Title: City of Heavenly Fire
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments
Published by:Margaret K. McElderry
Date published: May 27, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Book Length: 725 pages
“All of these characters show that love is, in many ways, a leap of faith, and you’ll have to read to see who takes that leap and how.” ~Steff
Shadowhunters, Downworlders, Nephilim, and Warlocks band together to feet Sebastian, a demon/angel hybrid allied with the Seelie Queen and the Wild Hunt to become supreme ruler of all the realms. It’s up to Clary to defeat her brother, figure out how to rid Jace of the Heavenly Fire that makes it impossible to touch him, and gather her friends – Shadowhunter, vampire, and werewolf – to save this world and others.
THE COUPLE: The last installment of Cassie Clare’s series gives us four couples to root for: Shadowhunters Jace and Clary, of course; Shadowhunter Isabelle and vampire Simon; the werewolves Jordan and Maia; and Shadowhunter Alec and the ageless High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus. One couple’s romance ends abruptly. I enjoyed all of the pairings here, though somewhat surprisingly, I found the main couple, Jace and Clary, the least compelling in this book. They finally resolve the issue keeping them apart (Jace is filled with the Heavenly Fire and thus cannot touch or be touched) in a pretty matter-of-fact way. It just sort of happens. But Izzy struggles more with trusting Simon, having seen in her parents’ relationship that love can die and leave you broke, and Simon struggles with accepting that he is worthy of love. I found the development of their relationship – and the heartbreak of a last minute complication to it – compelling. But my favorite relationship in this book involves Alec, a character I don’t find terribly likable alone, but his love for Magnus intrigues me. I was cheering for Magnus to open up about his looooong past and accept that somehow he and Alec could have a lasting romantic partnership despite his fears that Alec will inevitably age and change and they will grow apart. All of these characters show that love is, in many ways, a leap of faith, and you’ll have to read to see who takes that leap and how.
OVERALL: The narrative dragged a bit in the middle for me but that could be because I, like many fans, have been waiting for a long time to have this saga resolved. It made me impatient for it to just happen already! But Clare’s introduced some great new characters with the destruction of the Los Angeles Institute that opens the book and I am eager to read about their adventures in the next series, The Dark Artifices. Plus, I loved the “return” of some characters from The Infernal Devices and the realization of a long-delayed romance begun in that series.
SMOOCH FACTOR: On the strength of the mix of witty banter and heartfelt admissions of love between Alec and Magnus, I give CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE 4 smooches.
Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old.
Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and which later inspired her current pen name).
After college, Cassie lived in Los Angeles and New York where she worked at various entertainment magazines and even some rather suspect tabloids where she reported on Brad and Angelina’s world travels and Britney Spears’ wardrobe malfunctions. She started working on her YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan, her favourite city. She turned to writing fantasy fiction full time in 2006 and hopes never to have to write about Paris Hilton again.
Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.
“`And he shall rule them with a rod of iron,’ said Clary, remembering Alec’s words in the Accords Hall, `and I will give him the Morning Star.’
“Sebastian whirled on her his eyes bright. `Yes!’ he said. `Yes, very good, you’re understanding now. I thought I wanted our world, to bring it down in blood, but I want more than that. I want the legacy of the Morgenstern name.’
`You want the devil?’ Clary said, half-baffled and half-terrified . . .
[Sebastian] extended his arm, and elegant gesture, and indicated the two great thrones on the dais. `One of those is for me. And the other – the other is for you.’