City Of Heavenly Fire Review

Book: City Of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, Book 6).

Author: Cassandra Clare.

Published: May 27, 2014.

Rating: 6/10.

The highly anticipated finale of The Mortal Instruments series. I must admit, I was looking forward to it. I did enjoy the first 5 books. I read it a few months ago and I suppose it was a good a good enough read. I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed by it. I don’t know if it was the text or myself. I guess it’s worth taking into account the fact that I read the first 5 books when I was 16-18 & I read this book when I was 20. A lot can change in that time, you learn more and interests change. Maybe I just grew out of this series? I don’t know. But as for the text itself, this is what I found.

So if you’re familiar with the series, Sebastian is building up and army and Clary & all the gang have to stop him. That’s basically what the premise is.

As usual, Cassandra Clare’s writing is beautiful. Her descriptions and prose are what I love most about her books. As readers of her books are probably familiar with, she switches from different character POVs. I love how she does that. It’s one of the things I like most in novels, as it keeps things interesting.

As for the plot itself, I thought the build up was brilliant. For a finale, there needs to be a major climatic build up in order for it to be spectacular and blow people away. She really did have us on the edge of seats for most of the book. You can feel that something massive is coming.

Unfortunately, the disappointing thing about this is that there was no massive climax. It all felt very meh. Nothing really spectacular happened. From the great climatic build up, I was expecting explosions and fireworks and heartbreak. What we got was seriously disappointing.

Firstly, the battle in Alicante. Ok so I get that there was a battle towards the beginning-ish? of the book, which is a bit atypical of a finale. But there was another battle at the end, the classic battle that is at the end of every fantasy series. I was seriously looking forward to it, but it was so short. We only got like two or three scenes. And most of it was just the 40,000 Blackthorn kids running to some building. I don’t know, the city hall or something, I can’t remember. But anyway there is a bit of fighting and battling but by far not enough. When Jem appeared and starting swinging his sword around (literally) I was like yes! Finally! But he only hit like 2 people and then brought the 40,000 Blackthorn children to the hall place. Boring final battle, yawn.

I have a few other issues about the battle. I mean why weren’t the werewolves and vampires there to fight as well. I mean you had these whole sub-plot about vampire clans and head of the werewolf packs, and it went nowhere. It would have been relevant if they went to Alicante at the end to aid the Shadowhunters but no, nothing actually happened there. It was like whatever, I don’t even know why those sub-plots were included. As for the faeries, I hated how they were all branded as evil.

As for the other fight between Clary & Sebastian. I mean, come on I don’t even think it’s allowed to be called a fight. She literally pulled a dagger and stabbed him and he died. :/ Boring. For a villain he died pretty easily and with like no effort. And this is the guy who was able to evade the hands of the Clave. He just dies after a girl strolls up to him and stabs him. Come on? I wanted a 1 on 1 battle to the death, but no that would be too fun.

There was so much disappointment. I mean Sebastian wasn’t even that great of a villain. He was like, a kitten compared to any of the great villains. He wanted to control his sister, that’s as bad as he got. He wasn’t scary or crazy or even psychotic. He seemed pretty weak to me, I don’t know how he led an army.

As for other weak characters: Magnus’s father. He was so pathetic. I can’t even remember his name. Hold on… ok Asmodeus is his name. A Prince of Hell, apparently. Pffft, everyone was expecting a massive terrifying demon because Magnus was like keeping his identity a secret. What we got was an old man. I mean he could’ve been a demon of subtle evil, I could’ve rolled with it. But no he was as disappointing as everything else. He only wanted memories as a trade to get them out of hell. That’s it? No blood or souls or fucking terrifying shit? Just memories? Ugh I’m seriously over this shit. Hell in this book isn’t even horrible. They have to fight like once and that’s about it. You’d think if you went to hell and back you’d never be the same. But no, the gang seemed to have a great time. Clary & Jace fucked in some cave, brilliant! Great craic lads!

As for the characters… ehhhh. I dunno, I kinda didn’t care about anyone. Clary, Jace, Magnus, Alec, Simon, Jordan, Maia, didn’t really care what happened to them. I love Isabelle because she’s a legend. It was kinda sad what happened when Simon forgot all about her. I think she saved this series for me. When Jordan died I was like alright. I didn’t care much for him, and neither really did the others apparently. When Raphael died, it was kinda an emotional moment. Not because he was a great character, because I didn’t feel much for him, but because Magnus said something about saving him and then Raphael saved Magnus by sacrificing himself. Good moment. Sabastian took about 10 years to die and he reverted into some weird good character. I don’t know that was really dragged out.

I absolutely loved Malcolm Fade. He was so funny. I kept reading his voice in a really weird tone. Got a good chuckle out of him even though he was only in like one scene for 5 minutes. Best character in the book!

As for the 40,000 Blackthorn children… that annoyed me. I mean why is there so much children?? And their introduction was just like setting the readers up for the next Shadowhunter series: The Dark Artifices. I didn’t like that. It’s like Cassandra Clare was plugging her next book instead of creating a great finale. As for the characters themselves, I loved Helen Blackthorn. We needed more Helen. It pissed me off so much how marginalised her and her girlfriend Aline were. I mean like lesbians! Come on, such an amazing dynamic. I remember being so delighted the first time they were introduced in City of Glass was it? I don’t know, but I was so happy to see lesbians in a YA series. I found her half Faerie, half Shadowhunter lineage so fascinating and refreshing and the whole racial-politics thing with the Clave so interesting. What annoys me is how now her and Aline are banished to Wrangel Island in Northern Russia so we won’t be seeing them in TDA. :/ As for Mark, he’s also Faerie/ Shadowhunter which I like. As for the other 5 children, I don’t really care since they’re fully Shadowhunter and young and annoying. Emma Carstairs, bit of a tragedy there but again, not much interest.

The thing with Simon was heartbreaking when he didn’t know who Clary was but of course it had to be a happy ending so everything worked out, :/ I don’t like that idea that vampire’s are inherently evil. It means also that the majority of the main characters are Shadowhunters which is a bit supremacist. Also Maia loses her boyfriend but ends up with Bat which is annoying. Everyone gets paired up which is something I’m whole-heartedly against. It gives the idea that independence and being single is bad or leads to sadness. I don’t agree with pairing and I think it’s a very shallow and easy option.

I also felt that this book was very long. It could been cut down a lot.

Maybe I just grew out of this series or it was in itself poor, either way a disappointing but alright book.

On Being “Real”

I have great admiration for people who are “real.” Personally I think it’s one of the most important things in life because that’s when people are truly “alive,” when they’re being “real.” I put those words in inverted commas for a reason. Words become empty and meaningless from overuse and we take their meanings for granted. I want to talk about the core meanings of these words and get back to the root of what it is to actually be “real.”

When I say “real” I’m not talking about something that’s just tangible and that simply exists. Because that’s what life has become hasn’t it? Just existing in relation to society’s expectations and simply being here, in this world. If that’s what “real” is then the world has come to a very sad conclusion.

But no, when I say “real” I’m talking about when people fully let go. When they are utterly and completely themselves. They don’t stick to social conventions and they open their soul for the world to see. And I think that’s the most beautiful thing a human being can do. To show you their soul and tell you “This is who I am.” There’s no masks, there’s no social obligations, there’s no holding back.

And when that happens, you know you’re “alive.” You’re experiencing something greater than just existence but actually feeling something. Feeling emotions that have been numbed by socialisation into this fucking shitty world. You’re truly fucking living because nothing is holding you back. You’re not afraid of consequences or taking shit into consideration because you’re “alive.” It’s so frustrating when you want someone to cut the bullshit and just be “real” for 5 minutes. Society is full of shit people and shit systems of norms but when you meet people who show you their souls and are so “real,” you’re going to be so renewed with life that you’ll never be able to go back to your old lives and you’ll never look at fucking society the same way again.

And that’s why I have admiration for people who are “real,” because they’re so impassioned.

Clémence Poésy on her love of people being real: “I’m not fascinated by people who smile all the time. What I find interesting is the way people look when they are lost in thought, when their face becomes angry or serious, when they bite their lip, the way they glance, the way they look down when they walk, when they are alone and smoking a cigarette, when they smirk, the way they half smile, the way they try and hold back tears, the way when their face says they want to say something but can’t, the way they look at someone they want or love… I love the way people look when they do these things. It’s beautiful.”

Some character examples are Juno (Juno), Tracey Berkowitz (The Tracey Fragments), Tiffany Maxwell (Silver Linings Playbook), Donnie Darko (Donnie Darko), Johanna Mason (The Hunger Games), Effy (Skins).

Here’s an example of how it feels when people are so fake from Silver Linings Playbook. “Ugh you’re killing me,” is like the perfect reaction to bullshit.

Dust Bowl Sue

Sue grew up in a loving home, but she wanted to see the world.

The problem was she was surrounded by vast wastelands.

She often contemplated running away.

 

One night she packed as much food, equipment and water into her bag as she could.

As soon as her parents had fallen asleep she left on her journey. 

The coolness of the night gave her comfort.

It eased her on her way.

 

But Sue had not thought about the sun.

As soon as the day broke the sun scorched her skin.

She saw nothing but dead lands ahead of her.

The dust blew in the wind.

It cut and blinded her.

 

She soon began to camp during the day to get out of the heat, and travelled by night.

After a few days, her food and water supplies were running low.

Heat and exhaustion had driven poor little Sue to near madness. 

She saw things. 

Evil things.

The devil tempted her with oases full of cool, sparkling water.

She saw her loved ones waving from afar.

Her flesh withered and her bones stiff, but onwards she staggered.

Her will was strong; she would not give up her soul.

 

But what of poor Sue now?

Is she nothing but dust?

Does her soul wander the wicked wastelands from which she could not escape?

Some say her cry can be heard in the howl of the winds.

Others say she’s feasting in a far away land.

We’ll never really know what happened to Sue, or know the true extent of her nightmarish journey.

 

End.

 

Stephen Riordan. (27/4/14). 

Saving Myself

I was a withered soul in a young body,

Weighed down by possessions. 

A melancholic spirit possessed me.

I was unfit for this life, this world of capitalism.

I never understood the people around me or what was expected of me.

I was drunk on the illusion of reality.

Then a realisation came upon me.

The problem did not exist within me, but with society.

They say she’s uncontrollable. merciless at best.

But a hunger inhabited me; a longing that spread throughout my entire being.

It intensified until one day the lion within me awakened.

I was reborn.

 

I cut my ties with the past.

The destruction of civilisation was never so beautiful.

It crumbled as I plunged myself into the sea of salvation.

Nature became my home, my companion, my life.

I had nothing and yet I had gained much more.

I found forested communes of people like me.

They became my family.

When the wind roared the trees would whisper stories.

The rivers and streams surged with life.

We lived among the animals; they were our brothers and sisters.

We painted ourselves with colours of gold and green, blue and red.

We danced under the stars to the music of our spirits. 

We ate and drank around the fire; the flames were ever burning.

Our hands were raised to the virtuous moon and the enveloping sun.

We celebrated life.

We lived.

 

End.

 

Stephen Riordan. (5/3/13).

A Dance With The Fay

A girl of little years was often overlooked by her parents.

She was a lonely soul, so one day she went down to the forest.

Among the trees and bushes, a merry folk of people appeared,

For the girl was mature in the field of the heart.

A much older man or woman might have walked past the sight.

But they invited her to dance, and so she did all day until the sun set.

And then she died.

 

Now, many a rumour has gone about surrounding the truth of her disappearance. 

“Drowned in the river the poor thing,” some villagers would remark,

But only a day before they’d have barely batted an eyelash at the girl.

Some say she ran away.

Others to this day swear they’ve heard whispers in the forest without footsteps to match them.

But the truth remains is that she entered into the world of fairies,

And she was freed of the cruelty of humans with their constant bickering.

 

When old misers warn of the dangers of stumbling upon a fairy fort, they only have it half right.

One will only be cursed if one learns the ways of the fay and chooses to continue their life as a human.

The curse will be doubled if this human shares the information with another.

Of the cursèd, they experience life long misery and misfortune.

They also say never accept an invitation to dance with the dead or the fay.

What men have failed to share is the advantage of locating a fairy fort.

A human will be transformed into a fairy and given eternal life in the land of the fay.

 

End.

 

Stephen Riordan. (1/3/13).

The Creation of “The Problem”

Humanity, what a pitiful race.

They feared themselves.

They feared the unknown.

They feared the recesses of their own minds.

They feared the alien creatures which they had never seen.

They created problems when there was no need; they had the solutions. 

They questioned what need not have been questioned.

 

A mortal world created by humans saw its own self-destruction.

While they spent their time looking far for their problems,

They never saw what was beneath their feet: the immortality of nature.

 

As people return to the ground,

Machinery will malfunction.

Buildings and systems will collapse.

The roots of trees shall engulf and choke civilisation. 

They shall take back their planet.

 

End.

 

Stephen Riordan. (Circa 2013).

The Door

Upon the first discovery, as a child he received the sight.

The plight was unknown. 

He entered into this God-forsaken world.

This magical truth of mystery and imagination.

 

Upon the second discovery, he as a young man believed it to be real.

The shifting shadows and dancing creatures half-seen mocked his attachment to his world. 

It drove him half mad: contemplating worlds and ideas you could never imagine.

He searched for the door, but never could find it.

 

Upon the third discovery, as an old man the final nail was hammered into his coffin. 

“It was real all along,” he exclaimed with piteous joy.

He knew it to be real.

He could now go and join the great festivities and enjoy life.

But he died.

 

End.

 

Stephen Riordan. (Circa 2013).