City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
or: Third time lucky
Synopsis: 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 their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?
If you remember last year, I became a late fan of the Mortal Instruments series. I was strongly of the opinion when I read the second book- The City of Ashes– that Clare’s writing had, and would, get better over the course of the series. But I wasn’t expecting the dramatic leap of skill that occurred between The City of Ashes and this book; the City of Glass. Clare brought her best work to the table, and really stunned me with her clever one liners, and her greatly improved character development and plot twists.
So much happened in this book that I really don’t know where to begin talking about it. This book is immensely dense, with important character development or plot devices occurring every few pages. Clare managed to jam three books of content into this one book alone. At times it was slightly overwhelming, but someone has taken the time- either Clare or a SWAT team of copy editors (I’m inclined to believe the latter)- to really put in some elbow grease and polish this book up. It didn’t feel like the frenetic froth of the similar situation in Fire Study by Maria V Snyder, rather it felt a lot more restrained and mindful, as if Clare deliberately and sat down with a thick compendium of a plan and placed everything carefully.
That being said, the one character who should have developed the most, didn’t. At all. Clary- ever infuriating Clary- seemed to be left behind by Clare’s intense character development work. Jace was lovingly fleshed out, as was Simon and Isabelle. Alec shocked me with the almost 360 flip around his character did. We met and saw the development of several key, important, new characters, and we bloody finally got to meet Jocelyn Fray. Thank Christ, I thought she’d never wake up.
Oh whoops I’ve just divulged a mammoth spoiler. SORRY
And while yes, some of the plot twists did feel kind of like they were pushing the realms of believable story telling, they were all so gripping I really struggled to care much. This book had me ensnared from about 2 quarter, and I furiously read the last half of the book over a few days. The end half of the book takes place within 4 Alacante (That’s totally not a spoiler it’s in the title of the book and in the blurb) days and nights and feels like a bit of a pipe dream. Clare successfully executes enough character development in the first 5 chapters for all major characters that you are truly desperate to find out what happens to them through the rest of the book.
Thankfully, Clare finally drops the noxious and utterly shudder inducing ‘incest’ troupe by the end of the book. But you still need to grimace through 80% of this book before your theories from the last two books are proven correct. It’s a slug but the breath of fresh air at the end is a welcome relief from something that may have made me abandon the series. That being said, I’m very interested to see what troupes Clare will apply to Jace and Clary in the next books of the series.
Clare manages to slip in an incredible amount of world building around the main plot line and takes the time in this book to explain the world as she goes- something she tended to forget to do for her readers in the first two books. This third book makes a lot of earlier pieces of information and plot points in the first two books make sense, something which is somewhat of a disappointment as Clare shouldn’t make her audience wait that long for explanation. As I did touch on earlier, it seems as if she has learned from this mistake in this book however, which makes me hope future books may be as forthcoming as this one.
Without spoiling this book, i’m reluctant to go into any further detail as this book needs to be read as spoiler free as possible.
When the opportunity next arises, I’m looking forward into diving into book number four but Clare wrapped up the end of this book so nicely i’m not in much of a hurry to pick up the illusive book 4 (I honestly haven’t seen it anywhere online or in bookstores! Where the devil is it?). Books have and will have preference over this series, because, as good as this book was, it didn’t knock my socks off. Or should I say, It didn’t knock my punk rock stilettos off (sorry Isabelle but heals and long dresses are not practical for fighting no matter how bad ass you are. Own up to it girl. We can see through this smoke screen)