Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (NON SPOILERY-ish)



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?

My Review:

I…. I’m done. And I have NO idea what I’m supposed to do now… I don’t even know how to feel…. I honestly just want to cry because it’s over… Wow. This has got to be some of Cassie’s best work, in my opinion. I don’t even know where to begin! There’s just a lot I need to say. I might ramble quite a bit throughout this review, so I ask that you be patient with me and let me ride it out. I’m feeling a LOT of things (even after having processed my thoughts for two whole days). But it's over... and I don't know what to do now.

 First of all, let me say. I absolutely LOVED this book. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Of the 100 things I needed this book to do, 99 of them were fulfilled in this conclusion. And I am on my knees in gratitude for Cassandra Clare. No one has rendered my mind, body, and soul to non-functioning capacities like she has and I really doubt no one will again. There were so many happy moments, so many sad moments, so many frustratingly annoying moments *cough*the CLAVE*cough. It was just really well done!

Initially, when Cassie released the length of the book (page numbers), I was like “Oh no, this will either be really bad or really good”. Typically when books are that long, there tends to be a lot of filler or moments of lull (boredom). Let me tell you, Cassie is talented and skilled enough to keep you on your toes for all 700+ pages. There was not a single moment where I didn’t find myself emotionally invested in this book. I was on the edge of my seat.

Now before I get into my review of plot, I will say — I am a diehard TMI fanatic. I loved it more than TID. I prefer Jace to Will; Alec to Jem; Clary to Tessa. That’s just my clear and honest opinion. BUT I absolutely ENJOYED The Infernal Devices. I just didn’t cry buckets over it once it ended. I just appreciated it as being part of the beautiful Shadowhunter world that Cassie created.

Now, onto City of Heavenly Fire

It was so good to see my favorite characters, my dream team, back in action. Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, Simon — all of them hold such a dear place in my heart that I can’t believe I went without them for so long. Seeing them banter, tease, and just love one another. It was just so heartwarming. The thing that I love about Cassandra Clare is that even in the midst of battle — a HUGE war — she will still find times for her characters to just love one another. To have fun. And that’s so beautiful. It’s human. THAT’S where my focus was in this story. How much humanity still remained, even after Sebastian was trying to steal it all.

Cassie teased us about how many deaths there would be in the book – she said six. Six “named” character would die in this book. I counted more than six, but the word “named” seems to be subjective. But I think I got “named” confused with “main” and assumed that a few of the main characters would be biting the bullet. So I read this book with intense trepidation. I just couldn’t see any of them dying. I was so in love with all of them — Clary, Jace, Alec, Izzy, Simon, Magnus, Jocelyn, Luke, Maia — and many more. I was so scared reading this book.

I’m not going to talk about scene after scene because I just don’t feel that it’s necessary. If you’ve read the book, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then I haven’t spoiled much for you. I just want to discuss the handling of the book over all.

Sebastian was always an extremely sinister guy, because he was evil. He had demon blood throughout his body, yet he was still a Shadowhunter. The guy was messed up. He didn’t care who he hurt or killed as long as his ultimate outcome was achieved. That’s some scary crap. Cassie did a fabulous job making my heart drop whenever he appeared in the book. You just never knew what he was capable of.

Throughout the book, Cassie continues to show us how heartless Sebastian is, but also how flawed he is. His understanding of the human heart and its capacity to love is clearly skewed, which came to light any time he dealt with Clary or Jace — even with Jocelyn, who he claimed to hate. There were small moments where I found myself feeling sorry for him. I pitied Sebastian. All of this anger and hate, yet you’re still searching. That’s a very human condition. I know a few people like that, except not so hellbent on the destruction of people.

Clary constantly struggled with her feelings for Jonathan, her brother and Sebastian, her nemesis. Jace struggled with that damned heavenly fire; Simon with his feelings for Izzy and Alec – who was probably one of the biggest highlights of the book for me – with his relationship or lack thereof with Magnus, as well as he worldview of what the Clave represents. Especially with a Daylighter amongst your closest ranks. Izzy still struggled with Max’s death. I never really realized how much she struggled with it. But it’s definitely understandable considering how it happened.

The romantic relationships continued to grow and develop throughout the book, in spite of a HUGE war at their doorsteps. And I loved that. Don’t stop living because of war, life still goes on. From Simon’s drunken love confession to Magnus’ inability to keep his lips to himself to Jace’s propensity to have condoms while in hell — Cassie thought about her fans when writing this book.

There were extremely sad moments, extremely painful moments, extremely angry moments, and extremely happy moments. It was honestly the best emotional roller coaster that I’ve been on.

I got to fall in love with new characters — Julian and Emma — who were SUCH badasses. I loved them. And I’m so happy that they’ll be taking us into the next Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices. The Downworlders from Raphael to Luke to that damn Seelie Queen were so crucial to the fantastic execution of this book.

The final chapter and the epilogue were pure perfection for me. As a TMI fan, I got closure. I honestly felt that everything happened for a reason. And I was fine with it. I was happy. I cried when I turned that final page and closed the book, but I was happy.

I’d say this was an extremely satisfactory ending to a well-loved series. Cassie loves us (her readers) and she loves her characters. She did us and them justice. You could FEEL that she thought about us as she wrote this book.

Was there enough tragedy in this book? My answer to that is: “Death is easy. It’s living that’s hard”. And to add onto that, surviving a war and living with those scars (the loss of a loved one) is one of the most tragic and most difficult things to do. That was apparent in this book. The road to recovery is NOT easy.

Cassandra Clare, I hear you. I thank you. I love you. You gave me SIX beautiful books (NINE, including TID) and I will never be able to repay you. I can’t wait to be taken on another fantastic journey into the Shadowhunter world. I am humbled.

P.S. I would talk about all the feels I got from seeing my favorite TID characters mingling and interacting with my favorite TMI characters, but that would be a little too much feels for me and I’ll talk for ages. Just know that it was EPIC and everything I needed it to be! I LOVED it all!

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