Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
“Clary almost expected him [Jace] to say something, to make a speech, to mark the occasion. He didn’t. She could see the sharp angle of his cheekbones under the hood of the gear, the tight set of his jaw. He was ready. They all were.”
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare is the finale of the Mortal Instruments series, and part of The Shadowhunter Chronicles.
(Warning: spoilers from the other books in this series.)
Sebastian Morgenstern (Clary’s brother) has been creating an army of Endarkened Shadowhunters, throwing pain and violence toward Shadowhunters around the globe. Many of the remaining Nephilim retreat to Idris, including Clary and her friends. They soon find neither the demon towers of Alicante nor anything of this world will be enough to hold back Sebastian. The friends journey to the demon realms where no Shadowhunter has been and from where no human has returned.
“They all looked at one another, a brief paralysis none of them could break. Clary found she was staring at the others, trying to memorize them; Simon’s brown eyes, the curve of Jace’s collarbone…the arch of Alex’s eyebrow, Isabelle’s worried frown.”
Firstly, thank you to the person who suggested I read The Infernal Devices trilogy before this book. There are so many crossovers. It was enjoyable at a deeper level. I highly recommend the same.
As the sixth and last book of the series, City of Heavenly Fire has been a long time coming and was very much worth it. Even though I had a break between the fifth book and this one to read the before mentioned trilogy, it was easy to jump back in, become quickly immersed into the world and fit back into the story.
There was constant action. Everyone was involved: Nephilim, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, faeries and demons. It was a heart-stopping, heart-breaking and heart-warming page-turner.
“Warlocks are independent. And hard to get hold of. Like cats, but with fewer tails. Well, there are some tails. I don’t have one myself…”
There were so many references in this book about Magnus Bane’s past. I’m looking forward to reading The Bane Chronicles soon so that when I reread this book, it will make more sense. He continues to be one of my favourite characters. We learn a lot about his past and family in this book.
Most of the characters were continuing to deal with events from the last book, such as Jace working around his new powers.
The main events were somewhat predictable, but there were plenty of surprises around the edges.
It was interesting to spend so much time with the Clave, also with Shadowhunters from around the world. Many of them were in mourning over the turned. And typically, they were making poor decisions.
“I fear the Shadowhunters will wipe themselves out with their own secrecy.”
Similarly to Clare’s other books, there was a big focus on relationships: Clary/Jace, Isabelle/Simon, Alec and Isabelle/ parents, Jace/Alec, Alec/Magnus, Sebastian/Clary, Sebastian/Jocelyn, Zachariah/numerous. And like her other books, there is a decent amount of story at the end dedicated to tidying up loose ends. This is partly what made it so beautiful. It was one of the best and most satisfying endings I’ve read. I especially liked exploring Sebastians true motives—yes, even the villians can change their minds over time. And also the last events with Sebastian.
“She looked at him, reluctantly. His black eyes were focused on her with a sharp hunger; they contrasted starkly with his salt-white hair, his pale skin, the faint flush of pink along his cheekbones. The artist in Clary knew he was beautiful, the way panthers were beautiful, or bottles of shimmering poison, or the polished skeletons of the dead. Luke had told Clary once that her talent was to see the beauty and horror in ordinary things. Though Sebastian was far from ordinary, in him, she could see both.”
I also enjoyed journeying into the demon realm and everything that came with it. It was heartening to find so many of the original characters together for the last events of the series. This made it feel complete.
There were new characters introduced in this book, which set up events for the next series, The Dark Artifices. One thing that I am finding I am enjoying about Clare’s massive repertoire is how all of the series are melted together in some way. Generations of Shadowhunters with the same blood become more meaningful, as do the immortal characters from knowing a vast range of characters over their long lifetimes.
Apparently, The Dark Artifices are un-put-downable. Looking forward to it!
“Because the world isn’t divided into the special and the ordinary. Everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. As long as you have a soul and free will, you can be anything, do anything, choose anything.”
Read: Jan 2020
(The Infernal Devices)