Today we have another continuation of Series September with the third book in The Mortal Instruments series, and I have a lot of good things to say!
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2009
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Source: Public Library
More information: http://www.cassandraclare.com/books/book-three-city-of-glass/
– SPOLIER ALERT –
The Good: I actually feel like I have a lot of good things to say about this book, which is surprising because I think I had pretty mixed feelings about the first two. I was a little concerned when I started this one because it doesn’t take place in New York like the previous stories. One of the things I like best about urban fantasy is the way it combines the familiar with the fantastic, and I worried that this entirely new, more fantasy-based setting might be of less interest. However, I appreciated the fact that Clary missed New York and, although she enjoyed certain elements of the new city, she couldn’t help but compare it to home. I felt pretty similarly – I enjoyed the new setting more than anticipated but am still ready to head back to something more familiar.
A lot of the things I was bothered by the in the last book have been resolved. Jace has become substantially more tolerable; I like him much better than I’d expected after how annoying I found him in the first book. Simon’s mysterious ability to go out in the sun is explained, although I do have some technical questions about how that actually works. Clary’s mother finally wakes up, which was a relief to everyone. They have their great battle, even though we only see a little bit from Simon’s perspective. Sebastian added a pretty solid plot element, and Valentine continued to be literally the worst parent ever. When I read the first book, I didn’t expect Magnus to become a recurring character or to be as important to the series as he is. Magnus has actually become one of my favorite characters, so I’m glad to see him returning. I was also pretty happy that Alec’s coming out didn’t add too much drama and that everyone ultimately accepted him and his warlock boyfriend without the trouble the first book had suggested. Max’s death was a little bit soul-crushing, even though he wasn’t in that much of the series, and I’m again impressed and surprised by how invested I’ve become in these characters and their world.
Jace and Clary have finally figured out their relationship. They’re not siblings (surprise, surprise), and they’re finally able to be together. I’m happy for them but also so incredibly done with the entire situation. I’m also happy for Luke and Jocelyn, although I don’t know who didn’t see that coming either.
The Bad: Possibly my only real complaint about the book is that I still really don’t know what to think about Clary. I don’t dislike her, but I also don’t find her to be particularly interesting. Her rune-drawing abilities are cool, and I’m excited to see where those powers take her. However, she often seems very reactive, overly focused on Jace, and not very complex. She doesn’t seem to be growing or changing very much. I like that Jace has complicated feelings about his family and his history, that he has to piece together where he fits and who he is. I think that makes him a much more interesting character, whereas Clary basically has everything worked out. She doesn’t have complicated feelings about her father, she’s happy with her mother and Luke’s relationship, her friendship with Simon pretty much goes back to the way it was in the beginning, and Jace is everything she’s ever wanted.
I don’t know if this is really a bad thing, but the covers of these books absolutely baffle me. Is this cover supposed to be Sebastian? The first one is definitely Jace, and I’m assuming the next is Clary. Are they supposed to be the most important characters in the book? Shouldn’t Clary be on the first book since she’s supposed to be the main character? I totally get the marketing of the first book cover, but from that point on, I am very confused.
This is a bit of a silly thing, but I’d love to know what Sebastian was using to “dye” his hair black. How goes the color come off on Clary’s hands but not on anything else, like Sebastian’s own forehead? Maybe there’s a logical explanation for this, but that whole thing just seemed like a convenient comment that could have been better explained.
Aline’s demon attack. Aline in general? I don’t know, I’m getting very confused with how all these families are related to each other, and at this point, I have almost no idea who Aline even is.
Did Clary really have to kiss Sebastian? REALLY? (No.)
The next three books in the series? I honestly have no idea where we’re going from here because it really seems like pretty much everything got wrapped up, and even though everything isn’t perfect, I would have been completely satisfied with this as a conclusion. Clary’s still freaked out by Raphael? Totally normal, he’s awful. Simon has two beautiful women interested in him? Good for him, let the poor boy have someone actually like him for once. Magnus is talking to someone strangely familiar? I don’t know if I can quite explain this one away, but I don’t know that it requires three more books to explain. Sebastian’s body is missing, and Jace is suspicious. Okay, this is probably the only thing I can really see coming back to bite them in the coming books, but even this I would be 100% willing to let go if this was the last book in the series. I just have no idea where we’re going to go from here, and I really don’t want three more books of relationship angst, especially not now that we’re reached such a good point for everyone.
Conclusion: This book is much more of an ending than I’d expected it to be, and I’m really happy with how everything finally tied together. I have absolutely no idea where we’re going from here, but I’m cautiously looking forward to finding out! Check back this weekend for a review of City of Fallen Angels!