I finished the 600+ page new installment in Cassandra Clare’s (neverending) Shadowhunter series earlier this week, and…
I liked it.
I didn’t love love love it the way I did The Infernal Devices, and I didn’t roll my eyes at it the way I did some of the sequels in the original series. It started slow, had some eye-roll worthy moments, but also some really great ones. And it left me hungering for a sequel, which was after all the point.
1. The characters As always, Clare’s strength lies in creating compelling characters. The Blackthorn family–introduced in City of Heavenly Fire–did not disappoint. I liked Mark and his weird faerie ways, I liked the kids, especially Ty–though the two girls seemed kind of interchangeable–and I loved Julian. Clare is amazing at writing boys you want to fall in love with. (Though I could have done with fewer descriptions of his curly hair and eyes the color of the sea. We get it, he’s pretty.)
2. The diversity As always, Clare makes sure to include characters who are not all white, straight, and healthy. There are Mexican characters and gay characters and bisexual characters and Ty, who seemed to have some mild form of Asperger’s, I believe, though I’m not an expert so I’m unsure. But I love how inclusive all her books are.
3. The romance I exclaimed frequently on my new favorite app how well-written the kissing scenes were. Taking so many notes.
4. JEM AND TESSA SHOW UP So do the other characters from the other novels, but I Jem and Tessa are my favorites, and I would very much like to see more of them.
5. The climax and conclusion The book was loooong with a sloooow start, but once things got going, they really got going. The last action sequence was great, as was the heartbreaking conclusion. I loved it, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Oh, and the epilogue! Can’t. Wait.
The less good:
1. The sloooooow beginning I understand they wanted to market this book not only to people who have already read the rest of her books, but it was such a slow start to those of us already familiar with the Shadowhunter world, as they explained every little thing. The first 100 pages were basically background info. Please just get on with the story.
2. The overwrought descriptions The sea is SO BIG AND SCARY and the desert is SO PRETTY and Julian is SO PRETTY … description is important for sure, but it was bordering on repetitive. Which is why the book was just so incredibly long.
3. Emma She wasn’t my fave. I didn’t hate her, but she didn’t seem all that unique, especially compared with Clary. Clare did such a good job differentiating Julian from Jace, I was really hoping for more from her.
4. Too much time spent on supporting characters Always my quibble with these books. I liked Cristina, and Diego was … fine. But I didn’t really care enough about them for me to need entire scenes dedicated to them.
5. It was just too long I understand that Clare can basically do anything she wants now since her books will sell regardless, but that doesn’t mean she should dispense with an editor entirely. This would have been better if it were tightened up some.
Having said all that, I will definitely buy the next book, which will almost definitely be too long, and I will almost definitely fly through it. I’ve seen people complain that they’re sick of the Shadow world. That’s fine for them, but I can’t seem to get enough of this world and I’m clearly not alone. So write on, Cassandra Clare! (And if you’re reading this, I’d love a new book starring Jem and Tessa, please and thank you.)
Did you read Lady Midnight? What did you think?