Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1), The Bane Chronicles (The Bane Chronicles), Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on December 4, 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 912 •Format: Hardcover •Source: Purchased
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.
I started reading the Shadowhunters books back at the tender age of 18 when I was a freshman in college. I was in a terrible living situation with not great roommates, had just moved in with a stranger in an attempt to find some peace, and was not in a thriving social situation. Needless to say, college Cristina was lonely and happened to purchase City of Bones one day from B&N and quickly fell in love with the Nephilim and their world. Now, many years and several series later, I love delving back into the world of the Shadowhunters, but am definitely starting to see the cracks and seams in the stories.
I typically don’t post spoiler-filled reviews, but I will be talking about some spoilers in this review because I have THOUGHTS that need to be discussed. You’ve been warned!
IT. WAS. TOO. LONG.
According to Goodreads, this tome is over 900 pages. I think my hardcover copy clocked in at the high 800s (not counting the bonus short story at the end). This book DID NOT need to be this long. There was so much filler. So. Much. I didn’t care about them wandering around Faerie. I didn’t care about Ty and Kit wandering around trying to find ingredients for a spell that is so clearly a BAD IDEA. The story really went in fits and starts in terms of capturing my attention- sometimes I was riveted, sometimes I was bored to tears. I had to listen to this on audio round the clock AND read it physically and switch on and off just to power through it.
NO MORE SEBASTIAN.
Ok, I will admit that I weirdly did love Thule and found it to be one of the most interesting parts of the book (because lol why not just break up the middle of the book with a quick trip to an alternate universe?). It was a Mad Max version of the Shadowhunter world and I was kind of digging it. HOWEVER when it was all like “this is a world where Sebastian won” and we had to deal with him again I was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It felt like we were just rehashing the events of TMI Part 2. Again. Also like SURPRISE SEBASTIAN HAS A KID!? This is getting way too Cursed Child for me…
NONE OF THE SHIPS WERE SAILING FOR ME
I just really don’t feel any of the ships in this story? I’ve never really been a huge fan of Julian + Emma (IDK, they’ve just never had a lot of chemistry to me) and I can take or leave Christina/Mark/Kieran, Ty + Kit, etc. It was great to see some old fan favorites like Jem + Tessa and Jace + Clary (and MALEC, especially Alec who had a better arc in this book than he ever had in the original trilogy IMO) but I just wasn’t super invested in the newer pairings which I think drained a lot of the tension from this book for me, especially with the whole “Parabatai can’t be in love” thing (which I feel like we’ve just been talking about over and over for the past three books?)
DON’T DO NECROMANCY
I literally wanted to pull my hair out when Ty and Kit were trying to pursue a spell to raise Livvy from the dead. I get that they’re teenagers dealing with profound grief and loss and trying to process it (Ty) and not wanting to cause their friend pain by making them face reality (Kit) but COME ON THE FIRST RULE OF FANTASY BOOKS IS THAT NECROMANCY IS BAD. I just wanted some of the adults to NOTICE and step in and HELP them? Also, I was so glad when they did sort of summon Livvy and she was all like WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’VE SET IN MOTION and then she comes back the next day and her ghost is like (lol my bad I shouldn’t have been so hard on you)…NO LIVVY YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAVE BEEN REAL WITH THEM, NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES OF NECROMANCY. I also was waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the consequences of Ty doing necromancy to kick in but they never did (maybe this will be explored in the next trilogy???)
WHAT EVEN WAS THAT ENDING???
I literally did not know what I was reading at the end. Julian and Emma turn into GIANT FIERY ANGELS and kill a bunch of cohort members (good riddance) but then manage to survive a phenomenon which barely anyone does (of course) and are more are less fine and the parabatai bond ~conveniently~ is broken so they can be together. This is of course all neatly explained by Jem at the end of the book after they wake up in the most info-dumpy type fashion you can imagine. I just…I am willing to suspend my disbelief a LOT for this series but this was even too much for a Shadowhunter book? And honestly I still feel like I don’t really understand what happened? And also no one important died in the end battle? And Annabelle was killed halfway through the book and didn’t even make it to the big finale? I have so many questions about the thought process about this book’s ending. Honestly I would rather have seen Emma smash that parabatai rune stone and watched all of the parabatai bonds all over the world break…that would have been much more interesting to read about rather than the hot mess that this ending actually was.
Other Rant Inducing Things:
- I was tired of Dru constantly, CONSTANTLY whining about how everyone treated her like a kid.
- Julian begging Magnus to turn his emotions off- like WTF I don’t think Magnus would have ever done that and also it felt full Vampire Diaries like when the vamps flip their humanity switches.
- That nonsense that Zara and the cohort pulled at the end…
- Everything felt really heavy handed. There were a lot of political messages and mirroring of real day issues (which is great!) but I felt like I was being hit over the head by the parallels at times.
- That ePiLoGuE though…
Things I Enjoyed:
- I was living for the Jace and Clary cameos because I was so fed up with the TDA main characters.
- I am actually developing quite a soft spot for Kit (though TBH I’m still confused by his whole lineage reveal at the end).
- Thule was bizarre and crazy but it was interesting to see how Shadowhunters defined themselves and fared without Angelic magic.
- Everyone being terrified of Cristina’s mom.
- Alec becoming the new Consult because why the heck not?
- Church being a key part of the story even in Thule.
Overall: Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoy Shadowhunter books and being back in the world is so fun. If I could, I’d read series set in different Institutes all over the world. However, QOAAD overstayed its welcome by a good 200-300 pages and I feel like the same plot points keep getting hashed out over and over again throughout the course of this series. Enjoyable overall but not my favorite series in the Shadowhunter universe and definitely the weakest in the trilogy. It will be interesting to see how The Wicked Powers plays out though considering how TDA seemed to forever alter the status of the Clave, Idris, etc. Despite my salt, I know I’ll be returning in 2022 to continue reading about the Blackthorns.