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Literature / The Dark Artifices

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The punishment for the contravention of [the parabatai law] shall be, at the discretion of the Clave: the separation of the parabatai in question from each other, exile from their families, and should the criminal behavior continue, the stripping of their Marks and their expulsion from the Nephilim. Never again shall they be Shadowhunters.

So it is decreed by Raziel.

Sed lex, dura lex. The Law is hard, but it is the Law.

A Young Adult Literature, Urban Fantasy trilogy by Cassandra Clare. The Dark Artifices is the sequel to The Mortal Instruments, her six-book, bestselling writing debut, as well as the third series (or fourth in chronological order) in the overarching The Shadowhunter Chronicles universe.

Since her parents were killed during the Dark War, Emma Carstairs has been living at the Los Angeles Institute alongside the Blackthorn family - her parabatai and best friend since childhood, Julian, and his four younger siblings - under the tutelage of their uncle Arthur, who is the head of the Institute. The Clave, which is the governing body of the Shadowhunter community, believes Emma's parents were casualties of the war. Emma has spent the five years since convinced they were killed for different reasons, and conducting an investigation of her own.

When she comes across a series of supernatural murders with the same signature as her parents', it will cause the Faeries - a group of Downworlders disgraced in the eyes of the law for their involvement on the wrong side of the Dark War - to insert themselves into the investigation. Now the Blackthorns have to solve the murders on a tight deadline and under top secrecy if they want to get their older brother Mark back, and Emma will come closer than she's ever been to the truth behind her parents' murder. Emma also struggles on her relationship with Julian, whom she begins to love in a romantic way, something that is forbidden among parabatai.

The books in the trilogy are:

  1. Lady Midnight (March 2016)
  2. Lord of Shadows (May 2017)
  3. Queen of Air and Darkness (December 2018)

The first edition of Lady Midnight and Queen of Air and Darkness each contains a short story, A Long Conversation and A Love That Never Tires, respectively, that focus on characters from The Mortal Instruments series. The former was released as a separate e-book two months after release.

This series has a character sheet. Please put all character-related tropes there.

This book series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
    • Emma's sword, Cortana, proves to be one. It kills one of the Seven Riders, who were previously thought to be un-killable and shatters weapons, including the Mortal Sword, though it is later revealed that this has less to do about Cortana's absurd cutting power and more about the fact that her parabatai power has been heightened by her feelings for Julian.
    • Queen of Air and Darkness introduces Durendal, made of the same embers that forged Cortana and no less lethal. Emma is able to cut the thorns and vines surrounding the Unseelie Tower with it.
  • Action Girl: Emma, Cristina, Livvy and basically every female shadowhunter because they were all trained to fight demons and other threats from a young age. Emma is specifically said to be The Ace and is hoped to become the next Jace Herondale.
  • Adults Are Useless: Arthur Blackthorn, head of the Los Angeles Institute who is also the guardian to the Blackthorn kids, has largely become a Cloudcuckoolander since his horrific experience in the Land of Faerie. He spends most of his time in his attic office, studying the classics and philosophizing, while largely leaving the run of the Institute and the day-to-day business to the younger members of the family. Diana Wrayburn, the children's tutor, tries to help them where possible but the many secrets she carries often leaves her taking action on her own and not being around to supervise the younger characters.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Emma has been calling Julian "Jules" since they were kids. It's also played with: When Emma and Julian have sex, and later admit their feelings for each other, Emma calls him Julian. Then, upon learning about the curse, she tells him she loves Mark, not him, and goes back to calling him Jules. Julian starts hating it, and missing when she called him Julian.
  • Alien Sea: The sea in Thule is stark black.
  • Alien Sky: Thule's sun and moon are both red and much dimmer than the main universe, obscured by whatever's evil power now inhabiting the world.
  • The Ageless: Warlocks tend to be this, and Los Angeles High Warlock Malcolm Fade is no exception - he appears to be in his twenties, but is actually over 160 years old. Tessa Gray is also repeatedly noted by Emma to look like she's around 19, despite being born in the mid-nineteenth century.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Ty's personality quirks are understood by his brothers and sisters, even though their Uncle Arthur berates him for relying on headphones as a coping mechanism during training sessions. Word of God confirms that he's somewhere on the autism spectrum, which Kit guesses in Lord of Shadows.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Emma's sword, Cortana, has been passed down the Carstairs family for generations.
    "Steel and temper, daughter. And remember that a blade made by Wayland the Smith can cut anything."
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    • When Julian finally admits to Emma that he's been in love with her all along, there is much anguish about how he wishes he weren't, because their love is against the law and can have grave consequences for both of them. In Lord of Shadows, itís taken up to eleven, when Julian finally breaks down and very angrily tells Emma just how hard it is love someone who you shouldnít and who doesnít even want you back. After she realizes all her efforts to make him fall out of love with her havenít worked, Emma delivers a much less angsty one to Julian in response.
    • Kit to Ty in Queen of Air and darkness, while trying to stop Ty from raising Livvy from the dead, complete with crying, which makes it all the more sadder when Ty treats it like nothing. Kit ends up moving to Devon with Tessa and Jem out of hurt and humiliation from the rejection. To be fair, he's a Herondale. Kid's literally got liquid drama running through his veins.
  • Anyone Can Die: Robert Lightwood and Livvy, courtesy of Annabel Blackthorn.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The main villain in Lady Midnight had the ultimate goal of bringing his dead lover back to life. It worked.
    • The same villain appears in Lord of Shadows being brought from the dead, though only for a short way.
    • Ty tries to resurrect Livvy in Queen of Air and Darkness. The spell only half-works: Livvy is brought back as a ghost that only Ty and Kit are able to see.
  • Bad Future: In Queen of Air and Darkness, Emma and Julian enter Thule, an alternate universe set two years in the future. In this timeline, Clary was killed during the Battle of the Burren, allowing Sebastian and demons to conquer Idris and eventually the world, stripping the Shadowhunters of their powers, driving the warlocks nearly extinct, and forcing what's left of the humans and Downworlders to live in increasingly-shrinking rebel enclaves.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Lady Midnight: Malcolm is (supposedly) killed and his plans are stopped. However, Emma, having known that forming a relationship with a parabatai is dangerous, decides to stay away from Julian and strikes a relationship with Mark to put him off, even though both are suffering because of it.
    • Queen of Air and Darkness: The Cohort and the Unseelie Court are defeated with Kieran ascending as king of the latter, while Emma and Julian are no longer parabatai and allowed to form a relationship. However, this means that Kieran is no longer able to be close with Cristina and Mark, as faerie monarchs are not allowed to have human spouses. Also, non-Cohort Shadowhunters decide to leave Idris for greener pastures, meaning they will have far more problems in regards to finance and alliance, while Idris will turn into a ghost country in the long run.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Take the first book for example. On one hand, you get a villain who terrorizes mundanes, Shadowhunters, and Downworlders alike for selfish reasons. And yet what drove him to do what he does is because of the Clave, supposedly a bastion of justice in the supernatural world, upholding the Accords so that all the races of the Downworld can live in peace and the Mundanes can be protected but at the same time exhibiting Fantastic Racism toward most of the Downworld races, and in the case of The Fair Folk they push it to the point of disavowing them from the aforementioned Accords due to their involvement in the war and even go as far as to exile or punish completely innocent individuals just for being half Fey.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Emma attempts this with Julian at the end of Lady Midnight. It doesn't work.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: The Fair Folk are notorious for this, as it is physically impossible for them to lie. This doesn't stop them from often skirting around the truth in order to manipulate events and get their way. Notably, half-faeries are able to lie; Mark Blackthorn himself is called out on this at least once in Lady Midnight.
  • Covered in Scars: Shadowhunters tend to be like this, due to their strenuous training regimes and inherently dangerous job of hunting demons and rogue downworlders - while they can heal themselves with runes, scars often remain. Emma mentions repeatedly that her body is scarred because she tends to be reckless about her own safety. She's left with even more scars after she takes a whipping from the Faeries in order to protect Mark and Julian.
  • Civil War: The appearance of the Cohort faction causes a division within the Clave between those supporting the proposed law to create a Downworlder Registration and those who reject it. This spirals into outright warfare in Queen of Air and Darkness. Though the anti-Registration faction wins, the Cohort refuse to accept losing, so their opponents choose to leave Idris, permanently dividing the Clave between the majority who leave and the minority who stay.
  • Cliffhanger: Lord of Shadows ends with Annabel murdering Robert and Livvy before taking off with the King of the Unseelie Court to parts unknown, leaving Julian to cradle Livvy's body.
  • Crapsack World: Thule is slightly better than Edom in that it still has humans and Downworlders, functioning more like a Dystopia rather than a Death World (though it's close to reaching that status).
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart: Thule has many compared to the main universe.
    • First off, Clary was killed during the Battle of the Burren, as shown in City of Lost Souls. Her death was the catalyst for the diverging of the timeline.
    • Isabelle was killed by Sebastian during the Last Stand at Alicante, having failed to kill him using the Mortal Sword.
    • The warlocks began dying off one by one as the effects of the Blight became pronounced. Magnus turned into a demon, forcing Alec to kill him, before turning the sword to himself. By the time Emma and Julian arrive at Thule, Tessa Gray is the last surviving warlock in the world, meaning Catarina Loss is dead as well.
    • The Silent Brothers, Jem included, sacrificed themselves to protect the Mortal Instruments from Sebastian.
    • The Blackthorns disappeared or were killed off one by one throughout the seven years after the disastrous battle at the Burren. Julian sacrificed himself to let his younger siblings get to a train to Los Angeles, being turned into an Endarkened alongside Emma; Ty and Tavvy were both killed off by demons while the Blackthorns were searching for shelter in Los Angeles; and Dru never came home during a scout. Unlike in the real world, Mark never came back from Faerie after he was kidnapped, while Helen disappeared alongside Aline following the Last Stand at Alicante.
    • Lily Chen died at some point and never ascended as head of New York's vampire clan.
    • The first thing Emma and Julian see after they enter Thule is Sebastian and the Endarkened executing Maryse Lightwood.
    • Inverted with Livvy. In the main universe, she is the only Blackthorn sibling to die. In Thule, she is last surviving Blackthorn sibling, after the disappearance of Dru. Also inverted with Raphael Santiago, who is alive and well and still heads New York's vampire clan.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Averted. While an intimate scene between Julian and Emma in Lady Midnight is left ambiguous, it doesn't take more than one chapter for Emma to admit to Cristina that they did have sex.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Annabel Blackthorn, the titular character of Queen of Air and Darkness, is killed off in Chapter 21, out of the book's 35 chapters. The rest is spent focusing on the growing conflict with the Unseelie Court and the Cohort. Though Annabel seemingly appears afterwards to work with the Cohort, she turns out to be an Eidolon impersonating her to terrify Emma and Julian.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: As of Lord of Shadows, a new faction in the Clave called the Cohort is pushing an agenda of registering all Downworlders and half-Downworlders like Mark and Helen Blackthorn. As Kit says, "Have NONE of you read an X-Men comic?"
  • Don't Create a Martyr: During the Clave meeting after the civil war between the Cohort and anti-Cohort factions, the Cohort threaten to kill themselves to set a reminder that their opponents achieve victory by sword. Realizing that this will only create more division within the Clave, Alec takes a bold step by accepting Lazlo Balogh's sarcastic offer for the anti-Cohort Shadowhunters to leave Idris and never come back, which the Cohort obviously Did Not See It Coming.
  • Doorstopper: Currently the reigning champion of the franchise. Lady Midnight has 668 pages, Lord of Shadows has 699 pages, and Queen of Air and Darkness has 912 pages.
  • The Fair Folk: Two of the Blackthorn children are half-Faerie, with Mark being a main character of the series. Some members of The Wild Hunt and the Unseelie Court are key to the series and the Clave's Fantastic Racism toward Faeries is a big theme in the story. In fact, Lord of Shadows is named after one of the many titles possessed by the King of the Unseelie Court.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • As usual, the Clave is passive-aggressive when it comes to mundanes and Downworlders. Among the latter, faeries are ostracized the most because of their support of Sebastian's Endarkened army during the Dark War and the "Cold Peace" was created in the aftermath to strip the faeries of their ability to war. The ostracism extends to individuals who are half-faerie, such as Mark and Helen, who were just children during the war and completely innocent, yet were still punished on the basis of their blood alone.
    • Exaggerated in Lord of Shadows. A new faction in the Clave called the Cohort thinks the treaty at the end of the Dark War didn't go far enough, that Alec Lightwood isn't gay and is just under a mind control spell from Magnus Bane, and wants to begin actively registering all Downworlders.
  • Foil: Zara Dearborn to Clary Fairchild. Both are young women caught in the midst of war and its politics, and each daughter to a bigoted father with far too much power on his hands. But while Zara shares and even participates in her father's bigotry and ignorance, Clary became her father's main opposition and never treated Downworlders like they were beneath her.
  • Foreshadowing: Mark's relationship with Kieran.
    Iarlath: [to Kieran] You've always been partial to blondes.
  • For Want of a Nail: The existence of Thule reveals what happens if Clary is killed during the Dark War: Sebastian and the Endarkened successfully conquer Idris, forcing the Shadowhunters, now with no angelic power to tap on, to flee and join the mundane and Downworlder refugees to retreat as the demons Take Over the World.
  • Hope Spot: Near the end of Lord of Shadows, Emma and Julian are hopeful that Robert will grant them a lenient punishment for breaking the parabatai rule, so they can choose exile rather than involuntary strip of their Marks. A few chapters later, Annabel murders Robert and the ultraconservative Horace Dearborn replaces him, rendering any lenient punishment impossible.
  • Hidden Elf Village: At the end of the series, Alec leads the anti-Cohort Shadowhunters to leave Idris and resettle in the Institutes. Idris is walled off, so they cannot return to Idris, while the Cohort members can't leave Idris, either. The Cohort's refusal to accept the fact that they will have stand together with the Downworlders means that they will lead pathetic, reclusive lives in the Shadowhunter home country. Since the Cohort comprise only a minority of the Clave, Idris will also slowly turn into a ghost country, since there's only so much you can do with several dozen people.
  • Immediate Sequel: Queen of Air and Darkness starts right at where Lord of Shadows left off, as the Shadowhunters prepare for the funerals of Robert Lightwood and Livia Blackthorn.
  • Intimate Healing: Emma heals Julian from a fatal injury while they're cramped together in the back seat of a car. She even notes that she's straddling him. It's later revealed that the trope is literal; the only reason Julian's wound was able to be healed was because his and Emma's romantic feelings for each other enhanced the power of the healing runes.
  • Insult of Endearment: Emma, Cristina, and eventually most of the Blackthorns tend to call Diego Rosales "Perfect Diego", a nickname given by Cristina's mother, because he seems to be good at everything, which they find highly annoying. He is, but he also turns out to not be as bad as Emma initially thought he would be, and was actually very helpful.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Mark, a half-faerie half-Shadowhunter, struck a relationship with Kieran, a full-blooded faerie. Things get complicated when Cristina, a full-blooded Shadowhunter, comes into the picture.
    • Malcolm Fade, a warlock, and Annabel Blackthorn, a Shadowhunter. While Downworlder-Shadowhunter relationship is legal today, it wasn't in the early 19th century, a time when Downworlders were actively persecuted by the Clave.
    • Diana, a Shadowhunter and Gwyn, a faerie.
  • Ironic Name: Thule. In real-life white supremacist beliefs, Thule is name of the mythical paradise where the ancestors of the Nordics/Aryans supposedly came from. Here, it's the name of a Crapsack Death World, where demons rule the world. But that's probably the point.
  • Last of His Kind: In Thule, Tessa Gray is the last of the warlocks, thanks to her Shadowhunter heritage negating the effects of the Blight. She eventually makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Emma and the rebels from Sebastian.
  • Lawful Stupid:
    • The Clave is so overly-concerned with upholding the law that they often forget or willfully overlook the terrible consequences following the law might bring to Downworlders or even Shadowhunters themselves. Actual Shadowhunters often have to bend the law, skirt around it or find loopholes in it, in order to do what they believe is right and fair without incurring the anger of the Clave.
    • The Cohort weaponizes this in the second and third books of the series. Being what's essentially a far-right populist faction, they warp the Clave's indecisiveness and recklessness to their favor so they can impose a law that is actively malicious towards Downworlders and their allies.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • Tiberius is like this. Despite being highly intelligent, he often doesn't understand slang or figures of speech until they're explained to him, and he doesn't see the purpose of certain societal conventions such as looking at people in the eyes when you speak to them. He will do it if he feels it's necessary, however, because he understands that these conventions are important to people. Kit notes that Ty is what mundanes call autistic, a term that is unknown among Shadowhunters.
    • Mark, having spent a long time in the Land of Faerie, seems to be out of practice when it comes to interpreting figures of speech, as well. Unlike Ty, he gets better as time goes on, however.
  • Love Dodecahedron:
    • Kieran is in love with Mark, who loves him back, but at the same time is starting to fall for Cristina. She, for her part, reciprocates the attraction but is still in love with Diego, who is still in love with her. Meanwhile, Mark continues to have feelings for Cristina and Kieran, who both seem to be interested in both him and each other.
    • At the end of Lady Midnight, Emma decides to fake a relationship with Mark in order to make Julian fall out of love with her. Considering Julian spends much of the book being jealous of Mark for no good reason other than "the way Emma looks at him," it might just work - or lead to feelings on Emma's part that will make these emotional entanglements even more complicated. This settles in Lord of Shadows, when Emma and Mark decide they have no romantic feelings for each other and she and Julian commit to each other despite their relationship bring forbidden.
  • MacGuffin: The titular Dark Artifices is the Black Volume of the Dead, which contains some of the most powerful and dangerous spells in the world. It contains a spell which can bring someone back from the dead as well as one which powers up someone to be immune to the effects of angelic weapons. It used to be stored in the Cornwall Institute, but was stolen by Malcolm Fade and Annabel Blackthorn when they attempted to elope. The book eventually found its way to the Los Angeles Institute, where Malcolm stole it again to use it for Annabel's resurrection. After she is brought back, she keeps the book until Julian kills her. Nobody knows where the book is now, though it will presumably be explored in The Eldest Curses.
  • Magitek: When Faerie steeds are taken from the land of the fey, because "their substance is magic," they are able to change in order to fit into the mundane world. Much like the flying vampire bikes of The Mortal Instruments series, Mark's steed takes the form of a flying motorcycle - or, as Emma would aptly put it, a "pony-cycle."
  • Makara: Makaras are huge sea demons whose appearance is part octopus, part slug creature, topped by the oversized head of a bee. They furthermore have mottled green skin and tentacles covered in pink suckers. Makaras only rarely trade the ocean's bottom for the surface, and if they come on land that's a curiosity. If a makara's remains make it to shore, they dissolve into a puddle of green-pink goo within two days. So when the Shadowhunters find a makara's tentacle at Malcolm's house, a dilapidated residence quite a distance from the shore that is owned by a powerful but now dead warlock, and no reports that anyone saw such a creature, a number of questions come up. It is later deduced that Malcolm had enchanted the tentacle as a tool to command the sea demons in Los Angeles.
  • Moment Killer: Nosy siblings and angry Faeries, among other things, repeatedly interrupt Emma and Julian as they are attempting to confess their feelings in Lady Midnight.
  • Mordor:
    • A plot point in the last two books in the series is the appearance of Blight, patches of dying lands in both Faerieland and the human world caused by demonic energy. It's later revealed that this is caused by King Arawn making a deal with Malcolm Fade to open a portal to Thule, an alternate universe that is entirely covered by Blight, as well as experimentation of Ash using spells contained within the Black Volume of the Dead. The side effect of the Blight is warlock sickness; Magnus becomes deathly ill, as does Tessa, though she recovers thanks to her Shadowhunter blood. Blight cannot be healed back, but its influence can be nullified by the waters of the Mortal Mirror, Lake Lyn.
    • Speaking of Blight in Thule, thanks to Sebastian winning the Dark War, the Blight transformed into portals for demons to cross and spread more Blight throughout the world, resulting in Thule becoming a sort of proto-Edom. Most of the land is dead, both the sun and moon glow a dim red light, the rain is hazardous, thick fog abounds, and the sea is colored black.
  • Narnia Time:
    • Time in Faerieland doesn't make sense to humans. It's sometimes faster (Ash grew to around double his age in five years time), sometimes slower (Mark stays the same age from when he was kidnapped until he is released, again within the span of five years). There are only two ways for people to escape its influence: by wearing a certain angelic medallion, one of which is possessed by Cristina thanks to her family's connection with faeries, or by possessing a large amount of angelic blood, as in the case of Clary and Jace.
    • When Annabel and Ash enter the portal to Thule, they are sent to three years in the past, two years after Sebastian won the Dark War. When Emma and Julian enter the portal mere moments afterward, they are sent to two years in the future, so when they meet Ash, he has gone from a boy to a teenager.
  • Necromantic: The ultimate goal of the main villain in Lady Midnight.
  • Nephilim: Other than ordinary Shadowhunters, Queen of Air and Darkness reveals that during the early days of the Shadowhunters, parabatai were able to channel their romantic feelings for each other to become the mythical Nephilim, allowing them to assume gigantic forms with the power comparable to angels. However, only one was ideally advised to change while the other became their anchor to the mortal realm; if they transformed together, they would descend into mindless monsters that would bring destruction to the world and they would die eventually. When too many parabatai did exactly that, the Clave issued a law forbidding all parabatai to love each other, even though there are ways for the transformation to be non-lethal. Near the end of the book, Emma and Julian transform into the mythical Nephilim, instantly turning the battle to their favor, but come close to destroying Alicante if not for The Power of Love.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: At the end of the series, Idris is walled off to non-Cohort Shadowhunters, that is to say, the majority of them. The capital of the Clave is relocated to New York.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Different-sex parabatai are supposed to be this. It is illegal for parabatai to love each other "in the manner of eros" and should only love each other "in the manner of philia or agape" - that is, as friends or family. Breaking this law can lead to the two Shadowhunters being stripped of their marks and exiled. The fact that Emma and Julian realize that they love each other as more than friends and family is a driving issue of the series. At first they try to brush it off and attempt to keep a distance from each other in hopes that the feelings will go away eventually. When it becomes clear that they will always be drawn to each other no matter what, they desperately search for a way to be able to retain their relationship, even if it comes at a great cost.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: In Queen of Air and Darkness, when Emma has seemingly been stabbed to death during the war at the Imperishable Fields, Julian holds her in his arms and begs this word for word.
  • Please Wake Up: In Lord of Shadows, after Livvy is killed by Annabel, Julian repeatedly begs her to open her eyes, despite knowing that she is already dead.
  • Posthumous Character: Emma's desire to solve her parents' murder drives much of the plot of the first book. We even get to see the two of them in a Dream Sequence Emma has in Lady Midnight.
  • Power Tattoo: Runes are this. Runes applied by your parabatai are even more powerful. And they're even more powerful than that when you and your parabatai just happen to be in love.
  • Precision F-Strike: Horace Dearborn gets the first (and so far, only) F-bomb of the entire Shadowhunters-verse in Queen of Air and Darkness. For a universe which uses no words stronger than "bitch" or "damn," seeing the F-bomb dropped is particularly jarring. Even the characters are surprised.
  • Promotion to Parent: Julian for his younger siblings. He's not the oldest, but his older sister Helen was exiled by the Clave and his older brother Mark was kidnapped by the Wild Hunt; therefore when their father died in the war, Julian, at the tender age of twelve, had no other choice but to step up and take care of the rest of the Blackthorn brood. By the time the series started, Julian has come to accept the role and sees Ty, Livvy, Dru, and Tavvy more as children rather than siblings.
  • The Reveal:
    • Lady Midnight:
      • Malcolm is actually evil, is the true identity of the Guardian, and has been killing people to resurrect Annabel Blackthorn, the titular Lady Midnight. He is also the one who killed Emma's parents to beta test the spell used to bring back Annabel.
      • Kit Rook is actually Christopher Herondale, descendant from the infamous Tobias Herondale.
    • Lord of Shadows:
      • Malcolm barely survives Emma's mortal wound in the previous book to resurrect Annabel, who promptly kills him.
      • Clary is seeing visions of her death.
      • Zara and several other Centurions are part of the Cohort, a faction within the Clave that seeks to install a law that severely discriminates against the Downworlders.
      • Diana Wrayburn is a transgender woman who transitioned before the start of the series. Her birth name is David Laurence Wrayburn.
    • Many in The Queen of Air and Darkness:
      • The boy whom Dru met in the previous book is Ash, son of the Queen of the Seelie Court and Sebastian Morgernstern. Because he holds the blood of the faerie, demon, and angel all at once, he holds a tremendous power that the King of the Unseelie Court is trying to use.
      • Kit is descended from both Tobias Herondale and Auraline, the first daughter of King Arawn of the Unseelie Court and the Queen of the Seelie Court. As a result, he holds a claim towards both Courts and is able to raise an army to unite both realms.
      • Annabel is really killed by Julian back in Thule. The Annabel who appears to the Cohort afterwards is an Eidolon demon.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The way the Cohort sweep power within the Clave by openly rallying people to favor homogeneity and xenophobia is obviously inspired by the sudden rise of far right populism in The New '10s.
  • Sequel Hook: Queen of Air and Darkness features an epilogue set from the perspective of the Queen of the Seelie Court, who meets Jace Herondale of Thule and her son Ash. Jace offers to hand Ash back to the Queen, in return for her help to arrange him a meeting with Clary.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: What the anti-Cohort faction basically do at the end of Queen of Air and Darkness; they are tired of hearing any more of the Cohort's ramblings and decide to leave Idris.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Mark's reaction to his younger siblings and Emma after five years living in Faerieland. Since Faerieland runs on Narnia Time, Mark stays a 16 years old, meaning he is physically younger than Julian and Emma (both 17 years old, but chronologically four years younger than Mark).
  • Shout-Out: There are many references to Edgar Allan Poe's works in the series. Annabel Lee, Poe's last poem, is central to the plot of the story, and later on he is directly mentioned to have been inspired by a conversation with a Downworlder. Specifically, Annabel Blackthorn is supposedly the inspiration for the titular Annabel Lee. Another poem, Dream-Land, is the inspiration for Thule, an alternate universe shown in the third book.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts:
    • At one point in Queen of Air and Darkness, Emma averts her eyes when Clary and Jace start kissing and making cutesy noises to each other.
    • Emma and Julian, when they're not angsting about their forbidden love. Their Thule versions, by virtue of not being parabatai, are so shamelessly intimate (as Julian says himself, his counterpart is a "very confident kisser"), even their main world counterparts find it repulsive. At the end of the third book, when they no longer become parabatai, Emma and Julian waste no time to savor it all: they immediately plan for months-long trip around the world and spend the rest of the book being lovey-dovey with each other.
  • Significant Name Shift: Emma has been calling Julian "Jules" since they were kids. When they have sex, and later admit their feelings for each other, Emma calls him Julian. Then, upon learning about the curse on parabatai who fall in love, she tells him she loves Mark, not him, and goes back to calling him Jules. Julian starts hating it, and missing when she called him Julian.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Julian's never felt attraction to anyone except Emma.
  • Sore Loser: The Cohort are completely unapologetic despite losing the war and refuse to accept the peace terms, threatening to kill themselves to deny their opponents the satisfaction of punishing them. It backfires on them when their opponents decide to turn their backs on them.
  • Spell Book: The Black Volume of the Dead contains some of the darkest spells and instructions in existence, to the point that even warlocks are forbidden to own it.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Blackthorns tend to have brown hair and blue-green eyes, as Emma notes several times. The exceptions are Helen, Mark and Tiberius - the first two have blond hair because they're half-faerie, while the latter simply has black hair and gray eyes. This might be to make him stand out as different from the rest of his siblings, or to emphasize his High-Functioning Autism.
  • Supernatural Elite: Shadowhunters fancy themselves this, and the friction this causes with the rest of the Downworlder species - particularly with the Faeries - is a big theme of the books.
  • Switch to English: Cristina, Diego, and Jaime, speak to each other in English even when no English-speakers are around, because Cristina "is trying to keep up her practice."
  • There Are No Therapists: The Clave has absolutely no support mechanisms in place for Shadowhunters who suffer from any kind of mental illness. In fact, due to their often pre-modern culture, suffering from such issues is heavily stigmatized and may even be punished. For this reason people like Arthur and Tiberius have their problems concealed from the Clave by their families as no help would be available.
  • Three-Way Sex: A rare serious example: by the end of the series, Cristina, Mark, and Kieran love each other equally and can't bear the thought of being separated from one another. As a result, when Kieran is forced to take his duty as King of the Unseelie Court, Cristina and Mark are left heartbroken despite still having each other.
  • Time Skip: Set in 2012, five years after the events of The Mortal Instruments. Emma and the Blackthorns have grown from children to teenagers (for Tavvy, from an infant to young boy), while Clary and her friends are now in their early twenties.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Shadowhunters often face this dilemma when it comes to doing what they think is right, or following the laws of the Clave. The Blackthorn family motto especially exemplifies this struggle: "Lex malla, lex nulla" - a bad law is no law.
  • The 'Verse: Part of The Shadowhunter Chronicles consisting of this series, its predecessor The Mortal Instruments, prequel series The Infernal Devices, The Last Hours (sequel to The Infernal Devices), The Wicked Powers (sequel to The Dark Artifices), The Eldest Curses (spin-off focusing on Alec and Magnus), The Shadowhunter Codex (guide book), The Bane Chronicles (short story collection), Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy (short story collection) and Ghosts Of The Shadowmarket (short story collection), all taking place in the Shadowhunter world.
  • Wedding Finale: Queen of Air and Darkness ends with Alec and Magnus' wedding in front of the Los Angeles Institute.
  • The Wild Hunt: Mark was part of the hunt, and some of the other members make appearances throughout the series, including the leader of the hunt himself, Gwyn the Hunter.

A Long Conversation provides examples of:

  • Interquel: The story takes place during the climax of Lady Midnight. At the end, Clary, Jace, and Robert portal to the Los Angeles Institute, which happens during that book's coda.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Jace proposes to Clary, but before she can reply the two receive news about the trouble at the Los Angeles Institute.
  • Secret-Keeper: Rebecca is invited to Simon's engagement party as the only mundane participant.
  • Title Drop: "A Long Conversation" refers to the marriage life that Simon and Isabelle will undergo.

Alternative Title(s): Lady Midnight, Lord Of Shadows, Queen Of Air And Darkness