by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. 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—most importantly of all—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—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. 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.
*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
This is the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series. I've heard that the series was originally only meant to be three books and yes, everything was neatly wrapped up at the end of that third book. Maybe the popularity made the author decide to continue the story? I was enjoying the series, looking forward to the continuation, and dove right into this book.
Sadly, I did not like this one. Almost immediately, this book seemed different. It focused mainly on Simon, which wasn't bad. There was a Jace-Clary storyline but it seemed like an almost minor subplot. All of the usual characters were in the book but a lot of them were just mentions here and there to sort of keep everyone included. For example, Alec and Magnus were off traveling the world for much of the book, not actually involved in the story but mentioned once in a while. Things just seemed really detached.
The Simon story started out ok. It was interesting to get into his world and see how he's coping with the changes in his life. But then all of these extra characters were being brought into it and you really started wondering where this was all leading.
Jace and Clary's storyline in this book was awesome at first. It did seem a bit choppy, but I was hooked, at least early on. Jace was also dealing with all of the things that had happened (in the first three books) and was not having an easy time. It was so heartbreaking to see how he tried to keep his struggles private. There was one scene where he woke up from a nightmare and was rolling around on the floor in anguish, dry heaving because he'd become so afraid to eat, and just so overwhelmed. And then you found out this had been happening for a while, and it just tore at you! Shortly after that he happened to fall asleep while on a picnic with Clary and you felt so "Awwww," because he felt safe enough to doze here, or he just couldn't fend off sleep anymore.
Jace's struggles would have been an awesome main plot for this book. There was great potential for the most powerful story of the series so far, but the author chose to go with Simon's story instead. We were bounced back to Jace and Clary every now and then, and the story grew weaker. I hated how it turned from Jace keeping his problems to himself to actually cutting Clary off. That tactic has been used in many YA books, one character distances him/herself from the other without any explanation and of course it causes nothing but problems. It always makes me want to scream and fling the book against a far wall. 'Oh, I'm cutting myself off to save this person,' is always the line of thought. Like the other person is just going to be like 'Ok, we must be done, so I'll just go merrily on my way.' Really?? Of course the other person is going to keep coming at you, trying to find out what's wrong, demanding explanation, hurting and wondering what they've done wrong. I just *don't* like this tactic in storytelling . . . at all.
I knew all along that these two seemingly unrelated storylines would eventually have to cross and have some point. I think the author trying to set up an 'obvious' sort of dramatic climax, and maybe thought it would be so clever to just pull something out of nowhere to shake things up in the end. I didn't like that either, mainly because it was farfetched. It would have been better to keep the flow of the story going where the reader was probably already heading, let the pieces fall into place. When the big 'OOOHHH?!' twist was revealed, I almost gave up on the book. I admit, I skimmed a lot of pages from that point before getting back to really reading in the last thirty pages or so. And then again, a big twist at the end meant to be so shocking but really just sort of an eye rolling cheesy finish.
I *am* curious to see what happens now, but just wish the road taken in this book would have been different. I've seen others online have also thought this was the weakest installment of the series. I've also seen people saying not to worry because the next book redeems the series. We shall see.