Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Claire

(In which human beings are proven once again to be suckers for happy endings.)


When I decided to read series, I thought it's a win-win situation. First, I get to read books that I don't usually read (because I haven't seen an art fiction series yet). Second, I save myself from deciding what book to read next. Finally, I get to read a lot of books. The only downside I realized at that time is the painful waiting for the next installment. I'm looking at you, George R. R. Martin!

In retrospect, I found out that I completely forgot that some series tend to get old real fast. Worse, some are even predictable and cliché, albeit in different levels. And now I'm giving Cassandra Clare's Heavenly Fire my bloated stare.

To begin with, I do not hate the book (Although I have to admit that I can't get the 'Morganstern' typo out of my head). It's just that I thought the story deserves more than the and-of-course-Sebastian-has-to-die and all the rest lived happily ever after. I'm sorry, that's an exaggeration. And stop scowling because that is not a spoiler. What, did you not see his death coming?

Cassandra Clare warned her fans that six main characters will die at the last book. (By page 338 the fourth character dies. And the last two died at the boss battle stage.) While everyone was crying out for her to save Magnus, I was wondering if Clare would dare pull a Veronica Roth and kill Clary. But she didn't do that. The following is my own summary of Heavenly Fire.

After the battle at the Burren, where Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle and Simon found out about the Shadowhunters evilly transformed by the Infernal Cup, the whole race of Nephilim face a far greater and more threatening Sebastian than the one who bound Jace. He now leads the army of Dark Shadowhunters (now called Endarkened) and their number continues to rise as they attack Institutes and either Turn or murder Shadowhunters. The only hope to save Nephilim lies in the heavenly fire contained by Jace's body, which he doesn't know how to control yet. With the help of their unlikely band of supernaturals (again), Jace and Clary uncover betrayals and alliances, journey to a desolated realm of Hell and attempt to save the world... but not without sacrifices.

These sacrifices come in the form of their friends' corpses and memories. But just as it is impossible to regain lives, one character’s memories, on the other hand, could be retrieved in just a matter of, what, weeks? Say what you will. But I can't simply believe this could be done by sheer willpower. And the memory was sucked out of this character by a Demon Prince! This is the part where I threw up my hands in frustration. I am not totally in favor of letting major characters die but I think Clare's refusal to let it happen led to pushing things to the height of annoyance. I mean, if she doesn’t want any serious harm to come to Clary and friends, at least when she decided to sacrifice a major character’s memories in lieu of life, she should have just left it at that. But then everyone’s life would be incomplete and that would be a terrible ending for everyone, correct? I am not sure. Or maybe I just have issues with predictable, happy endings.

That’s for another blog post.

Now, even after realizing that I only have ten more pages towards the end of the series, I don’t feel a sense of finality. I was thinking, “Am I supposed to be shocked by a cliffhanger here?” Suddenly, I was finished reading. But then the book wasn’t finished with me yet – with me and with all the other readers of this seemingly never-ending saga of Shadowhunters. I knew because I was greeted with an introduction to a new series which will pick up from the ending of Heavenly Fire. Surprise!

But I am finished with it. This will be my last Shadowhunter-related reading experience. They get old real fast, indeed. But to those whose tolerance is impressively high, you are welcome to another Nephilim adventure with this:

You will have to zoom the image many times to read the Seelie Queen’s message to the Arthur Blackthorn of the Los Angeles Institute because, you know, the Fair Folk are quite secretive with their correspondence.

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