Five years after Emma Carstairs' parents were murdered under mysterious circumstances, a new series of murders suddenly starts across Los Angeles which resemble the deaths of her parents. Along with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, Emma must find out who is behind these murders and finally avenge her parents deaths. However things are not as simple as they seem, as faeries along with mundanes are being murdered, and the law makes it impossible to get involved in faerie affairs. When Mark Blackthorn, Julian's half brother is returned to them as a bargaining chip, Emma and Julian must decide if they are going to help the faeries and break the laws of the Clave, or leave Mark in the hands of the faeries. Not everyone can be trusted, and Emma must make some important decisions if she is is ever to find out the truth.
I first started reading Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters books back in 2012, so I was extremely excited to get my hands on this book! Lady Midnight is set five years after the events of City of Heavenly Fire, the last book in The Mortal Instruments series, and focuses on a set of characters who were introduced to us at the end of the Mortal Instruments books. As I was not too interested in these characters then, I was concerned over if I would enjoy reading a whole book about them, but being the Cassandra Clare trash that I am I of course had to read it anyway!
I immediately fell in love with these characters despite not caring much for them previously. I found Emma to be a likeable protagonist, and I soon came to like her more than I liked Clary. Emma's parents died when she was just twelve years old, and since then she has been trying to find out who killed them. Her obsession over this has caused her to find out information by any means possible, including attending the Shadow Market where she is in contact with notorious crook Johnny Rook and his son Kit. I was immediately interested in Kit, as his father seemed to be trying to keep him hidden, which of course made me wonder why. Although Kit was not a big part of this book, I was extremely shocked to find out about his true identity towards the end of the book and I am excited to find out more about him in the rest of the series!
Julian Blackthorn was an interesting character and although I do still prefer Jace, I did enjoy his character. I find that in a lot of YA books, the protagonists love interest does not interest me at all and their character is lacking in depth, but this was not the case with Julian at all. Julian Blackthorn was extremely likeable. He is the glue that keeps the Blackthorn family together, and has been looking after his younger siblings ever since his parents died. I felt really sympathetic towards Julian, as he never got to experience a proper childhood, as he was constantly having to act as more of a father than a brother to his siblings. He is extremely unselfish and always puts the needs of others before himself.
I also loved Julian's younger siblings, especially Ty. I feel as if characters in fantasy novels always seem to be perfect and have no disabilities. I especially feel that characters with mental disabilities seem to be severely lacking in most YA, so having a character with autism in a fantasy novel was something I'd never seen before. I loved that having autism did not hold Ty back, and that he found various ways to cope with certain situations that made him uncomfortable. I loved that this book was diverse with not only disabled characters, but also with characters who are not heterosexual, as the majority of YA books I read do not include LGBT characters.
I must talk about my favourite character in the book Mark Blackthorn! Mark was previously a member of The Wild Hunt, and as a half faerie, half Shadowhunter, he is not sure where he fits in. I loved how quirky he was, and I immediately fell in love with him the minute he came into the book. He has picked up faerie traits from living with them for so long, and he speaks in an archaic way which often confuses his siblings. I found it hilarious that Mark would often accidentally compliment someone while trying to insult them. I loved his character development throughout the book as he started to accept that he was a Shadowhunter and belonged with his family.
The only character who did not interest me was Cristina. Although I have seen a lot of people saying they love her, I found her to be quite boring, as all of her problems seemed to revolve around romantic relationships. I really wanted to like her more than I did as she is an important friend to Emma, but I just couldn't make myself care about her. I also did not like her relationship with Mark, as they barely knew each other and I thought they were moving way too quickly. I thought Mark's relationship with Kieran was far more interesting, as they had known each other for a long time and seemed to have a lot of history between them. Although he made some serious mistakes, I still adored Kieran and felt bad for him, as he clearly regretted what he had done and was constantly trying to redeem himself.
Although the story focused on the new characters, I loved that the characters from Clare's previous works made little appearances too. I loved finding out new information about what the characters from The Mortal Instruments were currently doing, and I especially enjoyed the appearances from Magnus, Jace and Clary. I felt that this, along with mentions of the Dark War gave a nice little shout out to the fans who have read The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices.
With the realisation that this review is going to be way too long, I need to talk a little about the plot itself. Although this book is huge, I never once felt like I was getting bored or that not enough was happening. Although there were lulls in the action, I felt that this was important for the characters to collect their thoughts and do more research into what was happening. I really enjoyed the plot twist of who the killer was, as I was really not expecting it at all! I actually went back to a chapter near the start of the novel where there was a huge clue to who was behind everything and I hated myself that I had completely overlooked over it! It was totally unexpected and really showed that you can't trust any character no matter how nice they seem.
I loved learning about the reason why having a romantic relationship with your parabatai is forbidden, as this has been something that I've wondered about for a long time! I loved the relationship between Emma and Julian, and how it changed throughout the course of the novel. I am interested to find out in what direction their relationship goes in the next book, along with finding out more about the other Blackthorns. I'm really hoping that Kit and Ty have a bigger storyline in the rest of the series, as although they have barely interacted with each other so far, I feel as if a strong bond will form between them. I'm also hoping that this isn't the last that we've seen of Kieran, as I really loved his character and would love to see more of him.
Even though this book has caused me emotional trauma I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.