I fell in love with the world of “The Mortal Instruments” since the very first book of the series. The second book continued to impress and surprise me. Now book three, threatens to be the greatest book in the series so far. Wow, wow, wow!
Spoiler Alert Because this is a series, the book’s basic premise may give away things from the previous books in the series, so read at your own risk.
“The Mortal Instruments: Book Three – City Of Glass”
by Cassandra Clare (March 24, 2009)
Clary travels to City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters in order to save her mother’s life. Of course, entering the city without permission is against the law. To make matters worse, Jace doesn’t want her there and Simon has been thrown in prison by the new Inquisitor, because the Clave believes he is aligned with Valentine, who they mistakenly credit for Simon’s ability to withstand sunlight… But Clary does find one ally, another young Shadowhunter named Sebastian, who holds a strange attraction for her. As Valentine puts together an army of demons, can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their ancient hatred and work together? Can Clary harness her newfound powers to help save them all – whatever the cost?
The third book in “The Mortal Instruments” series blew me away – absolutely! While I love this series, I never thought anything would show up the first book, “City of Bones” because every book has the magic, adventure, suspense, pace and characters you love to love and love to hate, but the only the first book had that element of discovery. Clary’s past and who she is, is a complete mystery. The world of the Shadowhunters is foreign at first and one Clare introduces the reader to in that very first book. It is this discovery of an entire new world, of the magic of this series, and the secrets of just who are main characters really are that one cannot duplicate… except that Clare does.
I love the formula of trilogies because it means all bets are off in that third and final installment. There is something unknown that is left to be discovered, something that was true from the very beginning and that something changes everything. While this series is not a trilogy (there are six books in all) the first three books certainly act as one, down to how it ends…
There is nothing I disliked about this book or even something I wish had happened differently or that gave me a hesitant pause, but there is plenty of brand new wins in this book, and here are some of my favorites:
Idris: This is the land of the Shadownhunters that we have heard about since the very first book, but never experienced – now we do. The bulk of this book takes place in the capital city of Idris, the City of Glass. I loved that this allowed me to be transported to a new physical world, hidden within the world as we know it. I mean, seriously how cool is that? The culture and traditions of Idris and Shadowhunters themselves are also explored much deeper in this book and I felt privy to some sort of anthropological study that others just weren’t special enough to see. I loved learning about the history, the places, the people and the customs and the reader gets to do that by experiencing them in this story.
New (And Old) Faces: This book is full of characters from the past unexpectedly showing up (in ways that matter, not just for the sake of it) for what will be the last chapter in a war. Valentine has been building up to this moment for years (and the past two books in the series) and the moment arrives before this book is over. While most of these returning power players are deeply flawed, Clare blurs the lines between wretched and redeemable, good and evil, and you won’t know whether you want these people to live or die (and sadly many will die). Then there is all the new faces, and I have to say for the most part they are going to be people you will love to hate, but they certainly add layers to the story and make scenes more entertaining at the very least.
This Is WAR: This book is like the final Harry Potter book in the fact that the beginning is gearing up for a war that is coming, and before the book has ended, so has said war. There are many casualties and a few hit a little too close to home, but that is the realities of war – there is always innocent collateral damage. The battles (yes, more than one) are intense, but not gory or gratuitous, the loss, fear, and adrenaline made all very real. This is a time of a revolution of sorts and Clary is at the center of it, whether she wants to be or not. I remarked that I felt Clary was much more whimpery (as in she who is constantly whimpering – I am allowed to make up words) in the last book, but this book returns to her former, fiery, independent, strong young woman glory and amplifies that by one hundred. She is the key to winning the war, but first she must master herself, and make too many people who think they know better, listen to her. All of her scenes in this book make me feel proud, as if she is a friend or someone I know in real life. Maybe it was because I always found it impossible not to root for her.
As Much As You Think You Know, You Don’t: Everything you think you knew about your favorite characters – forget about it (and I am not just talking about Clary). This book reveals, not only all of the missing pieces of who our favorite Shadowhunters are, as well as other characters (Luke for example), and the series’ villain, Valentine, but also the truth about things we have already been told and led to believe, which are nothing more than lies. This book will change everything about how these characters feel about themselves, each other and the world. Everyone has been somewhat blinded to reality by perception, magic or secrets and lies, but those blinders are ripped painfully off, making the world a more wondrous place with so much potential, and yet that much more terrifying than these characters ever thought it could be.
The Final Showdown: The final showdown between Clary, Jace and Valentine is EPIC (and I kind of hate using that word, but it really, really is). It is by far the greatest showdown so far, with the greatest emotional payoff, the stakes, the scene itself, what comes of it, and even the humor and irony in it. I know as I was reading I kept thinking, Yes! Yes! Yes!
I could go on, because there is more to love about this book, but I think you should find them out for yourself. The characters you have fallen in love with continue to grow and as war changes anyone, there are plenty of emotions and moments in each of their lives that make you feel for them, whether it is triumph or bone-crushing loss. Clare knows how to tell a story, how to create a magical world within our mundane, but real one. She knows how to make us fall in love or hate with the characters she creates on the page. I never thought she would outdo her first installment in this series and now I am biting my tongue. Obviously, Clare is just getting started…