Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness, the final novel in the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling The Dark Artifices trilogy.
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 blight 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.
“The story that I love you, it has no end.”
MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
I struggled for a very long time on what I was going to rate this book. You see, I have never given a Cassandra Clare book less than a high rating and part of me felt guilty for not loving this book. Believe me, I really wanted to enjoy this, but there were just so many aspects of it that I didn’t like.
This felt like a filler book. The whole plot and story line was just a set up for The Wicked Powers and I was disappointed with it.
For those that don’t know, Cassie gives a kill count for each of her books, like Lord of Shadows and City of Heavenly Fire. For Queen of Air and Darkness, she refused to do so and, when I heard this, I was scared out of my mind for my favorite characters. This fear turned out to be unfounded because no one important died. I repeat: NO ONE IMPORTANT DIED. Anyone that did was a minor character that had been mentioned very few times. The only somewhat significant deaths were Horace Dearborn and the Unseelie King and, honestly, even their deaths felt rushed and skimmed over.
I spent a lot of this book waiting to love it. Nothing truly significant was happening (except for emotional stuff) and the plot felt entirely too drawn out. This is an 880 page book for crying out loud! And on top of that, this was supposed to be the last book in the trilogy. It didn’t feel like a last book except for maybe 50 pages at the end. It felt like a giant filler book that was a gateway into the next book, or in this case, the next trilogy. There were so many things left unresolved and it made the whole book feel like a REALLY LONG prequel to The Wicked Powers. This book honestly ruined the whole trilogy for me.
With that all being said, what made me struggle with not rating this book higher was the ending. The last 50 pages were absolutely phenomenal and, if the first 830 would have been like that, I have no doubt this book would have been the best of Cassie’s books yet. And, honestly, it felt like Cassie ended it like that on purpose; like she knew that this wasn’t her best and wanted to end it on a beautiful high note so you would struggle to dislike it. You would be left with a great feeling to look back on and it was supposed to make you forget that the rest of the book was subpar.
Now, with my general thoughts out of the way, let’s get into the characters:
Emma- I used to really love Emma. In fact, she was my favorite female character in the Shadowhunter Chronicles. But after this book, there was something she almost did that completely changed my opinion of her. That would be when she tried to destroy all of the parabatai bonds. I have no clue what she was thinking in that moment and her logic of making everyone hate her was completely asinine. I am so thankful that she was stopped before she got to do what she intended, but I never saw Emma the same way again. Anyone that could even think about destroying all of the parabatai bonds is a person that I don’t like. Emma, of all people, knew what that parabatai bond felt like and for her to even contemplate taking that away from other people made me hate her a little. Given, she didn’t actually do it, but that fact that she was going to is enough for me.
Julian- In case you don’t know, Julian was one of my favorite male characters ever. I absolutely loved and adored him. In this book though, after he lost his emotions, he became an asshole who I disliked very much. He wasn’t the Julian that I loved anymore, and his character change was one of the main factors that ruined this book for me. I just didn’t like the way he was portrayed and I didn’t enjoy his sections after that.
The Parabatai Curse- While we are on the topic of Emma and Julian, let’s go ahead and talk about the parabatai curse. I HATED IT and the way that it was resolved felt cheap and a cop-out to me. It was flat out, just not good and was not handled well in my mind. The whole Nephilim part was really cool and interesting to see, but the way it was explained later and the role it played in breaking the parabatai bond was weird and didn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Ty and Kit- Ty and Kit were what kept me reading this book. I love them both so much and I live for any interactions between them. Unfortunately, their whole plot line during this book felt entirely too drawn out and I didn’t like the premise of it in the first place. I never agreed with Ty bringing Livvy back and when Kit continued to keep quiet about it, I became more and more concerned. On top of that, they spend the whole book trying to find a way to bring her back and don’t actually get around to it until page 684. Their scenes together became really repetitive and I didn’t learn that much.
How their story ended was even worse than the rest of the book. My heart was ripped out of my chest when Kit decided to live with Tessa and Jem and when Ty decided to go to the Scholomance. I felt like I invested so much time and love into them and I wanted them to have a happy ending more than anyone. The fact that their story ended the way it did was devastating to me. Like I said earlier, this book was made for the purpose of setting up TWP and nothing proves it more than the way Kit and Ty left things at the end.
I am also incredibly sad that Ty ended up having to see Livvy’s ghost and I just know that it is going to have a major impact on TWP.
On a slightly higher note, I am really interested to see where the Kit being a descendant of the First Heir is going to go and I am incredibly curious to see what impact it is going to have on TWP. I am also curious as to what other powers Kit may have.
Cristina, Mark, and Kieran- I was really excited to see where their story was going to end because I am all for poly relationships. Unfortunately, like most of the book, their plot line together felt drawn out and, at times, unnecessarily dramatized. After a while, it started to feel less like they wanted to all be together and more like they were looking for reasons NOT to be together. The reunion between them all at the end felt meh to me and, while I was happy that they ended up together, their plot line felt out-shined by other aspects of the story.
Diana and Gwyn- I loved them in this book and I felt like they were one of the only plot lines that I felt was flushed out right and developed well. And when Diana cut off Horace’s arm, I think people halfway across the world could hear me scream, “You go girl!”.
Drusilla and Tavvy- I was happy that they got to play a role in this book. Dru has become one of my favorite characters and I just know that she will truly shine in TWP. The part where they were trying to bring Emma and Julian back had me in tears and when Tavvy said “Jules, carry me. I’m tired. I want to go home.”, my heart felt like it had been ripped out of my chest and stomped on.
Diego- I feel like Diego has come a long way. I was really proud of him when he gave himself up for Kieran and I think he will make an excellent Inquisitor.
Jaime- I didn’t get to see as much of Jaime as I would have liked, but he always had me laughing in the scenes he was in. The scene between him and Mark where Jaime jumps on the table to get away from Mark had me dying laughing. I am really interested to see what role he will play in TWP as well.
Helen and Aline- I loved them in this book and I adore them as a couple. They balance each other out perfectly and I enjoyed seeing them reunite with their families.
Magnus and Alec- I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am for them. They have come such a long way from City of Bones and I was sobbing at their wedding. My heart just hurts so much from the happiness I feel because of them and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Plus, Alec being Consul is the best decision the Clave has ever made. Just saying.
Isabelle and Simon- They played a minor role in this book, but it was good to see them nonetheless. Plus, that scene when Simon gave Julian his Lord Montgomery figurine, I was rolling on the floor laughing. Isabelle’s reaction was priceless.
Jace and Clary- These two just get to me every time. EVERY. TIME. The bonus chapter with them in it, A Love That Never Tires, had me hysterically crying. It was just so beautiful and perfect. It really brought me back and reminded me why I fell in love with Cassie’s writing in the first place.
I am slightly upset about the Clary vision fiasco. I really thought after Lord of Shadows that Clary was going to die and to find out that her vision had nothing to do with her and was actually Thule Clary, made me really mad yet incredibly relieved.
The Unseelie King- I didn’t really like him as a person or as a villain. He never felt developed enough to me and felt evil just to be evil. I am happy he is gone.
Oban- He played such an insignificant role and it felt like he appeared one page and was gone the next.
Horace Dearborn- I am really happy that he died and his death was satisfying in a demented way. I will not miss him. I only wish he would have had to suffer more consequences for his actions and bigotry.
The Cohort- I can’t even begin to you how incredibly angry I am that the Cohort survived this book. They are despicable, disgusting, horrible, people that don’t even deserve to be called human beings or Shadowhunters. I want them gone so bad and I hope they all burn in Hell.
Annabel I used to feel bad for Annabel, but after this book, not so much. I am happy that she is gone and maybe she will find some peace in death that she didn’t find in life.
The Thule Section and Characters:
While the Thule section was cool to see what might have been, I felt like it took up a lot of room and dragged the story out immensely. The only real impact it had on this book was the Mortal Sword and the letter that Livvy gave Ty. It didn’t have any other impact except for maybe the Epilogue, but even the end didn’t really affect this book. It only changes what happens in TWP.
Thule Livvy- It was great seeing what she could have been, yet heartbreaking at the same time. I burst into tears when she appeared on the page and seeing her talk about the life she lives in Thule was hard to read. The letter she wrote to Ty had me sobbing and part of me hopes to see her again, but the other part is happy that her story ended where it did.
Thule Sebastian- I was shocked to my core to see Sebastian again. Fans have been asking Cassie for years to give us some more of Sebastian’s story and she did it. Not in any way that I was expecting, but she did it. I really enjoyed seeing what might have happened if the Shadowhunters had lost the war and the fact that Sebastian still wasn’t happy even after all of that was an incredibly brilliant detail to add to the story.
Thule Raphael- It was great to see him again because I really missed him. The part where he tells Emma and Julian to tell Magnus to change his kid’s name had me dying laughing. I really wish I would have gotten to them actually tell Magnus.
Cameron Ashdown- I like Thule Cameron ten times better than real Cameron. And his relationship with Livvy was just so precious.
The Epilogue, Thule Jace, and Ash-
I saved Ash and Thule Jace, or as I like to refer to him: Dark Jace, for the end because they really deserve their own section. The Epilogue gave me chills and I have no clue how I am supposed to wait until 2021 to find out what happens next.
Ash- I am still not quite sure what to make of Ash. He seems like a good person, but he was raised by the Unseelie King, Sebastian and now Dark Jace. I don’t really know how much good could be left in him after that. I am really interested to see what role he will play in TWP and I am even more curious to see where his wings came from.
Dark Jace- Some people might be mad that it looks like Dark Jace is going to be the villain for TWP, but I think it was a brilliant choice on Cassandra Clare’s part.
You see, Sebastian is my favorite villain of all time. Not because he was evil, but because of the complexity of him. He was born evil and didn’t have a choice but to be otherwise and that has always made him special in my eyes. I wanted to see the good in him and I am still sad that he never got that chance.
I feel like Dark Jace is going to play a role similar to that. For years, I have been scared to death that Jace would lose Clary and I never wanted to see what he would become. Now, I am going to have to. Dark Jace has had everyone he loves stolen from him and all he wants is Clary back. And honestly, I can’t blame him for it. I am dying to see how he is going to be in TWP and how he and Light Jace are going to interact.
I feel like the relationship between Dark and Light Jace will be really interesting because it will make Jace see what he could have easily become had just one thing changed. Jace won’t be able to automatically hate Dark Jace because he won’t be able to help but sympathize with him.
I am also curious to see how Clary is going to react to seeing Dark Jace.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, it just felt too long and it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I was expecting a final book and this one just didn’t feel like that (as explained above). I see why Cassie decided to do it the way she did, it just made the story hard to stay connected to.
Other Books in the Series:
I had the pleasure to meet Cassandra Clare when she went on tour for Queen of Air and Darkness and I got the three books signed. The pictures from the event can be found on my Instagram: