The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare, all books in this series are released and available for purchase.
Read/Reread: June/July 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Get It Now: Wordery
I read books 1-5 in this series around October 2013, and eagerly waited for the final installment to be released… I have a lot of mixed feelings about the series, and how it ended, so I’m going to try and make this review as coherent and non-spoilery as possible! I’m in love with the Shadowhunter world that Cassandra Clare has created and I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to these characters. Luckily, I have The Infernal Devices trilogy waiting for me to binge-read when I’ve caught up with a couple of my review commitments, and from what I have heard TID is considered to be even better than TMI, and that excites me!
City of Bones Synopsis: When 15 year old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in NYC, she hardly expects to witness a murder, much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within 24 hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight?
I struggled with the first few chapters of this book, but I’m so glad I stuck it out. Clare builds this world so beautifully and so brilliantly that not only do I find myself craving to be part of it, but I can imagine it all very vividly. For lovers of paranormal fiction, this world has everything you could hope to discover jammed into a story that packs a punch. We have vampires and werewolves, faeries and warlocks, Shadowhunters and their politics, good versus evil, love, friendship and romance all tied up with a great big spotty bow. I love the sense of humour – the characters are dry, witty and sarcastic, which makes for a really entertaining read, and I really love the dynamics of the friendship group. I’m aware Clare started out writing Harry Potter fan-fiction, and I do think that has heavily influenced her writing style (not that I’m complaining), and I can see many similarities and cross-overs between the HP series and The Mortal Instruments. However, I do find that Clare has her own voice and has structured her own world. One that I loved reading about and lost myself in for hours quite happily.
City of Ashes Synopsis: Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries?
I’ve cut down the synopsis quite a bit, as I really don’t want to give away any huge spoilers for anyone who hasn’t yet read the series (and if you haven’t, where have you been?!). I’m not usually one for an overly detailed and heavily descriptive book, but for some reason with Clare’s writing style and this world, I love it. Can’t get enough of it. Clare could describe a kiddie play park in vast and great detail and I would lap the whole thing up. The plot-twists, the feels from it all, I just find this series so intense. I actually care about what happens to these characters. You know when there’s a horror movie and someone does something stupid, like saying, “Hey, let’s split up”, and you want to scream at the TV screen? I want to scream at the characters in this book! I thought this was a really strong sequel, easily on par with the first book and I was so glad I bought the whole series so I could binge read it.
City of Glass Synopsis: To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters. 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?
This series was originally supposed to be a trilogy, and I think that comes across in the books as the third one wraps things up pretty nicely for the first half of the story. Again, I was thrown by plenty of plot-twists that I really didn’t see coming, and Clare’s descriptive writing style proves to be invaluable as we enter Alicante and the Shadowhunter city of Idris. By the third book the relationships, friendships and romances all turn up a notch and I loved seeing the characters develop throughout the story. It’s also safe to say that by the third book I’d found a new book-boyfriend in Jace… The storyline is action-packed and tense, though never losing its sense of humour, and I found it practically impossible to put this book down. It was difficult during the reread to remember what my initial thoughts had been on this series, but I don’t think I guessed many of the plot twists, and if I did have an inkling about something, Clare usually managed to surprise me somehow.
City of Fallen Angels Synopsis: The Mortal War is over, and 16 year old 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 last. And – most importantly of all – she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But when Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery and the 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.
Considering this series was originally a trilogy, I think the story unfolds very well, and it’s a testament to Clare that the world she created still had/has stories to tell. In this book, the focus shifts slightly from Clary and Jace, so some of our other favourites get to develop their stories. I thought the general tone of this book was a little darker/more depressing, some characters had overcome challenges and had come together, and this book just seemed set on causing trouble in paradise. As per usual, the fight scenes and action scenes are done brilliantly, and while reading there was a sense of more trouble to come. That ending. There are no words.
City of Lost Souls Synopsis: What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon, Lilith, has bound her beloved Jace with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?
Secondary characters and their relationships were really given a chance to develop in this instalment, and it was pleasantly surprising how distinguishable they all were. Simon also really comes into his own and I felt myself cheering for him the whole way, he is so likable and has had such a crap time, that you can’t help but be his personal cheerleader. Some aspects of this book were really brilliant, the introduction and arc-development of Maureen, Jordan and the Seelie Queen… but some developments began to annoy me a little. Jace needed bashed over the head with a large rock and I wanted Clary to stop whining so much. Unfair of me, I know, I mean her boyfriend has been paired up with evil, and here I am whinging about it… The Battle scenes were excellently done, and I may have been close to shedding a tear or two towards the end. You can feel that the tension is mounting and the story building so that Clare can crush your little heart in the sixth and last book in the series.
City of Heavenly Fire Synopsis: Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmares, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?
Thank you again to Aimee from What Aimee Read Next for my beautiful hardback edition! I don’t even know if I can put my feelings about this book into actual words, but I’ll try. OK, so first of all there are some new, younger characters introduced, which is obviously the set-up for the next Shadowhunters series – The Dark Artifices. At times I felt like Emma Carstairs and her companions added to the story, and at other times it felt too obvious and contrived. Overall though, I am looking forward to The Dark Artifices, and I’m hoping we’ll get a glimpse or two of Clary, Jace, Alec, Simon and Isabelle etc. in the new series, catching up on the gang in five years’ time.
I’d also heard that it is useful to read The Infernal Devices before reading the fifth and sixth book in The Mortal Instruments, as the stories blend together at points. I haven’t read The Infernal Devices yet, but I plan to binge them soon, and I’m looking forward to making these connections, it’s an aspect of Clare’s writing that I really love. I did enjoy being introduced to Tessa and Will Herondale in book six, but I’m sure there’s more to their brief introductions than meets the eye. Again, this installment is filled with action, humour and the development of relationships. It’s a formula Clare has down to a fine art, and one that I really, really enjoy reading. I did have some personal things going on when I was reading this book (exams, stress, etc.) and I do think it affected my enjoyment of it slightly. I had to put it down at around 450 pages pre-exam and picked it up again afterwards, and it took a little while to get back into it. I think this is also partly due to the fact that this book could probably have been at least 100 pages shorter, and it feels like it.
Overall, I still really enjoyed this book. I think the ending is slightly predictable – it’s one of those endings everyone hopes is at least an option – but in usual Clare style, she mixes it up a bit and throws you off course – I’m not very happy about this twist though! I’m hoping things work out how I want them to
when we if we get to visit these characters again in future Shadowhunter stories.
Overall Series Rating
“Is this the part where you start tearing off strips of your shirt to bind my wounds?” – “If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked.”
“I’ve got a stele we can use. Who wants to do me?…” – “A regrettable choice of words.”
“There is no pretending.” Jace said with absolute clarity. “I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.”
“But I watch my brothers give their hearts away and I think, don’t you know better? Hearts are breakable. And I think even when you heal, you’re never what you were before.”
“I’ve got the Mark of Cain”, said Simon. “That means nothing can kill me, right?” – “You can kill yourself”, Magnus said, somewhat unhelpfully. “As far as I know inanimate objects can accidently kill you. So if you were planning on teaching yourself the lambada on a greased platform over a pit full of knives, I wouldn’t.” – “There goes my Saturday.”
“I think they’ll probably put that on my gravestone. He was heterosexual and had low expectations.”
I’m really looking forward to reading The Infernal Devices trilogy, initially I was cautious due to the historical element, but I’ve heard so many good things about it that I had to add it to the TBR. I’m not so sure how I feel about a third Shadowhunter trilogy following Emma Carstairs and Co. It could either be amazing and add to this world I love, or it could fall flat on its face. I have mixed emotions. I love reading about the Shadowhunter world, but I’m wary of sickening myself off them and ruining the whole thing by overkill. Death by fictional overload. Clare has said she plans to do five main series in this world, not including spin-offs and story-arcs. I can’t keep up!
Do any of you have The Shadowhunters Codex or have you read the Bane Chronicles? I’m thinking of getting them/reading them and want to know what you think first! On another note, I really enjoyed the movie adaptation, and I really, really would like to see the rest of the series turned into movies. Yea, OK so some of the characters didn’t look quite how I imagined, I still don’t get all the hate for the movie, and if Cassie keeps writing these stories, and we keep loving them, the movies will have to be made. Right?!