Title: The Midnight Heir (Bane Chronicles #4)
Author: Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brenan
Genre: Fantasy, Edwardian Era, Romance
Publication Date: 16 July 2013
Warnings: NONE. THIS IS UTTERLY PERFECT. There's a bit of threatening and fighting but not much. Also if you're scared of ducks.
In Edwardian London, Magnus Bane discovers old friends and new enemies—including the son of his former comrade Will Herondale. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.
Magnus thought he would never return to London, but he is lured by a handsome offer from Tatiana Blackthorn, whose plans—involving her beautiful young ward—are far more sinister than Magnus even suspects. In London at the turn of the century, Magnus finds old friends, and meets a very surprising young man . . . the sixteen-year-old James Herondale.
AAAERURGHRGHHGHHHH. I'm sorry that was weird. BUT I-
This was, by far, the best Bane Chronicles installment. It's clearly a prelude to a series, probably to the mysterious TLH, and we can see very clear parallels to classics, like all of Cassandra Clare's other series (Pride and Prejudice for The Mortal Instruments and A Tale of Two Cities for The Infernal Devices). We'll talk about that later.
This installment was surprising to me, not just because of the spectacular writing and the sudden change of course from the downward spiral the previous installments seemed to be on, but because of the wonderful feelings the familiarity of the older characters brought back. It was more emotional than I expected, Cassandra Clare totally coming back with a bang to her heart wrenching poetic writing that made me so obsessed with her characters to begin with.
James Herondale is introduced as a reckless character, with obvious similarities in character to Jace in City of Ashes, far more so than Will. We see a lot of potential for the dramatic character development that Will went through in The Infernal Devices, though. Yes. A lot of parallels here. A lot of parallels indeeeeed. I won't disclose more until later, when it'll be under a spoiler tag.
Then we meet Will and Tessa again, see them having developed and grown 25 years and become the wonderful, deeply connected couple that they were. In the beginning. Like they always were. Jem makes an appearance, even. Some beautiful pain and nostalgia for the fans. Thanks for that. I just needed to have that punch in the stomach when Jem asked to play his violin. Thanks. So. Much. The next time I want rainbows and happyness I will most definitely read more Cassandra Clare.
Magnus, despite being the POV character, had a minimal role in the actual events of the story. Which is, sort of, a relief because his character had been taking a route to bad-characterization already. But yes. I see the light in the distance. That light from the beautiful glitter in Magnus' foot-high gorgeous hair that we all know and love.
So the writing was way better, definitely. There's a lot of potential for the future series. Which brings me to the spoiler section.
Seriously so this is very spoilery if you haven't read it.
So did anyone else realize the very VERY obvious parallels between this story and Great Expectations? I mean, Cassandra Clare has been criticized for being a ripoff before, but this is just too obvious. I mean,
Case Study A (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)
A young man (Pip) raised in a family who loves him (kinda) meets a withered and bitter old women bent on revenge on all men for breaking her heart and falls madly in love with her beautiful young daughter, trained to break men's hearts without caring of feeling. (Basically she's a weapon created for revenge on men) He then proceeds to work his way up the social ladder in order to win her hand, but she turns out not to have the emotional capacity to love him and stays obedient to her mother despise hating her for what she's done.
Case Study B (The Midnight Heir by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brenan)A young man raised in a family who loves him meets a wither and bitter old woman bent on revenge on all Shadowhunters for having no sympathy and a perceived injustice when her son died, and falls madly in love with her beautiful young daughter, trained to break men's hearts with caring or feeling, and trained to fight beautifully. (Basically she's a weapon. In her own words, "I am my mother's blade."). He then proceeds to spiral out of control out of despair for her love.
Being a fan of the classics, that parallel just jumped ut at me so obviously that I started screaming. Even the way the old woman, Tatiana Blackthorn, was described was ridiculously similar to the way Miss Havisham was described in Great Expectations. Old and withered, looking in her sixties instead of in her forties, wearing the clothes of a young woman, I kinda threw a fit there. And Grace, he beautiful Estella-esque daughter, was just too familiar for me. But I did love how Magnus' outside perJames Herondale here frustrated me, because while Pip was determined to win her heart no matter what, James just went completely mad. Somehow he doesn't seem as likeable as any other Herondales we've seen so far.
Now I would like to do an analysis. In an analysis by an author in the compilation Shadowhunters and Downworlders, this example was brought up:
In a scenario where a girl is torn between two guys (this being the main love conflict--the opposite usually happens when the girl is not the main character), the typical options are usually a nice guy who loves her, and the hot sexy, angsty guy. In this situation, the girl usually ends up with the sexy, angsty one, while the nice guy will back off, heartbroken, or will find another girl to love and cherish. Let's list some example, just off the top of my head.
HSG-Hot Sexy Guy
NSG-Nice Sweet guy
1: Twilight. HSG: Edward NSG: Jacob
2: The Mortal Instruments (I mean, duh.) HSG: Jace NSG: Simon
3: The Infernal Devices (I mean, are you kidding?) HSG: Will NSG: Jem
4. Maximum Ride HSG: Fang NSG: Dylan (but who's kidding everyone wanted Dylan to f*** off)
5: Chaos Walking HSG Todd NSG: Lee (But again nobody rooted for Lee. Ever.)
Well an obvious exception would be Katniss and Peeta, where she ends up with Peeta (NSG) over Gale (HSG). Wonderful. Come I clap for you.
But obviously, it's basically become a fact between authors that when you have a girl who needs a boyfriend, she obviously need to have the hot, sexy guy. Like it's what every main character NEEDS, isn't it.
*Whooo I need to go find me a HSG*
So you must be wondering what I'm babbling about. So I get to the point.
In aforementioned article, the author said, that in the event that the main character, or the main source of romantic conflict, is the BOY, he typical scenario is that he'll have a total crush on the HSG, but will always find the NSG the better option in the end and end up with her. Total contrasting message. It happens a lot in romantic comedies.
I won't go into the whys, because this isn't a feature, but in the story (yes, bringing it back to the story), it is immediately obvious that the focus is on James. James Herondale.
If you've read Clockwork Princess and received the family tree in the first edition, you'll remember that James married Cordelia Carstairs, according to the official tree. Cassandra Clare's said it was unreliable and deceptive, but I don't think we could have had it any other way.Because our baby Jace was born from that particular line of Herondales, eh?
So my mind just placed James in the guy scenario. Before the story, madly in love with the beautiful HSG Grace, and in the end will come to his senses and look at Cordelia Carstairs with new eyes before marrying her and dancing in the field with flowers. With enough Miss Havisham and Estella references to give me heart pains. Basically in which Pip married Biddy (If you've read, you'll remember that he intended to marry Biddy after Estella rejected him).
So that's my theory. Remember that this is PURELY THEORETICAL. Pfffft.
Grade: B+. (It's lower than my usual scores for Bane Chronicles, but only because I'm trying to be a bit more fair-minded) Best Bane Chronicles so far in my opinion. Gave away perhaps a tad bit too much about the plot of, perhaps the mysterious TLH.