Series: The Dark Artifices #3
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Main themes: Love, Family, Loss, Politics, Societal Issues
Rating: 4.5 stars
I’m a huge fan of Cassandra Clare; I love all of her novels and thankfully, I’ve never felt worried about starting one of her new releases. I’ve always started her books with excitement and whilst there was never any doubt that I would love Queen of Air and Darkness, I did have expectations for what I hoped the novel would be able to deliver. Not only were there major problems that still needed solving, like how Emma and Julian would overcome the parabatai curse, or whether the political agenda of the Cohort could be stopped, but I was massively keen to see how the passing of an important character would be tackled.
So… at the end of Lord of Shadows, Livia (Livvy) Blackthorn was murdered by Annabel Blackthorn. It was brutal, and before you could even process what had happened, Livvy was gone. Up until that point, it was like I had climbed to the top of a building, and the shock of Livvy being killed felt like being pushed off. Reading the initial reactions of those who were around was like falling from that building and with the book just ending there, I continued to fall indefinitely. Having that revelation with no way to deal with it or process it was hard! I couldn’t really grieve for Livvy (yes, grieving for book characters is a thing!) because I didn’t know how to… I was so heartbroken. But honestly, Queen of Air and Darkness gave me the reassurance, comfort and closure I needed to deal with Livvy’s death.
When you think about the familial bond of the Blackthorns, of how they were the most important thing to each other, of how Julian did everything within his power to protect his siblings, to keep everyone together… I’ve always thought that the kind of family love they had for one another was perfect, and that it would always keep them safe.
“I just want my sister back. I miss her all the time. It feels like there’s a hole in me that will never be filled up.”
Even though the worst possible thing that could have happened to the Blackthorns, happened, it wasn’t the end for them. With grief comes an overwhelming sense of fear, fear that you won’t be able to move on because you can’t imagine life without the person you’ve lost. But the Blackthorns proved that life can continue, even if it wasn’t easy for them. I mean, bad, irreversible decisions were made and their pain never really went away but the one thing that gets them through it is the love and support they have from not only one another, but from their friends too. Even when you feel like you can’t go on, when something as colossal as grief hits you, the Blackthorns showed me that there’s hope that things will eventually be okay.
If you’re still reading at this point, thanks for staying with me! I’ve gone on a bit (a lot) about the Blackthorns but this is honestly why they’re my favourite Shadowhunter family… I love what they represent and it’s always so beautiful to see how they draw strength from one another. This book proved that their love for each other is strong enough to overcome any challenge.
Speaking of, there are a LOT of challenges in this book… I’d usually read this on my morning commute and my stomach would just churn because I was that nervous about what would happen to the characters. There’s Ty wanting to use the Black Volume to bring Livvy back, Kieran being hunted down by literally everyone, and not to forget the parabatai curse! We actually start to see the effects of it on Emma in this book and it’s horrifying. Even more so because Emma and Julian are the sweetest souls who have so much of an abundance of love for one another that they really do deserve to be together. There are a lot of challenges and even when things seem to have quietened down for the characters, something else always crops up.
One of the challenges that really got to me was the Cohort, who were pretty much encouraging the start of a civil war due to them being a group of bigoted and prejudiced Shadowhunters who despise Downworlders. I couldn’t stand them or what they believed in, I wanted every single member of their group to be written out of the book immediately. Their actions made me very angry but I could totally understand the purpose that they served within the story. For me, they highlighted just how dangerous it is to have people with prejudiced beliefs and ideologies in positions of power. It is very dangerous and I hope it makes us, as readers, reflect on who we decide to elect into positions of power. It’s a very important decision and we cannot allow fear to rule us- we have power, and we can use that power to fight against the oppression of certain groups.
To end on a more positive note, Queen of Air and Darkness was a satisfying end to The Dark Artifices series! There were many more gems in this book that I haven’t even covered in this review but please know that Queen of Air and Darkness was a great book. The writing was excellent and even though there were quite a few storylines going on at the same time, they were all easy to follow and nothing really ever got confusing. And believe me, I can’t get enough of Shadowhunters content but I did feel like some parts were a bit too long and repetitive. For example, the storyline with Cristina, Mark and Kieran went on a little, especially towards the end. This is what probably made me give the novel 4.5 stars instead of 5 but all in all I couldn’t have been happier with the way everything ended for everyone. I’m so so happy for the characters; this really was an incredible ending to the series as a whole. What a pleasure it’s been- thank you Cassandra Clare!