"The seeds of this poison tree were planted long ago. We are only now watching it begin to flower." (Helen Penhallow Blackthorn)
Cassandra Clare tries to achieve a lot in Queen of Air and Darkness, juggling many different character arcs and story lines, and while the scope of her work is impressive, the execution of it is not so great. It kind of feels like she fell out of love with The Dark Artifices series. However, my love for the characters and the heartwarming and emotional scenes held my interest.
★Emma and Julian.
Emma is my favourite Cassandra Clare protagonist. She's strong and fierce, but she's not afraid to be vulnerable. She's also hilarious. What a legend!
I have mixed feelings towards Julian. In this one, he steps up to the plate when it comes to antihero intensity and while I love antiheroes, there's something about him being an antihero that seems so off. Julian's personality in previous books revolved around the fact that he'd do anything to protect his siblings, but in Queen of Air and Darkness, he's more interested in being with Emma. His personality took a complete 180 and I hated it.
I love the idea of Emma and Julian being together, but in Queen of Air and Darkness, Clare tries too hard to get us to like them as a couple and they were missing the spark that made me love them in the previous Dark Artifices books.
★Christina, Kieran and Mark.
Christina is my favourite character in The Dark Artifices series. She's kind, compassionate, wise, understanding and mature. However, her character arc is one of the weakest arcs in The Dark Artifices series because it's all about romance.
I didn't love Kieran in previous Dark Artifices books, but after reading Queen of Air and Darkness, I love him so much. His character arc is pretty impressive and some scenes involving Kieran made me so emotional. That scene where the gentry from the Unseelie Court don't humiliate or hurt Kieran because of his kindness and the little girl who gave him a flower that symbolised forgiveness warmed my cold, emotionless heart.
Mark is another one of my favourite characters and he's come so far from the character that we first met in Lady Midnight.
I could never choose who was more perfect for each other between Christina, Kieran and Mark. The whole back-and-forth between them is quite repetitive and while I'm happy with the way that their relationship turned out, it isn't entirely resolved.
★Ty and Kit.
Ty's character arc revolves around how he chooses to deal with the loss and grief that he feels after the events that occurred in Lord of Shadows. One of the things that I've always appreciated about Ty is that he's on the autism spectrum and he isn't reduced to condescending stereotypes. He's a fully fleshed out character with dreams, motivations and desires. I'm also interested to see how the dark magic that surrounds him will affect him and his adventures at the Scholomance in The Wicked Powers.
I have so much of love for Kit. His character arc involves him going along with Ty's plans while also figuring out how to stop him. Kit also has claim to the Seelie and Unseelie Crown and after what happened with the Riders of Mannan, he's going to be a pretty powerful character in The Wicked Powers.
Kit's gradual realisation that he might have feelings for Ty is done so well and the only reason I'm interested in The Wicked Powers series is because I care about Kit and Ty.
★Dru and Tavvy.
Dru is the character that surprised me most in Queen of Air and Darkness. In previous books, I couldn't really get a sense of her personality, but in Queen of Air and Darkness she's a shining light and I wish more emphasis was placed on her character development.
Tavvy is an unimportant character in Queen of Air and Darkness, but that's mainly because he's extremely young.
I've warmed up to Deigo, but in comparison to the other characters in The Dark Artifices series, he's quite dull. I love the unexpected friendship that develops between him and Kieran.
★Helen and Aline.
I love that Helen wants to show her family that she loves them and cares about them. I love that Aline has a no-nonsense personality and that she'll never allow anyone to hurt her wife. I love Helen and Aline. They are such an adorable couple.
★Diana and Gwyn.
Diana has been an amazing character from the beginning of Lady Midnight and I love her so much. I also love that Gwyn is an awkward romantic. Diana and Gwyn forever.
★The TMI characters.
Queen of Air and Darkness felt like another TMI book. I didn't mind cameos from character that I liked and that seemed to have a purpose in Queen of Air and Darkness, but there was too much of Jace and Clary and the Simon and Isabelle cameos felt so forced. Queen of Air and Darkness would have been stronger if more emphasis was placed on the Blackthorn family and their arcs. Instead, the emphasis is placed on Jace and Clary because apparently six books about them weren't enough. However, I don't mind reading more about Alec and Magnus. I only started liking Alec in City of Heavenly Fire and he's come so far from being insecure and closeted to becoming assertive and open and he's also the new Consul!. I love Magnus and Alec and their children and their wedding was so beautiful.
A waste of a character who had the potential to be a fantastic villain.
★Horace, Zara, Manuel and the rest of the Cohorts.
I hate them with the fire of 1000 suns and if I ever have to hear about them again, it will be too soon.
The plot is the weakest part of Queen of Air and Darkness and it's so inconsistent.
★Part One. The first part is amazing! It shows how the Blackthorn family deals with grief and loss and it's so sad to read about. Aside from that, so many different things were happening at the same time and I was on the edge of my seat. There are alliances, betrayals and unexpected occurrences as well as an epic showdown between the Seelie Queen and the Unseelie King that ends in chaos and blood.. The first part made me feel like giving Queen of Air and Darkness five stars.
★Part Two. This part involves Thule, an alternate dimension. I understand that Thule allowed Emma and Julian a space to deal with their grief and the idea of an alternate dimension is quite cool, but it doesn't add much to the main plot. I also didn't like that that characters, villains and main conflicts were recycled from the TMI series. I also don't give a damn about Ash. There are, however, some highlights from the second part such as seeing Livvy be a badass, witnessing Cameron being a funny guy, seeing Raphael again and reading the letter that Thule Livvy wrote to Ty.
★Part Three. This is the part where everything goes wrong. There's lots of plotting and planning and I'm usually a fan, but everything felt over-the-top and contrived. The main action of part three became so unrealistic and cringy and the way that everything was resolved felt too easy and was unbelievable. Emma and Julian become giants and start ripping their enemies apart with their bare hands. They are saved by their family and friends who talk them down and tell them how much they love them. The heavenly fire that turns them into giants destroy only their parabatai bond and leaves everything else intact. Yeah, I'm not buying it.
WTH IS THAT EPILOGUE
The epilogue is an introduction to The Wicked Powers series and it dulled my excitement about The Wicked Powers because the plot seems like it's going to be a TMI rehash.
I read The Dark Artifices series in a month and it's been an amazing journey. The characters stole my heart, the plot is gripping for the most part, mainly because of all the faerie politics, and I actually enjoyed all the angst.
"He would be as everyone was, especially Shadowhunters: a patchwork of love and grief, or gains and losses. The love helped you accept the grief. You had to feel it all."