Thursday, May 9, 2019

Book Review: "Queen of Air and Darkness" by Cassandra Clare

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: "The Dark Artifices" #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 912 pages
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Date Started: April 24, 2019
Date Finished: May 4, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Book 1 Review
Book 2 Review

The end of The Dark Artifices has arrived and Before I dive into what will no doubt be a very long review, I just want to reiterate how much I enjoy this trilogy. It's such a good one, even if I struggled with Lord of Shadows and some of this installment.

How this review is going to work is that the first part will be spoiler free for those who haven't read ANY of the trilogy. The second part will be spoiler free for this installment only, but may include spoilers for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. The third part will contain some spoilers for this book, but that part will be well marked beforehand. So, without further ado, let's dive into this review because I have many thoughts!


I will say that this wasn't my favorite book in the trilogy. That still falls to Lady Midnight, but I did enjoy this final book A LOT more than Lord of Shadows. Where Lord of Shadows seemed to fall flat for me, this book did not. I did have some issues with it that I will henceforth now discuss. 

The first issue I had was the first half of the book. While I can look at the events of the first half and think that they're good for the plot and they made sense for the most part, the first half of this book was such a drag for me. What I think the issue was is that, while I love frustration and angst and making characters work for their happiness, the first half was just too much of that. We started out on a very sad note and moved straight into one frustrating event after the other. I never wanted to punch a character as much as I did in the beginning, which is a good thing because it meant I cared. However, the first half was pretty much ALL frustration with nothing to lighten the mood. But when the second half came around, it was balanced a lot better which is why I loved the second half so much more than the first. 

Another thing that bothered me a lot in the beginning that continued from Lord of Shadows was the constant perspective shifts and the fact that every single character needed to have their own POV. I can appreciate multiple POVs and I enjoyed it, but I stand by my thinking that there doesn't have to be 6 perspective changes in a single chapter. The reason this annoyed me the most was because we would start a chapter and a new scene and then three pages later, when the scene wasn't even finished, we'd get pulled into another perspective and have to reorient ourselves. Then, three pages later we'd get tossed back into the original scene and have to reorient ourselves again. I think that was a big reason why I didn't enjoy the first half as much either. Also, not every character needed a POV. There were different storylines and things happening in different places, but not every character in each place needed a POV when they wouldn't get another one again. 

Those were my main issues with the book and the first half. This book is 900 pages long and if I look at the first half as it's own book I would have given it 3 stars whereas the second half I would have given 5 stars. Once I finally got to the second half, I loved it. 

In the second half, everything seemed to be moving at a lot more of a consistent pace. There weren't long drags between events and even the space between bigger events was filled by character development and relationships and stuff of that degree. 

I will say that I absolutely loved the ending for the most part, but I felt as if I was left with more questions than answers. I did think that some tensions built up throughout the first two books were resolved a bit too easily. The big climax at the end didn't feel as impactful as City of Heavenly Fire did, so I'm not sure how I feel about this as a big conclusion especially since there were a lot of unanswered questions still. I know that we're going to be getting The Wicked Powers, which I'm super excited about, but I'm pretty sure we have to get through The Eldest Curses and The Last Hours before we get TWP. It might be a few years until we get to know what happens next. 

Overall, for my non-spoiler thoughts, I enjoyed this book a lot more than Lord of Shadows but not quite as much as Lady Midnight. Looking back, even the first half of this book is starting to grow on me even if in the moment I didn't enjoy it as much. Another thing that could have impacted my reading of it was the fact that I started reading it right before finals week began and I was working 40+ hours during it. Still, I enjoyed it and I'm excited to see what happens next to all my characters! 

-may contain spoilers for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows-

Like I said, this section may have some spoilers for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, but will continue to be spoiler free for Queen of Air and Darkness. I just had a few thoughts that might contain some major and minor spoilers for the previous books, so I thought I'd put them in a separate sections.

Mostly I want to talk about the characters. We had a lot of character growth in this book for all the characters. I'm really interested in seeing how they grow even more within The Wicked Powers. Of course, some of the characters annoyed me at times, but there was still growth.

I think the main thing for me is that the Ty and Kit dynamic felt different because of Livvy's death. I didn't enjoy their POVs as much anymore because it just felt so different and they didn't seem to be connecting very well with each other either.

I absolutely loved Kieran and Mark and Cristina. They were one of my favorite parts of this book and I honestly just want an entire book about just them. Like an entire book about them before, during, and after TDA. I feel like I know so much about these characters but there's still so much I don't know at all.

Lastly, character-wise, I absolutely loved the fact there were characters from The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments in this series, and specifically in this book. Jace was just absolutely hilarious and I don't remember him being this funny in The Mortal Instruments.


Okay I'm definitely going to be getting into some spoilers here. So if you haven't read Queen of Air and Darkness or any of the previous two books, I would recommend clicking away now if you don't want spoilers.

The main thing I wanted to discuss here was how the whole parabatai curse thing was resolved. Even from when City of Bones came out, readers were told that parabatai could not be together. These three books explored that in more depth and all outcomes seemed pretty bleak for Julian and Emma. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that it was resolved and everything turned out okay for them, but I feel as if it happened to easily (even if I'm glad that they killed Dearborn during their weird giant time). I just feel it was too out of the blue to happen so easily when the solution hadn't even been remotely considered throughout any of the books. Of course, I am glad they're together and are able to be without any fears now.

The next thing I wanted to gush over was Malec. Magnus and Alec have played pretty significant roles in Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness and I absolutely loved getting to see more of them. I absolutely adored their wedding (it was the only time I cried in the whole book) and I cannot wait to go and read The Eldest Curses now. It's been 8 years since I first read the beginning of their relationship and it all culminated in this amazing moment. I'm just so happy with them, their story, etc.

Lastly, I want to gush over Kieran, Mark, and Cristina. I am SO happy that we have a poly relationship being represented in Young Adult media. I haven't personally read any in mainstream publishing, though I have read a lot of poly relationships in self-published books. The whole book I was just rooting for them to all end up happy and together, but I was so scared that one of them would get killed off or the relationship would be cut from the book. I honestly just love the fact that they are all together and I really want to read more about them in future books!

My overall thoughts are that this was a lot better than Lord of Shadows and I'm actually very happy with how everything turned out, even if the first half of this book took a while to get into! My faith in Cassandra Clare has been renewed and I am definitely interested in all the upcoming Shadowhunter novels.

Thanks for reading!

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