Tuesday, November 18, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare


 A finale to a book series I started forever ago! Did it live up to the hype? Was I disappointed? Well, lets just say that I know there are folks out there who are not going to like this review...so...yeah...heads up there....

 


In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons? When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

 

I have found that when it comes to the final book in a series, I am left pondering the implications of what that book brings to the entire world that the author created. Was it an epic ending? Was it a cop out? As I finished reading City of Heavenly Fire, I was left feeling really one thing in particular: this book was way too long.

“But isn’t that how most final books are?” I thought to myself when I was about half way through this 725 page behemoth. Example: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That was a long book…but that was a book that I loved to have frustrate me with the twists and turns. I remembered gasping out loud and crying out “what is this craziness?!” There was the perfect amount of pacing with heartfelt moments, plot twists, and action scenes with a pinch of horror. It had an ending that was appropriate for what the story was. There were no random new characters introduced. J.K. Rowling kept us focused on the characters at hand. And, when there was a death, it was important and it was moving.

For Cassandra Clare’s finale, well, I was left feeling bored and impatient. There were wasted words and sentences everywhere, which didn’t move the story along. There were new characters introduced into this world who did nothing for the story. They were only introduced to set up for the next book series in the Shawdowhunter world. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the idea of the Shadowhunter world and the twist they bring to the Young Adult fantasy fiction world. But, for me, these new characters served no purpose to any of the existing characters or the plot. And when characters died, well, I didn’t care. They’re lives just ended in an anti-climactic and unemotional heap of nothingness. I should feel something when a character dies. I should feel pain or sorrow or joy. No. I was left thinking “oh get on with it.”

The main six characters of this series, where not so much an issue for me. They are who they are. I accepted them for all their flaws. They are not the best characters, but they make no qualms about who they are. My main issue was a feeling of all the characters in this world created by Clare are being forced together…unnaturally. I’m not sure how to describe what I mean by this statement. I suppose it was all the coupling that was going on. Jace and Clary’s relationship I felt didn’t develop it something mature and strong. Isabelle and Simon was a lot of back and forth teenage angst and jealously. Didn’t really care about Jordon and Mia. Also, I was super annoyed that Clare shoehorned in two characters from her Infernal Devices Series (a book series I actually really enjoyed…better than this one) and I ended up being annoyed at their presence in the books. The only couple that wasn’t super annoying was Magnus Bane and Alec. They at least had emotions that seemed genuine…though there was this strange element of romance novel-ness to them.

But that’s beside the point. I can forgive strange couplings of characters as long as the main story is moving along, as long as the action is propels the reader forward. And the main story…well, it didn’t. I wanted to continually yell at the book to “get along lil’ doggies!” Too many subplots with characters I could give two shits about. There were wasted words and sentences. I was being told, not shown, emotions and the world. This book was, in general TOO LONG. Like 300 pages too long. By the time I realized this, I couldn’t just stop where I was and abandon the book. I was far too along in the world to just give up. I wanted to. But I didn’t. I was applauded by co-workers for finishing the behemoth of the book. I shouldn’t have to be congratulated for muscling through a book.

When it all comes down to it, I was sorely disappointed in this book. Not from how it ended. The ending wasn’t half bad. No, I was disappointed in the composition and the overall writing itself. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, just because your book series has the title of New York Time’s Best Selling Series, doesn’t mean that an editor shouldn’t be afraid to say “you know, you might want to cut back here” and “you know, you said the same thing twice…just in a different way.” It was things like this, this lack of editing that drove me bananas. Awesome for those that really loved this book. Kudos to you. But for myself, I just couldn’t get past unwanted characters and plot fodder.
 
I know. This review is not very nice. But, all is not lost. Try reading Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices  book series. It's only three books long and the characters are much more likable and the story is so much more compelling. Maybe that's because its set in Victorian England and has a steam punk feel to it that makes me like it more. I would suggest those books over this series completely.
 
Thanks for reading folks. I appreciate you.
Remember to always be yourself...unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS be a PIRATE!