Righty ho, before we get started with this mammoth review (trust me it’s going to be a long one!) I just want to disclaim that the first half of this section will be SPOILER FREE, but after a big warning, the second half will be a SPOILER review because I can’t not talk about what happened, but there will be ample warning so if you haven’t yet read Lady Midnight and don’t want to be spoiled, leave at that point.
OH MY GOODNESS! I am actually so excited to write this review also emotions are still very high so if this review isn’t very coherent I do apologise! So, this Shadowhunter book is set approximately 5 years after the last Mortal Instruments books left off, it follows the lives of Julian Blackthorn and his family and Emma Carstairs in the Los Angeles Institute. This book is an absolute Shadowhunter classic with action, adventure, love and loss, but it’s also a bit of a murder mystery with Emma trying to find out who killed her parents, as we found out in the last Mortal Instruments book.
I was SO excited for this book it’s unreal, anyone who has followed our blog for a while knows that I (Eleanor) adore the Shadowhunter novels, it’s one of my favourite worlds to live in! However, this did mean that I had incredibly high expectations going into this book, which is usually a bad thing for any book. Although this book absolutely did not disappoint, it was everything I was hoping for AND MORE! The characters in this book were so strong, I cared for them so much and felt their pain with them. The characters that I’m going to talk about in this half of the review are going to be Julian and Emma, because I’m so scared of spoiling it for you guys and they are the main characters… Anyway, lets start with Emma, I loved Emma so so much, her character was really quirky and she had some amazing one liners, she kind of reminded me of Jace. She is also an amazing Shadowhunter, she’s an amazing fighter and is so determined, anything she sets her mind to will get done, she’s just a great character! Now onto Julian, oh Juilian, he is another amazing character, he kind of reminded me of a combination of Will and Jem, he’s very thoughtful but he also feels emotions very deeply and you can’t help but feel pain for him! All the characters in this book though are so incredibly written and the emotions you feel for them are so powerful, you just have to appreciate Cassandra Clare’s talent, she is awe inspiring!
Another thing I really love about this book is that it touches on so many real issues in life, things like young carers, body image, learning difficulties like Autism and mental health issues. The book in no way focused on these issues but they were always in the background and were hinted at, because of this, it never felt like they were being thrown in your face. They were subtly obvious, which I thought was incredibly clever, it must have been hard to obtain that balance.
Finally, for this section at least, I want to talk about the pace of this book, because this isn’t the first or even the second shadowhunter book, it wasn’t necessary for there to be so much description about the world. The story jumped straight into the plot, why they where there and what they were doing. This made the book feel a lot faster paced without having to stop for extra description and the pages just kept turning!!
Well that’s it for the non spoiler section of the review, I truly, truly LOVED this book, so please if you’re a fan of this world I implore you to read this, it is incredible! For that reason I’m going to award it a massive 5/5 stars! If you have read the book and wish to read on then please do, I will be talking about some of the events in the book and my thoughts on them. If you don’t want to be spoiled then please click off now, I really don’t want the responsibility of you being spoiled because that is literally a crime!
!!**SPOILERS AHEAD** **SPOILERS AHEAD**!!
HOLY SMOKES! Okay, in this section, I’m just going to give a run down on what I thought were the best/most shocking/ most emotional moments of the book, I will also give my opinions on them and what I was thinking when I was reading them!
First of all let’s talk about the forbidden love story between Emma and Julian. I honestly don’t think I have ever shipped a couple so hard, but it was also so painful because at the back of my mind I knew they could never be together because of their Parabatai bond, but you know what, that didn’t stop my feelings and all I want is for them to be happily in love with no limits! What was also interesting is that they didn’t really declare their love for each other until about 400 pages in, so all this time we’re building up to them eventually being together which just builds the emotion even more, and made me ship them even more, well played Cassandra Clare! But lets talk about that beach scene! HOT DAMN! At first I didn’t think they actually went all the way, because in The Mortal Instruments, it took like 5 books for Jace and Clary to finally have sex. It only really dawned on me that Emma and Julian had sex when Julian was talking about contraceptive runes and stuff and I was like “OH, OH! THEY DID IT!” and it just made me so happy! Although, I’m not gunna lie, the last couple pages when Emma was trying to ‘break Julian’s heart’ because of the repercussions of Parabatai falling in love LITERALLY KILLED ME. I know it was necessary because I don’t want Julian and Emma to get all power hungry and destroy their family, but jeeeze, those pages were so hard to read!
On to the next thing, Mark. I was SO HAPPY that Mark was in this book, he added another dimension to the whole story. He was such a good character as well, he was so childlike because he had essentially been indoctrinated into faerie. He also turned out to be incredibly loyal to his family and eventually, we saw a cheeky side to him, especially in the last line of the whole book when he said ‘Why lie’. I took this as Mark wanting to ‘do stuff’ with Emma, so they didn’t have to lie to Julian and the rest of the family. This was so cheeky, I was a little dumbfounded by this as first as I didn’t really see Mark as that kind of character, but once it sunk in I thought it was funny and quirky and just showed how Mark had developed throughout the book.
Okay, now let’s talk about the main plot and plot twist of this book. I loved the whole murder mystery element to this book. I was totally involved in the plot, and I’ll be honest I had no clue who The Guardian was, I had a sneaky feeling that maybe it was Dianna but I wasn’t 100% sure. So when we found out it was Malcolm was completely knocked for six! Initially I really liked Malcolm, he was funny and intelligent, and I was like YES ANOTHER MAGNUS! But noooooo no no no! The little git, I felt genuine fear when he took Tavvy, holy moley! But I was glad Emma finally had closure on who killed her parents all those years ago and no one I cared about died, I was so pleased and thankful that Cassandra Clare didn’t kill anyone!
Some of the new characters were amazing, I loved Christina, Perfect Diego and the whole Blackthorn family, I also had so much respect for Julian and all he’s done for his siblings, effectively becoming a single parent at 12 years old! But most importantly I was so intrigued by Kit, I couldn’t get my head around who this boy was, especially as as he effectively starts off the whole series! I knew he was important but I just couldn’t figure out why, so when we found out he was a Herondale I was like “WHOA WHOA WHOA! WHAT THE F*CK!” Cassandra Clare is so clever because even though I thought the main plots were out of the way, something else comes flying out of the woodwork!
I am SO excited about the next book, even though it’s going to be so painful to read with the whole forbidden love thing! But this series has completely sucked me in and I just can’t wait! If you’ve stuck with me through this whole review, well done because insanely long (1500 words!) but also thank you, and I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did, and also please be considerate in the comments for people who haven’t read the book and keep the spoilers to a minimum! Thank You!