City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #4)
The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York. 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 she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary 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.
By now, I've read seven of Cassandra Clare's books, and I have no doubt in her talents as an author. City of Fallen Angels doesn't do those talents justice. All the things that made her other books so good were there, but there was a lot I didn't like about City of Fallen Angels, too.
One of the best things about Clare's books is her world-building. The world of Shadowhunters, Downworlders, mundanes, and demons Clare has created is intricately detailed and fascinating. No part of it is sloppy, and it draws on just enough reality to allow readers to believe. Clare is also extremely talented at writing action scenes and villains. Her monsters are frightening and usually not just one-sided. So when Clare leads the Shadowhunters into battle, it's thrilling. City of Fallen Angels was missing a lot of that action, though. A few exciting scenes were scattered here and there, but the plot didn't really get going until the last 150 pages or so. Those last hundred pages were action-packed and suspenseful, but the entire book was over 400 pages long.
The majority of the book was taken up with either Simon's story or romance scenes. I actually really liked Simon's parts and was glad he played such a central role. The romance scenes weren't nearly as interesting, and there were a lot of them. I admit, I ship Malec and Clary/Jace as much as the next fangirl - but reading about their constant makeout sessions and deep, romantic conversations got a little tedious after a while. If the romance scenes weren't filled with so many cliches, it might have been a little more bearable, but there's still the issue of how much description Clare used for those scenes. Some of the more lovey-dovey scenes between Clary and Jace read more like smutty fanfiction than an actual novel.
I wasn't exactly disappointed by City of Fallen Angels as much as frustrated by it. This book definitely isn't Clare's best. I'm still dying to know what happens next, and I won't be abandoning the series anytime soon, but I'm hoping the next one will be better.
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside the Downworlders.
Cassandra Clare has done it again: City of Glass is a near-knockout. Rife with tension and suspense, it kept me interested to the last page. I’m a little disappointed, however, that there weren’t as many good plot twists. I actually felt like a lot of the book was really predictable. I still enjoyed the book thoroughly, and it did keep me flipping pages. I was especially happy that the Downworlders were given a larger part in the story.
I was thrilled that we got to see Alicante, and the inner workings of the Clave. I’m still at a loss as to why no one but the villain seems interested in reforming what’s obviously a corrupt and near-useless political institution, but I was glad to learn a little more about Shadowhunter culture.
The biggest problem I had with City of Glass is that a good chunk of the book isn’t really moving the plot forward; it’s deep, heartfelt conversations between Jace and Clary that we’ve already heard a hundred times. I’ll admit, a few of them had me melting, but there were far more than needed and it got to the point that I almost didn’t want to read them. The romantic aspect of the book was also exactly what I expected it to be and tied up in perfect little bows, which was half awesome and half infuriating. In that respect, Clare’s writing reads a little like fanfiction.
City of Glass was still a pretty good read, and Clare managed to make the city of Alicante feel as real as New York. I do plan on reading the next book in the series, although City of Glass wraps things up rather nicely.
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #2)
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father. When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
I love this series. Clare’s books are so jam-packed with amazing characters. I love Valentine’s character - I mean, I hate him, and would happily hit him over the head with a two by four, but he’s incredibly well written and devious. Clare did a great job portraying the relationship between Valentine and Jace, and between Jace and the Lightwoods.
I’m not such a big fan of the relationship between Clary and Simon - bouncing back and forth from boyfriend/girlfriend to just friends. It’s already obvious that Clary and Simon care about each other a lot, and I don’t like the idea of them being on-again off-again. Props to Clare for making me so conflicted about Jace and Clary though.
I can’t wait to read the third book in the series. I didn’t like this book as much as I liked City of Bones, but it still managed to totally stomp on my heart, which seems to be Clare’s real talent.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #1)
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know… .
I loved City of Bones. Not quite as much as I loved its predecessors, the books in the Infernal Devices trilogy, but still quite a lot. I thought that the variety of Downworlders, the mystery of Clary’s past, and rich details Clare puts into the story keep it interesting throughout. However, several scenes could have been shortened considerably and not done any harm to the story. I also didn’t like that this book and Clockwork Angel followed very similar formulas, but since City of Boneswas written first, I’ll forgive Clare.
The thing that really got on my nerves was the love triangle. In TID, I was a big fan of the love triangle; it was executed perfectly and actually added a lot to the story. But in this book all I couldn't think of why Clare put the love triangle into play at all. Frankly, it was just annoying and cliche.
But, I concede, overall City of Bones was a well-thought-out, beautifully detailed urban fantasy.
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #3)
Tessa Gray should be happy - aren’t all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.
If I had to describe this book in three words, they would be these: holy plot twist.
Clare has outdone herself with the finale of The Infernal Devices. Despite the book’s having begun with a giant demonic worm, it’s truly incredible. Beginning this book, I was really nervous, because I knew we’d finally figure out exactly what Tessa was, who would win her heart, and whether or not Mortmain would be stopped. Clare did a wonderful job of answering these questions. And her plot twists - of which there were several - knocked me completely off my feet.
(There will be spoilers beyond this point. You have been warned).
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was Charlotte’s role. In the 19th century, women weren’t seen as capable of taking on the kind of responsibilities Charlotte does. I love that although the Consul is extremely sexist and makes many insulting remarks about the “fairer sex,” Clare also makes it clear that she doesn’t share that view and goes so far as to make Charlotte the new Consul, a huge victory for any woman in that time period.
A problem I had with the book was the ending - everything seemed too neatly wrapped up. Everyone marries who they’ve fallen in love with, and even Jem, eventually, gets the girl. But at the same time, if the book had ended any other way, I probably would’ve thrown it against a wall. This series has put me through enough pain, I think we deserved a bow-tied ending.
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #2)
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
Clockwork Prince is, if possible, even better than its predecessor. While the Shadowhunters scramble to protect the Institute from Benedict Lightwood’s shady plans for it and catch Mortmain before he can build a terrifying clockwork army, Tessa is also struggling to come to terms with her own issues. The Jem-Will-Tessa love triangle comes to a head in Clockwork Prince; and as if that weren’t enough, Tessa is a key part of a madman’s plan to take over the world (or at least England), in which her traitorous brother also has a part. Clockwork Prince is a book that will rip your heart out and stomp on it, but the pain’s worth it.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #1)
When Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother in Victorian England, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she has the power to transform into another person. The Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. She soon finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends: James and Will. As Tessa is drawn deep into a plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, she realizes she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love might be the most dangerous magic of all.
Clockwork Angel is, in a word, incredible. Chock-full of dramatic irony, plot twists, and suspense, you won’t be able to put it down. Details like Jem’s illness, Henry’s eccentricity, and Tessa and Will’s shared love of books only add to the book and draw you in further.
I have to say, before starting this book, I had a few reservations. A love triangle? A girl who doesn’t know her power? We’ve all been down those roads before, and I was worried that Clockwork Angelwould be a rehashing of them. But I had no reason to worry - Clockwork Angel completely blew me away; the ending was brilliant. Throughout the whole story I felt for the characters and couldn’t wait to see what came next. Definitely worth the read.
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