Continuing on with the best-selling teen urban fantasy series…
City of Glass. Mortal Instruments Book 3. by Cassandra Clare.
As our story opens, Clary is packing for her first trip to Alicante, capital of the historic home of the Shadowhunters in Idris. There, she plans to look for the magician who wrote the spell that’s keeping her mother asleep, as he’s likely to be the only one who can break it. Jace, though, thinks it’s too dangerous for her to go, when their evil father Valentine is sure to be heading there next. Hoping to convince Simon to help keep Clary in New York, Jace asks Simon to meet him at the New York Institute. But plans go badly awry, and all our major characters, including vampire Simon and werewolf Luke end up in an Idris that’s feeling very unfriendly towards outsiders.
At the house where our favorite teen Shadowhunters Alec, Isabelle and Jace are staying, Clary meets Alec’s cousin Sebastian. Seeing him instantly calls to mind the dark, tortured prince she’d been drawing in the manga series she’d been working on at home, and she consents to let him help her in the search for the only magician in Idris. What she finds are hosts of secrets that affect nearly everyone she knows.
Meanwhile, Valentine visits the Assembly and presents them with an ultimatum: put him in charge, or he will attack with powerful demons and bring down all of Alicante. While all of the New York Shadowhunters know that this is a snare, Alec is the only one of age and therefore able to attend council meetings – will his voice be enough to convince the Assembly?
All this time, Clary and Jace are fighting their forbidden feelings towards each other. They know they’re siblings, but they just can’t stop being attracted to each in other in a deep, romantic way. Finally in this book, Clare is able to resolve this storyline, which has been going on since the first book. The solution feels in retrospect like it contradicts some of the story we got in the first book, but was neat enough that I didn’t really mind. In any case, the final showdown is so spectacular that it’s hard to even notice a minor inconsistency from two books ago.
I started reading this series after I read the prequel series, and it was really clear how much Clare’s writing skill and her knowledge of the Shadowhunter world had grown since she started the first book when I went back to it. Now, in the third book, I notice her skill improving in the first series (if that makes sense.) It’s still a world of danger and drama that feels full of pulpy excitement, but with the underlying message that family is the people we count on most. Sometimes it’s the family you’re born with, and sometimes you make your own family.
I’m now on hold for the fourth book and wondering where Clare will go with the story from here.