Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Friday 6 November 2015

City of Heavenly Fire
Cassandra Clare
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Published: May 28th 2014
Pages: 733
Rating: 1 star

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last instalment of the internationally bestselling The Mortal Instruments series.

Erchomai, Sebastian had said. I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat him - must they journey to another world to find the chance?

I am so glad that I am done with this series. So glad. The last three books were painful to read, and I’m definitely not alone when I say things should have stopped at City of Glass. Not that I enjoyed City of Ashes and City of Glass that much, but that’s beside the point. Things just went from bad to much, much worse with the second half of The Mortal Instruments.

If it wasn’t bad enough that I can’t stand either Jace or Clary, City of Heavenly Fire was filled with a whole cast of characters that I either a) couldn’t stand, b) didn’t like, or c) didn’t even know who they were or what relevance they played. I felt that a lot of this book was setting up for the next Shadowhunter series (excellent! I cannot wait! Keep milking that cow!) and that the majority of the Blackthorn and Carstairs parts could have been cut. They should have been included in the first installment of The Dark Artifices, not in the final The Mortal Instruments book.

My biggest problem is how everything – and I mean everything – is about Jace or Clary, or Jace and Clary. If they were likable characters I could be more lenient, but no. Jace is arrogant, selfish, reckless, moody, and manipulative to the point where it almost costs the girl he considers his sister her life. He and Clary cannot make good decisions to save their lives – literally! – and all they ever care about is each other. Great. Clary continues to lead Simon (who is totally still in love with her, fight me on it) on and doesn’t respect her mother, it’s all Jace and his golden hair. Excuse me while I gouge my eyes out so that I never have to read about them again.

Many of the POVs included bored me to tears, and a lot felt like they were just for filling extra pages. I didn’t need Jia Penhallow’s thoughts. I didn’t care about Maia and the werewolf pack. I didn’t feel bad about Emma Carstairs. I didn’t even care about some of the returning characters – Alec, Magnus, and Simon, to be exact. Clare spends far too long describing what people are wearing, how sunlight turns things to gold, and far too much detail went into every last god forsaken kiss Clary and Jace shared. It’s a wonder I didn’t throw up all over the page.

On top of all the usual offences committed in a TMI book, I found a lot of inaccuracies as well. In the prologue, there was reference to a ‘poisonous snake’. In the prologue, for christ’s sake. How am I meant to take a book seriously when there’s an error like that and I’m not even 30 pages in? Granted, if I hadn’t known the difference between poisonous and venomous, and didn’t have such an interest in animals, this may have slipped past me. But it didn’t, and I’m not letting Clare and her editors get away with it.

And on the topic of editors, were any even hired for City of Heavenly Fire? Or any of the TMI books? Explain to me why 40+ page chapters are necessary. Explain to me why we hear from up to 5 different characters a chapter, with the harshest transitions known to readers between. Explain how the excessive detail was ever considered to be okay and interesting by anyone other than the author. The entire series needs an extremely fine toothed comb taken to it, because I cannot even fully express how it makes me feel. 733 pages – on top of 5 other 300+ page books – is not necessary. At all. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: condensing is your best friend.

Overall, I didn’t like this. I wouldn’t recommend it, so don’t waste your time.

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