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Book Review: ‘Queen of Air and Darkness’ by Cassandra Clare

HAPPY RELEASE DAY, SHADOWHUNTER CHRONICLES FANS! 😀

Many of us waited more than 550 days for the conclusion to The Dark Artifices and the day has finally come! Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness is now available in book stores and online as an ebook or audio book. Happy book birthday, Cassie ♥
I wrote reviews for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows so of course I had to write one for Queen of Air and Darkness as well.
All the information that are revealed in the following can already be found online (here, for instance) and will be the only ‘spoilers’ that are mentioned unless stated otherwise.

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love. (x)

***

It feels strangely surreal to me to be writing a review for Queen of Air and Darkness. I’ve been in this fandom for almost nine years now, but The Dark Artifices is the first The Shadowhunter Chronicles series where I was an active fan from the release of Lady Midnight to today (on onwards). Another reason why it’s surreal is that I just cannot believe that this trilogy is over. It’s been part of my life since it was first announced back in 2011 and now this series is completed. I feel strange and reluctant to part with it because of the characters I have come to adore and because I just loved the books so freaking much! They will forever have a special place in my heart and I’m not just saying this because I did continuity reads for all three of them.
All good things must come to an end, though, and Queen of Air and Darkness deserves to be reviewed because it is another absolutely remarkable book by Cassandra Clare, our Queen of Fantasy. ♥
Please note that this review is by no means “complete”. Queen of Air and Darkness is a really long book, so much happens, and I simply couldn’t write about certain things without giving away major spoilers!
But now, without any further ado, here are my spoiler-free thoughts:

“Break my heart. Break it in pieces. I give you permission.” is probably what a lot of fans will be thinking when they start reading Queen of Air and Darkness. The characters suffered terrible losses in Lord of Shadows and we felt for and wept with them.

There is no easy way of saying this: the beginning of Queen of Air and Darkness is heartbreaking which is understandable because it pretty much begins minutes after the events of LoS.

But, of course there are also uplifting moments throughout the book, moments that will make you feel happy and/or hopeful. You will cry, but you will also laugh and just have a darn good time reading this tome!
You will experience surprises, shocking twists, intense action and feel a plethora of emotions. In short: you will read a freaking fabulous book!

Everything will change.

This line, which was used to promote the book, couldn’t be more true, but while I obviously won’t reveal anything, just think that change doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It can be good, but that’s for me to know and for you to find out 😉

Romance plays such a central part in Cassie’s books and love is so important in the whole trilogy, I feel like this is the best point to really start.
While the romantic situation for Julian and Emma looks pretty dire due to Robert’s death and the parabatai curse in general, there is still an abundance of romance in Queen of Air and Darkness for a lot of characters. This is a book written by Cassandra Clare after all.
How can you not love a line like this one: “As long as you exist and I exist, I will love you.”?
I’m a sucker for a good romance, I have no problem admitting this, and I once again felt all warm and fuzzy while reading the book. It’s definitely the perfect book for shippers. One scene at the end made me fangirl so hard and I seriously cannot wait for everyone to read it. ♥ Prepare for major feels!

Of course, Queen of Air and Darkness isn’t only about relationships/romantic love, we do get to read about three budding friendships and the continuation of Ty and Kit’s friendship, which is very important now that Livvy is dead. (This still hurts to write)
One budding friendship is pretty unique, but I really liked the dynamics between these two characters and I feel like they have the potential to become good friends.

The third form of love I have to talk about is the familial love: I adore the Blackthorns, you can see the love they have for each other on every single page and this truly was one of my favourite aspects in The Dark Artifices.
Their family is forever changed, that’s undebatable. Helen is finally back, but one family member is missing. Livvy’s death blew a hole in the whole family structure and you can really feel it.
The way the Blackthorn family mourned her death was incredibly written and Cassie’s way of depicting grief in general was phenomenal. It was so relatable and simply A+ writing!
Being back in Los Angeles isn’t easy for Helen because she was away for so long and the young siblings she knew have grown into teenagers she can’t immediately connect with. But they all try and one scene with the Blackthorn family is particularly powerful and so, so important in the book! I loved it and I’m sure you will as well!

Unfortunately, there are more deaths in the final book and one will leave a character changed forever ☹ That’s all I can say without diving straight into spoiler territory.

Since I’m already talking about unpleasant stuff: let’s talk about the Cohort. It’s as horrific as ever and I wanted to punch some of them in the face because they were so despicable. Sadly, the Cohort is only gaining power in Queen of Air and Darkness and we do see some very ugly and upsetting developments which are reflective of actual political situations in a lot of Western countries.

I need to address two more villains now: the Unseelie King and the Seelie Queen. They cannot stand each other, and I cannot stand them.
The Seelie Queen is devious because she knows what other characters want and then gives it to them but with a twist. There are two huge revelations in Queen of Air and Darkness that are directly connected to the Seelie Queen.
The Unseelie King is just as bad, but at least he’s not subtle about it. He is a hateful character so I almost pitied Annabel who was kidnapped by him at the end of Lord of Shadows.
There is also the issue of the really unusual blight which was caused by the King. There is a lot of trouble surrounding it and some effects that we were unaware of in the second book are very worrying!
You cannot not mention the Cold Peace when you are talking about faeries. The Cold Peace is despised by many, faeries and Shadowhunters alike. It took Mark and Helen away from their family and caused so much distrust. Will it end in Queen of Air and Darkness? Read the book to find out!

A thing that was almost mentioned in passing in Lord of Shadows, but which is also important regarding the faeries, is the whole mystery about the First Heir. Do not worry, we will find out their identity and the circumstances surrounding this character might shock you! I was happy to see that my theory turned out to be right. 😊

Lord of Shadows was already filled with diversity/representation in many different forms and Cassie did add to that in Queen of Air and Darkness. She introduced something completely new and I applaud her for it! It was fascinating to read.

The parabatai curse really does get resolved – I guarantee you that you will be shocked! I was at the edge of my seat and could not believe my eyes. The whole story arc blew my mind by its sheer genius.

Like Cassie already revealed in one of her newsletters and an interview with her publisher, our heroes go to a completely new to us place. This place was so surprising, and I cannot wait to see your reactions to it. A lot of things do happen there: it’s definitely a place we will all remember!

Although a lot of things do change in Queen of Air and Darkness, the book never loses its humour completely. I reread the first two books before my continuity read and I was once again struck by how funny they were. This is also the case for the final book. I mentioned the funny one-liners in a previous review and I also have to bring them up today: There were some really great and memorable ones which I’m sure many will appreciate.

A certain Mister Herondale gets his own paragraph because he is immensely important in Queen of Air and Darkness and will continue to be so in The Wicked Powers. I’m of course talking about Kit 😊 The end of Lady Midnight seemingly made him into an orphan and Queen of Air and Darkness finally elucidates on his mum. We now know who she was and why she was important. Everything else is a spoiler!
Kit also held Ty together, he was the friend Ty needed and their friendship is just so sweet.

Beloved characters from Cassie’s The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments do have cameos once again and Clary’s fate is revealed just like Cassie promised.
Seeing the main cast of TMI as well as Jem and Tessa is always such a treat and I loved seeing how they supported our main characters. Church was particularly awesome in the third book!

Other things that I must mention albeit very briefly:

The warlock sickness is deadly serious, warlocks we love are in danger and it could have a devastating effect on a lot of characters.

I also have to talk about three very different characters: Cameron Ashdown, the mysterious Ash and Drusilla Blackthorn.
Cam is one of the most astonishing characters in the whole book. It’s entirely possible that your opinion about him will change drastically.
We do find out more about Ash and BY THE ANGEL! This guy is so freaking interesting, and I want to know literally everything about him! I feel like Cassie is going to get riddled with questions about him once she is ready to discuss Queen of Air and Darkness with her readers.
Dru is my MVP in this book. Her character development is AMAZING which makes me so excited for The Wicked Powers. Dru was brave, she was loving and courageous. She never lost faith and I think her journey onwards is going to be a very intriguing and maybe even unexpected one.

Final thoughts:

First of all, I need the final two Ghosts of the Shadow Market stories now! They weren’t published together with the other short stories because of spoilers and I think they will be important for the future. I hope Cassie is going to share the synopses for Ghosts of Old Loves, and Forever Fallen soon. So far we only do know that the ninth story is set about six months after Queen of Air and Darkness and Jace is going to have a POV in Forever Fallen (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #10).
Another thing which I desperately need as soon as possible – no pressure, Cassie 😉 – is The Wicked Powers! While the main story arcs of The Dark Artifices  were resolved just like Cassie said they would be, we are looking at a very different Shadowhunter World now and I am so, so intrigued by it.
To sum up: Queen of Air and Darkness is a stunning finale to The Dark Artifices!
So many of its story arcs – the political situation and the way the Blackthorns dealt with grief – were incredibly written and thus felt so real to me which is why it’s such an engaging and captivating book. Cassie’s worldbuilding definitely reached a whole new level and I know it’s going to get even better in future The Shadowhunter Chronicles books. – Five out of five stars for this dazzling book!

Thank you, Cassie, for this gem and congratulations on finishing another spectacular series! I loved your whole trilogy almost as much as Julian and Emma love each other. 😊
In my last review I used the following quote to finish and since it’s still valid, I’ll also close this review with it:
The Shadowhunter Chronicles “haven taken my life, have taken it apart and put it together in a shape so strange and marvelous I can only wonder” and for that I will always be grateful. ♥

So long, Shadowhunters! Thank you for reading!

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About Cathrin (654 Articles)
Writer for TMI Source and 'The Shadowhunter Chronicles' lover extraordinaire. Fangirls over books, history, German football, movies and fictional characters.

13 Comments on Book Review: ‘Queen of Air and Darkness’ by Cassandra Clare

  1. PLEASE TELL ME WHETHER CLARY WILL DIE OR NOT THATS THE ONLY THING I WANT TO KNOW PLEASE OR OTHERWISE I‘LL GET A HEART ATTACK PLEASE I‘M LITERALLY CRIYING RIGHT NOW.

  2. I finished it. I started at 9am, finished at 5pm. I’m so tired but it was so, so worth it! I want more

  3. hey, can you ask Cassie about Ash (ask what ever you want and if we will be getting shown art work of him)
    – thanks

  4. I really need to talk to someone who’s done with Queen like me…

  5. I do like the way the parabatai curse was resolved. I liked a majority of it. I just felt that, at times, the pacing was off due to some less important details that had to be revealed (perhaps, they will be used in future books?). My review will go up tomorrow. Oh boy, here I go.

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