Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Review: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
by  Cassandra Clare
Date Read:  4/18/16
Rating: ★ ★

It is really hard for me to review this book. There were things I liked about it, and things I didn’t. While I think Cassie Clare is really milking her series, I still enjoy the world she built and will likely continue reading her stuff – though maybe I won’t own all of them.

This is the first book of hers that I haven’t gone out and bought - I checked it out from the library. I loved the Mortal Instruments and absolutely adored the Infernal Devices (except that epilogue that I still refuse to acknowledge exists). However, I feel that Lady Midnight has really become the book that Clare is milking it. There were several times where characters from the other series would show up at completely random times just so the reader would swoon and go “AWE!”.

I liked getting some updates on the characters we loved though. But it just didn’t fit with the story. These characters (Emma and Julian) had met Jace and Clary once during the Dark War. And suddenly they became best friends and Clary checks in every week?  I just don’t believe it. Perhaps if they had interacted more in the other series it would be more believable…but they live on the other side of the country! And don’t get me started on the part where Emma wanted to ride the flying motorcycle because Jace and Clary rode one. And because her reader would say “How in the world would Emma know that?” Clare puts in a bit about there being paintings about it. Seriously??? Why in the world there be paintings about such a random and unimportant part of Jace and Clary’s story? It was yet another way to remind the reader of this parallel between Emma and Clary. But all it did was make me feel like Clare thinks I’m stupid as a reader. Let the reader draw this parallel. They will remember that part from the Mortal Instrument series. It would have had better impact for the reader to make that connection themselves.

I feel like if she didn’t specifically point out all the update info on the characters and parallels like that I would have enjoyed this more.  That’s why I like the Infernal Devices so much. A last name would pop up that you recognized, but that was all. It was like solving a puzzle and a teaser for the reader. But this was just like she purposely added those things in. I didn’t appreciate it. And all of the scenes felt forced – likely because it didn’t really flow with the story she wrote.

If I forget about all of the above, the story itself was ok. It was stretched out a little long though. It was more of a detective story, which was a bit of a nice change. There also wasn’t any sarcastic, snarky love interest in this book – which is a change. While I miss my Herondale  boys (Will and Jace), I did appreciate that Clare at least mixed that up.  Most of the characters were likeable, but I just wasn’t attached to any of them like I was to Tessa and Will and Jace and Clary and Simon. 

I still hold a grudge against Clare bringing Jem back from the Silent Brothers. She set up all these rules in her first two series, and then BROKE them when she brought Jem back in that epilogue. So having Jem in this, while I did enjoy seeing him again, I was frustrated that I was seeing him. I was also frustrated about him being with Tessa. How crappy.

There were also a lot of times that the dialogue just didn’t flow because she didn’t use contractions. The characters would say something and in normal every day talking you would use a contraction, but the character didn’t so they sounded strange and it jarred me out of the story.  There is one character where not using contractions made sense (though I still didn’t enjoy it); it helped maintain the difference from where this character came from. But it wasn’t just that character that this would happen with and it happened more than once.

About ¾ of the way in to the book you finally discover where the title of the book comes from.  I’m still not 100% clear on who is on the cover…but I’m pretty sure I know. The story behind the title is pretty good. I was happy with that part of the book.

About half way through the book we finally started getting somewhere in their investigation. It had been pretty slow up until then. But it finally picked up and from then on it got good. There was a big twist at the end when you find out who the villain is. I really liked the story behind the villain of this story because you can feel a bit of sympathy – I like stories where you feel some sympathy for the bad guy because it creates this conflict within the reader. I didn’t have a lot of conflict with this character, but there was just a tad bit of sympathy in my heart.

We get about 100 pages of wrap up. I always appreciate a good wrap up, but this was almost excessive to me. I found myself just wanting to have it finished already!  I think this is the shortest epilogue Clare has ever written…and it definitely let you know what will be coming in the second book.

While I enjoyed the story between Julian and Emma, of course there has to be love drama. And of course the only way Clare can cause drama between characters is by creating this love triangle. So even though there really ISN’T a love triangle, she creates one anyway… Because it couldn’t have had enough drama with just the “parabatai curse”. UGH.

There is also a bonus story at the end of the hardcover from Clary’s perspective. Again, this mostly seemed like it was there to have all the characters you enjoy from the previous series show up.  I really enjoyed the first few pages, but after that it just got a little silly with all the different characters who came.  BUT THAT ENDING!

If I rated the book on just the story itself, I would probably give it 4 stars, but because of those forced scenes, contractions and forced love triangle and such, I think I need to demote it to 3 stars – which is disappointing because I’m so used to loving her stuff.


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