Tagged: mortal instruments

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her.  She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power.  Her mother is getting married to the love of her life.  Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at least.  And—most important of all—Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war.  Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her.  His mother has just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless.  Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life.  And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want.  At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves.  Even Jace.

Love.  Blood.  Betrayal.  Revenge.  The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

With all of the little unanswered questions at the end of City of Glass, I couldn’t help but be eager for the fourth book.  So now that I’ve returned to The Mortal Instruments series, I can finally review it.

In City of Fallen Angels we see a lot of different characters’ points of view, which I actually like.  Clary has taken a bit of a backseat to Simon, who is coping with being a Daylighter and bearing the cursed mark of Cain.  Did I mention the idiot is dating two girls at once since he doesn’t know how to say no?  Come on, things like that hardly end well and the love triangle feels a bit forced.  Other than that, Cassandra Clare’s characterization is decent, but nothing truly exceptional.

The plot is well paced and there are some unexpected twists.  We also meet some of the characters from Clockwork Angel, which I would recommend you read first.  It’s not necessary, but it helps you understand the vampire Camille and Magnus’ past, especially when Camille and Magnus allude to their past together.  One of the best things about City of Fallen Angels is that we finally get to learn more about demons and their origins as well as about the history of the Shadowhunters.  And with the cliffhanger at the end, I’m anxious to read the fifth book, City of Lost Souls.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

(Cover picture courtesy of Once Upon a Reader’s Blog.)

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death.  To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in the mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian.  With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies.  But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together?  While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

In City of Glass, I have found something incredibly rare: a good ending to a series.  I’m completely serious here; there are very few ends to series that leave me feeling satisfied.   But City of Glass is definitely one of these books.

It’s exciting, with consistent pacing and much more character development than in the first two novels in the trilogy.  Cassandra Clare’s writing has noticeably improved and she is in her element as she ratchets up the tension near the end while resolving little subplots along the way.  What separates her from other YA authors is that she can throw truly unexpected twists at readers, yet have them make sense in the context of the story.

Unlike in the last two books, Clary is given much more depth.  She finally takes control of her life rather than just helplessly pining after Jace throughout the novel.  As she harnesses her special drawing talent with Runes, she also becomes powerful and independent.  When Jace pushes her away, she finally has enough of loving someone she cannot have and begins to take an interest in Sebastian, a mysterious and handsome young Shadowhunter around her age.  Yet not everything is as it seems, which makes this a great book.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

(Cover picture courtesy of Gripped Into Books.)

A murderer is loose in New York City…

…and the victims are Downworlder children.  Clary Fray and her fellow Shadowhunters have a strong suspicion that Valentine, Clary’s father, may be behind the killings.  But if he is the murderer, what’s his true motive?  To make matters worse, the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, has been stolen, and the mysterious Inquisitor ahs arrived to investigate, with his eyes vigilantly targeted on Clary’s brother, Jace.

Clary will need to face some terrifying demons and even more terrifying family decisions.  No one said that the life of a Shadowhunter would be easy.

It’s rare that the second book in a series or trilogy is better than the first book (see Catching Fire), but Cassandra Clare has managed to pull it off.  City of Ashes has twice the suspense, romance and surprises of City of Bones.

It has many of the clichés of the first novel, but these are given some interesting spins that kept me on the edge of my seat (especially in Chapter 9: And Death Shall Have No Dominion) up until the very end.  City of Ashes may be my favourite book in The Mortal Instruments trilogy, but it does have its flaws.  Clary could still be substituted for any YA protagonist and Jace is still the stereotypical super hot but icy love interest.  The only redeeming thing is that we get to see many other characters’ points of view, which gives them a bit more depth than in the first book.

We see a bit more of Valentine, which I really like.  Many of the villains in YA fiction are neglected and end up having what I like to call Dr. No Syndrome: they’re just evil with no explanation or the explanation is really unbelievable.  No one really thinks of themselves as a villain in real life, so why should it be any different in fiction?  Valentine really thinks he’s doing the right thing and the perverted logic he uses makes it sound like he is the true hero, even if his actions do not match up.  I think many YA authors would do well to study Cassandra Clare’s enigmatic villain.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

(Cover picture courtesy of Kirkwood Public Library.)

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons.  Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons.  Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundane like Clary and her mother?  And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight?  The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Clary Fray is just an ordinary fifteen-year-old girl until she witnesses a murder in Pandemonium Club and realizes no one else can see the murderers.  She discovers that the murderers are Shadowhunters, people who hunt and kill demons.  When Clary’s mother is kidnapped and Clary herself is almost killed by a demon, the Shadowhunters take her in and Clary discovers secrets about her past and her mother that she might have been better off not knowing.

City of Bones is pretty much your average urban fantasy book: vampires, werewolves, warlocks and secret societies.  Despite these clichés, it is a surprisingly enjoyable read.  The plot is riveting and filled with unexpected twists and Cassandra Clare has obviously spent quite a bit of time on world-building.  The only aspect that really falls flat is the characterization.  Clary could be substituted for any other YA protagonist, Jace is your stereotypical ice-cold hunk, Isabelle is a man-eater and Simon is the tragic best friend who *SPOILER ALERT* secretly loves Clary.

If you can get past the poor characterization and the typical urban fantasy clichés, you will enjoy City of Bones.  It does have its shortcomings, but Cassandra Clare is a good writer and manages to pull off a funny, enjoyable and addicting book.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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