Today’s QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS snippet is actually chapter-long excerpt, plus check out the free poster to be given at Yallfest this weekend!
The final book of The Dark Artifices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare is little less than a month away, and today brings an excerpt that was released through Entertainment Weekly.
Even if it’s been over a year since you’ve read Lord of Shadows, book two of the series, you will probably still remember how it ends. In this Queen of Air and Darkness excerpt, which starts at Chapter 2, those feels may come and break your heart all over again, so beware of your emotions as you read what’s next:
Cristina stood despairingly in the extremely clean kitchen of the Princewater Street canal house and wished there was something she could tidy up.
She’d washed dishes that didn’t need washing. She’d mopped the floor and set and reset the table. She’d arranged flowers in a vase and then thrown them out, and then retrieved them from the trash and arranged them again. She wanted to make the kitchen nice, the house pretty, but was anyone really going to care if the kitchen was nice and the house was pretty?
She knew they wouldn’t. But she had to do something. She wanted to be with Emma and comfort Emma, but Emma was with Drusilla, who had cried herself to sleep holding Emma’s hands. She wanted to be with Mark, and comfort Mark, but he’d left with Helen, and she could hardly be anything but glad that at last he was getting to spend time with the sister he’d missed for so long.
The front door rattled open, startling Cristina into knocking a dish from the table. It fell to the floor and shattered. She was about to pick it up when she saw Julian come in, closing the door behind him—Locking runes were more common than keys in Idris, but he didn’t reach for his stele, just looked sightlessly from the entryway to the stairs.
Cristina stood frozen. Julian looked like the ghost from a Shakespeare play. He clearly hadn’t changed since the Council Hall; his shirt and jacket were stiff with dried blood.
She never quite knew how to talk to Julian anyway; she knew more about him than was comfortable, thanks to Emma. She knew he was desperately in love with her friend; it was obvious in the way he looked at Emma, spoke to her, in gestures as tiny as handing her a dish across a table. She didn’t know how everyone else didn’t see it too. She’d known other parabatai and they didn’t look at each other like that.
Having such personal information about someone was awkward at the best of times. This wasn’t the best of times. Julian’s expression was blank; he moved into the hall, and as he walked, his sister’s dried blood flaked off his jacket and drifted to the floor.
If she just stood still, Cristina thought, he might not see her, and he might go upstairs and they’d both be spared an awkward moment. But even as she thought it, the bleakness in his face tugged at her heart. She was in the doorway before she realized she’d moved.
“Julian,” she said quietly.
He didn’t seem startled. He turned to face her as slowly as an automaton winding down. “How are they?”
How did you answer that? “They’re well taken care of,” she said finally. “Helen has been here, and Diana, and Mark.”
“Ty . . .”
“Is still asleep.” She tugged nervously at her skirt. She’d changed all her clothes since the Council Hall, just to feel clean.
For the first time, he met her eyes. His were shot through with red, though she didn’t remember having seen him cry. Or maybe he had cried when he was holding Livvy—she didn’t want to remember that. “Emma,” he said. “Is she all right? You’d know. She would—tell you.”
“She’s with Drusilla. But I’m sure she’d like to see you.”
“But is she all right?”
“No,” Cristina said. “How could she be all right?”
He glanced toward the steps, as if he couldn’t imagine the effort it would take to climb them. “Robert was going to help us,” he said. “Emma and me. You know about us, I know that you do, that you know how we feel.”
Cristina hesitated, stunned. She’d never thought Julian would mention any of this to her. “Maybe the next Inquisitor—”
“I passed through the Gard on my way back,” Julian said. “They’re already meeting. Most of the Cohort and half the Council. Talking about who’s going to be the next Inquisitor. I doubt it’s going to be someone who will help us. Not after today. I should care,” he said. “But right now I don’t.”
A door opened at the top of the steps, and light spilled onto the dark landing. “Julian?” Emma called. “Julian, is that you?”
He straightened a little, unconsciously, at the sound of her voice. “I’ll be right there.” He didn’t look at Cristina as he went up the stairs, but he nodded to her, a quick gesture of acknowledgment.
She heard his footsteps die away, his voice mingling with Emma’s. She glanced back at the kitchen. The broken dish lay in the corner. She could sweep it up. It would be the more practical thing to do, and Cristina had always thought of herself as practical. A moment later she had thrown her gear jacket on over her clothes. Tucking several seraph blades into her weapons belt, she slipped quietly out the door and into the streets of Alicante.
Emma listened to the familiar sound of Julian coming up the stairs. The tread of his feet was like music she had always known, so familiar it had almost stopped being music.
Emma resisted calling out again—she was in Dru’s room, and Dru had just fallen asleep, worn-out, still in the clothes she’d worn to the Council meeting. Emma heard Julian’s step in the hall, and then the sound of a door opening and closing.
Careful not to wake Dru, she slipped out of the room. She knew where Julian was without having to wonder: Down the hall a few doors was Ty’s borrowed bedroom.
Inside, the room was softly lit. Diana sat in an armchair by the head of Ty’s bed, her face tight with grief and weariness. Kit was asleep, propped against the wall, his hands in his lap.
Julian stood by Ty’s bed, looking down, his hands at his sides. Ty slept without restlessness, a drugged sleep, hair dark against the white pillows. Still, even in sleep he kept himself to the left side of the bed, as if leaving the space beside him open for Livvy.
“. . . his cheeks are flushed,” Julian was saying. “Like he has a fever.”
“He doesn’t,” Diana said firmly. “He needs this, Jules. Sleep heals.” Emma saw the open doubt on Julian’s face. She knew what he was thinking: Sleep didn’t heal me when my mother died, or my father, and it won’t heal this, either. It will always be a wound.
Diana glanced over at Emma. “Dru?” she said.
Julian looked up at that, and his eyes met Emma’s. She felt the pain in his gaze like a blow to her chest. It was suddenly hard to breathe. “Asleep,” she said, almost in a whisper. “It took a little while, but she finally crashed.”
“I was in the Silent City,” he said. “We brought Livvy down there. I helped them lay her body out.”
Diana reached up to put her hand on his arm. “Jules,” she said quietly. “You need to go and get yourself cleaned up, and get some rest.”
“I should stay here,” Julian said in a low voice. “If Ty wakes up and I’m not here—”
“He won’t,” Diana said. “The Silent Brothers are precise with their doses.”
“If he wakes up and you’re standing here covered in Livvy’s blood, Julian, it won’t help anything,” Emma said. Diana looked at her, clearly surprised by the harshness of her words, but Julian blinked as if coming out of a dream.
Emma held out her hand to him. “Come on,” she said.
If you’re going to be attending YallFest this weekend, you can stop by the Riveted booth at the Charleston Museum to pick up this beauty of a poster of Julian, illustrated by the very talented Qistina Khalidah. Read Cassie’s Instagram post below to find out more Shadowhunter stuff at the weekend event.
Pre-order Queen of Air and Darkness: