My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Alrighty, this is going to rough, because there are things I like about this book and things that I didn’t. But, first, I feel the need to lay my cards on the table re: the Shadowhunter Chronicles novels: these books are my crack. We all have those books where we freely admit that they are highly problematic is many ways, but oh man they’ve completely sucked us in, willed us to shut our brains off and just have freaking FUN, writhing around with our emotions as we are tethered along for whatever ride we’ve willingly signed up for.
Trust me: I know that I should, objectively, dislike so many aspects of this series. But I’ve drunk the Shadowhunter kool-aid and am fully on board for this ride.
I mean, Clare even gave me a character who’s, basically, the shining example of the poet-warrior archetype — and we all know I can’t resist my poet-warriors. I really can’t, it’s a bit of a small problem. That being said, the relationships are both the best and worst part of this novel. Family dynamics are something at which Clare excels; she really knows how to write siblings, both blood and adopted, and make a cluster of characters actually feel like a family. Even when one of those family members is coming back from being kidnapped, and another is on the aspergers-autism spectrum, and yet another is adopted-family — they are a family and they function as such. Because family and relationships are complicated, but what always shines through is that deep devotion that these characters bear for each other.
As for romantic relationships? Oh boy, yeah I have some bones to pick. Actually, I really only have one because Clare kind of hit one of my biggest “NO”-trope buttons: the “let’s fake a relationship so that I can kill this other person’s love for me so that I can save them.” Yes, that’s a couple of tropes all rolled into one, but that just makes it work. I basically screamed at this book when this happened because I could deal with ALL the rest of the ridiculous relationship-related things but THAT was just NO. NO.
Of course that won’t stop me from continuing on with this series and being excited for it, but mainly because part of the plot was really quite interesting. I’ve never been huge on the fae folk, but I have to say that Clare has created a truly interesting faerie world for the Shadowhunters. They are “human” (for lack of a better word) enough that they do things that are truly loathsome, but they are “alien” enough that I will second-guess my rather immediate dislike of them. But the purpose they served in relation to the development and growth of Mark Blackthorn was very well done and, so, despite the fact I’d love to punch them in their perfect teeth (and honestly never see them again), I’m glad the fae played such a large role in this novel.
As for the mystery? Well, it wasn’t much of a mystery, and I called the identity of the mysterious Guardian way back before the mystery had even truly begun. That being said, the mythos that was created around the mystery was incredibly interesting. Clare has a knack for weaving pre existing literature into her world, and the story of the titular Lady Midnight is no exception. It was equal parts beautiful and horrific. I’m curious to see where she goes from here with this, because that little epilogue was just the extra bait I needed to say: “Yes. Gimme. Need the next.”
In thinking back on most of the Shadowhunters books, but especially Lady Midnight, with a single quote in mind:
“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald