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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: May 27, 2014
Pages: 733
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 Stars


ΕRCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID.

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

This review is spoiler-free

In short: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare does not pack the punch that the original Mortal Instruments trilogy finale had, but was still a good read overall.
I have been a fan of The Mortal Instruments series since its release in 2007 (and prior to that I was a big fan of Cassandra Clare's Harry Potter fanfiction). I recall thinking the story and world in the first instalment, City of Bones, was pretty derivative (take one part Harry Potter, another part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, add a smidgeon of Star Wars, and there you have City of Bones), but I instantly fell in love with the characters and the humour of the series and said features remain my favourite parts of Cassandra Clare's writing today.

I was perfectly happy with the ending of the original trilogy in City of Glass - it really was a fantastic finale - but when presented with an opportunity to read more from these beloved characters in the form of a new trilogy, a continuation of the series, I was keen. I loved the series, why wouldn't I be excited for more? Well, my attitude changed at some point when I realized that this second trilogy wasn't living up to my love for the original trilogy. I can be picky about series finales; a good series finale is one in which the final book raises the stakes, goes out with a BANG, and is the best instalment in the series. City of Glass gave me all that. So I needed City of Heavenly Fire to give me that and MORE.

And well, it came close. There was certainly action aplenty and of course there was the emotional pain and turmoil that Cassandra Clare is so well known for. I like how the story played out and where the characters ended up - in some cases in good positions and in some cases bad. It was a good finale, but the fact remains that the City of Heavenly Fire ending was just not as good as the original ending in City of Glass. I felt that certain issues were wrapped up too easily, some resolutions were resolved too conveniently. The final showdown seemed a bit abrupt, and thus anticlimactic. And as far as emotional feels, well, it came no where close to those of Clockwork Princess.

And as for these beloved characters of mine, what does it mean that my favourite scenes in City of Heavenly Fire were actually the ones involving characters from Clare's steampunk trilogy, The Infernal Devices, and the ones involving new characters from her upcoming new Shadowhunter trilogy, The Dark Artifices? Well, it indicates to me that as much as I love the Mortal Instruments gang, I am ready to move on. Their story has been played out and they deserve some rest now because Clare sure put them through a lot of crap over the years. It's time to say good-bye finally, and it's sad, but I'm ready for something new.

So while City of Heavenly Fire didn't pack as much of a punch as I needed from a finale for one of my oldest favourite series, it was still a good read overall. I definitely wouldn't say no to Mortal Instruments character cameos in Cassandra Clare's next Shadowhunter trilogy, but I'm satisfied with their ending in City of Heavenly Fire and I'm ready to move on. Bring on The Dark Artifices!

Previously, my reviews of City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls.

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30 comments :

  1. That sums up how I felt pretty nicely, I struggled with the wordssss for this one because I love this world, but this book just didn't hit the mark for me the way I wanted/needed it to. I'm not sure how I feel about 5 different series set in this world either, I have The Infernal Devices waiting to be binge-read, and have high expectations, not sure what I expect yet from Emma and Co, but I would like to see cameos from our original favourites 5 years from now...

    I just posted my review of this series today too - http://confessionsofabookgeek.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/review-the-mortal-instruments-series/

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    1. Yeah, I think us fans all had pretty major expectations for this one, so it didn't hit the mark for some of us. I'm not sure how I feel about 5 different Shadowhunter series either because it could get pretty old, but I'm not quite sick of it yet. I'm definitely looking forward to Emma and Julian and the main TMI crew all grown up!

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  2. I was really looking forward to your review on this one, because as much as I've had issues with the series as a whole (for the very things you mentioned: HP+Star Wars+Buffy) I still enjoyed some of the characters and I'm still curious to see how everything will wrap up here. It's hard not to get invested in a series with this many books, on some level. So. That being said. I'm happy that in the end you felt satisfied with this conclusion BUT I'm sad that it didn't live up to City of Glass or Clockwork Princess. I agree with you though: in the end, it means that you're ready for TMI to be finished and move on to other things. Personally once I finish with this series (read: get my hands on CoHF) I will likely FINALLY get into TID. From there, I'll have to see if I actually get into her new TDA series...I suppose it'll depend how highly you'll recommend it :)

    Wonderfully insightful review as always Aylee, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughts here ^^ x

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    1. Yeah, I agree: it's hard not to get invested in a series with this many books, on some level. Doesn't hurt that I love the characters, even if parts were a little derivative. I am definitely read to move on to other things and I am excited for you to move on to TID! Though I do think you should read TID before CoHF because there may be things that will spoil you for TID. And it's possible you'll be wanting to read TDA after reading about Emma and Co. in CoHF without my help! Thanks, Micheline.

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  3. "Well, it indicates to me that as much as I love the Mortal Instruments gang, I am ready to move on."

    Same here Aylee! The first three books in this series will always be among my very favorites, but I sort of lost interest after book four. I just wanted Jace and Clary and everyone else to be happy already! Of course I'm ridiculously excited for her new trilogy, and can't wait to get obsessed with the amazing characters she's sure to write. Beautiful review:)

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    1. Yeah, exactly! I just feel so bad for them - they deserve to be happy now after all that emotional stress!! Let's put them to rest and involve ourselves with other amazing characters that CC will no doubt torture, as well. :)

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  4. I definitely agree with you that there's really nothing new about COHF. I didn't really any pains about saying goodbye to these characters like I did with Infernal Devices. I'm still not sure about Dark Artifices but I'm definitely curious about Jules and Emma.

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    1. Yeah, I was sorry to say goodbye to the TID characters and the TMI characters the first time, but I can't say I felt that way after this series - I was just happy it was over and the characters could finally rest in peace (alive though!).

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  5. I really liked the ending of the original trilogy. I will probably read books 5 and 6 at some point, but for now I will just pretend it ended with book 3!

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    1. Heh, part of me wishes I had just left it at 3 and pretended that was the end as well...

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  6. I haven't read any of these, but I've heard people liked the original trilogy's finale more than this one. Sometimes you just have to move on from a series, whether you are an author or reader.

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    1. True. I guess authors have a hard time letting go of characters just like readers do and they want more. Either that or they want more money.

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  7. I am in love with the Mortal Instruments series! I still need to read City of Lost Souls and I need to buy City of Heavenly Fire. It's just so darn expensive. I am trying to hold out until it comes out in paperback or is mispriced at my local bookstore. Really glad that it is a good finale though!

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    1. Heh, it is pricey I guess because it's bigger than a brick. I hope you can find it for a good price! I bought mine online before the book was released so it was only $15.

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  8. I agree with you too! Though, I might have liked it a little bit more. Like you, my favorite moments were the ones that tied in the characters from Clare's other books. And I think she was able to do this better with this book than with City of Glass. I feel like tying in moments from as far back as City of Bones (as well as the prequel series) is the author's way of saying, this is it now, for real.

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    1. That's a good point! She really has got quite good at interweaving characters and plot points from her other series into each other. It's pretty brilliant and it makes you want to read ALL her books to make sure you don't miss out on anything. And yeah, I do think she was finally saying goodbye, for real. It's been good!

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  9. I'm glad you still really enjoyed this one even if didn't completely live up to City of Glass. It's interesting that Clare's new series is also set in the same world. I don't know how she keeps track of all the characters; my head would just explode and I'd be mixing up characters and their personalities all the time.

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    1. haha, oh I don't know, I think she does a pretty good job at keeping them all distinct. At least, I haven't confused them yet, but then again she still has two more trilogies coming and a ton new characters to introduce...

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  10. We all have to move on no matter how much we love the characters. I think the characters deserve it too since they've been put through so much. This is why although I love HP and would love to read more, I don't want to threaten the feeling of peace and tranquilness that I got from the HP epilogue. But before I get carried away by HP, I have to say I drop this series after I finish the second book. I just can't handle the drama and all the crap Clare gives her characters. It makes me glad though that others love her series and maybe I'll try her other works in the future. Lovely review, Aylee! :)

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    1. Yes, I agree! That's why I have conflicting thoughts about more HP. I mean, that would be awesome and everything, but if it means more peril for Harry then no thanks! I love my boy too much. And Clare is especially bad to her characters, it's crazy! I can't say I blame you for dropping it. I just needed to see them get through okay!

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  11. Sounds like a good finale, even if it didn't match to the original conclusion of the series. I keep meaning to catch up (especially since I stopped RIGHT before City of Glass).

    Great review :D

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    1. Ohh you should definitely at the very least finish City of Glass because it really is a great finale! From there, depending on how invested you feel, you could pick it up again and see it through to the very end, or not.

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  12. Sigh... I have absolutely no desire to read the last two in this second faze of the series, but I have to say, I am curious to know whether Jace and Clary got their HEA, and I want to know what happens to Simon. That is all. I may google it. I am impressed that you stuck to this series the way you did. You have read nine books by Cassandra Clare. Very impressed.

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on all the books. I agree City of Glass went out with a bang! Thanks for the review!

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    1. Heh, thanks Sara! I can totally see why you would give up TMI because I wasn't super keen on TMI II either. So yeah, go ahead and google it if you want or shoot me a message and I'll dish :)

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  13. I am happy to hear this ending wasn't all bad, but I can already tell I will feel similarly about this conclusion. Like you, I was more than happy with the original ending, and I was surprised to hear there would be more books coming out. Sure, I love revisiting a beloved series and getting to know the characters even more, but I feel like the first three books were more than enough for this series, and it should have ended then. Either way, I do plan on reading this book and finishing up the series, and I'm excited that there are some cameos! I did not know that. Great review, Aylee! :D

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    1. Well, I'm happy to know you do still plan on seeing the series through even though you were plenty happy with the first trilogy and that you thought it was more than enough. I do hope you enjoy this one and can find some good in it even though it's not the same as the original!

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  14. Well, I've only read the first book of this series and I watched the movie as well. I don't know if and when I'll move on to other books. That's why I just skimmed through your review. Well, I had no idea that Cassandra Clare wrote Harry Potter fan fiction. I'll have to check that out. Also, I'm glad the series concluded well, if not brilliantly. Great review, Aylee!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. It's a pretty big investment to make getting into the Shadowhunter world because there is just so much out there to get to! So I think you're right to think about it some more before jumping right in. I don't think you can read CC's fanfiction anywhere on the internet though because it was pulled when she was published.

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  15. One if her best books yet! I hope you've read Clockwork Princess before you pick this book up. But be ready, you won't be able to put this book down!
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  16. I really enjoyed this book but I was really underwhelmed by Clary and Jace. I have to say. I was much more interested in reading about Magnus and Simon and Alec and Isabelle and Maia and basically anyone who wasn't them.

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