A review of Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Reviewed by Emily McDonell

Queen of Air and Darkness : Dark Artifices
Shadowhunters – Dark Artifices : Book 3
By Cassandra Clare
Simon & Schuster
December 2018, ISBN: 9781471116704, 912 pages, Paperback

You are in the cage.

Queen of Air and Darkness, the highly anticipated last book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, with the conclusion of Lord of Shadows leaving me and other readers shocked and worried for the plot of this final novel.  Emma and Julian now face even more challenges with the hunt for the Black Volume of the dead in the extreme lands of Faerie and the truth of their love, with the Parabatai curse constantly becoming more real and deadly, for themselves and those they love. 

The villains in this book are written and developed beautifully, typical of Cassandra’s other books. However, I found the growing characters involved in the Cohort – a party dedicated to the control of Downworlders and Shadowhunters opposed to them, to be a very realistic sense of the ‘bad guy’ with themes of war, propaganda and other political concepts often brought to light in Queen of Air and Darkness.

Following the events of Lord of Shadows, when everything seemed to be wrapping up nicely, until the very last second, when it seemed everything was falling apart. This book picks right up from the ending of its previous one with the Blackthorns and many others processing the loss and destruction of the events at the Council Hall. We experience many perspectives of grief throughout the various family members and, despite being an incredibly poignant moment, the writing and messages conveyed are flawless with deep impacts being the beginnings for serious plot points and decisions and an overall meaningful understanding of these characters. In particular, this plot point was a feature which shocked me as to how each of our characters processed it and I was simultaneously in awe of the author’s writing style throughout. I don’t often discuss this, and I myself have only recently been aware of how, not only the story grows as we read from the very start to further on in other books, Cassandra Clare’s writing has developed. The finale of The Dark Artifices series was ground-breaking with a maze of plot lines and crucial hints and foreshadowing as to what was to come next, and I enjoyed it from start to finish.

Like always, the climaxes littered throughout were executed brilliantly and I was completely emersed in battle scenes and the spectacular moments between characters or the shifting perspective and the high stakes that the book presented consistently. The curse of Parabatai was intensified even more so in Queen of Air and Darkness and was a thrill to read. Characters from all of Clare’s writing make appearances at various points in the book which was very interesting to read. The timeline of this world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders has grown so much since the beginning books and I’m anxiously awaiting future stories!

At the conclusion of this book I was quite surprised as to the loose ends left, the open ending and how well these books will transition into The Wicked Powers series – focusing on Kit, Ty and Dru. I was shocked at how Clare always manages to fool the reader into a false sense of surety and then pulls a major cliff-hanger. Again, I am eagerly awaiting these stories to continue in The Wicked Powers, I need to see more of these characters and am very interested in the plot of the books set to be released in the upcoming years.

About the reviewer: Emily McDonell was first prize winner in the Hunter Writers’ Centre/Compulsive Reader book review competition. She is a high school student, an avid reader and has a passion for books. It was clear from a very early age that books would play a large part in her life. Emily has participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge since starting her schooling and her favourite subject is English. Emily has also been a Girl Guide for the past nine years and is currently working to complete her Queen’s Guide Award. Emily also loves animals especially her dog Jersey.