The sixth and final installment of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments urban fantasy series starts off with the evil Sebastian Morgenstern attacking the Los Angeles Institute with a band of his Dark Shadowhunters. He needs to turn more of the angelic warriors to the dark side if he’s going to succeed in his quest to eradicate the Nephilim and destroy the world. His one weakness remains his passion for his sister Clary, who along with the other Shadowhunters of the New York Institute, is determined to stop him.
What follows is 700-plus pages of mayhem. Successes and reversals. Alliances and betrayals. Characters from across the series and its prequel trilogy–the incomparable INFERNAL DEVICES–work to either thwart or enable Sebastian’s insane plot. We also meet a bunch of fascinating new characters–mostly child survivors of the Los Angeles Institute massacre–who will carry Clare’s fictional universe into its next chapter, an upcoming series called The DARK ARTIFICES.
Clare manages to wrap up most of her long and tangled plot threads in satisfying, if unexpected, ways. But there’s also enough darkness on the horizon to leave readers eager to know what happens next. Clare’s world is an ambiguous one, where good and evil tread a fine and often blurred line.
(Warning: Spoilers below)
If I had to point out a few rough spots, the presence of a condom in the bowels of Hell would be one. Sure, it’s politically correct and responsible of a hero like Jace to have one at the ready for his big moment with Clary…but COME ON! No food, no water, no way home…but he has a condom? Also, some scenes in the middle of the book drag a bit as Clare jumps from point-of-view to point-of-view and from realm to realm. Finally, at about 100 pages, the epilogue is a bit dragged out. True, Clare had to write herself out of a corner created when she has Clary and the gang resort to requesting demonic assistance to get out of Hell. Demons do nothing for free and this little favor comes at a huge cost. The kind of cost that leads to enraged readers and authors in fear for their lives. Clare manages to give readers what they want in a way that serves and even enriches her story.
With CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE, Cassandra Clare provides the best kind of conclusion…one that is the beginning of something that promises yet more excitement.