Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Review - Cassandra Clare's City of Heavenly Fire

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments Book 6) by Cassandra Clare
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: May 27th, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 752 Pages
Rating: ★
To Buy

The Shadowhunter Institutes all over the world have been attacked. Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn children saw the fall of the Los Angeles institute first hand. The Dark War with Sebastion has officially begun. All the Shadowhunters have been recalled to Idris to plan their next move. But Sebastian is unstoppable. They can't even locate where his base of operations is. He has made only one demand, hand over Clary and Jace and the Shadowhunters and Idris will be spared. Clary and Jace are willing to go, but the Clave doesn't want to bargain with terrorists. It's Emma Carstairs who gives Clary and Jace the key to destroying Sebastian. She tells them that she believes he is hiding out in a demon dimension called Edom. Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle and Simon travel through fairy and enter Edom where Sebastian reigns. Will this group of kids be able to win the Dark War when all the other Shadowhunters combined aren't a match for Sebastian and his army of Endarkened?

"I'm free-I'm free, AN' I'm waiting for you to follow me!" Yes, finally finishing this series has led me to break into spontaneous song. In particular "I'm Free" from The Who's Tommy. It's better then earlier in the week when I was singing Queen's "I Want to Break Free." Why is it better? Because the freedom is here! The reading is a fait accompli. I never ever have to pick up a book written by Cassandra Clare EVER AGAIN! The Mortal Instruments series, which is quite possibly the worst series of books I have ever read, has put a serious cramp in my reading mojo this summer.

I hate having my reading mojo sapped. It would have been one thing if the book was draining me from sheer awesomeness, but that was not the case here. I think my previous reviews of the preceding five books covered my feelings quite well as to why I hate these books, no character development, no continuity, atrocious writing, but I will take a little time here to muse on what the final installment brought home. And yes, there's a part of me that doesn't want to waste my breath (or in this case, my words) on talking about this book further... but I can't let Clare get away with her crimes against writing, I just can't.

I seriously thought that the overwhelming integration of Clare's "universe" couldn't get worse then in City of Lost Souls... I should not have underestimated Clare's ability to lower the bar. A third of this book was references to her Infernal Devices series that just went over my head (I will NOT be drawn into another badly written series), another third of this book was setting up her new series, The Dark Artifices (wherein she finally just embraces she's writing Buffy Fanfic and sets it in California with a character named Dru), and the final third was actually about this series, The Mortal Instruments. I can not tell you how aggravated I was by this. Instead of focusing her efforts on writing a passable finale for the series she was more concerned with setting up her new series then wrapping up the old.

I mean, seriously? Here are what, twenty children and now you must remember all their names because they'll be so important in the future series. No! No more! I'm walking away from the series and NEVER looking back. In time hopefully I can rewrite my brain so that all this stupid Shadowhunter bullshit stops taking up valuable space in my memory. Oh, and that's not even the product placement for her one-off books, The Bane Chronicles and The Shadowhunter's Codex, oh, and fuck me, it looks like she's doing a Simon book... no more. NO MORE!

Ok, maybe a little more... ranting that is. I think Clare's inability to write is most obvious in how she always tells and doesn't show. Her books are very much about what makes us family and how we redefine this for ourselves. Blood doesn't make us family in this day and age so much as these connections we forge. In other words, just go watch the amazing Buffy season five episode "Family" and realize that in the time you read this series you could have been watching quality television, not reading sub par drek that wishes it was written by Whedon.

Ok, getting off topic. Instead of showing us these connections, Clare must always label them. This is my "sister" this is my "daughter" you get the point. We should know that the connection between Clary and Luke is strong without Luke every second yelling about his "daughter." Technically, she's not. Yes Luke, she's your family, but you don't need to label it. Family just IS. Family doesn't need signifiers. Right there, that's the fatal flaw. This series spends so much time justifying itself and being composed of other things that it just can't be itself. This book just isn't.


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