Thursday, July 23, 2015


City of Glass is the third book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series and picks up shortly after the conclusion of the events of City of Ashes.  Simon and Clary have (thankfully) decided that they are better off as friends, and Jace is determined to be Clary’s brother only and to adhere to all limitations that places on their relationship.  Valentine has escaped with the Mortal Cup and the Mortal Sword, and now only needs the Mortal Mirror to complete the ritual that will allow him to summon the Angel Raziel.  The mortal instruments can be used only once to summon the Angel, who will heed the Shadowhunter's call (it is believed that the one who summons Raziel can demand one action from the Angel), and Heaven only knows what Valentine has planned.  Luckily the Shadowhunters have some time on their side as nobody knows what exactly the Mortal Mirror is, or where it can be found. 

Clary is finally contacted by someone who might be able to help her save her mother.  Madeline, her mother’s oldest friend, tells Clary that her only chance of saving the comatose Jocelyn is finding a Warlock named Ragnor Fell.  Clary’s best chance of tracking him down is to go to Alicante, Idris, the home city the Nephilim.  As fate would have it all of the Lightwoods are headed to Idris and they agree to take Clary with them, much to Jace’s dismay.  Jace is the only one who knows what Clary did on Valentine’s ship, and he fears for her safety should the Clave ever find how powerful she truly is.  Jace wilfully causes several misunderstandings in order to get the Lightwoods to leave for Idris without Clary, but he really should have known better.  Clary finds a (very stupid, very dangerous) way to follow the Lightwoods into Idris and sets off a chain of events that has serious consequences.  Clary entered Alicante illegally and must find a way to track down Ragnor Fell without alerting the Clave to her presence.

Jace and Clary’s relationship is on shaky ground following Jace’s deliberate deception as well as Jace and the Lightwoods keeping a major secret from Clary regarding Simon’s whereabouts, and Jace deliberately hurting Clary in his efforts to get her to leave Idris.  Their relationship becomes even more complicated with turbulent and confusing feelings when Jace seems to be attracted to family friend Aline, and her cousin Sebastian makes a play for Clary. 

The state of their relationship becomes the least of their worries when Clary and Jace discover a horrible truth about what Valentine did to both of them before they were even born.  They learn that Valentine experimented on his children by secretly feeding Jocelyn demon blood and angel blood respectively during each of her pregnancies.  This explains both of their extraordinary talents as Shadowhunters.  Discovering the truth about the demon blood sends Jace down a slippery slope of self-loathing and self-destruction that not even Clary might be able to pull him back from.

City of Ashes is my favourite book of The Mortal Instruments series so far.  The story is fast-paced, flows perfectly and keeps you at the edge of your seat.  Danger surrounds Clary in her quest to save Jocelyn as she is in foreign surroundings and has no idea who she can trust – especially since Jace and the Lightwoods inexplicably treat her coldly. 
Alicante is not as safe as the Shadowhunters would like to believe, and the freedom of all Shadowhunters is threatened when Valentine sets an ultimatum most Shadowhunters are unwilling to resist.
A major issue I have with City of Glass is that the Shadowhunters aren’t portrayed as a force to be reckoned with.  At one point Alicante is attacked by demons, and complete chaos reigns.  It’s just a whole lot of running and screaming. I understand that at this point the adults were all converging in Gard, and that the young and the old were left to fight, yet I would have liked to see the Shadowhunters do more damage.  Following the attack several families flee Idris.  Also, the majority of Shadowhunters are too scared to oppose Valentine and refuse his ultimatum, despite the fact that they knew what giving in to him would mean.  I did appreciate that this gave Clary the opportunity to have a moment and come to the rescue, but to me this book made the majority of Shadowhunters look weak. 

Alec and Isabelle have larger roles to play this time around, and it was good to see so much more of them.  Isabelle has always been a complex character, but in City of Glass she becomes even more so.  She also has two great action scenes in this book which does her character justice.  She is also discovering that other girls are not there merely to be hated, and I like how Isabelle and Clary’s friendship is steadily growing at a natural, believable tempo.  Alec comes into his own in this book and makes a life-changing decision regarding his future.  Simon is also becoming a much more pleasant character.  Now that Simon and Clary’s relationship is purely platonic and he is no longer trying to force his feelings on her, I can actually see what brought them together.  They have a great dynamic when their time together is not clouded by unrequited love.  Simon truly is a really good friend.

Jace and Clary remain the central characters, of course, and Clare did a great job of highlighting the complexities of their relationship and their feelings for each other, and showing character development in both of them.  The tone of this book is slightly darker than the previous ones, and Jace doesn't make many smartass comments, which I really miss. 

Major spoilers as to the events in this book, so if you have not read it yet and would like to be surprised, this is where you stop reading.

Clary and Jace find a way to help Magnus Bane save the comatose Jocelyn, and she returns to Idris.  Through Jocelyn, Jace and Clary finally discover that they are not brother and sister, but that Jace is in fact the son of Stephen Herondale!  Jace is the grandson of the previous Inquisitor, and that explains why she sacrificed her life to save his in City of Ashes, and what she was trying to tell him as she died.  Jace’s parents died before he was born, and having secretly fed Jace’s mother angel blood as well, Valentine cut the baby from her womb and raised Jace as his own son, just as he raised the real Jonathan Christopher in another house - Clary’s brother is indeed alive, and his true identity is revealed, leading to a whole new set of complications.

Valentine finds the Mortal Mirror, but his plans go awry when he underestimates his daughter and the integrity of the Angel.  I LOVED that part of the book.  Valentine thought that by summoning Raziel, he could command him – we’re dealing with an Angel here.  I loved that the Angel did not let himself be ordered about by likes of Valentine, and that when Valentine went on and on about glory, the Angel’s response was “Glory belongs to God alone”.  Amen!

I am quite eager to start City of Fallen Angels, the next book in the series.  I am not at all sure what to expect.  Clary and Jace are finally together, a happy couple at last, and it will be good to see the two of them together.  It will also be interesting to see where the story goes now that Valentine is no longer a threat.  All seems pretty blissful at the conclusion of City of Glass, but Clary did refuse to do the Seelie Queen a favour – I doubt she will let that slide…
Product Information:
Title: City of Glass
Series: The Mortal Instruments (Book 3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Year: 2009
Pages: 571
ISBN-10: 1416972250
ISBN-13: 978-1416972259
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