The Mortal War is over, and 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 important of all—Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.
When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose 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. Even Jace.
Despite all the criticism of derivativeness and downright plagiarism I've enjoyed the first three Mortal Instruments books immensely for their fast pace, witty writing, action-packed plot and Clare's fearlessness in following the story to some dark and twisted places. Granted, many things in her books have been done before, but she managed to tell the story in her own way and won me over with that. So you shouldn't be surprised that I look forward to reading other books set in the Shadowhunter universe and couldn't wait to read this one when I finally got my hands on a copy.
Clare immediately sucked me into the story and I was glad to see how well she accomplished the task of giving the reader some backstory without flatout saying "this happened, and then this happened, and that's how we ended up here" the way a lot of authors do in the first chapters of sequences.
This book is a lot more focused on Simon and it was interesting to learn about what he is going through since his life changed most drammatically in City of Glass, he's gotten himself into a mess dating two girls at once, and he's trying to live a regular life depite it all. Combined with everything else going on that's fertile ground for a writer's imagination and helps keep the story grounded and personal. After all, what is more personal than figuring out who you are and where, and with whom, you belong?
I was glad that some of the focus was taken off Clary and Jace because those two have gotten entirely too angsty for my taste. You know how Edward was all self-loathing in New Moon? Yeah, he had nothing on Jace and there's only so much angst a reader can take. Besides, the interaction between these two seemed locked in a perpetual cycle of "I'm dangerous and evil, I have to stay away from her" to "What if he doesn't love me anymore?" to "But we love each other and can't be apart" to heavy make-out session and then Isabelle walks in on them and it all starts over again. Once in a book is entertaining, over and over - not so much.
Clare didn't shy away from things that are dark and twisted and plain wrong in the previous books of the series and she's not starting now either. Evil in the world she's created is more twisted than in any other I've read about and is depicted in such a way that is truly chilling. Come to think of it, Clare cuts through to the essense of both good and evil and brings that essence forth and makes it the center of her characters making them seem ready to walk off the page. What book wouldn't benefit from such characterisation?
I can totally see the ending as being the most polarizing part of this book and I have to admit, if left me sitting for a couple of minutes staring at the page thinkging "Whoa, what just happened? And... what the heck is going to happen next?!" That ending was more of a beginning than an ending, a beginning of a brand new mess that I just can't see everyone getting out of alive, let alone unscathed. Those who read the novel, what did you think of that last scene and the whole book?