Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire

Author: Cassandra Clare
Release: May 27th 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, YA
#6 in the Mortal Instruments series
Series: City of Bones (#1), City of Ashes (#2), City of Glass (#3), City of Fallen Angels (#4), City of Lost Souls (#5)



I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance?


I was actually really pumped for this at first, when I went into it — these books have a sense of nostalgia, of innocence around them, since I hyped them like crazy, back when I didn't really know what quality books were, just read my review of the first book, you'll laugh. That was back in 2011, and I distinctly remember, on my trip to New York City, I bought City of Fallen Angels at Barnes & Noble there and instead of exploring the city further, I simply sat down in Central Park to read. Just like that, because I rather wanted to read CoFA than go see Staten Island. Can you believe it? So, in a way, this series and its characters are precious to me. Even if I have realized that it's not even that good, or even if I have distanced myself from most of the characters, I still remember it all fondly. So, I was looking forward to getting that closure and closing that final chapter.

However, I had to make a shocking discovery about 300 pages in: I did hardly care. I was wary of the six promised "major" character deaths, and I was totally expecting this to be extremely heartbreaking and devastating. It wasn't. In fact, out of all the characters that died, I would only consider one even close to a "major" character, but even he was never that important, his death happened very early on and was barely mentioned during the course of the book, going so far as to me even forgetting he had died towards the end. It all ended on such an unrealistically happy note that I did not expect at all, I'm left completely rattled. Of course, I'm happy I don't have to grieve for any of these characters, but ... I can't help but feel a little cheated, Cassandra Clare has been so freaking ominous and serious about tragic losses that would happen in this book, and they never came.

As a result, I continued to get more and more disinterested as the story progressed, I admit it had its moments of suspense where I was really engaged in what happened, but mostly, I was like more meh. In truth, I was more intrigued by Emma and Julian's problems and really liked reading about them, making me very excited for Lady Midnight, actually ... also, every mention of the Infernal Devices characters, especially "Zachariah"'s and Tessa's in-book appearances are basically what I lived for while I was reading the book. They and the urgent need to know who would die kept me going, more so than the plot.

Speaking of, I thought the plot was really ... I don't know, it was both very convenient and also transparent, but at the same time, not transparent. This book has 700+ pages, it goes on and on, and all the time I couldn't help being like "Yeah, sure, whatever. What's next?" and I hated it, because I never knew what was next. And I don't mean that in the sense of, like, I didn't want to be surprised or anything, but I could never see the endgame, and thus, the relevance of everything. Why they did that and that, and so on, it just ... it ruined the book for me, ultimately. Its length, and its irrelevant plot, ruined it a bit.

I also had the feeling that these weren't the characters I knew. They felt different somehow, I now realized that it is I who is different, not them, but I did sort of expect to realize how much I'd missed and loved them. I didn't, though, sadly. I looked forward to City of Heavenly Fire partly because I immensely enjoy Clare's sense of humor and I was so damn ready to be cracking at her jokes every five pages, but there were actually only two scenes that managed to make me laugh and were funny in the least. Two. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. The characters didn't progress at all, for better or for worse, and they kept on spluttering their emotional trash talk to each other, although besides Clary and Jace, I didn't mind Simon & Isabelle and Magnes & Alec that much, because they at least weren't too overly dramatic and sappy. Sorry, but I just ... blech. This huge maze of relationships made me realize, again, how ridiculous it is for authors to have each and every one of their characters find love somehow and, therefore, having all of the characters fall in love with each other. It's awfully nice and convenient that they all fell for each other, no one with the same person though, and ended up more or less happy, isn't it? ... Yeah. I don't know. I just don't think it's realistic to pair up literally every single one of them with each other, just because. <spoiler>I was especially pissed that she was even pairing off Maia yet again by the end, Jesus Christ, give her a break! Yes, she had wanted to break up with Jordan even before he died, but does she seriously need a boyfriend so bad you couldn't have let her be single for once?</spoiler> I think that Clare tried to bring a lot of powerful females into the scene — Jia as Consul, Lily, <spoiler>Maia</spoiler> and that faerie girl as the Downworlder representatives, and so on, but in the end, by doing that thing that I just talked about in the spoiler, I think she was undermining female worth anyway. 

In the end, I just ... I was a little underwhelmed. I'm seriously looking forward to The Dark Artifices now, so in that respect, it succeeded, but other than that. It just doesn't even reach the magnificence that was The Infernal Devices even slightly.

PS: Sebastian really has to sort out whether he wants to use Greek or Latin. Stop being so inconsistent, it's not like they're the same language or anything, just because they're both ancient. 

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