Titles: City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: Books 1-3 in the The Mortal Instruments series
Publisher: McElderry Books – an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Publication Dates: March 27, 2007; March 25, 2008; March 24, 2009
Genres: Young Adult – Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: CoB: 485; CoA: 453; CoG: 541
Format: Purchased Paperback – all
I finished the original trilogy of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and now I’m ready to share my reviews with you. This series is great and I personally love the characters and the world that it’s set in. It’s easy to imagine its real world presence as well as the fantastical and paranormal bits that make it a great urban fantasy read. So, without further ado, here are my reviews of the first three book in The Mortal Instruments series:
City of Bones
As the first book in the series, this was the foundation for the rest of the books to build up on. When Clary, a fifteen year old girl, enters an under 21 club in New York with her best friend, Simon, she wasn’t expecting to witness a murder – or what she thought was a murder. When her mother disappears after a fight she has with Clary and she starts being able to see things that shouldn’t be there, Clary knows that something’s wrong. Jace, a Shadowhunter, comes to her rescue, in a way, and also really helps to open her eyes to the world in which they live: the one in which both demons and humans reside side by side with one another. Clary is thrust into a world of violence, turmoil, lies, and mystery as she discovers who she is and the cost of having been lied to her whole life.
Alright, so this book was the first in the six book series. And though I loved reading of the world building and getting to know the characters, I felt that the book as a whole was really slow. It lacked a lot of action and depth, in my opinion. It laid out a foundation of the world, the main villain that they have to overcome, and some events that really lead up to those parts, but it was otherwise a slow read. By far my least favorite, but at the same time I did enjoy it. It’s a conundrum.
The characters, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec are our main heroes. They all work with one another and Clary, our main protagonist, would turn over heaven and hell to fight for those she loves, uncovering truths she never thought she could possibly find.
Jace seems disconnected or uncaring throughout a lot of this book, but as much of that was his upbringing by a man who was cruel (there’s no other word for it) it’s understandable as to why he thinks he’s some sort of invincible Shadowhunter. Though when he gets closer to Clary, he starts to really show his true self, which is more unguarded and someone who can be looked up to.
Though Isabelle and Alec are brother and sister, and grew up with Jace, they seemed definitely more so like background characters in this book and not a lot of depth was brought to them, even though they had several scenes in which they were fleshed out. In the later books, though, you do get a better sense of who they are and grow to like them.
Simon is the mundane in this book. He’s weak and fragile in comparison to the Shadowhunters, but he’s also thrust into their world because of his association with Clary. He’s got a witty, sarcastic charm about him that I like and enjoy reading about.
Magnus Bane is the High Warlock of Brooklyn and he’s very… eccentric in everything that he does, and wears. He grows more likable as the books go on, like the others.
Luke is sort of like Clary’s uncle, but not really. They aren’t blood related or anything like that, but when she finds out he’s a werewolf, he tells her the story of how he Changed and of how her mother fought to protect not only herself, but Clary as well.
Valentine is our main villain and he’s very unlikable. He’s good with words and charming in his own way, but he’s very cruel and doesn’t care who he cuts down in his path – even his daughter.
The plot of the book has a main focus point of taking out Valentine and helping Clary’s mother, Jocelyn, awake from a deep sleep. Those two are the main focuses of the book, but there are many events that happen that twist what they think needs to be done and how the characters work with one another.
Overall, I rated this book 3.75/5 stars.
City of Ashes
As the second book in the series, the action grew immensely in this one, making it more enjoyable and a much faster read than the first. Here, Clary and the others are still trying to find a way to help rescue Clary’s mother, but they learn a truth that unravels how Clary and Jace act around one another. And something happens to Simon that causes him to be changed forever – literally. This book is full of much more depth and I definitely felt my fondness for the characters grow in this one. Though Valentine is a sick and twisted man, the goals he’s trying to achieve ring out as truth to some, and complete lies to others.
This book is definitely much more gripping than the first with lots more action based scenes and plenty of tension to get your blood boiling. We learn more about Jocelyn’s and Valentine’s past, as well as more about the Shadowhunter world and the way the Clave (Shadowhunter government/society) works. It’s one that’s corrupt and very different from what it used to be, one that is more fueled by fear of Valentine than what their main purpose of existence is: to wipe out demons and help the world.
Clary is starting to grow more in this book as a person and she learns just how powerful she is. Though, yes, she can have her whiny moments, if you were in some of the situations she was thrust into, you’d probably do the same. Plus she’s fifteen, going on sixteen in this book, I’m not expecting complete maturity out of her. But she definitely grows a lot in this and learns many more horrible “truths” that unravel a lot in her.
Jace, as well, grows in this book. But he learns something that changes how he acts toward Clary and even his other friends. There are many times in which he risks his life for Clary in this, as well as his own, while also learning some things that could potentially destroy him.
We meet the Inquisitor in this book – Imogen Herondale – and, frankly, I hated her from beginning to end. She was just so mean toward Jace and the others because of a personal vendetta against Valentine. I don’t know. She made a good secondary villain, but she was more a victim in the end than anything.
Valentine ends up getting two of the three mortal instruments in this book (the Sword and the Cup) and plans on draining the blood of Downworlders (werewolves, vampires, fey, warlocks) to use their power, but he’s stopped by Clary, Simon, and Jace.
Oh yeah, something big happens to Simon in this book. Spoiler alert: he becomes a vampire.
Jocelyn still hasn’t been woken yet and they can’t seem to find the cure, though time seems to be running out to stop Valentine once something major happens after a battle on a ship. Someone appears at the hospital where Jocelyn is and tells Clary she knows someone who can help her mother: a warlock named Ragnor Fell.
Overall, the plot was much better in this book and I highly enjoyed it a lot more. I rated this book 4.5/5 stars.
City of Glass
The third installment in the series is definitely my favorite thus far. So many things happened in this book, and even though I knew a lot of things that would happen (because you know how spoilers run rampant over the Internet and in person), I still loved reading it and finding out some major twists that I didn’t figure out until the page before it happened.
In this book, Valentine has essentially grown in power and Clary and Jace have ended up in Idris, the Shadowhunter’s world, though by accident, in ways. Jace is not happy to see Clary and yells at her (pretty meanly), causing her to leave the area and head back to where she came from: Luke’s sister’s house. Though many, many things happened in this installment, the biggest things were ones in which I didn’t expect, and some I did.
We learn what happened to Jonathan, the first born of Valentine and Jocelyn, and how Clary avoided that same fate before she was born. We learn more truths about Valentine and his experiments on not only Downworlders and demons, but an angel, himself, and his unborn child. We learn the truth that had once destroyed Clary and Jace. We learn many, many things in this book. The battles that take place, the way the Clave really was corrupt, the way things progressed in this book was phenomenal and was a great closer to an original trilogy. It was wrapped up nicely and I highly enjoyed it.
Clary is super strong and brave in this book, standing up to a roomful of adults who otherwise wouldn’t have believed her had she not proven herself, how she fought for Jace, how she strived to save everyone. It was great seeing her development in this one.
Jace also grows, but throughout a lot of the book, he thinks that he’s less than worthy of life, let alone Clary or any sort of life he had in the past. But when he discovers the truth, though in some ways it was too late, in others it helped him to really overcome whatever doubts he may have had and progress through them.
Alec overcame something (a big something) that ended up being okay in the end. It’s actually really cute and made me squee with happiness.
Isabelle kicks ass. Like, wow, she’s awesome.
Jocelyn is finally woken up and helps in the final battle. She is woken by Magnus Bane, though, because of a certain spell book that Clary and Jace find.
Valentine, ever the charming bad guy, is definitely one which I still loathe and glad he got what came to him. I definitely wasn’t expecting the way he was going to die (yes, guys, he dies), and it was almost a let down, but at the same time I enjoyed the divine justice.
It was a great wrap up to the story, and I’m extremely glad the way it ended. Now I’m curious to see who the new villain will be, how the dynamics between everyone will be, and just how the next set of the story will unfold. I rated this book 5/5 stars.
Have you read TMI 1-3? Let me know your thoughts on the first three books in the comments.