Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: City of Glass (The Mortal Instrumets Series #3) by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments Series #3
Simon and Schuster, 24 March 2009
541 Pages
Young Adult Paranormal
3 Stars
Barnes and Noble; Book Depository; Goodreads

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 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 third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.

Over the past four days I've read the first three books in Cassandra Clare's YA Fantasy-Paranormal series.  Reading them back-to-back so rapidly has afforded me the gift of a fresh memory, so I am able to tie the books' events together easily.  However, it also threatens to tire me out or bore me if the books start to lose my interest.

I thought that it was heading this way at the end of the second book, which I didn't really enjoy.  City of Ashes was much more interested in the love triangle than the thing that made me read this story in the first place - Valentine and his war.  (I wrote a full review that you can check out here.)

This book, though, brought the focus back onto the Clave and the coming war and wove every other subplot very nicely around it.

If you haven't read this book or series, it's about a teen girl, Clary, who gets thrust into a world of Shadowhunters (demon slayers) and Downworlders (demon/human hybrids) when her mom goes missing.  An ex-Shadowhunter, Jocelyn raised Clary to know nothing of who she really was, but that all changes when the greatest threat to the Shadowhunters and Downworlders, a man named Valentine, kidnaps her.  Clary then has to join forces with this new world in order to save her.

In this installment, she travels to the City of Glass, home to all Shadowhunters, in order to find the secret that could save her mom.  While she's there, however, Valentine attempts to destroy not only her mother, but everything and everyone Clary loves.

I am really glad that I didn't quit on this series after City of Ashes because this book really made up for almost everything I didn't like about the last one.  

Clary is not my favorite character, but she finally started to wake up in this book.  She still did ridiculously stupid things, but I found so much joy in the scenes where she was ripped into by other characters so that she could finally see the truth about how thoughtless and irresponsible she is.  I just hope that she keeps their words in mind throughout the next three books.

One thing that also helped my view of her was Jace's assessment of her strength at the end of the book.  He basically says that she's strong because she loves so much and that her love makes her do things that others wouldn't do.  After thinking about it, I agree with him.  She is willing to sacrifice anything, even her own safety, for those she loves.  That is completely commendable.  I just wish that she would be a little bit smarter about it because half the time she ends up not helping the situation and endangering several other people.  

I found myself really interested in the dynamics of Jace and Valentine's relationships in this book, which is interesting since they didn't have much time together.  But Valentine's relationship with his son affects so much of who Jace is, and the struggle within him to reconcile the father who raised him with the man he knows Valentine to be is one of the most intriguing aspects of the story.  Not to mention Jace's effect on Valentine.  Did he love his son or not?  

One of the things that I find difficult about the character of Jace is that the reader is supposed to just accept that he was always boundaried and reckless, never caring about himself or others until Clary came along.  However, we only ever see Jace after Clary, so the reader never gets to see the change in him.  It's only talked about by the other characters.  

Despite this, though, I saw growth in him concerning his view of himself after realizing who his father is.  There was always a fear in him that he couldn't escape the type of person Valentine made him to be.  But I think that he gets to a place in this book where he decides who he is.

The two characters that showed the most growth and became much more interesting were Alec and Simon.  I almost didn't recognize Alec in Alicante.  He suddenly became more mature but also stronger and braver.  He didn't need Jace ordering him around but instead became the one in charge.  And Simon also became stronger, if more cynical.  He joked less and made difficult choices, knowing that who he was before becoming a vampire was left in the grave he crawled out of.  I am really excited to see how these two are further developed in the next books.

The plot really engaged me, and the pacing of the story couldn't be better.  The question of whether the Clave and the Downworlders could unite was, to me, the most important part of the story.  I am already used to the fact that Valentine is crazy, so nothing he was up to was particularly captivating.  The way everyone else would respond in light of his return, however, was really interesting, as well the maintenance of unity in the next books.

Something else that I really like about this series and that I find really interesting is the moral ambiguity.  Is the Clave really good?  Are Shadowhunters really the hero?  Is Valentine wrong?  I love it.  I believe that Clary and Jace are good people and that Valentine is definitely not, but that doesn't make him wrong and them right.  

Though I liked the story, it was totally predictable.  To be fair, some of this is due to clues via Tumblr.  Yet, a lot of it was because Clare gave way too much away.  None of the revelations or surprise characters were shocking or surprising.  I knew who Jace was at the end of City of Ashes, and I knew who Sebastian was pretty quickly, as well.  I wish Clare had held her hand closer to her chest, but it didn't diminish the story for me.

I am afraid of what is coming in the next three books, though.  It seems like everything has been wrapped up really nicely, though I see where Clare left some areas open to continue the series.  But knowing that it could have ended with this book makes me fear that the next one will be entirely forced.  We shall see.

Since this is the fourth day straight of reading her writing, though, I am started to get annoyed by it.  I'm tired of characters holding in breaths they didn't know they were holding or reading each other's shoulders.  One particular line literally made me cringe: 

"The shock of seeing him was so enormous that it was almost no shock at all."

Guys...what does that even mean?  I don't mean to pick on her because she is very creative, but I really just wish the writing was a little better than average.

Overall, I did enjoy this read, and I will continue on with the series.

I give it 3 stars.

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