Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review | City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

“We are all the pieces of what we remember.  
We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us.
As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.”

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, Book Six) by Cassandra Clare

Published by McElderry Books
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Pages: 725
Other Books By Cassandra Clare: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

Teisha's Review

I can hardly believe that I only started The Mortal Instruments series last year.  I feel like it's been much longer, because I have formed an immensely deep attachment to Cassandra Clare's characters.

After I finished City of Lost Souls, I just couldn't wait any longer.  I had to know the fates of the Shadowhunters of the New York Institute. And, with City of Heavenly Fire, Clare went above and beyond my expectations; this lady knows how to effectively end a series.

I'll try to be objective in this review, but I should go ahead and admit that this final installment of The Mortal Instruments was very bittersweet and emotional for me. 

Here are the five reasons why I gave City of Heavenly Fire 5 out of 5 stars:

★ New Characters

I was quite surprised to find that Clare was bringing new main characters into CoHF.  Who does that? I mean, it's the end of the series.  There's way too much going on with the characters I already know and love for me to care about new people.  Right?  Wrong.  So very wrong.

When you first open CoHF, you'll find the prologue.  This is where readers are introduced to Emma Carstairs, a student of The Los Angeles Institute.  And, trust me: you will quickly fall in love with her.

Now, I should warn you that this prologue can be overwhelming due to the number of new characters Clare throws into our laps at once.  All ll I could think was: "Who the dickens are all of these people?"   So, allow me to break it down for you:  Emma is best friends with Julian Blackthorn whose family resides at the Institute.  Julian Blackthorn is one of seven children; there is Helen, Mark, Julian, Tiberius, Livia, Drusilla, and Octavian.

Make a chart or do whatever you need to help you take all of this new information in stride, because these characters are very important.  Not only do they remain with us throughout the book, but Emma Carstairs and the residents of The Los Angeles Institute will be the main characters of Clare's next series, The Dark Artifices.

These new characters were a pleasant surprise and an intriguing addition to CoHF.  Their presence in the book is the perfect setup for their series, which I can't wait to delve into next year.

★ Character Development

Being that this is the final installment of The Mortal Instruments, I think that it would be difficult not to talk about the development we have seen Clare's characters undergo since Book One, City of Bones.

Throughout Clare's six books, we see her characters mature and become different people because of the relationships they form and the situations they have to deal with.  And, I don't think that their transformations are as evident in any of Clare's books as they are in CoHF.

In CoHF, we witness characters who have learned to open their hearts up to raw emotion--to love, lust, bravery, honesty.  Clary exhibits courage and selflessness; Jace has learned the values of self-love as well as those that come with loving and opening up to others; Alec displays more confidence in himself; Isabelle has finally opened her heart; Simon has learned to push boundaries in order to find his place in the world; and Magnus has learned to love again.

All of these characters have become people who are willing to die for each other, not just because they are fighters in the midst of war and that would be the noble and honorable thing to do, but because they have developed deep bonds with one another.  They love each other.  And, I think it's interesting to consider how in City of Bones, these people were complete strangers, and now they have become a family.

Call me crazy, but by the end of this series I found that these characters were not just fictional people who only exist within the confines of this book.  They have become a part of me, they are my friends.  I will never forget them.

And, I have always found that any book you walk away from with the feeling that you've gained something--that's a great book.

★ Humor

One of the things that I love about Clare's writing is her propensity to make me laugh.  Even when characters are heading towards a deadly situation, and even when I just finished a heartbreaking passage she manages to get a smile out of me.

Jace is definitely my favorite in the humor department; he has so many witty, sarcastic one-liners.

Here's one where he's talking to Simon after a near-death experience with the Heavenly Fire:
"I don't care if I did just set myself on fire.  I'm not hugging you."
And then there's this one:
Clary: "We are not going to have sex.  At all."  Jace: "But 'at all' is my favorite way to have sex."
And, one more:
"I have an idea," Simon said.  "Remember how before, I was talking about Dungeons and Dragons?"  "Vividly," Jace said.  "It was a dark time."
 The humor of these stories makes all of the emotions and heartache more easily bearable.  And, speaking of emotions...

★ All The Feels

I made it through most of this book without crying.  But, the epilogue will get you.

I cried so hard.  It was 2am and I was sitting in my bed with tears rolling down my eyes and a terrible headache.

Not many books make me cry.  I hadn't cried over a book since I read The Fault In Our Stars more than a year ago.

I will not tell you whether my tears were tears of joy or sadness, but I will tell you that the ending of CoHF is very satisfying.  For some series like The Hunger Games and Divergent, I had mixed feelings about the endings (esp. Divergent.  I mean, Allegiant was quite a doozy to get through).  But, I would not change a thing about the end of City of Heavenly Fire.

It is perfection.

★ No Loose Ends

With CoHF, all of Clare's loose ends have been tied up perfectly into a tight, rune-decorated bow.

There are those book series that keep you going by throwing more questions at you, and then they sloppily try to answer them in the finale (that's how I'm feeling about The Maze Runner series right now).  But, Clare's books are different.  The questions about the plot aren't what keep readers reading.  I think more than anything, the intrigue of her books are the character relationships.

As I stated before, I think that the ending of City of Heavenly Fire was very pleasing.  And, to know that readers will likely be seeing the residents of the New York Institute again in The Dark Artifices makes finishing this series all the more bittersweet.


Overall, I absolutely loved City of Heavenly Fire.

If you've been reading this series and you haven't gotten a chance to get your hands on CoHF yet I suggest you hurry yourself over to the store and get it.  Like, NOW.

And, if you haven't started this series at all, please do.  Because, if you love YA, and you love fantasy and sci-fi, this is the series for you.  

Let's Talk

Have you read The Mortal Instruments series?  What did you think of it?

Are you currently reading it?  What book are you on?

Do you plan to read the series after reading this review?

Talk to you soon!

"Temper us in fire and we grow stronger.  When we suffer, we survive."

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