Wednesday, August 20, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare- Review

From Goodreads:
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

I have seesawed on this series many, many times over the six books. In many ways the story has stretched too thin. Clary and Jace are so overdone I was more inclined to laugh then swoon by the time she finally got to the BIG sex scene that she's been erotically building to for the ENTIRE series. Seriously, some of the scenes have read like bad outtakes from 50 Shades
-a chaste press of lips to lips at first, but it deepened quickly, and soon he was parting her lips with his, tongue stroking into her mouth, and she could taste him: the sweetness of Jace spiked with the bite of champagne.
Let me break down why this was more of an eye-roller than a swoon maker for me.

  1. Tongue stroking into her mouth, makes it sound like he's petting a cat or doing laps in a pool. I'm pretty sure this was one of the many times Clare used a word like stroking thinking it eroticised an otherwise tame make out scene. She can have a pretty horny fan base, and I'm guessing they're demanding, but seriously. No tongue stroking. Not unless you're going for the full 50 Shades of description in a much more graphic scene 
  2. This is going to sound catty, but again, if you're going for this kind of description, think it through. Jace and Clary have just been through a wedding, and possibly, though this part is a bit unclear, the wedding dinner. Although Jace is never described as a big eater, I'm thinking that hunting demons and trudging through levels of hell takes a toll on someones breath. So to say he tasted sweet and to imply that it's his natural taste, yah, I'm not buying it. Taste like breath mints, I can see that, or sweet like cake after, you know, eating cake, but I'm pretty sure most humans don't naturally taste sweet on the inside of their mouths.
  3.  Finally, the very worst part of this for me, was the fact it was page 699 and she was still wasting my time with clandestine Clary and Jace kisses. Boring.
Which brings me to my next point, this book needed some serious editing.  I know what it was she was trying to do, so don't yell at me. It was none to subtle that she was wrapping up these characters, while trying to sell the next trilogy to the fan base, all while trying to tie in the Clockwork Angel series. But what it really did was make this book too long, stretch across too many POV's and start to make her world seem really incestuous.  I mean really, you want to make one character, several generations removed, show a likeness to another charter, fine. When you start to try and show character traits in everyone from their predecessors, weird. Especially because these kids are now so mixed they are incredibly removed from the characters in Clockwork Angel, not to mention they're parents don't remind Tessa and Jem of anyone. It's a gimmick, and like so much in this series, it was overused to the point of loosing it's intended effect.

Also, back to the point of the lack of editing, this book had the always charming, 300 endings. They won the war and survived, crushing but YAY! The accords meeting and Jace and Clary running off to scatter Jonathan's ashes, epilogue one. They go back for Simon (SPOILER ALERT!), epilogue the second. The wedding, officially ending number two. The Tessa "talk" epilogue to ending two. Helen leaving and Jules and Emma's big, but not big, moment about being parabati? Teaser to The Dark Artifices, or chapter one of that book. EVERYTHING ELSE?! (Yes! There WAS more!!) boring nattering that went nowhere, but dragged out every little mini ending that were each boring in their own way already.

And this business with the Clave. Come on. Clare has spent wayyy too many books building every generation of the Clave into a heinous, intractable, oblivious set of monstrous adults.  I'm starting to really wonder about this whole society of Shadowhunters. Honestly, talking of tropes she's reused overmuch, this one has done nothing but alienate me from the society she wants me to keep reading about in two more trilogies!

Finally, and this one is my ultimate peeve, this entire series is about a group of people who lead a life with a high rate of death. So far, in 9 books there have been 3 serious wars. In this final part, two minor characters die.
That. Is. It.
Simon's loss to the group could have been the catastrophic thing, maybe. But Clare couldn't leave it be, and so in the end he only really benefited from their trip to hell and back. He's not even going to be a vampire any more, which was half of what made him interesting!

An underwhelming and overly long book, Clary managed to bleed everything I loved about this series out. The tension was beaten to death, the amusing repartee was forced and there was really zero left to discover about these characters, all there was left was to end it already. And even worse, the introduction of Emma and Jules only cemented the fact that I don't care about her characters anymore. How sad is that? She has been quoted as saying that she didn't feel confident she could write MG characters (while talking about her co-writing project with Holly Black), and I have to say, she should not have confidence at all in her ability to write believable MG kids. Emma and Jules were supposed to be 12, and Jules younger brother was supposed to be 10, but she wrote him like a 6 year old. And Emma and Jules ranged back and forth from being every bit as "mature" as Clary and co., to being babyish. 12 is a difficult age, granted, but she missed the mark, while also making these kids to troubled and angsty too appeal to me.

Alas, I am clearly over my Cassandra Clare phase.

City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare
Published by Margaret K. McElderry, May 27th, 2014
Buy City of Heavenly Fire on Amazon


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