Review: “Queen of Air and Darkness” by Cassandra Clare

4.5 stars

Warning: the following contains spoilers for previous books of Cassandra Clare including The Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices trilogy, all the short stories, and the first two 

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.

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“As we all have an infinite capacity to make mistakes, we all have an infinite capacity for forgiveness.”

OH MY GOSH SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK I CANNOT CONTAIN IT!!! Leave it to Cassandra Clare to always hook me with her books. At this point, I’m a Shadowhunter reader for life, as long as she keeps writing, I will keep reading, I’m too invested in these people to turn my back now. Leave it to Cassandra Clare to give me yet another heartbreaking and page turning story. I could not put this book down but that’s not surprising seeing that this is my favorite Clare trilogy to date.

The book starts back up pretty much right after the events of Lord of Shadows in the Council Hall. The first few chapters are quite somber in the wake of Livvy and Robert’s deaths. All the characters have their own little ways to deal with their deaths which is a part of the catalyst that starts off this book. There isn’t much I can say about this book without spoiling it because at this point, I just want to rant about this book, not actually review it.


SPOILERS SPOILERS LOTS OF SPOILERS Don’t read past this unless you want to be spoiled!

As feared, the new Inquisitor is not someone sympathetic to Julian and Emma’s case, he isn’t sympathetic period. Horace Dearborn, leader of the Cohort, becomes Inquisitor in the wake of Robert’s death. That puts him, Zara (UGHHH I HAAAATE HER SO MUCH) and Manuel in charge of the Clave.

Julian, who I was afraid was going to go completely crazy and try to raise Livvy from the dead, goes to Magnus and turns his frikkin emotions off *insert side eye here*. The poor boy’s got no chill. So for half of the book, we have a Julian who’s basically a robot. And if you thought Julian with feelings was ruthless? Wow Robot Julian really one ups him.

And then the different storylines start of our main characters. Horace finds out about Julian and Emma being in love and sends them on what pretty much is a suicide mission: to retrieve the Black Book from the Unseelie King and bring it back to Idris. Ty decides he is going to try and raise Livvy from the dead with Kit’s help and Kit reluctantly agrees. Helen and Aline are back home and are now trying to run the Los Angeles Institute while Helen tries to get along with the kids. Drusilla is lonely and is always trying to be taken seriously by her older siblings and their friends but is usually left with Tavvy to babysit. And you have the threesome: Mark, Cristina and Kieran who are all just really confused about their feelings. Like really confused.

So Emma and Robot Julian are now in Faerie with a map that shows them where the Unseelie Court is. And then comes the idiot Dane Larkspear who was one of the guys sent to kill Julian and Emma but is instead killed by Robot Julian who under normal circumstances probably wouldn’t have killed him. I don’t know though, both Julians are pretty brutal when it comes to people who threaten their families. They keep going but do they end up in the Unseelie Court? No. Julian takes the two of them to the Seelie Court because he wanted to make a deal with the Seelie Queen.

That was really where you see how different emotionless Julian is with the real Julian because Julian would never have kept such a dire plan from Emma. And she says the same to him.


The focus on alternative dimensions kind of took me by surprise. I liked being in Thule and seeing how the world would have turned out if Clary hadn’t killed Sebastian during the Dark War. But I also thought the mention of several alternative dimensions opened too many doorways for this world. I always commend Cassandra Clare for expanding the Shadowhunter world so well and bringing up alternative dimensions could end up going very wrong.

I’m guessing The Wicked Powers series (focused on Kit and Ty) will involve alternative dimensions somehow.

Mark, Kieran and Cristina

“The sky was a road and the stars made pathways; the moon was a watchtower, a lighthouse that led you home.”

I understand Mark being in love with Kieran through their shared history and after everything they have done for each other. I also understand Mark and Cristina being in love, they have had their moments. Cristina was the first person Mark connected with after he came back home from the Wild Hunt. Kieran and Cristina I’m still not sure about, to me it seems like it’s more that they’re attracted to each other and not that they are in love with each other.

Helen and Aline

“But even if they fit differently now, they still fit like sisters.”

Oh I felt so bad for Helen for most of the book. She’s finally home and trying to take care of the kids but the kids are lashing out because she’s not Julian. Helen was trying so hard with the kids but it’s understandable why they were weary of their older sister at first.

I absolutely loved Aline and how she always stood up for Helen. We don’t know much about her yet except for the fact that she is Helen’s wife but I loved whenever she was in the scene.

Thule Livvy

“I whisper your name, Ty. I whisper the most important thing:
I love you. I love you. I love you.”

OH MY GOSH this broke my heart!!!! Especially since it’s kind of the opposite in Thule and Livvy is the only one of them who’s survived. Like I said before, I liked spending time in Thule with Livvy. I missed her! Is that weird to say about a character? Thule Livvy helped heal Julian’s heart a little bit as well otherwise he would have blamed himself for her death for the rest of his life.


“Making promises you can’t keep is worse than making no promises at all.”

I SO CALLED IT! The minute they started talking about the First Heir in Faerie, I knew Kit was the descendant. And he’s got fairy magic!

Kit as a character I’m not really attached to yet. I like him but I don’t love him. I did understand him in this book not being able to say no to Ty and going along with his plan. Especially since Kit was hoping the plan will fall through.

Tessa was so excited when he agreed to go live with her! I’m happy for her but also heartbroken for Ty who’s lost both Livvy and Kit now. But we know the fifth series is about him and Ty so maybe they will both be in a Scholomance together?

Julian and Emma

“Sometimes when you start a war, you want to make pancakes.”

I love these two characters individually. Julian is great, I love him when he’s with his siblings and his family dynamic. Julian is probably the male Shadowhunter MC I started liking the quickest (yes, even over Will. It took me two and a half books to start loving Will). I also love how savvy Julian is with others, I love clever characters who outsmart their opponents and Julian is it.

I thought his plan for Livia’s Watch was genius (I started tearing up when he announced the name of the rebellion). It was also nice to see him take charge even among heroes like the original TMI characters, and it was also great to see them take Julian seriously.

“Faith isn’t never having any doubts; it’s having what you need to overcome them.”

I also love Emma, she’s my favorite out of the three Clare female MC’s we’ve had so far. I never liked Clary and I didn’t start loving Tessa until Clockwork Princess. Emma I liked right away from the get go of Lady Midnight. I will say however, in this book especially, it seemed like every decision she made was based on the fact that she loves Julian which got old for me.

“As long as you exist and I exist, I will love you.”

I do ship them and I’m happy that Julian and Emma are together but their relationship was probably my least favorite of the book. Maybe because I got very tired of Julian pining over Emma for the past two books and vice versa.

I was more invested in pretty much every other relationship but theirs in this book. I got tired of their love story especially after Magnus takes the spell off of him, it’s just them pining after one another for pages and pages on. Even Kieran and Cristina, whose relationship kind of just showed up from nowhere, was a more interesting dynamic.


“Don’t remain silent about what you want, or you may never get it.”

Awww Dru is such an underrated character! She’s old enough to want to be in on the action but young enough where everyone tells her not to. She always ends up babysitting Tavvy and though she loves doing that, she wants to feel more useful. I love that Kit tried to include her in their plans because he saw how lonely she felt.

I don’t think she got the praise that she deserves when she freed Jia and the Rosales brothers from prison. Dru was pretty badass in this book. I also love how she chose to stay back from the fight to be with Tavvy, that shows a lot of character growth in her part. I can’t wait to see what the Wicked Powers has in store for her!

Magnus and Alec

“Be good, my archer boy. Come back to me.”

Reading about Thule Magnus and Alec KILLED me!!! Magnus is my favorite character in this saga and one of my absolute favorites of all time. Alec killing Magnus and then killing himself?? Even in an alternative dimension, WHYYYY CASSANDRA!!!!

Loved the conversation when Julian and Emma were explaining what happened to them and Magnus got very angry at Alec for doing killing himself yelling about what would happen to their children. And Alec being like, we didn’t have children in that world!! 

I was scared for Magnus in this one, we’ve never seen anything this fatal happen to Magnus ever (I guess other than Edom). I didn’t think Clare would kill him off but after Robert and Livvy, I was concerned.

Alec being Consul was unexpected but I’m so glad! He has earned it and he would make a fine leader. This also means we will definitely be getting more Malec in The Wicked Powers series so YES!

“And when one day people look back on me and what my life meant, I don’t want them to say, ‘Alec Lightwood fought in the Dark War’ or even ‘Alec Lightwood was Consul once.’ I want them to think, ‘Alec Lightwood loved one man so much he changed the world for him.’ ”

WE FINALLY GOT A MALEC WEDDING YESSSSS. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT FOR A DECADE. It was perfect! Jace accompanying Alec. I love that Catarina and Ragnor were fighting to see who gets to accompany Magnus. And the vows!!!! I was full on sobbing the entire time. It was beautiful!

Ending with the Cohort

Am I the only one who kind of wishes that they just let those stupid kids kill themselves? They’re so extra I cannot. Never have I ever wanted to punch a character in the face so hard than I did Zara frikkin Dearborn. I HAAATE HER SO MUCH.

Though I do love the idea of the new Shadowhunter Academy being in Luke’s farm. And the new Council being in New York! Alec will pretty much have to build the Shadowhunter council back up from and I’m sure he’ll do a great job. I’m very excited to see how the new government looks. 

Have you read this? Are you going to? Who is your favorite character in this series?


2 thoughts on “Review: “Queen of Air and Darkness” by Cassandra Clare

  1. I agree with so much of this review! And urgh the two books before.. they were SO HARD to read!! It was such a struggle to get through them, with the heavy emotional stuff.. i swear, this book finally realising all that was so cathartic!! I can’t WAIT to see what happens to Kit, AND i reckon as he and Ash are half brothers, life might reaaaaally interesting.. but uuuurgh the cohort are just.. trumpers!! With weapons!! They need to just sashay away already!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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