ARC Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 8, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 720 : Paperback edition
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

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?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

Let’s start this review/discussion with a couple prefaces to set the scene for you.

I have never been a huge fan of any the Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices series’ mostly because I avoided the hype of both of them for 9 years (and counting) and I could never get invested into the storylines. I owned almost the entire series for years and it just stood on my shelf collecting dust. I never watched the movie, the TV show, and I won’t. Yes, it was a huge honor to receive this ARC from the publisher and I thank them generously for taking the time/money to send it to me, but I stopped halfway through because of some ethical issues that I will try to tackle here in this post.

I read (and reviewed) City of Bones a few weeks ago and was told my numerous people that it wasn’t that great, but I had to continue reading to really get into the series. Not having the time to do so (as I am a college student who is still approaching finals), I read through the story plots on the Shadowhunters wiki pages. These were pretty informative and helped me understand the gist of the series so that I could jump into Lady Midnight and get my review done.

Flash forward almost three weeks later and I still can’t get into Lady Midnight. The action scenes felt dull, the story itself should probably be 200 pages shorter than it is, I didn’t connect with the characters, and it stressed me out having to read it. I’m not kidding. I would come home from class and see it sitting on my desk, and it stressed me out having to think about reading it and reviewing it, knowing that there was such a huge fan base behind the series. Eventually, I had to hide it in another room so it would stop staring at me and shouting “Read me! Love me!”

The past week alone has given me such guilt about not liking the series and worry about being attacked by the fandom that I even became stressed thinking about writing this review. An over exaggeration? For me, no. For others, maybe.

The past two weeks I have also been hearing reports here and there about some plagiarism scandals surrounding Cassandra Clare and the series. So, not wanting to jump to conclusions, I did my research. I read the court documents that cited what Sherrilyn Kaye was accusing Cassandra Clare of, I found examples of plagiarism from other works, and I read other opinions on the entire matter. As someone who works in my University’s Writing Center, I ethically could not continue reading this series, nor will I pick up her other works (I only recently bought some because I thought I would be able to attend an author signing for her).

So, this leads me to my current predicament and something that has been tumbling around in my mind for awhile. Yes, this may offend some people, and I’m sorry about that if you genuinely do like the series/works. However, as I said before though, I was never a fan of the series, I don’t see myself becoming a fan of the series because I’m over paranormal books, and I cannot ethically support this author.

But, what is the book blogger community if not honest? We are all allowed to have our opinions. It is not my end goal to go shouting my opinion all over social media nor do I stand for author bashing; this is just an honest portrayal of my feelings, something that I am entitled to.

For now, I’ll quietly purge myself of these books, and fade away so that others can enjoy the series as they see fit.

16 Replies to “ARC Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare”

  1. I completely understand what you’re feeling right now. I have to say I didn’t enjoy the Mortal Instruments as much as everyone else did. Though the Infernal Devices is one of my favourite series…. I just feel as though Clare overuses the same recipe for her books. They are largely the same in my opinion and I haven’t stated it so blatantly before in fear of criticism. I have some reading to do it seems into the whole plagiarism fiasco.

    Wonderful review 🙂

    1. Thank you VERY much for your comment! I have heard that her other books all seem to follow the same formula as well, which is why I wasn’t so inclined to take the time to read them. It’s too bad that we feel we need to hide our opinions because of what the masses might say. However, I stand behind anyone who wants to speak up against the status quo! It’s tough, but it’s necessary 🙂

  2. Really enjoyed your review. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the series or Lady Midnight.
    Out of Curiousity, what will you do with your arc?

    1. Thank you so much! I haven’t decided yet. For the time being I’m going to hang onto it, but I may pass it off on the #booksfortrade tag on Twitter at some point.

  3. ichabod2014ic says: Reply

    I’m sorry you had this unfortunate experience.
    Happy Reading in the future!

  4. vivalabooklife says: Reply

    i’m having the same time of problem with the mortal instruments series! I’ve been stuck on the 5th book for about 4 months, but everyone keeps telling me CoHF is the best of the series so I’m forcing myself through CoLS to (hopefully) get to the “amazing ending.” but I gotta say, i read the infernal devices and those books are some of my absolute favorites! the mortal instrument just isn’t living up to my expectations 🙁 I’m going to give lady midnight a try, so we’ll see how that goes! sorry to hear you didn’t like LM, but I love the review!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I also hear the last one’s are the best, but I’m a bit too over the genre and series to give it another try. HOWEVER, I do hear that TID is amazing so maybe I’ll give it another couple years and try that series, as I put Lady Midnight out of sight for now.

      1. vivalabooklife says: Reply

        sorry, i just saw your response to this! and yea, i absolutely LOVE tid, but tmi was just meh. tbh i think tid has a better cast of characters and a better storyline! don’t feel pressured to pick it up though, its totally up to you whether or not you want to read it! 🙂

  5. awww it’s too bad you couldn’t finish the book, but i understand your reasoning and admire your honesty. i know there are a bunch of avid cassie clare fans out there and an unpopular opinion can be intimidating. but i can see why you didn’t like this book – i feel like if i started TMI now then i wouldn’t like it all that much either, especially since i didn’t like CoB or CoA a lot in the first place. but after a while the series grew on me, so i think the book is more for someone who already loves the original series, and/or likes fantasy. regardless, great review! :))

  6. evaallbooksconsidered says: Reply

    Great, honest review and I agree that we all need to be accountable

  7. This is a very good/interesting review of Lady Midnight. As someone who’s pretty into the TMI/TID/Shadowhunters fandom, I was very interested to read your take on Lady Midnight. I, too, have been pretty conflicted about Clare’s history with plagiarism. However, I really enjoyed your review; it’s hella honest, and I really appreciate that.

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the book!

  8. Hide it in another room. LOL!

  9. I am with you in this. I didn’t and couldn’t relate to the characters. I still have my physical copy but I tried the audiobook to see if it would help me go through with it… but I just couldn’t. I ended up returning the audiobook copy but I was able to have the hardback sugned by her so i’ll just hold on to it for now.

    I also loved TID but only read The City of onxe and wasn’t as invested… plus the horrible movie… and now this?! Tsk tsk tsk

  10. Love this review. Now that I have read it, I see that her books are almost exactly the same, girl finding out she’s not human and such. I couldn’t get into city of bones for the life of me, even though I own all the books. For the infernal devices I read all three but there wasn’t anything special, i skimmed through most of it. It’s sad to say, while I own almost all her books I don’t plan on ever reading them.

  11. I had been a huge fan of the series for YEARS. Basically since the first few books had been out. But the more of the series I read, the more I realized I was only reading them because I told myself I loved the series. I read Lady Midnight when it came out and it made me take a step back. I couldn’t connect as much with the characters. Then I started hearing the same reports about plagiarism as you did. After some research, I just can’t see myself ever supporting her books again. I got rid of all the books I owned by her and just have zero interest in reading anything else from her. I’ve also heard some questionable things about how she talks to fans and the things she has done behind the guise of anon accounts. Its just really disappointing overall.

    1. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve heard horrible things about how she’s bullied people online, and there’s no excuse for that.

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