Thursday, July 10, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire (Book #6 of The Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare
Published May 2014 
About the book (from Goodreads):
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!
My Take:

First let me say how much I have loved this series and these characters, so I may be slightly biased in favor of liking this book too. That said, I liked this book a lot. But I didn't love it. 

I think Ms. Clare does an excellent job of intimately describing heart wrenching emotional trauma, and similar to George RR Martin, she has no problem killing off characters to further a plot line, so you never feel too secure in who will live and who will die, and who will find their happily ever after.

Clary and Jace are back together, but Jace is still filled with Heavenly Fire from their last encounter with Clarys evil brother Sebastian. Which means he's afraid to touch her or anyone else he loves for fear of burning them with the uncontrollable fire burning through his veins.  Simon and Isabelle are still a couple but have yet to DTR or define their relationship. Alec and Magnus are still broken up and miserable about it. Maia is still conflicted about her feelings for Jordan but has yet to talk about it with him. Luke and Jocelyn's wedding is still on hold.

And then all hell breaks loose. Literally.

Okay, when I write it like that, it starts sounding like a K-drama or something equally cheesy.  But if you've read the rest of the series, you know what I'm talking about and will enjoy the ways in which these relationship conflicts get resolved. Each of the characters continues to grow and evolve, and the Clave reminds them and us several times along the way that despite what they have been through and experienced, they are still children. Not considered adults until they turn 18 or whatever. Alec is the only one old enough to vote, but his relationship is forbidden in other ways. 

This is not a stand alone book, but the last in a wonderful series. But unlike the other books in this series, City of Heavenly Fire makes many references, both overt and obscure, to the prequel series that Ms. Clare started publishing after she was halfway through The Mortal Instruments series. So many references, in fact, that it began to feel like a not so subtle ad for the other series.

The ultimate growth of the main characters, the resolutions of their various story lines, and the sheer volume of emotions poured forth in this book make it a must read for any fans of this series, these characters, or this author. Ms. Clare gives each character the satisfying ending they deserve. She gives us the post-war epilogue that jumps us a bit into the future, but only months, not years. She hints at futures without the ten-years-later, where-are-they-now epilogue that the Harry Potter series ended with.
In short, if you're a fan of the series, you'll enjoy this last installment. If you haven't read any of them, you've got a full summer of reading right in this series to look forward to!

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