Hello humans! Is now the time to reveal I have yet to read all the Cassandra Clare books? I suppose it is. What can I say? I read the original trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass) way back in a period of late night insomnia but then never got round to picking up any more of the titles. But I don’t think one can exist in the YA book community without hearing people talk about these books all the time so it felt like a good moment to see where the story had gone. I grabbed a copy of City of Fallen Angels in a three for ten pounds deal and here we are.
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.
Content warning: torture, dead infants.
Starting a follow-on book from a trilogy that was tied off pretty neatly is never going to be an easy task, other than just throwing your characters into utter chaos from the start (which feels lazy) you almost have to build a new perspective through which you can see the world. It seemed to me as though Cassandra Clare opted to do this through focussing in on Simon, which I am not mad at, he is undoubtedly more interesting than any Clary and Jace drama. The plot is dark so be warned if you find certain things triggering (as ever DM me on twitter if you want to know about a specific trigger). However so much of these books is caught up in dialogue and ‘witty banter’ that it often doesn’t feel as dark as it is?
This isn’t a book that stuck with me out of all the books I’ve read this year. I think with all the mortal instruments (and it may just be me) they are enjoyable but only if you suspend disbelief a little more than you do with any other fantasy novels. You have to allow yourself to start to care about the Clary and Jace angst, and the love triangles and so forth. Once you’ve been swept up in that it’s quite fun and I do remember why I enjoyed reading these books when I was a little younger.
I also agree that a lot of the representation in these books is important. One thing that I did find interesting was that Magnus’ identity began to be explored a little more (again, a character far more interesting and entertaining than a lot of the others). Though no book is perfect you can see why so many people identify with one or more of these characters.
Should you read this? If you liked the first three then it continues in much the same vein. I’m not sure how many more years it will take me to actually finish this series, I’m in no hurry, but I do hope to get there one day.
My rating: 3/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Are you obsessed with this series or not overly fussed? Let me know in the comments below!