City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

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So, as promised: my full review of Cassandra Clare‘s City of Heavenly Fire, the last installment in the Mortal Instruments-series. I gave you an overview of the story from the preceding five books, and now I will give you my review of the final book.

The last book, City of Lost Souls ended with Clary saving Jace from Jonathan. But something went wrong, and the Heavenly Fire that was in the sword, now transferred to Jace. This book starts out a few weeks later. Jace is working hard on controlling the Fire through meditation and the self-control. This has put a strain on Jace and Clary’s relationship, because they can’t kiss without her getting burned, but they are working through it together.

The threat that started in the second trilogy, with Valentine’s old conspirators dying, comes to climax in this book. Clary and her friends find out that Jonathan (who wants to be called Sebastian, but I’ll keep it at Jonathan so as not to confuse you guys) is behind all of the murders. He wants revenge for the way both he and his father were treated. But he does not want to kill the Downworlders: he wants to kill the Shadowhunters, and ultimately everyone else on Earth.

So, he has acquired the Infernal Cup, which allows him to turn the Shadowhunters into the Endarkened, who are soulless killers completely under his control. So he is going around all the Shadowhunters stronghold, turning everybody he can catch into the Endarkened and killing all the rest. Meanwhile he is still inciting war between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders.

Obviously, the Shadowhunters are trying to find out where Jonathan is hiding out with his army and what he plans to do next. But they are having trouble doing that, since Jonathan has teamed up with demons and the Faeries and manages to keep this secret. Clary and her friends have ideas about what is going on, but the Shadowhunters won’t listen to them and will not acknowledge how big of a threat Jonathan and his Endarkend Army actually are. But when Jonathan attacks and the Shadowhunters are surprised and beaten, they realise the size of the threat and start taking Jonathan more seriously. They are now ready to listen to Clary and the gang, to figure out how to stop Jonathan.

Then, Jonathan kidnaps a bunch of Downworlders, as well as Clary’s mother and Luke (a werewolf leader who is a father-figure to Clary) to truly start the war between the Downworlders and Shadowhunters. This prompts Clary and her friends to intensify the search for Jonathan. They figure out that he has been hiding in a Demon Realm and travel there to save the people who were kidnapped and stop Jonathan once and for all.

Jonathan meets with Clary and it is only then that his true plans are revealed: he not only wants to destroy the Earth and everyone on it and start a new world in this Demon Realm. He also wants Clary to stay there with him voluntarily and rule by his side. So basically, Jonathan just wants to be loved by Clary and he needs her to stay with him. So he gives her the choice to save all her friends, and really Earth as a whole, if she will stay with him and rule with him. Clary agrees to stay with him to save everybody. But really, she was working with Jace to cuckhold Jonathan so that they can distract him and destroy him. In the end, Clary strikes Jonathan down and they share a few sweet moments. It is like the evil leaves him and he returns to the boy he could have been if it wasn’t for Valentine and all the evil things they did. Clary tells him she forgives him and that she loves him (because she does love the boy Jonathan could have been).

Only problem is: now they’re stuck in this demon world (since Jonathan destroyed all the links to Earth) and no way of getting out. But one Warlock (who was kidnapped as well) summons his father, who happens to be the Lord of the Realm (and also one of the Devil’s princes) to help them out. He agrees to get them back to earth, but wants something in return: all of Simon’s memories from the Shadowhunter world and everything that happened to them, and also from Clary herself. Simon agrees to give it all up, and Clary is heartbroken. No sooner said than done: they all get home safely and things quiet down in Shadowhunter-land. Clary is happy that everything turned out okay and that she and Jace now can finally be together without problems and disturbances. But she is very upset about losing Simon (as is Isabelle, another Shadowhunter, who was his girlfriend). She can’t seem to stay away and is hurt by Simon not knowing who she is. So her friends band together one last time, and they succeed in helping Simon remember with the aid of the same Warlock whose father helped them escape from the Demon World. He doesn’t get his full memory back, but he knows who Clary is and that they friends growing up. At the end he even starts to remember Isabelle, so it’s a happy ending for all the couples.

There is a side-story that starts in the prologue and weaves throughout the book. And let me tell you: I DID NOT LIKE THAT! Not at all! Because in the end, it turns out this storyline is a connection to the next series: The Dark Artifices, which takes place about five years after this book. (By the way, if you can’t get enough of the Shadowhunter world and don’t want to wait for The Dark Artifices to read more about it, check out the trilogy of The Infernal Devices, which acts as a prequel to The Mortal Instruments and is set in Victorian London). Now, I’m a fan of the series and I like the fact that she is using this universe she’s created, and write more stories set in the Shadownhunters-world. But what I don’t like about the side-story linking to the next trilogy is quite simple: I hate open-ended stories. I love to read series, but I always try to wait until the last book is out, so that I can read it right on through to the end and that the story is finished. I love when a story comes together in the end and everything is tied up in a neat little bow (like the last Harry Potter book did for example). So that is one thing I did not like about this book! I missed my bow :(.

Also, I really liked the whole Jace-Clary dynamic in this last book. In the beginning of the book, there is a little strain on Jace and Clary’s relationship since they can’t touch without Jace burning Clary because of the Heavenly Fire inside him. So he is working with a werewolf (Simon’s bodyguard, band mate, roommate and friend) to learn control over the Fire through meditation. But they work through it quite maturely and they continue to support one another, which I loved. It really shows that their relationship has matured and that they both are ready to fight for each other and their relationship. I did not feel like shaking the both of them as much anymore as in he previous books. So that is something I really loved in this book. They stick together and keep true to their relationship and they manage to come through everything together, emerging as a very strong and loving couple. I can definitely see them having their happily ever after!

So that is about it. It was a complicated story, but it tied up most of the storylines that started in the first book and I liked it overall. I don’t know about the preceding trilogy, The Infernal Devices, since I haven’t read it yet. I’ve put it on my summer reading list.

What did you think of the book? Did you, just like me, think the side-story was completely superfluous and disrupted the flow of the story? Or did you love the way it ties into the next trilogy? How about Jace and Clary’s happy ending? I definitely expected it and was glad it happened the way it did. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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