Book Review: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Author: Cassandra Clare

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Date: 2018

Synopsis:  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.

Lady Midnight | Lord of Shadows

Having read the rest of her books, it was only natural I was going to get hold of a copy of Queen of Air and Darkness. It didn’t take long for my library to indulge me either.

The Dark Artifices hasn’t been my favourite trilogy. But I reached a point in this book where I wasn’t certain I was going to finish it. Considering I never DNF a book, that’s saying something. I stuck with it and the second half was far more enjoyable, sweeping me back into the world I love, but still, very disappointing.

The first half has very swift changing narrations. You’ll get maybe a page or two with one character, and then it will switch. This didn’t particularly work for me because nothing was happening with the plot.

All of the characters spend the first half of the book having a crisis over forbidden love. All of them. There’s the ongoing drama with Julian and Emma. Cristina, Mark and Kieran are pining for one another. Kit is having a dilemma of his own figuring out how he feels about Ty.

I’m certain for the first section, that is as far as the plot gets. Sure, there are a few bits thrown in with the Inquisitor causing chaos, but nothing stimulating. The changing narration just makes it feel fractured and slow.

Emma moved closer to Cristina. “How did you end up finding Adaon?” she whispered. “Did you just click your ruby heels together and demand to be taken to the Unseelie King’s hottest son?”

Once it gets onto the second part, it starts getting much better. The narrations settle down – you spend longer with each character which means things progress, rather than feeling stunted. The action picks up and the plot becomes more than just a romance story. Events develop: things are more dangerous for Julian and Emma and more complicated for Cristina and her boys. The pace increases, the tension develops and you find yourself caring.

Reaching part three meant reaching the action-packed, heartfelt style of writing I’ve grown used to from Cassandra Clare. There’s epic battles, there’s characters risking everything for each other, there’s a few twists thrown in to keep things tense. I was engaged with the final part and able to curl up with it – that didn’t happen for the earlier parts.

So, characters… I’m not certain how much Julian and Emma develop individually, but they do become stronger together. Drusilla and Kit step forward and play an important role in this book compared to the previous ones. The characters that have been secondary up until now (Helen, Diego, Jamie, Diana) become more prominent, which was enjoyable to see.

It was also nice The Mortal Instruments crew returning and having their own part to play. They’re not in it just for the sake of it but because the plot needs them.

If this book was significantly shorter, it would be a lot stronger. I would have been more engaged if there wasn’t so much floating around moping over love (the grief is different!), it might have caught my attention.

Ultimately a satisfying end to the trilogy but I’m glad it didn’t go on for any longer.

Goodreads | Amazon

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15 thoughts on “Book Review: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

  1. Brilliant and honest review. I’m not sure this is my kind of thing but I’ve heard of the author and some of her books on social media. At least you persevered and read it to the end. The cover looks stunning though – my first thought was of Amy Lee from Evanescence 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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