The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire

City of Heavenly Fire 1

City of Heavenly Fire brings Cassandra Clare’s series, The Mortal Instruments to a close in an explosive final book. After having to wait for a few months in order to be able to read it, the only thing I can confess is that it does not disappoint.

Sebastian is winning. Shadowhunters are being turned as institute after institute is attacked. He seeks to destroy the Nephilim and their downworlders alliances, destroying those who not only stand against him, but those who have the potential to stand against him in the future. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But total destruction isn’t all that he desires; his love for his sister and the companionship offered by Jace means the two teenagers are in even more danger than everyone else. Sebastian doesn’t want them dead; he wants them alive.

Understanding her brother better than anyone, Clary knows they were in a hopeless situation. For all of his claims, Sebastian has no idea the true meaning of love and it is that emotion that has them all clinging to each other. Clary’s relationship with Jace only strengthens while Simon and Isabelle start to come to terms with the fact they do feel for each other. Despite the heartbreak of the final book, there even seems to be a glimmer of hope for Magnus and Alec.

But it was never going to be that straightforward. When Sebastian kidnaps representatives of the downworlders along with his own mother, Clary, Simon, Jace, Isabelle and Alec find themselves venturing where no shadowhunter has gone before in order to pull off a rescue mission. They know it is suicidal and there will be a cost to braving a demon realm, but it is the only thing they can think of that will stop the shadowhunters from completely surrendering to their enemy. Little did they know what the cost would be.

Just as gripping as the other books, the final in the series has many heartstopping moments. A true page-turner as you race through the demon realm with the heroes, praying they have a way of stopping Sebastian once and for all. There are twists and turns throughout the whole novel; nothing is ever predictable when it is Clare writing. After events of previous books, the knowledge that not all of them might make it keeps the reader right on the edge of the seat as the final battle draws closer.

Clare has a way of writing that really draws you into her worlds.

The character development throughout the series is really shown in this last book with the sacrifices the characters are prepared to make; sacrifices they wouldn’t have even dreamed of before. The change has been gradual, but now it comes to an end you realise how far you have travelled with them.

An astonishing series. I’m sad to have come to the end of it but looking forward to tracking down more of Clare’s books. Her writing style is gripping and engaging, leaving the reader just wanting more.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls is the penultimate book in the Mortal Instruments series, written by Cassandra Clare. Clare knows how to keep her audience gripped and wanting more. The same is true for this book as it has been for the previous four and it was a thrilling read from beginning to end.

Dangers are drawing in for the Shadowhunters now that Jace finds himself a servant of evil with no say in the matter. While the Clave are thinking only of the protection of Iridis and the world as a whole, the Lightwoods, Clary, Simon and Magnus find themselves searching for ways that they can save their brother/friend. It doesn’t help that anything that hurts Sebastian has the same effect on Jace and vice versa; it’s not as simple as just killing one and freeing the other.

Clary decides to be with Jace, being close to both him and her brother in order to find out what Sebastian’s plan is. But it is hard staying object when your brother seems to care for you and your lover wants nothing more than to be with you. Clary must constantly remind herself why she is doing this or there is the risk that she will lose herself to the same darkness that has consumed Jace. Only her descent into hell won’t be with the aid of a rune controlling her every move.

Meanwhile, the others play their own dangerous game as they search for ways to save Jace. Between summoning angels and demons alike in order to find a potential cure, Simon and Isabelle find they are feeling more for each other than they previously believed. At the same time, trouble finds paradise in Alec and Magnus’s relationship as Alec has to deal with the uncomfortable truth the warlock is immortal and he is not.

Despite the constant battle against evil in this book, there are a lot of hints about how the characters are growing up. There is more of a focus on the developing relationships in the story while they work towards a common goal, with Maia and Jordan overcoming their differences of the past as well. Clare can write the emotions of everyday people just as well as she can write the summoning of a dangerous demon by two Shadowhunters, a warlock and a vampire.

The book was just as gripping as before. Despite there not being the same level of action as in other books, the reader didn’t notice through how engaging the plot was. The darkness was just as likely to come from within as the characters strive to protect the ones they love, regardless of the cost. Somehow, that new form of threat adds another dimension to Clare’s story because you find yourself relating to the characters and what you might do given the situation.

A fantastic read with an epilogue that leaves you literally gasping for more. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the last book and what the final solution against evil will be.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Just as the first three books had proved, I knew that I was going to be in for a rollercoaster ride with this book – and I was right.

With Valentine defeated and Clary and Jace knowing the truth about their relationship with each other, things shouldn’t have been happier. Not only for those two, but for all of their friends – Shadowhunters and Downworlders alike. But a new darkness is rising; and this isn’t necessarily one they can defeat that easily.

As Jace begins to act up and pull away from Clary – from everyone – with no explanation as to why apart from the haunted look in his eyes, Simon realises that he has his own problems to deal with. Not only because he has two attractive girls both bidding for his attention, but because, perhaps more crucially, he has one of the most ancient vampires seeking his assistance while trying to battle his own longings as he tries to understand precisely what he has become.

Trust is a tentative thing for the friends now and no one can be sure about what is going on. As Jace gets worse and Clary begins to discover the truth, they realise that this is a fight against an even bigger foe than before. In part, it’s a fight against themselves; their own inner demons and fears fighting to be let lose. Can the bonds between the teenagers hold even when nothing is as it seems?

Just as the previous books, this is a gripping tale that gets you sucked into the world so hard and fast that your head is still spinning even while you are frantically reading as fast as possible. Clare knows how to build up the tension and anticipation as she builds to the climax. After events in previous books, there is no guarantee for the reader whether a happy ending will be possible or not and the knowledge that literally anything could happen makes this a real page turner.

However, despite being completely gripped, something was beginning to change for me in this book. Once again, the centre of all of the torment is Jace. The sarcastic boy from the first few books is almost gone now. While it shows good character development, there does seem to be a sense of predictability that if anything truly bad is going to happen to any of them, it is going to be Jace with the emotional backlash hitting Clary. Their on/off relationship has spanned for four books now and still doesn’t seem to have any development taking places despite the discoveries the characters themselves have uncovered.

It almost feel as if this is a beautiful broken character that Clare has created and now she wants to keep reminding everyone of that. However, that is not to say that it detracted from the book or the intensity of the plot, but it does leave me wondering where the final two books will take his character.

Once again looking forward to the next book.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass Review

City of Glass

The third book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, `City of Glass` is possible the best yet. Despite the ease to which I read the previous books, I was looking forward to seeing where this next one took the adventure… and it was certainly no disappointment.

Clary finds herself travelling to the city of Alicante, the central home for all of the Shadowhunters. But it is desperation that forces her hand and things only seem to go from bad to worse as the danger is revealed to be far more complicated and deadly than anyone saw coming as Valentine attacks the Clave itself with an army of demons.

Despite the excitement of the constant threats, it is Clare’s ability to weave twists and turns into her narration that the reader does not see coming that keeps the story quite so gripping. There is simply no way of knowing what is coming next, and the book reveals that Clare is not afraid to shy away from the grimy details involving war; especially the fact that innocents are hurt just as much as the guilty.

Even the twists don’t truly give enough credit to the amount of different subplots that are woven throughout this story. I’m not sure it is possible to truly describe what has happened to someone and actually do it credit. There is a battle on the surface, but underneath there is so much more than that. Forbidden love, issues of guilt and desire and the past raising its ugly head threaten to consume and destroy the characters far more than any demon could manage.

This complexity has made me realise I was wrong to think that the books were aimed at a younger audience. The amount of times I flinched, gasped and completely lost myself in the book revealed that it is just as engaging as anything else that I have read. The characters are deep and complex, with flaws and irritations that make them human; a trap that so many authors fall into by trying to make their character too good. The switch between the different narrators also helps to keep the narration fresh and flowing because it enables you to see the bigger picture; both from the perspective of those who know the world and those who are discovering it along with us.

It was this third book that helped me to realise that I had got to the stage where I cared what happened with the characters. How it was left has made more than intrigued as to where the story is going next due to a change in circumstances that I didn’t see coming. In a way, I’m glad. It will stop a fight from becoming tedious and allow the characters to truly move on now that events unfolded the way they did.

I’m thoroughly looking forward to the next book, more so than before, now I’ve realised just how involved with this world I have found myself becoming. A thoroughly enjoyable story from beginning to end.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes Review

City of Ashes

City of Ashes is the next book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. While the first finds Clary thrown into a world that she didn’t even know exist (at least, she thought she didn’t), the second finds her continuing to explore that world and find her place within it.

Clary now knows the truth about who she is and what is really out there. While still waiting for her mother to wake up, Clary finds herself living with Luke and beginning to understand more of the world she has been thrust into. But it’s more than that; Clary is discovering the power within herself and precisely what she is capable of doing. She seems more powerful than her friends. Apart from Jace.

With their relationship as conflicted as ever, Clary is not the only one discovering more about herself. Jace battles between his feelings for his sister and how he should be reacting to his father. However, his struggle isn’t for him alone and when the powers-at-be are called in to determine whose side Jace is truly on, he finds himself in a whole load of trouble that even he can’t sweet talk his way out of. And on top of that… he’s beginning to realise he can physically do things that, even for a Shadowhunter, should not be possible.

But it’s not all demons and magic that has Clary’s world in a conflict. Her relationship with Jace is explosive at best, yet Clary finds herself taking things further than just friendship with Simon. He’s the reliable and sane one out of her men. Or so she thinks. She is not the only one struggling to find a place in this new world and after an accident befalls Simon, he is more involved than he could have ever imagined. Or wanted, yet there would be no way he could turn his back on this new world because that would mean turning his back on Clary.

As the teenagers come to terms with events surrounding them, Valentine is upping his game and calling the demons to him. He seems undefeatable, with weapons at his disposal the Shadowhunters prayed he never got his hands on. But with so much power behind him, is there any chance at all that anyone is going to be able to stop him? The best chance seems to lie with his own children, yet their belief in themselves causes issues for the task ahead.

Another thrilling book from Clare. Despite (again) the ease at which they were read, the plot was gripping and engaging, the characters believable. Despite the number of books out there about these sort of supernatural elements, Clare’s tale is original and refreshing; it’s not quite apparent where she is going to go next. A tale of love and betrayal, of magic and loyalty. It has everything you would want from this sort of novel and it is beautifully written. Certainly an impressive sequel that leaves the reader eagerly anticipating the next book.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Review

City of Bones

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series was brought to my attention by the recent film released based on the books. As usual, I decided to read the books first, not wanting to have them ruined by an adaptation.

City of Bones is the first in the series. Set in New York, Clary finds her life is far from what she thought – and far from ordinary – when a chance encounter reveals to her that she can see beings… beings that no one else knows exist. As the world she knows unravels around her when her mother goes missing, Clary soon comes to learn that there is a whole new world existing around hers – the world of demons and otherworld creatures that people believe to be nothing more than a story.

Finding new friends and enemies alike, Clary must come to understand her past and accept who she truly is if she is going to survive and stop those she cares about being lost to a power stronger than this world is used to seeing. While uncovering her past, Clary learns things are not always what they seem and matters of the heart can be more dangerous than any power that walks this world – or the demon world.

Clare knows how to draw her reader into a magical realistic world-  just enough of the norm to keep the reader grounded in the here and now, but enough mystical and magical elements present in order to keep them guessing what is going to happen next. Knowing that it was the first in a series, I knew the book wouldn’t necessarily come to a close at the end but instead open up new doors. However, it was still a page turner from beginning to end and I found that I couldn’t put it down.

There lie the problem.

For a five hundred page book, I managed to read it in less than a week. Considering there were other things going on in reality at the same time, I honestly can’t remember the last time that happened and it wasn’t entirely due to the strength of the plot. It could potentially be due to it being aimed at a younger audience, yet there are elements in it that wouldn’t be appropriate for those too much younger. It contains the strange dilemma of being gripping and yet easy to read, meaning that it was slightly disappointing. Having been recommended the series by more than one friend the same age as me, I was expecting something a little more challenging than what I got.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t continue the rest of the series. There is no doubt that Clare knows how to blend her worlds together and her use of magic and interweaving demons and other mythical creatures into our everyday life is handled with a masterful stroke of genius. Now I know what sort of genre I seem to be reading, I am looking forward to the next in the series despite knowing that it might not take me too long to read.