. All are vividly described and imagined, each has it's own atmosphere, different to the others, that ensures you're completely absorbed in the world of the book as the world rises up around you. We even get to explore new parts of the world, there's new elements added in to keep it fresh. I love how it's a world we all know well, but we're still getting to see new parts of it! It honestly felt like coming home being back in the Shadowhunter world and quite honestly? I feel like Lady Midnight is on par with The Infernal Devices, which I love more than life itself!
"I'm a shadowhunter. Quip fast, die young." 
I enjoyed the fact that our first glimpse of Emma was through someone else's eye's as a full blown Shadowhunter, and seeing how different she was to in CoHF, she's set on revenge for what happened to her parents, and I can't really blame her. We get a nice refresher on the Blackthorns and their personalities before they make an appearance. I loved seeing how each of the characters had changed, or stayed the same or done some of both since CoHF, and it got me so excited to see more of them in the rest of the book! This talk of characters may take a while, I warn you...

First off we get a few new characters which isn't really all that surprising is it?! We have the curious Kit and his dodgy dad. We have Cameron Ashdown, who we don't actually see that much...poor guy. We have Kieran, a rather interesting character, he's one of the faeries and man do I want to know more about him! Malcolm the ever forgetful warlock that we met in CoHF, I remember wanting to know more about him! Gwyn I found equally as interesting, I get the feeling he isn't as evil and bad as everyone thinks he is. I'm thinking we'll see more of him! 

Those are small fry, some incredibly well written secondary characters, equally as full of depth and just as mysterious as our main characters. I've gotta say I love our main characters old and new! We have Cristina, Emma's new BFF, she made me laugh, she had a mystery to her, I loved the friendship between her and Emma, not going to lie. She was so willing to help Emma and be there for her after not knowing her long at all! Diego we didn't see much of, but like...he has made a love situation very confusing for me. Dammit. I thought he was going to be an ass, but he's actually kind of awesome. Once he gets the facts, he just kinda unquestioningly throws his lot in with the Blackthorns. 

Speaking of Blackthorns, I enjoyed getting to know all of them on a deeper level than in CoHF. They're a great bunch of characters, they all work well together. They're like Emma's family, and they're so willing to help her. Each has a different personality, and different strengths and different things going on that are going to be amazing to watch play out and see how things end up! Especially with Ty, because I'm so worried about his character, because of how he is and who the Clave is, but then at the end I was like "awwwww Ty's got a friend!". Mark was kind of difficult for me. I felt for him, really I did, but Julian is one of my faves and I wanted to smack Mark sometimes, and he goes through such a change over the course of this book, I'm excited to see where his character goes next!

Julian broke my heart in this book. He really did. He does so, so SO much for his family, and then there's the Emma thing and the Arthur thing and he's dealing with all of it all on his own. He's had to be a parent to his siblings, and at some points in the book I felt like his siblings didn't appreciate it, I mean it's not their fault, they don't know all he does, but he does enough that they know about and Ty was being so bratty at one point and poor Julian! Then him being all worried they'd hate him and like Mark more because Mark can have fun with them because he's not telling them off. I mean..since the age of 12 Julian's been their sole carer and my heart broke so many times in the book for Julian and how he was treated and how he felt. Don't get me wrong, Julian cracked me up, he's just as snarky as Emma and a complete badass and kind of scary at one point, but I felt for him SO much. 

Emma I completely loved. She's got Jace's level of snark. Like...wow...looks like he rubbed off on you in CoHF! Jace is such a bad influence you guys! She trains so hard, to be the best she can be, she's a complete badass, and she's determined to find out what happened to her parents. I admired her so much, she was such a strong character and then at the end, the very end of the book...I was like wow. Not many people could do that for someone else. She may just be my favourite actually! She was hilarious and made me laugh loads, and she has like no tact sometimes, it's brilliant! 

We all know how well Cassie writes characters and it's never been more obvious than in this book, we have such a wide range of characters, both main and secondary and each one comes to life before you. You can picture them, practically reach out and touch them, and each one has so much depth to them. Secrets to be found out, motivations and so on. They're all such well created characters that they feel real. 

I'm not going to lie to you guys, after CoHF I pretty much shipped Emma and Julian before I even started reading the book and this book made it so much worse. I shipped them SO BADLY! I thought I knew pain with my precious Wessa...I was wrong. Cassie has done this romance so perfectly, to make you ship them, and then inflict the maximum about of pain she can on you. Each of her romances has had problems and obstacles, but not quite like this. This is up a level. They are parabatai and romance between two parabatai is forbidden. There's an incredible twist to it as well that had me raging at the book! I felt the connection between the two of them, you watched Emma realise her feelings, compared to Julian who already had them, and you watch the two of them and you're kind of cheering but at the same time you're like "no don't" because we all know the consequences if they get caught. It was truly heartbreaking. You could feel the emotions and the angst between them, and you so badly want them to be together...but at the same time, it's so dangerous and impossible. I'm fully convinced Cassie has a way out of it so they can be together but I'm foreseeing a hell of a lot of angst between the two of them. Like Emma at the end of the book, I mean...that's so not going to end well and it's going to hurt my heart. 

It's such an interesting angle on the romance, and there's been mentions before of how it's forbidden and I had a feeling Cassie was going to go there one day, but she's completely blown me away with the romance and all the obstacles to it. Emma and Julian's relationship both romantic and otherwise just feels so natural and I loved their banter, but this one's going to hurt like a b***h. 

"This is about me, not you. I am sick of you."

Speaking of romance and ships....there's so many ships to ship in this book. I don't even know what to ship. I have one ship but then Diego shows up and I'm like...NO I SHIP YOU AS WELL I CAN'T HAVE TWO SHIPS FOR THE SAME PERSON. Honestly, I have no idea who's going to end up with who, but there are so many good ships, with so many good things to them that you kind of end up shipping them all. Although I'm currently torn between two ships and hoping the next book will help me out a bit. Actually thinking about it...that's a lie...I root for one slightly more than the other! I don't think any of them are going to be all sunshine and rainbows any time soon! 

While I'm talking about characters and ships...the pure amount of pterodactyl style screeches I emitted while reading was ridiculous. Why?  Because, as most predicted, we see a fair amount of some of our favourite characters from the other books. I got so many feels it was insane. So many. I mean every mention of events from other books, or every time a character was mentioned had me squealing, but then a character would actually appear and I'd be out of control with my feelings, shall we say. We get some incredibly awesome updates on characters and their relationships and what's been going on with them, expertly threaded in to the plot. 

We also get some flashbacks to events that show us more of not only the characters in this book, but characters from previous books that I thought was a nice touch. They broke up the narrative and added to the story to round it out and give you more information on a past event, than just throwing it in the dialogue. You get the characters feelings, and thoughts as well. I'm fairly certain they're scenes we haven't seen before, but I didn't re-read CoHF so I could be wrong. Each has such a significance to the story of this book and the characters, and is always there at the right time to fit with the narrative and where the story is going. 

I love the multi POV's, letting you know more about the characters and really get to know them, as well as their motivations and thoughts. Their opinion on other characters and so on. We get mostly Emma but I LIVED for Julian's. The changes are smooth and keep with the flow of the book, each character has a distinctive narrative. Each narrative adds something to the story, and t the characters and it's just perfectly done. I liked how Julian's in particular had a tendency to have a more artistic narrative, art terms and colours and so on. It was a nice touch! 

Predictably, the plot is very complex. There's a tonne of different threads that all come together and are woven in to the book, there's a load of plot twists and turns and surprises to keep you guessing. Some that make you laugh and cheer, some that make you cry and some that make you want to throw the book if you could bear to part from it. There's plenty of action and mystery, I feel like this was like...CSI: Shadowhunter Edition. A kind of murder mystery with Shadowhunters and demons and so on, but that might just be me being weird! 

Cassie spends a while setting up the book, and then the end portion of the book...it's just plain explosive. There's more shocks than the rest of the book so far, mixed in with all the action. And when I say shocks I mean, staring open mouthed at the book, and not sure if you want to cry or be angry or both. Honestly, Cassie's ability to throw something at you out of the blue, something you'd never even imagined is like her super power or something! As well as writing so much pain and angst but still leaving you wanting more! Lady Midnight is also expertly tied to the other books in the series, I love how Cassie links all the books together in subtle ways as well as more obvious ways, it's always fun to stumble across a link and get all excited about it! 

Cassie's set up for the next book is flawless, there's so many threads left, as well as new ones woven in right at the end. The ending itself is so heart breaking, and it's not going to go well in the next book. I could envision all sorts of things happening in the next book and then I read the epilogue and my brain just completely blanked except for the words "Oh f****" in giant capitals flashing like a neon sign. I can't even with the wait for the next book, seriously you guys! 

Lady Midnight is a completely, and utterly brilliant opening to what's going to be an explosive and shocking new trilogy. Cassie brings to life not only the shadow world, but Los Angeles itself and you find yourself right there with Emma and co. It's 669 pages, an incredibly huge book...but you still didn't want it to end. All the intricacies to the plot, that we loved in the other books are present here, along with plenty of links to the other books. Lady Midnight is full of surprises, it's funny, it's heart breaking, it's got a fantastic pace, a brilliant set up. There's plot twists all over the place that you won't see coming. You just need to brace yourself. Lady Midnight will make you feel the full range of emotions, including making you want to throw it, scream and cry and rage a little bit. It's PERFECT. 

The wait for the next book is less perfect. However, there's a nice little surprise at the book of the book I believe. It lessened the pain for me momentarily before I was like "WHAT DO YOU MEAAAAAANNNN?!". I'm warning you all now...take a day, whack a " do not disturb " sign on the door, hoard some supplies, and get this read in one go. I had to put it down and it was really, really hard. 

If any of you have read Lady Midnight, I NEED to discuss this book, so for the love of the angel, DISCUSS IT WITH ME! Comments, Twitter, GoodReads, Tumblr, wherever. I just need to discuss! 


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