Book review · Fantasy · Young adult

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

25494343Lady Midnight is the first book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, the third series in The Shadowhunters Chronicles.

When I tried to reread City of Bones this year, it didn’t end well. I really liked that book when I was 15, but now? Not anymore. So I was hesitant to reread Lady Midnight.

It was better than I expected, but worse than I remembered.
First thing first, this book really needed more editing. Its 700 pages could have easily been 450 if we had cut all the infodumps. It’s not necessary to spoon-feed your reader what happened in The Mortal Instruments when you’re only a few chapters in. Your readers will keep up, and you’ll explain what you need to explain along the way.

Cassandra Clare’s writing has improved since her debut, but it’s still bad and full of terrible similes.

[…] the great white sharks with their rough, pale sides, the killer whales striped in black and white like an Edwardian garden chaise.

What does this mean? I have no idea of how an Edwardian garden chaise looks like. This doesn’t tell me anything about the whales. And if the narrator is so scared of the sea and its creatures, she won’t compare them to a chair.
This is only one of the many unnecessary (bad) figures of speech in the book. And Lady Midnight is the tenth (without counting the short story collections) book Clare has written. It should be better than this.

I liked that the author made an effort to describe the setting. The story takes place in Los Angeles, and many American authors take for granted that every reader knows how big American cities look like. She didn’t. I can’t say that the description were beautiful – they were nice and easy to visualize, mostly unremarkable if it weren’t for the bad similes – but they helped to create a vivid atmosphere.

While I loved the diversity – there are many side characters who are queer, mentally ill, and people of color – I couldn’t help but notice how much amatonormativity there was in this book. Romantic love is so, so special, and all the tropes I hate.

The only thing I really liked were the characters. The characterization is great, and I love every single one of them. Even the villain, who surprised me, was not one-dimensional.
There aren’t many book that focus on a big family, or on siblings. I would have liked to see more of that and more of the wild hunt plotline, instead of romantic parabatai drama. And there is probably going to be more than one love triangle in the next book. Great.
I like Emma. I like Julian. I don’t care about them as a couple, and the “forbidden love” plotline is kind of boring.
I wanted more fairies.

My rating: ★★★½

Have you read anything by this author? What did you think of it? And what’s your favorite book by her, if you have one?

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