DNF: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare8:00:00 AM
For my first DNF review, I really hate that it has to be this book. I've been a fan of Cassie Clare books for years now, and the buildup to Lady Midnight was so intense that I had such high hopes for the book. Everyone who had received ARCs and read it before me was saying that it was a fantastic book, most readers devouring it in a matter of days. As I had never really felt let down by Cassie's books before, I was certain that Lady Midnight would meet or exceed expectations.
Sadly, this was not the case for me.
The first problem I encountered was a lack of motivation to read this book. I was so eager to finally dive in that once I had my hands on a copy, I was met with a story I just didn't get attached to. The characters, while diverse in range, were just too plain, too one-dimensional. Each had a single defining trait that guided their storyline. Emma's was the death of her parents. Julian's was his assumed role as head of the Blackthorn family. Christina's was the fact she was from Mexico. Not to mention the fact that Cassandra bit off way more than she could chew by giving Julian a large family to look after. After a while, I couldn't tell Dru from Livvy or Tavvy from Ty and it all started to muddle together. The characters were just flat, nothing more than the one thing about them that set them apart. Instead of making the story interesting, it just made it boring.
Another aspect that really hindered me was how meta it all was. With constant reference to things that happened previously in the Shadowhunters books, it was a headache to keep up with and all began to feel like some odd fan fiction of the previous stories. What's worse is how much I loved the writing in some points, nearly poetic in style; only to have the next page completely ruin it by making some weird joke about llamas or one random thing or another. At times it felt like the kind of thing my friends and I wrote in our "RAWR means 'I love you' in dinosaur! I'm so random!" phase. (And I wish I was joking about the fact I even had one of those phases...) It wound up detracting from such beautiful writing in the end. It even felt repetitive of Cassandra’s previous storylines, it had that same formulaic layout overall.
Cassandra also seemed very typecast in her characters. Christina was the mothering Mexican, the sweet one whose presence was every bit the chicana trope. Emma was your token revenge plot, the character hell bent on vengeance for past wrongdoings to the point of consumption. The way Cassie writes warlocks, one would assume they're all sassy, gay, overconfident, and effeminate; Malcom Fade was no exception. The characters, once again, did not feel like real people but like manifestations of stereotypes or common tropes. Aside from their single defining traits and the stereotypes and tropes they followed, it felt like they had no range or depth of emotion but rather were constantly stuck in one set feeling.
Yes, I did make it all the way to that scene. While so achingly beautiful and written so delicately, I honestly just couldn’t accept it as being believable. SPOILER ALERT FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH OKAY. How are you going to tell me that if you spent the last twenty minutes drowning you’re going to be ready for sex almost immediately after being revived? No less, sex with a virgin who has no experience and yet no hesitations, either. Sex for your first time is supposed to be clumsy, it’s beautiful, it’s amazing, it’s awkward… This scene was all fluff, too perfect and not enough for me to believe it.
But don’t interpret that as me discrediting it as a whole; I recognize that this is a drama and things happen; it’s urban fantasy about half-angel warriors saving the world, for crying out loud, but just bear with me, ok?
Perhaps the biggest letdown was the hype surrounding this book. I was so looking forward to reading a new generation of Shadowhunters in present-day adventures, and what I was met with was instead nothing like I had expected or was led to believe we would receive. Perhaps it's my own fault for contributing to the buildup of hype but in the end it was just a book I couldn't continue, no matter how hard I tried. I was simply bored of it and reading it just became a chore as the cons outweighed the pros.
I have no doubt I'll eventually return to this book to finish it, but for now it will sit on my shelf with a bookmark smack in the middle of it until I choose to pick it up once again.
I had even made a playlist for this book, which you can find my post on here.
I wish I could give this book the review it deserves. I so wish I had enjoyed it more than I did. And I certainly wish I didn’t have to DNF it.