Lady Midnight has been on my list for what feels like forever! I didn’t want to start reading it before all three books in The Dark Artifices trilogy released, but since Queen of Air and Darkness released in December 2018, I now feel prepared to dive into what I’m sure will be a new favorite trilogy.
First, a little disclaimer. Twelve year old Emma Carstairs annoyed the shit out of me in City of Heavenly Fire. I felt bad that she lost both of her parents in one fell swoop, but otherwise found her quite annoying – particularly her incredibly odd crush on Jace (I thought it more bordered on an obsession than a crush and firmly believe her first real crush was Mark). I tried not to let my opinion of young Emma shape my opinion of almost of age Emma.
Oh and ps, this discussion has spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Now, I firmly believe first impressions are important. One of my initial first impressions goes back to my disclaimer. My first impression of seventeen year old Emma – I like her less than twelve year old Emma. In hindsight, I think this was just residual hate from City of Heavenly Fire because I ended up liking Emma quite a lot as Lady Midnight progressed. Diana is just as amazing as I remember her being, but she’s definitely hiding something. Cristina is going to be a character that I end up really liking and the Blackthorns are really so incredible.
Something that I questioned in City of Heavenly Fire, when we meet the Blackthorns, was brought to light again in Lady Midnight. I remember when Tiberius was introduced thinking he had to fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Seeing him as a fifteen year old boy, I still question whether he is on the spectrum and if the Shadowhunters even know – considering they don’t access mundane medicine.
The Blackthorn family dynamic is so incredible; I think it’s so impressive because they are a group of children who were essentially raised by another child. Julian really is a great father figure to his siblings.
Malcolm Fade is an interesting character. He is a warlock, but doesn’t really remind me of Magnus. He’s almost as charismatic, but there’s something not as authentic about him. I do like his idea that every story is a love story though.
Speaking of love stories. One thing is absolutely clear (and has been since City of Heavenly Fire) – Julian is in love with Emma. Emma’s feelings for Julian are a bit more complicated than Julian’s feelings for Emma. Whereas Emma is just discovering she might have feelings for Jules, it is clear Julian has always loved Emma.
The fey are the absolute worst in this book. I hate what they did to Mark Blackthorn. Honestly, it enrages me because I have always adored his character. He is so different from the Mark we encounter in City of Heavenly Fire and it absolutely breaks my heart. Emma’s initial twelve year old crush on Mark has definitely gone away, but I definitely like the dynamic between them! I think they’d be a great couple based on their scenes alone.
Mark is a lot more complicated than I thought. It seems that he feels something for Cristina, but he is tied to an Unseelie Prince, Kieran. It makes my heart happy to know Mark had someone to comfort him during his years with the Wild Hunt. Initially, I was on the fence about Kieran, but I think I like him. He doesn’t seem good for Shadowhunter Mark, but definitely is good for Faerie Mark. Cristina and Mark would be another great couple, so to see her turn him down… it definitely surprised me. Although, Mark could’ve phrased his feelings better than he did…
As always, I love when Magnus Bane makes an appearance – especially when he maintains his complete and utter sass. Will Herondale may be the OG sass king, but he definitely had to pick up some traits from Master Magnus.
At the Lottery, when Julian and Emma are dancing and Jules almost kisses her, my heart stopped. To be so bold as to almost kiss his parabati in public! I almost yelled. I think this is when I realized that Cristina must know how Julian and Emma feel about each other. It’s almost glaringly obvious. I love it.
An unexpected moment in the story was a flashback to after Jules and Emma’s parabati ceremony. Emma accidently eavesdrops on Clary and Jace, but I didn’t even mind that she was basically spying on them. Their private moment in the garden was so sweet. It definitely showcases Clary and Jace’s love for each other. I found myself wanting a similar moment between Jules and Emma.
Annnnd we got that moment… not as sweet, but we got a moment between Emma and Julian in which their feelings for each other are blatant. I didn’t mind the kiss. In fact, I expected it. Julian saved Emma’s life and that would tip anyone over the edge of their feelings. What I didn’t necessarily like was the zero to one hundredness of them kissing to them hooking up on the beach. I know they’ve known each other their whole lives. It just felt fast to me.
Lady Midnight is so full of surprises. While it’s clear Arthur is mad, it’s also assumed Diana is leading the Institute during his bouts of madness. I was shocked that Julian had been corresponding with the Clave on behalf of the Institute since he was twelve. It’s astounding to me that someone so young could be forced to grow up so fast and still be a wonderful person.
In fact, Julian never ceases to amaze me. The depth of his love for his family knows no limit. That he would take lashings for Mark did not surprise me. It amazed me, but knowing all that we know about Jules, I was not surprised. Nor was I surprised that Mark tried to stop it. What did surprise me was Emma. I should have known she would step in and take the lashings for Julian, but when she did it, I realized she truly loves the whole Blackthorn family and not just Jules.
I felt the Blackthorn’s betrayal when they realized who the Guardian is. I guess it shouldn’t have been surprising… but it was. The fact that Malcolm took care of the Blackthorns and helped them all for years added to the betrayal. I was furious that he took Tavvy to the convergence to drain him of blood for his necromancy spell. Poor, defenseless, seven year old Octavian! How could he?!?! A child!!!
I love the fact that Clare give us looks back on the lives of the Shadowhunters we met in The Mortal Instruments. Reading about Simon and Izzy’s engagement made me smile. I knew they’d end up together, but the closure on their relationship was definitely welcome.
The Kit Rook is actually Christopher Herondale was a surprise to me. I want to know if he got Shadowhunter blood from his mother or his father. As always, Tessa and Jem were a welcome surprise. I remain happy that they found each other again.
Lady Midnight concludes with Mark and Emma agreeing to date… but Emma lied to Mark about why and that devastates me. Mark’s closing line of “Why lie?” doesn’t strike me as a why do you want to lie question, but more of a let’s really date kind of thing.
There’s so much content in this book, it felt damn near impossible to discuss and review it briefly. Overall, though the story is not without problems, I devoured this book as if my life depended on it. Therefore I give it my highest rating.
What are some of your thoughts on Lady Midnight? Do you have a favorite character in this book? Share some thoughts in the comments!
lover of literature. librarian in training.