Book Review

Review: Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy, love scenes, violence, some language
Length: 912 pages
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderberry Books
Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness, the final novel in the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling The Dark Artifices trilogy.

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.


Note: While the review for QoAaD is spoiler-free there might be a piece or two that isn’t to those who haven’t read TMI, TID or the previous two books of TDA.

This wasn’t everything I wanted a finale book to be, and at times seemed like it was trying way too hard, but it got better as I went. And don’t worry Queen of cliffhangers, CC, definitely left us hanging.

The first 200 pages or so draaaaaged. I’m talking, I could easily put the book down and walk away, kinda drag. It was all politics and love stories (which I love, but I was really looking forward to some action). Yes, the Livvy funeral was heartbreaking, but after that [and thanks to Julian being a fool] I was down-trodden with the initial premises of the plot.

There were DEFINITELY SOME BOMBS DROPPED. While I was completely floored by them, a handful of them didn’t come to any fruition…in this series. There’s clearly a set-up for her next books, which kinda bums me. I want the Shadowhunter world to keep going, but I hate feeling like book worlds just keep going and going and going. It’s okay to end things.

I often chuckled at multiple scenes throughout. The anecdotes of fairies trying to handle the normal world is so precious (I love you Kieran). And anytime we talked about the swagger/confidence of Jace was fun too. There’s a lot of good scenes in here that’ll make anyone smile.

I also lived for all the romance. Emma and Julian are some of my favorite shadowhunters. They both have so many good qualities that I can overlook their flaws. Them finally figuring things out was dramatic, but not the dramatics I thought it would be? When we learn about parabatai bonds, my initial inklings had me thinking we were going somewhere else with the plot. When that didn’t happen I felt things exploded in the wrong direction and was let down. It’s cool, not stabbing Jace to save his life cool, but cool. The rest of the gang: Kieran/Mark/Christina, Aline/Helen, Magnus/Alec, Jace/Clary, Diana/Gwyn [and I know I’m forgetting people at this point] were all developing and progressing in beautiful ways. It was wonderful to see relationships develop all over the place.

Y’all, one of my least favorite tropes is the addition of a portal/alternate universe. I know her books have had them before, but I was hoping this one wouldn’t be like those as well. It feels like a cop out to pieces of the plot that weren’t quite fitting. We learned some, had some fun, finally had a battle scene, and moved the plot along. But I’m pretty sure that the alternate universe didn’t have to happen. Secondly, Annabel [who, for reference, is on the cover] is hardly in this entire book. She wasn’t even truly part of the plot if you ask me. A small side character who’s initial damage to the Blackthorn family didn’t cause the riot I was hoping for.

Now, the “post-last-battle-everything-is-okay-for-now” scenes were longer than most books, AND I AM HERE FOR THEM. I love a good few chapters at the end where things are peaceful. GUYS GUYS GUYS, CC GAVE US A WEDDING *cue happy tears*. A lot of things happen from bittersweet, to romantic, to making your heart swell, and also feel like crying sad tears. 

It was an interesting ending to say the least. I never saw the full structure coming (because I didn’t realize we had even more books to continue with). This book almost leaves you asking more questions rather than solving them.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy (magic, warlocks, vampires, demons, werewolves, etc.)
  • Some language (more than usually in her books)
  • Romance ranging from a peck to a mildly-detailed love scene or two
  • Violence (battle scenes)
  • Trigger warnings: suicide, depression, guilt