You know that feeling you get when you start reading the brand new installment of one of your fave series…only to come to a screeching halt because you forgot what the hell was going on??
This weekend I started reading Lord of Shadows, the second book in Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices series. And I was lost from page 1.
So this experience, combined with an idea dreamt up long ago with the help of a super librarian I know, has inspired me to introduce a new type of post here on The (Not Quite) Librarian:
Serial Rewind is a feature in which I do just that: take a step back and remind readers what exactly happened last time we all met these characters.
Just so we’re clear, the point of these posts are to SPOIL EVERYTHING- read at your own risk!
What better place to start than with Book 1 of The Dark Artifices series, Lady Midnight.
Setting: Los Angeles Institute, 5 years since the events at the end of The Mortal Instruments series.
Emma Carstairs- Her parents were murdered and now she’s out for revenge because what else is a well-adjusted Shadowhunter to do…? She’s parabatai with Julian Blackthorn and an unofficial member of the Blackthorn clan.
Julian Blackthorn- Basically in charge of running the LA Institute because his uncle lost his mind after being tortured by fairies. He also looks after the rest of the Blackthorn brood: Ty, Livvy, Dru, Tavvy. There are a few older siblings as well, but they don’t live at the Institute.
Mark Blackthorn- Julian’s older brother who was kidnapped by fairies five years previously. He is restored to the Blackthorn family after living with the Wild Hunt so he’s a bit of a weirdo now.
Cristina Mendoza-Rosales- A Shadowhunter from Mexico who becomes friends with Emma. She has feelings for Diego, but also has a connection with Mark.
Perfect Diego- A Centurion (formally trained scholar Shadowhunter?) with a past connection to Cristina and is all-around pretty annoying.
Kit Herondale- We’re led to believe that he’s a mundane named Kit Rook for the majority of the book. Turns out that he’s really a lost Herondale, discovered by Jem Carstairs and Tessa Grey (who you might remember from The Infernal Devices).
Humans and faeries start turning up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were murdered years ago and the young Shadowhunters forge an alliance with the faeries by promising to stop the murders in exchange for Mark’s return. Not really sure how this is plausible in any way, but just go with it because Cassandra Clare.
Mark struggles to find his place in the Shadowhunter world after living with the fairies for five years (and he is also part fairy by birth). He has a complicated relationship with a fairy named Kieran, a son of the Unseelie King, who took Mark under his wing (if you know what I mean) in the Wild Hunt.
Emma and Julian’s relationship goes much deeper than parabatai ties are intended- they’re actually in love with each other but that’s forbidden because apparently people go mad from it. Don’t know if we should really believe the Clave on this one, they’ve never been the most trustworthy….
The murderer turns out to be Malcom Fade, a warlock the kids believed to be their friend.
Lady Midnight refers to Annabel Blackthorn, a Shadowhunter famous for having a scandalous relationship with a warlock (none other than Malcom Fade). Her family was ashamed of her so they quite naturally entombed her alive in a cave under the sea.
When Malcom found out, he decided that the best plan of action was clearly to raise her from the dead. The ritual required a sacrifice of Blackthorn blood, so he kidnapped Tavvy, the youngest Blackthorn, and attempted the ritual. Emma killed Fade before he could fully complete the spell. Fade’s corpse and the Black Volume of the Dead (a magical book that will apparently be important in the future) were lost to the ocean. At the end of the book, we find out that Annabel has been (somewhat?) resurrected.
After killing Malcom, the runes that had been protecting the Rook household fail. Demons kill Johnny Rook, Kit is saved by Emma and the gang, and they take him back to the Institute where he proceeds to resent his lineage.
Emma asks Mark to pretend to be her boyfriend because she thinks this will destroy Julian’s feelings for her. Instead, she pretty much just makes everything more awkward….
And this is where Lord of Shadows picks up! Hopefully I’ve prepared you to dive back into The Dark Artifices. Happy reading 🙂