City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
I swore to myself I wasn’t going to do this, but after reading it, I just had so many things going on in my head that I couldn’t not write something about it. Anyway, I’m gonna talk a little about the sixth book in the series, so, if you’re planning to read the others, stop when you get to River. Mmmm kay.
In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.
The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?
When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…
Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!
If you’ve been on this blog before, you’ll know that I kinda love the Mortal Instruments, but even though I love it, I am also really critical of it as a series. Which I think is ok, I can love something without thinking it’s perfect, for instance, I love Supernatural, but I criticise all the misogyny, I love Doctor Who, and because I love it, I am critical of all the things that could be better. I feel that way about the Mortal Instruments series, I love the books and how much fun they are, but I am also aware that parts of the story are problematic in more ways than one. I will also just say that I’m not the biggest fan of the author. I won’t go into why here, but if you’re at all interested, you can always google her and you’ll probably see why I don’t like her all that much.
Despite this, I love the stories, but I’m not always entirely sure why. Its like, do you have a friend that you’re not entirely sure why you’re friends with them? The Mortal Instruments is kind of like that for me. I enjoy reading them, but I don’t really know why. I’m sure people who aren’t the biggest fans of the series will tell you that it isn’t really all that original, in fact, the Jace and Will (from the infernal devices) even sort of have similar backgrounds and identical dialogue and of course, I hate the lead character, Jace, with an incalculable passion and yet, I love Will. I’ve seen other reviewers mention that our heroine Clary, seems to lose her personality as the stories progress. While I would say that that is a little true, I do actually really enjoy the series, I like the character interactions, I like the whole angels v demons thing and the politics of the shadow world. We also have a fairly wide range of diverse characters, people of colour and various different sexualities etc which is nice, it could do better, but you know, at least its there. Despite these things, my biggest issue is this, do all of those characters really have to date each other? People like me who are terminally single have no one to relate to. Plus, they’ve all dated so incestuously (quite literally sometimes) it can be hard to keep up. Actually, maybe the reason I love these books is the same reason why I love Glee. The dating situation is kind of similar.
Right, so firstly, this book is freaking huge, like HUGE. I got some serious arm ache reading this, while this was good because we got lots of character banter, I love the interactions between these characters, I love the kinship with Jace, Alec and Izzy and basically everything that Simon says. Pretty much, Simon is the thing that keeps me going. Despite all that, I did find that the length was a little unnecessary. It wasn’t long because there was so many lose ends to tie up, it was long because instead of this just being an ending to Clary and co’s story, it was also a sneaky prequel to the next lot of shadow hunter books. (Is there seriously nothing else that this woman can write about? I am BORED of Shadowhunters, yo). All these mentions of Julian and Emma and what was going on with them was super annoying. Parts of their story was relevant, other parts, not so much. It was kind of like the last series of Glee with all the new kids. I don’t care about them. I care about the kids I’ve been watching grow up. Or, for those of you who aren’t into Glee, (I have mentioned Glee a hell of a lot so far haven’t I?) it was like that episode of Supernatural where instead of focusing on the interesting characters and you know, all the important plot points, we ended up with an hour of people I couldn’t give a crap about while they showed off a spin off in a really backdoor kind of way. This was a little like that in places. While I’m on the subject of focusing on characters that aren’t the ones this series is about, there were so many references to the Infernal Devices it was like being batted around the head with them. Dude, references to prequels etc should be subtle, if you have to make it really obvious to your readers, then you clearly don’t think that they’re not smart enough to figure it out, so DON’T DO IT.
There were good things in the book, Maia’s story for instance ended wonderfully and we FINALLY, SIX FREAKING BOOKS AND A SPIN OFF SERIES LATER find out something about Magnus’ life and as much as the Tessa/Jem stuff got on my nerves at times (mostly because I was like, I don’t freaking care, Jace etc have just gone to hell, get on with it) it was nice to see what they got up to between the last time we saw them and now.
Like I said, I both love and hate this series. I loved where Sebastian’s story was going and the difficult dynamics that caused with the endarkened and everything. I liked that the majority of it was set in Idris, I love the New York and the London settings, but sometimes, you just want a fantasy novel that is set in a fantasy world. Seeing as she went all that effort to come up with a shadow world etc, it’ was good to actually get to see it. But, at the same time, there are only so many instances I can deal with where Clary simpers about her boyfriend instead of being bothered about the fact that her brother is trying to destroy the world.
The thing that really got to me though was the ending. Why has every series ended so gosh darn lamely? The Divergent series had a lame ending, so did the Hunger Games, I was promised character death. There is a war on people, not everyone is going to survive and though we did get some deaths, I was kind of hoping we’d lose a main character or two. Like Jace. Mostly because I dislike him so much, but also because I was getting fed up of Clary’s obsessive observations about how beautiful he was. I’ve read six books already, I know what he looks like. Instead of going on and on about what your boyfriend looks like, how about you and Izzy become friends and actually treat each other with respect? The ending was just such a cop out, how is it that there is a war, with hundreds of casualties and all of the main characters escape, one of whom actually gets a mansion out of it, another gets a boyfriend and apart from someone losing a few memories (Doctor Who anyone?) nothing bad happened. At all. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones, I don’t know.
It wasn’t a bad book. None of them are bad, not really, but they’re not perfect either, I just wish that this were the end. We’ve had Victorian steam punk Shadowhunters, we’ve had modern day teenage Shadow Hunters in New York effectively ending the Holocaust and soon we’re going to end up with yet another series about Shadowhunters. I just want to read about something else. Is anyone looking forward to the Dark Artefacts? I love the Mortal Instruments, I love Simon Lewis, I have loved watching these kids grow up and kick ass, but I think they deserved a better ending and Clary and Izzy definitely deserve better than to be two girls that care about nothing but their boyfriends.
I should stop before I manage to convince you all to not read them.