My opinion on this is basically one long extended screeeeam.
This was absolutely, earth shatteringly perfect. Am I obsessed with The Dark Artifices?? Ah, yes. Yes I am. And I’ve been through several Shadowhunter finales, but I still get nervous! I had fierce plans for my ships here and I was all tied up in anxious knots about it the characters, the plot…the stakes…
But, look. It was perfect. Just perfect.
(And it’s ridiculously hard to write a review when your brain is a catastrophe of emotions!!!!!!)
This is a NO SPOILER REVIEW for Queen of Air and Darkness, but there WILL be spoilers from first two books!
(And for once this isn’t a book from a publisher! Just so you know haha.)
➸ I had so much emotions for these ships.
I had my expectations and my wishes…and they were met. Ok sure I also had some cool theories that didn’t happen (GUESS IT’S TIME FOR FANFIC) but otherwise I just adore how Cassandra Clare scares the absolute skin off us wondering if our ships will be ok and then (1) makes it satisfying, but (2) never easy or perfect by the end. I love her romances, loooove them.
I know it’s common to roll eyes and say, “It’s the end of the world and they’re caring about kissing? unrealistic.” But, hear me out: it makes sense. At one point Cristina told Emma she had romance problems, and Emma fully yelled, “THANK THE HEAVENS. LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT INSTEAD OF DEATH!!!!” And I get that. You put a crowd of super stressed teens in a super stressful situation, where there’s a 900% chance they’re gonna die or end the world — so yes they do some kissing too. And cuddling. There is a lot of cuddling here. It’s a distraction and a reminder of what you’re fighting for.
Also, more (((SPOILER))) ship thoughts ➸
➸ How my heart beats for my Blackthorns.
My Blackthorn kids are so stressed and wrecked in this book. They tear away from each other because they’re hurting so bad…and I loved that arc. How they realised they couldn’t be divided to heal. Helen getting to be there was AMAZING. She is a gift! And her wife, Aline, totally yells at everyone when they make Helen cry so A+ for Aline.
✧ Julian just went and SNAPPED, SON, DAYUM. He makes stupid decisions because he hurts so bad.
✧ Mark continues to be so pure, so soft and wholesome. (He makes donut sandwiches and he’s so pleased with himself while arranging the plates.)
✧ Dru has more of a part too which I loved. She so desperately wants to fit in with Ty/Kit and I love how Kit makes an effort to let her.
✧ Ty…honestly, I would’ve liked to see more reaction from him? He dealt with the death in his own way, but very emotionless and I’m worried that fits into the stereotype that autistic people don’t show emotions well. Just ONCE, I wanted him to blow up and cry, ok. But anyway. I still love Ty and he is amazing jfdkslad.
✧ Tavvy continues to be adorable and useless, bless him.
➸ Other character thoughts?
✧ Kieran is my absolute FAVE, I can’t even with how much I love him. He’s so intense and dramatic and he just melts for his loves and I adore that. Also fab hair.
✧ Cristina is a true hero, so unflappable unless one of her boys kisses her and then she just screams internally for 200 years.
✧ Perfect Diego is…less perfect! Well done. I don’t really care about him and Jaime, but eh, they exist.
✧ ZARA COULD GO DIE THANKS.
✧ Manuel could’ve used a bit more motive but ugh hate him.
✧ Ash???? WHAT IS GOING ON WITH ASH???????? MORE INFO NEEDED?????? (I take it he’s being set up for another series?)
➸ Was it too long???
Here’s the thing: I loved every freaking page as well as acknowledge the book was genuinely uncomfortable to hold. It took me forever to finish it. I wanted to, but it physically hurt to hold a 900 page book. (Yes I realise there are eBooks but I’d bought the paperback already?) It could’ve been two books.Two would’ve been great.
➸ The plot is so intense and exhausting…in a good way!
So much happened…it was a stressful whirlwind. I won’t give spoilers on the details, but least to say they went to a LOT of places and it was NOT dull. It was unexpected and clever and thrilling. And, even though it was so highly intensely emotional, it still squeezed in some famous Shadowhunter snark. Yas.
It balanced the soft moments (coffees and cuddles and coloured pencil smudges and beach kisses) with the hardcore action (fighting in Faerie, breaking immortal blades, using impossible black magic, heartwrenching traumaaaaa).
There are so many threads, so many details! It’s incredible how it references other series and sets up for more. It is just Clever™.
➸ Emotions? We gotcha emotions and we shall crunch them.
I laughed. I cried. I was a mess. (Also so so anxious the entire time?! ANXIETY LAUGHTER, LOOK AT ME GO.) I still live for the one-liners though, but I loved that this one talked about much darker topics: like grief and loss and moving on. And the character arcs were just brilliant. These kids grew up so much in three books and I love it.
I think the thing to take away from this review is: WOW I LOVED THIS BOOK. It ruined me and rebuilt me and it was such a beautiful collision of love and grief and hate and revenge. It was a stark reminder of the state the world is in today (that feel when fantasy is not so fantasy). And it gave us MAXIMUM BLACKTHORN TIME which is perfect. Plot twsts, cunning schemes, love and destruction. I shall scream for a very very long time and not be back for many days.
➸ also coming out this year that I can’t wait for…