City of Heavenly Fire, the conclusion to the New York Times best-selling The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare has hit stores this week. At last Izzy-Simon, Magnus-Alec, Jocelyn-Luke, Maia-Jordan, and above all Jace-Clary resolve their relationships once and for all. With, yes, the steamy moments fans have long awaited.
The story is predictable in itself — book three saw tiny helpless Clary defeating her powerful father, steeped in dark magic, with a little misdirection and her magic power of drawing. Now as her evil brother raises his own army, could it be doubted she’d do the same thing once again? She and her friends, betrayed by bureaucratic adults and treacherous allies, descend into darkness once again, determined to save the world. They succeed, though as always, there are shocking costs. We have more classic heroine’s journey, more identity conflicts for Magnus and Jace, more Bible quotes and demon lore as the characters learn for the thousandth time that adults are untrustworthy and Sebastian is a slimeball.
The story has taken strange turns because of its sister-series: this book ties in a great deal of its prequel, Clockwork Princess, as after 150 years, Tessa and Jem find a way to be together and allude to their future watching over their descendants and kinfolk. Magnus alludes repeatedly to his short story collection, encouraging readers to go buy all the individual ebooks. With all this, it’s only surprising there’s no movie poster included. City of Heavenly Fire also introduces the main characters of the next series — Dark Artifices — and their conflict; we have a girl whose parents die mysteriously and her soulmate she’s forbidden to love in a tragic romance already begun. Emma Carstairs is foster sibling to the many Blackthorn children — they include a reclusive genius, an adoptive father to an unmanageable brood, children trained at arms who saw their parents die, a young woman outcast for being part-fairy and her lesbian lover, a rider of the Wild Hunt, and now, their distant uncle as guardian. The conflicts are all laid out. While readers can respect the larger world of history and space Clare’s universe now covers (with Institutes under attack across the world and new dimensions to explore), the book comes perilously close to establishing all its spinoffs more than telling its own tale. The Blackthorns are central, and other series that have written long generational sagas have risked losing interest as the characters get more peripheral (though admittedly, the Blackthorns are charming and offer plenty of material — their story offers a great deal). Clary and Jace will undoubtedly pop in on them, as their friends will. Tessa and Jem are all prepared.
Not to spoil too much, but the ending was a bit too pat — the characters managed to have their cake and eat it too. This is a defensible choice for a YA series, and certainly, we didn’t want to lose our beloved characters, but it’s surprising how many happy couples — not just characters — managed to weather everything and stay together. Yes it’s a fantasy, but it’s a pretty dreamy one.
Also, those who haven’t seen the epilogue cartoon, available in Australia, visit this site:
My book Myths and Motifs of The Mortal Instruments by Valerie Estelle Frankel (Aug 6, 2013) is in stores now!
With vampires, fairies, angels, teen romance, steampunk, and modern New York all in one series, Cassandra Clare is exploding onto the scene. This book explores the deeper world of the Shadowhunters:
· Parabatai, Nephilim, blessings, and runes
· Lucifer, Ithuriel, Lilith, Agramon, and other angels and demons
· Ancient legends of werewolves, vampires, and fairyfolk
· Clare’s clever Easter eggs from pop culture and literature
· The classic heroine’s journey
· Muslim angels, Hindu prayers, the Jewish Book of Raziel, and the Christian Grail
There’s something for every teen, as this book reveals unseen lore within the bestselling series.