G. Bianco, 2019
Cassandra Clare has done it again! Her newest novel entitled Queen of Air and Darkness has, in short, given readers exactly what they were hoping for.
The conclusion to The Dark Artifices Trilogy, released in early December 2018, was long awaited by fans of Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles. The collection of books follow a race of angel-human hybrids called Nephilim, or Shadowhunters, who protect the world from demons and monsters. The Dark Artifices is the third finalized series in the chronicles. In the beginning of the series, we are reintroduced to Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn: two Shadowhunters who were first seen in Clare’s The Mortal Instruments as children who had to deal with the consequences of war. Now seventeen, Emma is trying to avenge her parents’ deaths while also helping Julian attempt to keep his broken family together. The stunning conclusion to their story picks up right where its predecessor, Lord of Shadows, left off: tragedy settling over the Blackthorn family and the Clave on the edge of civil war. On top of all of this, Emma and Julian’s forbidden love has the power to destroy not just them, but the people they love dearest. They must put all of this aside in order to save their world before their love consumes them and evil takes control.
This book weighs in at a whopping 880 pages, but manages to hold the reader’s attention for every page. The alternating points of view are not as confusing at it first seems and Clare does a fantastic job of intertwining these many subplots not just with the main plot, but the other two prequel series fans have grown to love. With descriptive writing and complex vocabulary, this book challenges the reader while still being comprehensible. Clare’s wit and humor also shines through with icebreaker lines like “I forgot my weapons. But I do have this fork…You are so forked” (p. 310). Yet, she also includes eloquent one-liners like “As we all have an infinite capacity to make mistakes, we all have an infinite capacity for forgiveness” (p. 233). Clare also beautifully weaves in folklore and mythology that adds to the complexity of themes like good versus evil, discrimination and racism, and importance of family. While this fantasy book also falls into the category of romance, the filial love in this books dominates just as much as the romantic love. This emphasis on affection will resonate with anyone who has relied on family and friends to get though hard times.
So The Dark Artifices Trilogy has come to an end… or has it? Apparently, a series entitled The Wicked Powers is set to be released in the next few years starring TDA favorites like Ty, Kit, and Dru. Therefore, I don't think we are quite done with the Blackthorn clan yet.
Clare includes this touching line in Lord of Shadows: “The story that I love you, it has no end”(p. 601). Perhaps this line could apply to the reader and series as well? Since readers adore these stories, it makes it quite hard to say goodbye to The Dark Artifices and the many characters that readers have fallen in love with. Thankfully, it seems that readers don't have to say goodbye just yet.
I now get what the big hype was about.
Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before centers around sixteen year old Lara Jean Covey. Lara Jean has fallen in love on five separate occasions with five different boys. To get over these massive crushes, she has written a letter to each boy explaining why she liked them and then tucked them away in a hatbox that her late mother gave her. Until one day, when the letters that no one was meant to see get mailed out. Lara Jean must now do some damage control in order to regain some semblance of her old life and relationships back. If everything goes according to plan, then Lara Jean’s life will go back to normal and all unwanted attention will go away. That is, unless, she falls in love in the process?
Han weaves together a quirky and cute love story that will resonate with anyone who feels/has felt awkward in finding their place. This novel, through incorporating the ingredients necessary for any YA romance novel, also plays to the hopeless romantic that’s hidden in all of us. Despite being a quintessential love story, Han also sends a message about the importance of family. Lara Jean and her two sisters, who refer to themselves as “The Song Girls” (as an homage to their mother), are a great example of the strength of sisterhood, even when times are rough. With memorable characters like the popular Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean’s lively little sister, Kitty, the novel is jammed packed with funny interactions while also creating moments that will make your heart melt.
I will admit that I did find some of this novel to be a bit predictable, but it might just be because I’ve read so many young adult novels at this point it’s hard to keep track of them all! I did, however, really like the sisterhood element, especially since the Song Girls are the same age difference apart from one another as I am with my sisters. I could really relate to Lara Jean making the wellbeing of her sisters and family a priority. Despite the novel being a bit cliché, I did thoroughly enjoy it and immediately went on Amazon to order the next book because I was so invested in this novel! I can’t wait to find out where Lara Jean’s story will go next!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!