City of Glass
(The Mortal Instruments #3)
By: Cassanda Clare
Genre: YA modern fantasy
First published in 2009
Amid the chaos of war, the Shadowhunters must decide to fight with the vampires, werewolves and other Downworlders – or against them. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary have their own decision to make: should they pursue the love they know is forbidden?
Guys, I did it! I finally finished reading the first Mortal Instruments trilogy! Now I can move on to the Infernal Devices! It was that trilogy which originally caught my eye, with its wonderful cover art and Victorian London / steampunk setting. Perhaps foolishly I thought that I should read the original Mortal Instruments first, to get all the references that would appear in the Infernal Devices. It ended up taking me two years, but here I am.
I found the first Mortal Instruments book to be a fun YA urban fantasy (I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads), but I didn’t like the second book, which was the reason it took me so long to read these. The main reason I disliked it was the focus on the love triangle – the characters acted really bratty towards each other all the time, and I just didn’t have the patience for that. The third book brought things more back on track.
While the second book suffered from being the middle volume with the setting already introduced and the world-building done, but the final showdown not yet at hand, the third book didn’t have these problems. We are transported to a whole new setting, the Shadowhunter city of Idris. This helps with the sense of wonder again, as this new place needs introducing to the reader. The stakes are also higher, since Valentine’s master plan is getting so much nearer to fruition. Also, the focus on the love triangle is thankfully put on the back burner.
One thing I realized with this book was that I liked everything better whenever Jace and Clary were in different places. So whenever Clary was out with some characters doing her thing, and Jace in a different place with other characters, I had fun reading. Combine Jace & Clary, and they just become so annoying with endless accusations, shouting and even throwing plates at one point.
In my review of the second book I brought up the disturbing paragraph in which our main character found the possibility of her love interest hitting her hot. Now, there were some pretty cringe-worthy paragraphs this time around, too. Let me show you them. The emphasis in bold is mine.
In this one part coming seemingly out of nowhere, Clary casually “fake-geek-girl”s another girl.
Clary couldn’t imagine Maia wearing anything as girly as a dress, and indeed she was clad in low-slung camo pants and a black T-shirt that said CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON and had a design of dice under the words. It was a gamer tee, Clary thought, wondering if Maia was really a gamer or was wearing the T-shirt to impress Simon. If so, it was a good choice.
Really, Clary? She herself says that Maia has been wearing nothing but casual wear, often with print tees, the whole book, but when she sees her in a gamer tee, she’s probably wearing it to impress a boy. I mean, where did that come from? Why was it even in the book? The idea wasn’t even challenged. I’m so over this whole “fake geek girl” thing, I don’t need women authors writing it into their books for teens, with female characters doing it to other female characters as a casual, non-challenged side remark.
There was also an exchange between characters that made me angry. It is even worse than the part in the second book where Clary got all hot-and-bothered of the idea of Jace striking her or knocking her down. I mean, Clary might be into that (even though it seems like a weird choice to include in a YA book). No, this next one is worse.
“Well,” said Clary, after a judicious pause, “I guess you wouldn’t have taken advantage of her when she’s so grief-stricken and all.”
Simon snorted. “If you ever meet the man who could take advantage of Isabelle, you’ll have to let me know. I’d like to shake his hand. Or run away from him very fast, I’m not sure which.”
It’s not like there’s a choice there, Simon! You should never, ever congratulate someone for “managing” to take advantage of someone else. The idea of it being an commendable accomplishment that someone succeeded in taking advantage of a girl known to be strong and good in a fight, is awful. I mean, what is going on in these characters’ heads sometimes, I swear I don’t know!
Now, let me wind down from all that… breathes deep…
So, despite the couple of atrocities mentioned above, City of Glass is still better than its predecessor. Even though I guessed most of the big reveals, I had fun following the story. The glittery warlock Magnus Bane is still my very favourite character, and I can’t wait to see what he got up to in Victorian London!
I give City of Glass 3 out of 5 stars.