REVIEW: queen of air and darkness by cassandra clare

qoaad_cover_01Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Dark Artifices #3
Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

I’m gonna be real with you guys: when I said that I can write long essays for pleasure books? My Goodreads review of Queen and Air and Darkness is 2,500 words long and riddled with screaming, cursing, and keysmashing. This is my attempt to condense that into a proper review for a blog now that it’s been a month and I’ve stopped jolting awake from yearning for The Wicked Powers. TL;DR: I loved this book; it rings so true to me and there was so much going on, all of which was completely necessary and made Queen of Air and Darkness so much more powerful.

The Dark Artifices is so wonderfully character-driven that the whole first section of the book where the Blackthorns are dealing with Livvy’s death so much more painful. I remember Clare saying that she had lost a family member while writing Lord of Shadows, and the grief and sadness comes from that place. Some of it was really hard to read for me, especially about Julian and Ty. I was worried about them before I came into the book, but their reactions really threw me off and at the same time were completely true to their characters. Julian just wants to take care of his family, and he failed with Livvy, and he has to keep his family afloat while being unable to properly grieve himself. I didn’t like it, but I understood what Julian did. Ty, on the other hand, is stubborn as a mule and constantly thinks out of the box to solve problems; he doesn’t like being idle, and if he thinks he can get involved to fix something, he will. He looks at Livvy’s death as something that he can fix. Again, understandable.

I loved everyone in this book, from Emma and Julian, Mark, Cristina, and Kieran, Kit and Ty, and Dru. All of them are so realistic and complex characters who have gone through way too much. I do have favourites, of course, by a hair: Kit and Ty, whom I’ve been in love with since Lady Midnight. Ty originally caught my eye because he’s autistic, and he’s the first autistic character who I have really connected with, but over the course of these books I’ve really come to love Ty, Kit, and Livvy, who worked so well together, until. Well. Dru doesn’t replace Livvy, but she’s an excellent addition to the team: I loved the scene in the diner so much, and The Wicked Powers is going to be so great with these three narrating. Kit is so snarky and hilarious, and Ty is Kit and Ty have such a great dynamic, and I was expecting them to get together in this book. That sure as hell isn’t going to be happening. I was shocked, dismayed, and in utter agony at the fact we have to wait until 2022! to see them again. At least we got good Kitty content?

I also really loved Mark, Kieran, and Cristina in this book. I thought Clare might have been preparing for a poly relationship, but I was surprised that it happened and so pleased with the result. Clare really has a thing for making me like love triangles, huh? Those three are so precious and loving together, and they really deserve each other. Julian and Emma do, too, and I’m so glad they get a chance to just be together like normal teenagers. Of all the main ships, I think Julian and Emma was the least interesting to me, just because I’m tired of heterosexual nonsense at this point–and even though I really do love them, they are full of heterosexual nonsense.

The plot was such a ride as well, tying together The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and The Dark Artifices. We went so many places in this book and so much happened–everything changed. We see Faerie and the death of the Unseelie King; we’re in Idris when the Cohort (damn them) stages a coup, and one of the sections in the book that stands out the most: Thule. I’m still a bit dicey on this section, mostly because it brings back Sebastian and centres Clary in the narrative again, but reading that part itself was a highlight of the book. It was so fascinating to see how the world would have turned out if not for Clary, and it was wonderful to see Livvy again. I loved that she was a complete hardass here but still Livvy, and it broke my heart to see her living without the rest of her family and especially Ty.

The ending also gave me a mild heart attack, y’all, but I love that the Blackthorns were the one to talk Julian and Emma down from their terrifying Nephilim forms. This series really is about the Blackthorns and how much love they all have for each other, and the climax really showed it. The scene where Kit and Ty raised Livvy utterly shattered my heart. Kit telling Ty “I love you” and Ty rejecting it, cleaving a rift between them that we know is gonna last, like, three years; Ty succeeding in raising his sister only to know that she will be torn away from him again and again and again … this is why I’ve been yearning for The Wicked Powers. There is just so much there that I need to know more about, and I can’t wait until 2022.

I’m glad everyone else got a happily ever after, though! I feel really satisfied with everyone else’s stories knowing that Julian and Emma can rest easy knowing that Helen and Aline are there to help with the kids and that the Blackthorns will not willingly be torn apart that easily; that Mark, Cristina, and Kieran can all be together and help mend the rifts between Downworlders, Faeries, and Shadowhunters; that Helen and Aline may have kids to add to the giant Blackthorn family. I am so, so proud of Consul Alec Lightwood and the Malec wedding scene absolutely delighted me. It was a lot of happiness after so much heartbreak in this series and I’m glad we got it.

But that cliffhanger. And now I’m yearning for The Wicked Powers. Again.