Oh wow. We’re here. You see, a year and a half ago I was screaming that we had to wait until the end of 2018 for QOAAD…but now…it’s out…and I’ve read it…and wow.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, but to be fair, I was slightly disappointed and I’ll get into that in a bit.
Summary: “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” (Goodreads).
I’d like to first say that this book made me cry both happy and sad tears. Thank you, Cassandra Clare, for evoking not one, but TWO emotional reactions out of me, a heartless monster.
I’d like to secondly say that the last one hundred pages were complete fan-service, but I was also 100% here for it. No negatives there! That’s the part that made me cry! I’ll do a spoiler section later soooo
I think there were two issues here with Queen of Air and Darkness: plot complexity and finale-but-not-really syndrome (I just made that up). The Dark Artifices has the most complex plot of any of her series and not only that, but it has the longest list of characters, and most of them have their own side-plots. In Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, I was not overwhelmed by it all, mostly because the major plot parts hadn’t been brought up yet, and we were still focussing so intensely on Julian and Emma. In QOAAD, however, it became a little…too much. Usually, I find every piece of her stories captivating, but with so much going on, I had parts I didn’t enjoy, which made the POV-switching…a little annoying. This is the first time I’ve read a Cassie Clare book and didn’t enjoy every POV. So that was disappointing. Not to say that she didn’t pull off the complex plot, but maybe with such a complex plot, adding a million characters didn’t…help.
The other issue is the ending, which yeah, was great, but also…not? I’m still struggling with how I feel about the ending considering how good it was in nearly every way, yet how disappointing it was when I got to the last pages. There really isn’t a conclusion because The Wicked Powers are intended to come later, but given how far away that is, this ending doesn’t seem right. It didn’t feel like a finale (and maybe this is my emotions getting to me). Even though the characters in TMI continue on, City of Heavenly Fire felt very much like a finale.
Anyway, I suppose I have to have a lot of positives because this is a five star review. What made it a five star review? Well, for starters, I have such a deep attachment to the characters and the writing and the world and everything that rating it any lower would feel like a betrayal of both my current self and the version of me that read City of Bones in seventh grade. (I’m in twelfth now.)
But in actuality, this book was amazing. Cassandra Clare’s writing has improved so much since her first few books, her plot has improved, her characters have improved. And man, does she still have some of the finest diversity in all of the land. (The land has very little, though, so I suppose that might not be saying much.)
I laughed, I cried, I wanted to throw the book at the wall in anger. I’m still in shock that this series is over—it does feel a little important that I started off high school with Lady Midnight and I’m ending it with Queen of Air and Darkness. It’s the end of an era.
My favorite piece above all is the characters, even if some of them I cared about less than others (like I said, there were TOO MANY). Kit and Ty ended up being my favorite part to read about in QOAAD, but I still adore Emma and Julian. Fun fact, though, I actually like Cristina now! And I adore her with Mark and Kieran. I also love Dru, but I cared a little less about her storyline, and the same goes for Tavvy (a very small child still). I enjoyed seeing Aline and Helen come back, though, and it was interesting to see Helen and Julian switch roles in the house.
Of course, I loved the persistent ones, like Magnus, Alec, Clary, and Jace, even if Clary and Jace make me want to vomit sometimes. (At least Magnus and Alec exist.)
The development of Emma and Julian’s relationship was remarkable. Julian made some not-so-great decisions (and the pacing of it was a little awkward—it lasted for a good third of the book and then became a non-problem?), but above all, he still loved Emma. And I very much loved that quote about how he never treated Emma lesser for being female; they were equals. Don’t I love a man who meets the very, very low bar? Unfortunately, yes.
I could probably go on for days, but the non-spoiler section is paining me. I JUST WANT TO HAVE FEELINGs.
Proceeding to S P O I L E R S. Please do not venture below if you would like to enjoy Queen of Air and Darkness to the full extent.
SPOILERS – if you aren’t reading them, the review will finish here.
- I am angry that Kit and Ty did not get together. Why do I have to wait until 2022? I’ll be a senior in college then? Not fair.
- I cried during Magnus and Alec’s wedding, mostly because they have come so far. It’s beautiful to see Alec having gone from a closeted 18 year-old to a married father of two who is HAPPY. Life doesn’t suck forever.
- I didn’t need the Clary and Jace greenhouse scene no. 2 and I shouldn’t be surprised I got it.
- The whole Thule scene was my favorite part of the entire book (aside from the Malec wedding). I want an entire novel on this alternate universe. Post-apocalyptic with Shadowhunters and demons? Yesssss. Okay, I will admit it was sad, but sTILL.
- I love you, I love you, I love you. I don’t need these FEELINGS.
- Livvy. Just Livvy. I’m so sad. ALSO TY WHAT THE HECK WAS HE DOING? I wanted to shake him so hard the entire book because yes, it was in character to try to bring her back, but buddy why? THE DEAD SHOULD STAY DEAD. And Kit, my poor sweet child, don’t let him do this. I am glad, though, that she came back as a ghost…although, I’m wondering what the consequence might be. It was alluded that there will be one, so…TWP comes too late.
- Every time Kit commented on “hmm, my heart keeps RACING whenever TY is in the ROOM, I wonder WHY” I wanted to slap him.
- Zara did not get the ending she deserved. I am sad.
- Idris and Alicante being no more makes me terribly angsty.
- I think that will come back.
- JEM. Need I say anymore? JEM AND TESSA. WITH CHILD. My fourteen year-old dreams are coming true!!! I have happiness again!!!
- I would like a companion series purely about Jem and Tessa living now with their child and their teen-child Kit. Thank you and goodnight.
- Seriously, though? Another Herondale with a last name crisis? Deja vu.
- I love Kit.
- I love Ty.
- I love Jem.
- I love Magnus and Alec.
- I should finish this review and go eat breakfast.
Thank you for coming to my spoiler and non-spoiler review! Happy reading!