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The Shadowhunter world and the writing style I love so much are back! Lady Midnight is the continuing saga of Emma and Jules, who we were introduced to in City of Heavenly Fire. Their story is a fascinating one, with many new and intriguing characters added to the mix. The intertwining of all the Shadowhunters series is one of my favorite parts of Clare’s books, and we catch glimpses of several old favorites in this book, too!

Cassandra Clare

4.7 stars on Amazon
4.51 stars on Goodreads
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The Dark Artifices Series
#1 Lady Midnight
#2 Lord of Shadows
#3 The Queen of Air and Darkness

Point of View
This book is written in third person from a variety of points of view.

This book is set in modern day Los Angeles, with much of it taking place in the L.A. Shadowhunter Institute.


I give it 4.5 stars overall.
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Main Characters
Emma Carstairs – a fierce Shadowhunter bent on solving the mystery of her parents’ murder several years ago; Jules’ parabatai

Julian (Jules) Blackthorn – a young Shadowhunter who has been raising his family since his parents’ deaths; Emma’s parabatai

Mark Blackthorn – Julian’s older brother who has been banished to the Wild Hunt by the Clave because of his Faerie blood

Cristina Rosales – a visitor from the Mexico City institute; Emma’s new best friend

Diana Wrayburn – the Blackthorn’s and Emma’s tutor

Malcolm Fade – high warlock of L.A.

Kieran – a Faerie prince from the Wild Hunt

***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****

What happened in Lady Midnight?

Johnny Rook tells Emma he hasn’t found any clues from her mom’s shirt but gives her a tip on where the next victim might turn up. Emma and Cristina follow the tip. They chase a Faerie when he leaves a party and encounter the victim, a man with demon script on his skin. Emma must leave the Silent Brothers and Diana to investigate.

There have been twelve murders. The Silent Brothers have been investigating and do not want Shadowhunters involved. If Emma continues to defy this, it could hurt Helen’s and Mark’s chances of release.

The Blackthorns arrive home from their aunt’s house. Emma has missed Julian terribly. She notices differences in his appearance and demeanor.

Emma tells Jules the latest and asks about investigating. He says of course they’ll investigate. Their old familiarity is there, but there’s a new awkwardness.

Emma, Cristina, and Livvy work hard in the training room. Diego comes up. Cristina’s mom wants them together, but Cristina has other ideas.

Malcolm arrives with medicine for Arthur. It’s a regular but secret exchange with Julian. When Emma leaves, Malcolm acknowledges Jules’ feelings are getting stronger.

Ty tells them all twelve bodies were discovered on ley lines. Malcolm say the markings around the bodies are summoning runes.

Emma asks Jules what’s with him. He’s not sure he would have chosen a parabatai had things been different. Emma’s hurt.

Three Fae arrive and say if they can solve this mystery in three weeks, Mark can return home. The first line of the demon runes means fire and water. Mark gets to stay as a good faith gesture. He doesn’t act the same, though he hasn’t aged much.

Diana will help since Mark is involved. She has a task but won’t share it.

Jules and Emma to take the fire and water translation to Malcolm. Magnus is there. Emma asks him about ley lines. Malcolm agrees to work on the translation.

Jules apologizes for what he said. He always wants to keep Emma close to him. Livvy texts. They race home. Julian shares a memory only he and Mark would know to get him to calm down.

Emma and the Blackthorns research the convergence of ley lines. Emma gives Mark a piece of her mind. It seems like although he loves his family, he would rather be with the Wild Hunt. He offers to take Emma to search for the ley lines. She wants to bring Jules, but Mark says ‘no.’ The ride on Mark’s magic motorcycle is thrilling.

They arrive at a cave. Cristina calls. Emma tells her where they are. They go into a circular room with glass doors and spells on the center of the floor. Mark gets the wallet of the most recently murdered man. They hear a noise and crawl back out. They fight a large group of mantid demons. Cristina and Jules arrive. They fight their way to the car and escape.

They stop at an oyster bar/campsite to clean up. Emma and Jules share an almost intimate moment, but Emma gets spooked.

Mark says the circle on the cave floor was necromancy. The killings are done at the convergence point. The bodies are left at a ley line for the the messages to be seen.

Diana set up a monitoring spell at the convergence. Mark apologizes for the way he’s acted and asks them to give him another try.

Ty and Livvy found the victim’s address. Jules and Emma investigate it. Everyone else stays back to translate the cave writings. The victim’s house looks empty. There’s a body of a young woman in the pool. They are shot with arrows from an assailant on the roof. He gets away. Jules has been shot.

Mark tells Cristina he wants to look more like the Shadowhunters. Cristina cuts his hair. She’s attracted to him.

Emma uses healing runes on Jules in the backseat of the car. They finally work. They’re both feeling intimate, but the Blackthorns arrive.

They go to a diner. They look through the dead woman’s purse and find a ticket for The Lottery. Cristina flies back on the motorcycle with Mark. It appears they will kiss when Kieran appears. Cristina goes inside but sees their interaction. They kiss. Kieran vanishes.

Emma thinks about how losing Jules would’ve destroyed her. She has new feelings developing toward him.

Julian feels drawn toward Emma’s room but knows it’s not a good idea. He goes to the library instead. He goes to the same book as always…the one forbidding parabatai from falling in love or marrying.

Ty and Livvy have translated part of the cave writings. They are from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Annabel Lee.

Malcolm got the results of the testing he did on the poison on the arrow. It’s a poison that even a parabatai rune shouldn’t have been able to heal.

Emma, Cristina, Julian, and Mark head to The Lottery. Jules and Cristina dance. Mark and Emma dance. Mark sees something and dashes off. Someone cuts in on Jules and Cristina. Jules and Emma dance. They are fighting their forbidden attraction as they dance.

Everyone goes into the theater. Mark is in the coat check room with Kieran, who asks him to choose the Hunt. In the theater, one name is drawn. Mr. Sterling has two days before the hunt begins. No one can help him. Emma and Cristina follow him to his car. He says no one is able to help him now.

Mark tells Cristina she looks beautiful. She asks what Kieran would think of him saying that. He admits the loyalty he feels to Kieran is because he was there when he had no one else.

Mark talks to Emma about his freedom and her parents. Jules appears in the doorway, misreading the situation and jealous.

Emma and Jules arrive at Rook’s house. They ask who The Guardian (the leader of the Followers and Lottery) is. Johnny isn’t sure but knows he is always there for the killing.

Ty followed them there and is holding Kit at knife point. Julian and Emma get a new promise out of Johnny…Sterling’s home address.

Emma and Jules see the kitchen is destroyed. The kids are eating weird things. Mark seems oblivious. Jules explodes.

Emma gets a text that something is at the convergence. She asks Cristina to tail Sterling. When he sees it’s her, he pulls a gun on her and runs away.

Mark tells Cristina a rhyme the Fae used to tease him, which mentions fire and flood. She mentions how she lost her best friend and her love. They clasp hands and don’t realize someone was watching them from the window.

Emma goes back to the glass portal windows in the cave. She tries a lever. One portal opens. Salt water pours out. She is sucked into it. Jules begins coughing up seawater and hearing the ocean. He knows Emma is in trouble and leaves immediately.

Emma is fighting a demon in the ocean. Her strength is failing. Jules pulls her out. She wakes up hurting and coughing up lots of seawater.

Jules is angry she was so reckless. His true feelings for her come through in his panic. They are intimate that night on the beach. The next morning they see footprints in the sand. They panic because of what this means for parabatai. Jules acts like he’s just attracted to Emma but not in love with her. Emma’s furious but hides it.

They gather in the library. Ty tells them more of the translation. It mentions Blackthorn blood and the past. This sparks something for Diana. She leaves to make a call but won’t tell them what it’s about.

Cristina knows something is wrong as they tail Sterling. Emma eventually tells the truth. Cristina begs her to not make a horrible mistake. Cristina tells Emma she was in love with Diego, the brother of her best friend Jaime. She lost them both in one day. They see a black figure who fires an arrow. Sterling gets away, but Emma catches the assailant. It is Diego. He’s there investigating for the Scholomance.

Julian tells Diana he knows how she went to Thailand, her brother died there, and she didn’t come back to the U.S. until her father had passed. She won’t confirm anything.

Sterling is stabbing a witch girl. A hand reaches out of the fire to grab her and then Sterling. Emma grabs his leg and pulls him free. Sterling says The Guardian will find him to give him riches and immortality. He says the girl he grabbed was the thirteenth and last. He doesn’t know what’s next.

The Institute is surrounded by The Followers there for Sterling. Emma, Diego, and Cristina fight fiercely but are terribly outnumbered. Julian comes out with a glowing angel blade. Everyone runs besides Belinda. She threatens Jules about his secrets. Sterling bleeds from his orifices and dies. Belinda cuts off his hands. Malcolm burns the body. Emma asks Jules what he’s been hiding. He tells Emma and Mark about Arthur’s lunacy and irresponsibility and how he took over the Institute so they could all stay together. They ask why Diana didn’t take over. He says she has her own secrets and couldn’t.

Diego says the Scholomance heard about flares of necromantic magic in L.A. He didn’t know Emma and Jules were Shadowhunters when he shot Jules with that arrow. He didn’t know the arrows from the Shadow Market were poisoned. He came to the Institute, but Arthur told him to leave.

Cristina says she overheard the plan Jaime formed to be Cristina’s parabatai and to have Diego marry her. They would influence her to overthrow her mother as head of the Institute so the “right Rosales family” could run it. Jaime was drunk and rambling. Diego would never go along with this. Jaime lied that she kept in contact with him while ignoring Diego’s calls and texts. Diego has always loved her. He was going to tell her about Jaime’s plan when the time was right.

Emma tells everyone about Sterling. Ty is impressed by Diego’s experience at the Scholomance. Mark is annoyed with Diego. Jules is worried about Emma’s feeling since he’s lied to her for years.

Diego suspected the Blackthorns might be involved after Arthur’s reaction, but now he knows he was wrong. Mark fills him in on what they know. They conclude that energy magic might be being stored up from the murders for later use to bring back someone from the dead. Dru thinks it might be Annabel Lee.

Tavvy shows them a story entitled Lady Midnight in a Shadowhunter children’s book. A Shadowhunter lady fell in love with someone she wasn’t supposed to. Her parents trapped her in an iron castle. She dies of sadness. The man goes to the Faerie king and asks how to bring her back and gets the rhyme which starts…First the flame and then the flood: In the end, it’s Blackthorn blood. Tavvy says Lady Midnight is a Blackthorn because her eyes look like theirs. The poem says the Black Volume of the Dead shows how to complete the spell.

Diego asks if anyone else knows about this investigation. Emma says just Diana. Diego thinks she has betrayed them. Julian says they can trust Diana.

Jules and Emma talk about the secret he shared with her and Mark. She wishes he had told her sooner so she could help him bear it. He says she helped him so much even though she didn’t know what was going on. She was the only one taking care of him while he looked after everyone else. He almost admits he loves her. They kiss.

Kieran, Gwyn, and Iarlath arrive to punish Mark for sharing a Faerie secret with a Shadowhunter. He told Cristina where Gwyn is vulnerable. Kieran told Iarlath about it because thinks the punishment will be Mark forced to return to the Faerie world. But the punishment will be twenty lashes. Kieran begs to take the punishment for Mark. Julian volunteers to take the lashings instead. The Faeries allow it. Emma feels an echo of each lash. After just two, Emma runs in and gives him a deep sleeping rune to render him unconscious. Someone else has to take the whipping now. Both Mark and Emma ask to do it. Emma is more convincing. The pain is almost unbearable.

Emma is unconscious because of sleeping runes and is being treated with healing runes. Cristina is there with her when she wakes up. Emma did it because Mark has been tortured enough and her heart hurt too much when it was happening to Jules. Julian is devastated. She tells him she did it because it would devastate the kids to see him hurt. He tells her sometimes he wishes they were married and his siblings were their kids.

Jules takes her to the locked portion of his studio to show her all the paintings he’s done of her over the past several years. He tells her he loves her. They kiss.

Mark thanks Emma profusely for what she did and says he’ll do anything to repay her.

Ty thinks Lady Midnight is a Blackthorn girl who fell in love with a downworlder and was punished by her family by sending her to be an iron sister. Her name was Annabel, like in the poem. The deadly flowers at the convergence point usually only grow in Cornwall, where Lady Midnight takes place. This poison was on the arrow Diego shot Jules with, which he bought from Johnny Rook. Johnny says he got the poison from a cloaked customer. Emma figures out it was Malcolm.

Dru bursts in to ask what they need her for. Malcolm told her she was needed at the house and he would watch Tavvy for her. He has Tavvy to try to complete the spell. Malcolm gave her a note that says, “I will raise you Annabel Lee.” A bolt of black light explodes from the note. Julian says the will go straight to the Clave no matter the punishment. But all power, landlines, and cell service was knocked out by the flare.

Kieran arrives to help them. He says Iarlath is in on this. Malcolm went to the king of the Unseelie Court to see how to raise the dead. He gave Malcolm the poem. Emma’s parents were killed as an experiment to see if the spell worked.

Mark and Kieran ride Kieran’s steed and arrive first and kill many mantids. Kieran stands guard outside. Jules puts a rune on Emma. It’s strange. The mark lights up on her skin. They enter the cave and find Tavvy on a table surrounded by a protection circle. A hooded figure approaches Tavvy. Livvy yells. It’s Diana. Malcolm approaches.

Diana keeps him talking to let the children escape. Julian and Mark silently back away.

Emma throws a throwing star at Malcolm. He dodges it and paralyzes her with a spell. The Followers are in pews in the dark space behind him.

Emma hears Jules’ voice in her head telling her to wait. Malcolm has a candelabra filled with the hands of the murderers the Followers have killed. Malcolm calls for the Followers to rise. The Shadowhunters fight them. Malcolm resumes his process.

Mark and Julian arrive on Kieran’s faerie horse. It breaks through the spell-protected barriers. Kieran fights Malcolm. Emma uses Cortana to break the chains on Tavvy. Julian grabs him and runs. Everyone else is still fighting.

Emma grabs the hands of glory and tells Malcolm to call his cronies off. He does so and runs. Emma chases him to the room with the portal to the ocean. Malcolm says it took him years to decipher the Faerie poem. He says he felt Annabel move after the first murder this year.

They fight. Emma strikes Malcolm’s coat with her sword and is hit with electricity where her sword touched the Black Volume. Malcolm hurls killing magic at her. The rune from Julian saves her.

She stabs Malcolm with Cortana. She throws him against the glass wall and yanks the lever. The ocean reaches out for him and carries him away. Malcolm’s spells begin to disappear because that’s what happens when warlocks die.

Diana offers to take the blame for all of this. Julian refuses. Jules tells Ty he was right…They were all necessary to win tonight, even the younger ones.

Robert Lightwood, Magnus, Clary, and Jace are at the Institute. They’ve come from Simon and Izzy’s engagement party. They’re surprised to see the state everyone is in and to see Mark.

Robert quizzes everyone. They tell him most of the story of their investigation and the night’s events. Robert wants some sort of punishment for them for hiding this from the Clave. Arthur says they’ve been punished enough with the loss of their parents and Mark and Helen. Jace tells Mark the N.Y. Institute will always be willing to help.

Mark tells Kieran he’s staying with his family. He gives him his elf bolt necklace. He doesn’t forgive him but is thankful for his help. If Kieran ever genuinely needs Mark, he’ll be there to help.

Julian asks Emma to run away with him. They hear Tavvy crying and go into his room to comfort him. She knows he would spend his life regretting leaving the children. He says he’s already done something he’ll spend his whole life regretting. They fall asleep there.

The Rook house starts shuddering. Johnny orders Kit downstairs. The spells that protect the house are fading. Kit messages Emma. Mantids erupt from the living room floor and launch at Johnny. He’s safe in a protection circle. Without knowing how he does it, Kit launches himself back into the living room. Johnny looks sad. The floor collapses. Kit flips himself way from it. His father is ripped apart.

Jules wakes Emma by kissing her. They are almost caught by Dru. It will be hard to hide their relationship. Emma says they need to go somewhere private and talk. She wants to tell him about the dangers Malcolm warned about parabatai falling in love. Julian wants to talk about a plan to keep their relationship going but hidden. Julian leaves to go get lunch for the kids. Emma gets a 911 text from Kit.

Cristina and Diego talk of home. She admits she misses it. He notices she still has a gift he made for her. They kiss. Mark sees it. He thinks he’s misunderstood everything and that it might be easier to go back to the Hunt.

Kit is fighting the demons that killed his father. Emma, Jem, and Tessa appear and kill the demons. Tessa introduces herself to Kit and calls him Christopher Herondale, descended from Tobias. They’ve been looking for him for a long time.

Kit rides back with them to the Institute. He doesn’t even believe he’s a Shadowhunter until they have him open the front door of the Institute, which only a Shadowhunter can do.

Jem and Tessa are off to find Malcolm’s body and the Black Volume. Emma asks Jem about the dangers of parabatai falling in love. He knows about it because of his time as a Silent Brother. When the parabatai bond becomes romantic love, they begin to wield magic like warlocks. The power eventually drives the Shadowhunters to madness. They turn into monsters that destroy the ones they love and kill everything around them, including themselves.

Tessa says it’s easier to make someone else fall out of love with you or to convince them that you don’t love them than to reverse your own feelings. Jem and Tessa leave through a portal to where Magnus, Alec, and Max are.

How did Lady Midnight end?

Julian asks Emma why she didn’t show up at the beach. She draws away from him. He thinks she’s afraid of being seen. She tells him what happened with Kit. She takes his hands away from her face and holds them stiffly. Jules is confused. She says they can’t be together like this. She doesn’t want a relationship full of lies and sneaking around. He wants to just put the relationship on hold then. She says she doesn’t want to wait for him. She says she loves him and always has but it’s not enough to break the law. Julian can tell she’s lying because he knows her so well. She says she and Mark would make sense. He says he’ll never give up on the two of them. She promises that he will.

Emma goes to her room, and Mark knocks on the door. She needs to cash in the favor he owes her. She needs him to act like they’re dating and falling in love, especially for Julian to see. Mark is confused. He asks why it can’t be someone else and why it has to be a pretend boyfriend. She says it has to be him and wants it to be a lie. She says it might save Julian’s life. Mark can tell she isn’t telling him everything. She says she’ll explain as much as possible if he will agree. He says, “Why lie?”

Annabel rises from her tomb.

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There you go! That’s what happened in Lady Midnight, the first book in this series.

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6 thoughts on “What happened in Lady Midnight? (The Dark Artifices #1)”

  1. Thank you so much for the recap, Lord of Shadows is about to be release and this was really helpful because I’ve forgotten some details so Thank you!!!
    In love with the site!! <3 <3

  2. Can someone who read Lord of Shadows please explain to me how Annabelle thought Malcum betrayed her? I know they had both been arrested over 200 years ago, and that he escaped. I guess she feels he should have come back for her. But what was the lie that kept Malcum from returning for her? Did he think she didn’t want him? I know he thought she was with the Iron Sisters. It just doesn’t seem to me Malcum betrayed her unless I missed an important sentence. Please help!

    1. I think these are excellent questions, Christy! My initial thought (without any research) was maybe it bothered Annabel the lengths Malcolm went to and the lives he sacrificed to bring her back. That’s purely speculation on my part, though. So then I went back through the notes I took to write the Lord of Shadows recap and found the following possibilities:

      (1) When the warlock named Shade shows Kit, Ty, and Livi the projection from the past from that crystal, it’s Annabel being questioned and tortured years ago about Malcolm’s whereabouts after he stole the Black Volume. Would she be angry at him for being tortured for something he did?
      (2) When Annabel appears at Malcolm’s cabin and Julian sees her outside, she reveals the Unseelie King is the one who told Malcolm how to raise her. Julian says Nephilim powers our now useless in the Unseelie kingdom. She said that’s Malcolm’s doing. Would she be mad that he’s doing things detrimental to Shadowhunters?
      (3) This is kind of related to point #2 above, but when Annabel is testifying in Idris at the end of the book, she says the Unseelie King was in league with Malcolm and planned to destroy the Shadowhunters using the Black Volume. Again, is this something she sees as betraying the Shadowhunters?

      But then I ask myself, how much loyalty does Annabel still feel toward Shadowhunters in general after what they put her through? But these are the only slightly possible things I found in my notes from this book that might cause a rift between Annabel and Malcolm. I would love to hear input from other readers on these questions! I hope we hear from others, Christy!

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