Cassandra Clare makes us re-think what it means to be either good or evil in “Lady Midnight”

Calling all Shadowhunter fans: are you ready for Cassandra Clare’s next big Shadowhunter trilogy? Are you ready for more demon hunting, amazing plot twists, fighting the causes of evil, beautifully complex characters bleeding all over the pages, wild humor and forbidden love? If you are, then Lady Midnight has arrived – the first book in her next trilogy, The Dark Artifices.

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. And Lady Midnight is no different. Set five years after The Mortal Instruments series, Clare takes us on another heart-breaking, awe-inspiring and all-consuming adventure full of passion, excitement and danger.

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

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Once I found out that Clare had released another Shadowhunters novel I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, and (I assume like every other Shadowhunter fan) I knew exactly what to expect after reading The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices trilogy. As usual, the characters were brilliant: witty, brave and admirable with a strength and love so deep in their hearts that most people could only dream of possessing something like it.

The novel is just under 700 pages, but I was so immersed with the story that the chapters flew by and it seemed to be over as quickly as it started. When it was, I couldn’t wait to get started on the second story, Lord of Shadows. The third book, The Queen of Air and Darkness, hasn’t been released yet, although it set to be sometime in 2019.

One thing I admired most about Lady Midnight was the message I found that Clare was trying to get across: no one person is good or bad, but layerS of both. People are more than just one thing, and more than one action defines us.

At one point in Lady Midnight, Clare writes:

“Everyone is more than one thing,” said Kieran. “We are more than single actions we undertake, whether they be good or evil.”
― Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight

People are never just either good or bad; we are layers and layers of all different things and emotions and, at the same time, no single action we take defines exactly who we are.

We are more than just completely good or totally evil, but a mix of both. Sometimes people do good things for bad or selfish reasons – like when Julian asked Emma to be his parabatai, because he was afraid of losing her even though they were in love with each other and this meant they could never be together.

And other times people do bad things but for good reasons, like out of love, or to protect something, or to save themselves.

Like when Julian killed his own father to protect his younger siblings; when Emma lived a life to revenge to avenge the death of her parents.

Or like the villain in Julian and Emma’s story, Malcolm Fade, who was the hero in his own story.

Malcolm slaughtered dozens of mundanes and Downworlders after forcing them to kill someone, and even tried to sacrifice Julain’s youngest brother Tavvy, all to bring his long-lost love back from the dead.

When Emma called Malcolm “worse than the Clave,” she was beyond shocked that he was surprised to be called that — even after everything he done. Her friend Cristina reminded her:

“No one is ever the villain of their own story.”
― Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight

To Malcolm himself, he was a hero by bringing back his love from the dead. And Magnus Bane reminded Emma that he did a lot of good before that evil. And wouldn’t most of us have done the same? Done anything to bring back the one person we loved most in the world? Done anything to protect them, bring them back to us, because we loved them so much that we couldn’t live without them?

As Malcolm said himself:

“There is nothing more important than love. And no law higher.”
― Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight

Clare gets us to re-think what it means to be good or evil and reminds us that being human means being a mix of both.

But she also tells us this: If you’re going to be bad, be bad with a purpose, because then there’s a chance for you to find redemption. Otherwise you’re not worth forgiving.

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