book reviews

Queen of Air and Darkness

40696414Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Rating: XXXX

Published December 4th 2018 Simon & Schuster Ltd

“Every choice has a long afterlife of consequences. No one can know the eventual outcome of any decision. All you can do is make the best choice you can make in the moment.” 

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 disease 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.

So let me get started by saying I love the Shadowhunters books, it took me longer to come around to reading them than I would have liked but once I did I was hooked, Jace is my ultimate book boyfriend and I love so many of the characters with a fierce passion. I fell in love with The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices broke my heart and now I’ve finally finished the concluding book in the third series of shadowhunter books, The Dark Artifices and…I don’t really know how that makes me feel.

I have to say, actually, that, among other things, I do feel a little relieved, I started reading Queen of Air and Darkness on the day it released in December and I only finished it maybe a week ago. Six months. This book took me six months to read. Don’t get me wrong it’s an absolute tome so I didn’t expect it to be a quick read but this third book in the series just really didn’t grab me like any of the others across the whole of the range of shadowhunter books have, it was easy to put down and forget about. Because of its size, I also found it incredibly uncomfortable to read so decided to purchase the audiobook petty early on which I did for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows as well. James Masters is a brilliant narrator for it and definitely made it a lot easier to get through, I’m sure it would have taken much longer without.

Despite it taking me six months to read I’ve still given Queen of Air and Darkness an XXXX rating because although it certainly had problems, especially with pacing etc there were just so many parts I liked about it as well I think there was just too much crammed in for one book and that maybe some cuts should have been made or the book split into two, I feel like this could have been done fairly easy as it did feel like two halves of a story put together and I do wonder if maybe the Dark Artifices was meant to be another longer shadow hunter series like The Mortal Instruments but trilogies are popular and it was decided everything needed to be shoved into this last book?

There are a lot of moments in QoAaD that feel a little like fan service but I suppose when you have so many characters all existing in one world and close timelines it makes sense that they interact with each other but it did make this instalment feel like another book in the Mortal Instruments series as much as it’s own trilogy. I can’t deny that some of these moments, however, were some of my favourite parts, partially for the nostalgia and in part because some of the older characters feel almost like dear friends after eleven or so books.

A large part of QoAaD is the romance, mainly the relationship and swirl of emotions between Jules and Emma but honestly I still couldn’t summon up much of any kind of emotion past mild irritation for their relationship which felt like a shame as I love Emma but Julian has just really gotten on my nerves for all three books. I did like the other relationships throughout this book and this trilogy in general, especially the polyamorous relationship between Kieran, Mark and Christina which was a huge highlight for me, it felt like it was done exceptionally well and it was lovely to see a lovely, healthy polyam relationship in YA. We, of course, had Alec and Magnus too and I honestly fell back in love with the two of them in this book which is perfectly timed for me as The Red Scrolls of Magic is likely to be my next Shadowhunter read.

Even with the horrid pacing, I do have to say that balancing SO many characters is no mean feat especially with so many of them having pretty good arcs, I actually liked Alec’s entire arc in the Dark Artifices more than I did throughout most of TMI. We have at least eight main characters and over thirty other characters that I would say are still relatively important and I feel like we get some pretty good content for all of them. Overall I loved the story we got but as I’ve said I would have much preferred it had perhaps been spread over two smaller and better-paced books.

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I want to talk a lot more about this book but there are just many spoilers that I would need to go into so I’m considering making a spoiler-filled book talk video like I’ve done in the past for Lord of Shadows.

Have you read any of the Shadowhunter books? If so do you have a favourite? I’m not sure I could pick one!!

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books Covers

Happy Sunday and welcome to the last Six for Sunday before returning to the scheduled prompts by Steph from A Little but a Lot! This week I decided to head back to the bookish prompts and picked an older prompt that I hadn’t done before, this one is Book Covers! Although I do agree with the age old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” I’m insanely guilty of doing just this. A cover is often the first thing we see and even if not on purpose we tend to form an opinion at that moment even if it isn’t always a deciding factor. For me personally, a cover will usually draw me in, I’ll then check out the synopsis and if I’m still interested I tend to read the first page where possible or if online I check out spoiler-free reviews. Although no the be all and end all sign of a good book I do love a good cover and now you can check out six of my all time favourites.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
This cover is one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, Laurens books have such beautiful covers and for me, this is the book that started it all.

Vicious (Special collectors edition) by V.E Schwab
I held up from starting this series because I wanted this version so badly. It’s beautiful, features a built-in fabric bookmark, foiling under the dust jacket and is that perfect smaller hardback size that I adore. Not to mention that the art on the cover itself is a reference to Victor and his habit of defacing books, I love that if you look at it one way its just lines made with marker pens but at the right angle they are bones.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I don’t think I know anyone out there who doesn’t love this cover or the sought after blue sprayed edges. The gold foiling and detail on the moth are astounding but for me, it’s the gorgeous galaxy like blue with what looks like stars and constellations running through them, it looks truly magical.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay by J.K Rowling
I adore a lot of Mina Lima’s graphic design work for the Harry Potter films and the artwork for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay is no exception. There are so many little hidden details and flourishes over this cover it really draws you in while also capturing the style of the era well at the same time.

Lady Midnight (Waterstones special edition) by Cassandra Clare
Another harder to find one and although Waterstones have done special edition covers like this one for the rest of the Dark Artifices series and now the Red scrolls of Magic series too this first one will always be my favourite. The colour is a lovely shade of blue and the gold foil angelic runes are perfection.

Caraval by Stephanie Meyer
I love so many different aspects of Caraval. The shiny gold foiling (this seems to be a running theme with my favourites I’ve noticed) of the starburst kind of effect around the book title is eye-catching all on its own but pair it with the spine spilt into half black and half white and then the different hidden cover editions we got in the UK where under the dust jacket you would find one of a few different gold illustrations was just the icing on the top of the cake.

Do you have any particular book covers you like? Do you have anything that endears a cover to you like my (apparent) obsession with gold foiling? Tell me all about it!