Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of this title for the purposes of review.
“Faith isn’t never having any doubts; it’s having what you need to overcome them.”
― Cassandra Clare, Queen of Air and Darkness
As the newest edition to New York Times best-selling author Cassandra Clare’s collection of Shadowhunter stories and one of the most anticipated novels of 2018, Queen of Air and Darkness proved to be intricate and captivating, yet somewhat overly fast-paced and confusing in comparison to its previous counterparts, Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. It’s a fascinating dynamic, especially given the book’s jaw-dropping length. Kicking off where the previous novel ended, Queen of Air and Darkness immediately throws readers back to the tragic events that left both the characters and fans outraged as well as heartbroken. With 880 pages of plot told through various viewpoints of major and minor characters which break down into interconnected fragments, this novel will not leave readers disappointed in what is a fully realized work of a dastardly charming and relatable roster of characters collecising a satisfying continuation to the previous installments.
Julian is distressed over losing his little sister especially after raising her like a father for years while also dealing with falling in love with his best friend and parabatai, Emma. Similarly, Emma does not know how to comfort the grief-stricken Julian and her growing feelings for him despite knowing about the parabatai curse that restricts parabatai from having romantic relationships. When the two finally discovered a reasonable solution in Lord of Shadows, the option is snatched away from them and instead, their relationship is used as blackmail to get them to do as the leader of a Shadowhunter extremist group, the Cohort, orders. As the Cohort gains power and control, the balance of the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders is placed on the shoulders of Emma and Julian. Thrown into a rollercoaster of emotions, journeying to the suspicious yet enthralling world of the Fey to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead, and dealing with ordinary teenage problems, will they find the book before time runs out or will their world be destroyed into a chaos that no one can survive?
In addition to the major plot, two smaller plotlines intertwine to reveal more about the relationships between Ty Blackthorn and Kit Herondale as well as Cristina Rosales, Mark Blackthorn, and Kieran. Ty wants his dead sister back and, with his knowledge and the resources of the Shadowhunters, knows that he can. Kit has just been shown the world of the Shadowhunters and is still trying to adjust to his new life. Cristina is confused and frustrated. Both Mark and Kieran are close to her heart, and they feel the same way, but her past and the fear of rejection torture her mind. Effectively speaking, both of these plotlines are used masterfully.
As a gifted author, Clare adds depth and realism to all the relationships present in all her novels and especially in this one. However, there were certain aspects such as the overall complexity of the novel itself that seemed over the top. With all its 880 pages, it appeared at parts of the novel an almost random smaller part would begin while another just ended, causing the plot to feel a little dragged out. In the big picture, these gripes aren’t anything more than minor, especially given just how satisfying this installment is.
Despite being a long novel, the pacing and gripping of attention allowed me to be able to finish it in a span about four days, and I’m sure readers will be able to as well. Similar to Clare’s other books, it’s a grand and spectacled journey that leaves little in its wake to be desired. Fans of both the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices also by Cassandra Clare will not be disappointed by the satisfying and complex conclusion to The Dark Artifices trilogy.
Score: 8.6 out of 10
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.
QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS is on sale now.