Author: Cassandra Clare
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “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?”
Thoughts: WARNING: Possible spoilers ensue. If you have not read the first two novels, please consider yourself warned.
Thoroughly enjoyable, completely suspenseful, but at times somewhat predictable, City of Glass is a worthy third novel in the Mortal Instruments series. Jace, Alec, Isabelle, and Clary see plenty of action and danger. Each are forced to face tremendous sorrow and make life-altering decisions. The story is fast-paced, making it all but impossible to put down as the reader races to the thrilling conclusion of the story. Given the build-up and anticipation created in the first two novels, it most definitely does not disappoint.
City of Glass demonstrates Clary’s growing acceptance of her powers and her life among the Nephilim. Using her well-honed skills of justice and knowledge of her family’s past, Clary has blossomed into a formidable foe. The transformation is a welcome one, albeit not unexpected, as the biggest objection to Clary in the first two novels was her capacity to charge into situations without being able to defend herself. Thankfully, that can no longer be said.
Relying on the assumption that the readers are already familiar with the world of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders, City of Glass jumps right into action, picking up the story shortly after the conclusion of the second novel. Before one knows it, the reader is completely immersed in Clary and Jace’s stories as they struggle to learn the truth about their parentage and fight their growing feelings towards one another. Yet, the story itself is somewhat anticlimactic. Given the huge battle scene in City of Ashes, one would expect a similar scene in this third installment as all three novels build towards the penultimate showdown with Valentine. Unfortunately, there is no huge battle scene. While Alec and Isabelle, Jace and Clary find themselves just as involved in the fate of the Shadowhunters, the fact that they are on the fringes of the huge battle seems out of character for them. It is not a huge deal, given what they do face, but it did cause a few raised eyebrows at the unexpected treatment.
Simon is the one character who truly shines in City of Glass. His struggle to maintain a semblance of normalcy after his transformation, his special powers, and the questions surrounding his future among either the Downworlders or the Shadowhunters makes one suspect that Simon plays a fairly large role in future installments of the Mortal Instruments series. This is definitely not a bad thing, as Simon is one of those characters that everyone loves. His loyalty, his earnestness and unflappable love for Clary endear him to the readers. His transformation from normal human to an extremely not-normal vampire is exciting and well-deserved, for Simon deserves to be able to stand alongside the Morgansterns and the Lightwoods as their equal.
In spite of concerns about the lack of a huge battle, there were enough twists and turns, action and love to thrill even the most half-hearted fan of the Mortal Instruments series. Certain conflicts find adequate resolutions, and while the good triumph in the end, there is a distinct tone of uneasiness as the story is most definitely left unfinished. The reader knows without a doubt that all of the characters still face challenges and that how they face these challenges is still to be determined. No one character’s path is set in stone, leaving room for betrayal and heartbreak in future stories. Ultimately, the reader is left satisfied with the story as it stands but knows more is to come, thankfully.