I am so excited to talk about City of Glass. It has definitely been my favorite of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series so far. (And I’ve already read City of Fallen Angels…which I didn’t like as much as the first three books. But more about that next week.) I’m also SUPER excited for the City of Bones movie to come out this Wednesday, August 21. (I even have this marked down in my planner, lol. Like I would forget.)
This review is spoiler-free, but if you haven’t read City of Bones or City of Ashes yet, do NOT read this review. Instead, check out my reviews of Books 1 and 2 here.
You can find City of Glass on Amazon here.
The Amazon book description:
“To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
“As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?
“Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.”
As you would expect, Glass picks up where Ashes left us hanging: Clary is supposed to travel to Idris (The Glass City) with an old friend of her mother’s who can find the man who gave Jocelyn (Fairchild) Fray the spell that has left her in a coma-like state throughout most of these first three books. Unbeknownst to Clary, Jace and the others are planning to leave for Idris without her, Jace believing it’s too risky for her to go. But what kind of book would Glass be if all of the main characters didn’t get to go to Idris? So, at the end of the day, everyone ends up there whether they were supposed to go or not -even Simon, our loveable nerd-turned-vampire who can walk around in sunlight. Unlike the first two books, which give us glimpses of the Shadowhunter’s world interspersed in present day New York City, most of Glass takes place in Idris, a fictional place I would definitely love to live in. In Bones and Ashes, Valentine procured two of the mortal instruments -the cup and the sword -all he needs in Glass is the mirror to summon the angel Raziel (whose blood created the Shadowhunter race) to do his bidding.
Now, instead of giving you a detailed scene-by-scene plot summary, I’m just going to tell you what I loved about Glass -and a few things I didn’t. In all of the books I’ve enjoyed Ms. Clare’s plot twists and turns -I love it when hints are sprinkled throughout the book leading up to a big reveal, something I try to do in my own writing. For instance, there’s a bit of a creative spin on the mirror, which I really liked. And of course, we’ve been getting a lot of hints about Clary and Jace, and we find out more about this in Glass. So, if you’re worried or simply wondering, this is the book where you will find out.
I’ve also enjoyed watching Simon grow throughout the books. Although I’ve become invested in all of Ms. Clare’s characters, Simon is definitely one of my favorites and one of the most interesting to follow. He started out as merely Clary’s nerdy best friend -the only human in her new group of supernatural friends, and someone who has never been very sure of himself. I was really upset at first when he turned, actually, because I liked that he was the “token” human. But, as not only a vampire but a Daylighter, Simon is starting to come into his own, and I really like that. He’s physically stronger and has that “vampire mojo,” but he’s also growing as a person as he’s had to struggle and come to terms with being a vampire. And yet throughout the whole ordeal he’s still a good friend to Clary, still loves her, and is still funny. He definitely has a lot to deal with in Glass and in City of Fallen Angels afterwards, but he’s becoming a stronger person.
I also like how Clary is a different kind of strong character. In contrast to Isabelle Lightwood, who knows she’s beautiful and is a powerful and skilled Shadowhunter, like Simon Clary is also growing into herself in these books. She’s not a trained Shadowhunter so she’s not physically strong, but her special gift is drawing runes -ancient runes, runes not found in the Gray Book -and this skill becomes vitally important in Glass. Clary might not be able to literally kick ass (yet), but she is able to unite Shadowhunters and Downworlders in the fight against Valentine.
Which brings me to something I wasn’t a big fan of in this book: The ending. If you’ve read it: Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I would have wanted…ugh, it’s so hard to talk about this without spoiling the book. So all I will say is…the ending for me was pretty much deus ex machina. You have to admit, it was kind of cheating. Throughout the entire book, she’s building up to this big battle -the characters are arming themselves and preparing for the battle -and then what happened, happens. And Clary makes a request at the end that is pretty much completely selfish. Not that I would have wanted it the other way, either -that would just have made for a horribly depressing book -but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a selfish choice. There were a lot of other things she could have asked for, even that could have helped out her other friends, like Simon. So, even though I loved the characters, and the action, and the other revelations in this book, I did not care for the ending.
One other new character Ms. Clare introduces that I should probably mention is Sebastian. When they get to Idris, the Lightwoods stay with another Shadowhunter family whose last name I can’t really think of right now, and their cousin Sebastian is also visiting. With his longish dark hair and beautiful face, Sebastian resembles a dark prince Clary used to draw. You start to see that Sebastian is definitely that dark, bad boy type…but he’s not someone, at least for me, that ends up becoming appealing (because you know how I usually like my fictional bad boys). I think it’s because he’s too sinister and really has no redeeming qualities, which is the point, and I like that. A true antihero has at least some glimmer of goodness, or puts up walls so he doesn’t have to connect with people emotionally (when on the inside he’s vulnerable and all that mooshy stuff). Sebastian might sound hot, but he is pretty sadistic. So Jace and Alec can retain their status as the brooding “bad” boys of the Shadowhunter world.
Finally -as I will end all of my TMI reviews -Magnus Bane was in this book. And he was still awesome.
What did you think of City of Glass? What did you think of the ending? Please share in the comments below!
City of Glass – Book Shelf Dreaming
The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass: Cassandra Clare – Foundation and Exploration
The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass Review – Curious Case of the Confused
I can’t wait for the movie! 🙂
I loved the book, and your review was great. How to talk about the ending without giving away spoilers…I think there were clues leading up to the ending that made it unsurprising, but I don’t know that it flowed as well as the rest of the book. The characters’ actions fit with their personalities and what we know about them though, which helped it a lot, in my eyes.
Jace was prepared for something like that when he left the city by himself. If anything, I think that what he learned only strengthened his resolve. Clary’s choice was selfish, no doubt, and she knows it. Looking at the choices that had brought her to that point, I think it was also completely in character. A lot of her decisions had been without regard to the effect they would have on others, and this wasn’t any different. She’s a character that gets tunnel vision, and it is very…human. While everyone else is sacrificing their own happiness for the greater good because that’s the way they’ve been raised to think, she hasn’t. She was raised to look out for herself and the people she loves, and that’s what she does.
If you and I are thinking the same thing regarding Simon…He’s not in a bad place now, I mean yeah, there’s THAT, but as a person he’s grown a lot. He’s happier with who he is, more confident and his entire existence doesn’t revolve around one person anymore. Would all of that have gone away for him when he went back to a normal life? He certainly wouldn’t be able to share any of it with his best friend anymore. It would be too dangerous.
This is such a thin line to walk! Wow, I hope I wasn’t too circumspect for you to get it, and I hope I didn’t give too much away to anyone who hasn’t read it yet! I haven’t had a chance to really discuss this series with anyone who’s read it yet, so I was very excited to read your review!
I would agree that the ending was predictable given what led up to it. I had just been hoping she wouldn’t go the way I figured it was headed, lol. I love your points about Clary – I never thought about it this way, and you are totally right.
I think you’re right about Simon, too – he’s actually in a very good place now despite all of the “bad” things that have happened to him. I guess what I was thinking was, at the time of her decision at the end of the book, Clary didn’t know what the “thing” she had given him was going to do and could have asked to have it removed or something, lol.
Thanks for your (spoiler free!) comment! I’ll be posting a review of City of Fallen Angels *hopefully* next week if you want to discuss again. 🙂
*she wouldn’t go the way – by “she” I meant Cassandra Clare
Oh, yeah…I was just thinking of everything else. I wasn’t even thinking about what Clary had given Simon. Yep, that makes perfect sense. Who knows what long term effect that is going to have! I am hoping to actually get to read City of Fallen Angels next week, so your planned review would have perfect timing!