THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE was released on May 27 and we’ve been freaking out ever since! Now, The Fandom is offering up TWO delightful spoiler-free reviews and giving one lucky winner the chance to snag a copy of the book signed by Cassandra Clare!
Read the reviews below, then go to the bottom of the page to see how you can win our awesome prize!
Fans always have a good reason to be anxious about the final book in a series and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE was no exception! Cassandra Clare wasn’t at all shy about the death and trauma that would occur in the book, so there were no guarantees for anybody. And series can go terribly, awfully awry in the final act. Thankfully, Cassandra Clare is a wonderfully keen novelist who avoids convention to create a beautifully satisfying ending!
This is not always the world’s fastest read, but it works for the story. Despite being the last book in the series, there’s still a lot to be explained, in part because it’s setting up the next Shadowhunter series. Those things played out in small reveals and tense conversations, so it was neither dull nor heart-pounding.
Though it takes a little longer than usual to really get into the action, it’s brilliant as usual. You never feel like you’re reading the same fight scene over and over, which can sometimes be the case with other books. There’s always an unexpected twist that keeps the fight interesting. The fallout from one action sequence in particular really got to me (and it didn’t even involve the worst possible outcome!)
Let’s get to the deaths that did happen: Though they were heartbreaking, but they were also more bearable than I’d expected. It wasn’t the wholesale slaughter I’d expected. There was one death was particularly sad and definitely got my tear ducts going at first, but eventually ruffled my feathers because it took A LONG TIME. Maybe it makes me a horrible person, but I don’t understand how a character can chat for several minutes while dying an agonizing death. But that is just a minor peeve as it was still quite beautiful, all things considered. The situation surrounding another death upset me, but it didn’t have anything to do with the character or the fashion of death itself so much as the fallout involving another character.
This book is practically a festival of characters old and new! Sometimes, I did long for more time spent with the original players, but in the end, the others only took up a small part of the book. It was great to get a better taste of what this modern day mythical world was like outside Clary’s immediate circle and as mentioned previously, there’s some set up of THE DARK ARTIFICES. It’s great to go into that series already being familiar with the characters, their experiences, and some of their motivations. It actually ended up adding to the book’s themes and my overall understanding of the world in general. Plus, it was a lot of freaking fun to get all these characters in there!
Cassie Clare is THE MASTER of endings. Anything and everything that may irk a reader is easily forgiven because she wraps things up so wonderfully! You can never accurately predict the ending and this book especially threw me for a loop with one character’s arc. The story rips apart your heart then pieces it back together again in new, exciting ways that mean you’ll never be the same. The end was more than satisfying. It left me impatiently awaiting the next Shadowhunter book!
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS
Going into it, there were many things I anticipated. Different scenarios in which I’d have to prepare myself for, of course the main part being who I would mourn for. And still, Cassie managed to surprise me, and I hope that she managed to surprise many of her other fans in the same way, because, this being the sixth book of the series, the storytelling can go either into the “mundane” territory, or half of it be just “filler” because it needs to be the biggest book in the series. Luckily, I did not feel this book went into either of those territories.
I don’t know if I could say that this was a fast read, but there was just so much to enjoy about it that it made it a fast read for me. Not including my sleep and nap breaks (which couldn’t be helped), I think I read the book in about 18 hours. And there was a lot to take in. So much that I had to skim through it a second time, which took another few hours.
All in all I’m satisfied with how everything went. I got to spend a lot of time with the main characters and see how they’ve changed from the beginning of the series to the end, and they’ve opened up a lot more since then, revealing themselves honestly, admitting their faults and their vulnerabilities, and showing their courage in new ways as well.
We all know that Cassie does a bloody brilliant job in tying up loose ends when it comes to the epilogue, but she also does a fantastic job in setting up the rest of the book in the prologue. In the short amount that is given in the prologue, I could really imagine in my mind who these characters are, and the setting their in, and the emotions they evoke, much the same way that I did in the prologue of Clockwork Princess from The Infernal Devices trilogy.
Cassie knows how to build up the tension without letting it drag too long, but just long enough where you just start getting a bit jumpy. It’s understandable. I, too, was excited, but scared at the same time. I know that at least one character that I care about will not make it through to the end.
Now that I’ve read it and know, I feel all the more better for having read the series, for getting to know the characters and watching them struggle and struggle even more in this one. Cassie did a great job in taking us on a journey. This one book is one big journey and a truly ensemble piece, that may have started with main Jace and Clary, but it has expanded to include Alec, Izzy, Simon, Magnus, forming into a masterpiece.
And it’s not a rushed process. I certainly can’t complain about anything being rushed in this book. Reading the character interactions, the action sequences, and the drama all unfold quite well. You see how much they rely on each other, each person relying and interacting differently from one to the next. It’s like a well thought-out composition piece that ties in all the “instruments” together nicely.
Of course, from the beginning, you read this learning more about yourself as well. Learning how to deal with other people who are different from you, and how you are different from them, and maybe even figure out ways in which to improve upon yourself as you see certain prejudices or flaws in yourself similar to the characters you are reading. I found that more prominent in these books than many others. And that’s something to really find strength in with this series, especially this book.
For the most part, I didn’t feel tired of knowing any one character because each of them had something to give and I either empathized with them or related to them, at least in part, and for some of them, I was really sad to see go. Most of the character deaths were heartfelt, and not unnecessary to the overall story, although I will say that I wasn’t too thrilled about the reaction and side story’s conclusion of one specific character’s death (more to that in the spoiler section below).
The introduction of new characters in this book didn’t interfere with my desire to spend as much time as I could with the main characters. In fact, it helped me understand the main characters more as well as learn to appreciate what the new characters brought to the fold. I can’t wait to read more about the new characters as they move from this journey to their own (which we will start reading about next year, hopefully).
At one point, I even felt so much sympathy for a character that you know only by name, who was never in the series at all until he was only mentioned, that I cried for him. And that’s what a good author can bring out of his/her readers.
Cassie also allows us time to get reacquainted with previous characters that haven’t been around in this series, and that was definitely appreciated. I realized also, that the author has a very unique and amazing talent for tying one series to another and giving us an idea of how these characters correlate, and in a wonderful way. In the epilogue especially, this is where Cassie’s talent for it really shines.
This book is quite epic. The battles are crazy. The journey is long, but not boring, and Cassie makes sure to surprise us quite often, even if one of those surprises happens to disappoint me. Aside from The Hunger Games trilogy, this series is one that I feel I could re-read, because it’s filled with so many different but realistic emotions from that I wouldn’t mind crying and/or laughing through it again, with characters that I really enjoyed.
Ave atque vale, The Mortal Instruments!
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS
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