City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare (book cover)

City of Heavenly Fire

By: Cassandra Clare

Book #6 in The Mortal Instruments series

Content Warnings: Violence, blood, death, captivity, incestual themes, sexual harassment, abandonment, drugging, discrimination

Book Review

City of Heavenly Fire takes you on a quest with five of the heroes in a last-ditch attempt to find and defeat Sebastian. Hmm. Why isn’t one more character added on the team to mark this book being the sixth and final installment of the series? It might have something to do with Sebastian stealing something precious from each and every character hunting him down.

I may have gotten ahead of myself though. Honestly, the prologue threw me off a bit because it introduced an assembly of new characters. I had to make sure I picked up the correct Shadowhunter book! That didn’t stop my heart from aching though as the opening scene set the stage for a grim and tragic story. Eventually I grew to love two new additions to the cast, best buddies Emma and Julian. They’re absolutely adorable as a team and complex and interesting characters on their own!

Alright. Now let’s get back to our “teen team.”

The sense of loss is palpable as Jace, Clary, Isabelle, Alex, and Simon team up and traverse lands uncharted by those with love burning in their veins. It’s an all-out war that involves Sebastian inflicting heavy casualties upon the Shadowhunters and then retreating to his demonic throne. It put me on edge because Sebastian was gaining more and more momentum with his guerilla-like warfare and his divide and conquer tactics. I sensed wherever he struck next would devastate hearts and morale, and that no one was truly safe.

The story affected me because the conflict is more on a personal level, what with the focus on loved ones being torn apart from each other. This is probably because the events are personal to Sebastian. I think he resents being different from Shadowhunters because of his differences in blood. Creating a demonic race of fighters gave him a sense of belonging he otherwise never had.

I’ll never be over the horrendous acts Sebastian committed, but sometimes I couldn’t help but feel empathetic towards his history. His father infused demon blood in him, and then both hate and vengeance by isolating him from others. His mother considered killing him in the crib while struggling to see the possibility of nurturing the good in him through love and commitment. In short, I haven’t had such mixed feelings towards a character in a while.

I continued like this in a dizzying haze up to the conclusion. The end of the fighting, which actually made me a bit teary-eyed, foreshadows the Shadowhunters having won the battle and not the war. I like that Clare showed how cycles of violence continue through fear and discrimination. A suitable topic she counters with moments of love and empathy.

I started this series wanting to catch up on some of the popular books everyone talks about, but didn’t realize what a commitment it would be! This story has definitely had its ups and downs to me, but I enjoyed it overall. I’m looking forward to venturing further into the Shadowhunter world some time in the future.

More Musings & Magic

I absolutely loved Clare’s depiction of the Fae throughout the series, especially in this last installment! They remind me of the political intrigue in Holly Black’s Elfhame. They’re cunning and patient when it comes to achieving their goals. Any scene featuring one of them sent a shiver up my spine because of their trickster ways.

Please keep the magic alive and share your comments below!

13 comments

  1. Yes! I’m glad you enjoyed it overall, it’s definitely a bit of a confusing one but I loved it none the less. Gosh I don’t know what to think of Sebastian. I feel bad for him for everything that happened to him, and I can understand somewhat why he did those things, but at the same time it was still awful. I don’t know.
    Oh, and it’s probably an unpopular opinion but I don’t really like Simon and Izzy together. It just feels a bit like Cassandra Clare pushed them together because Clary was in love with Jace and Simon was left on the sidelines. And him forgetting everything also wasn’t great.
    For all the stuff that bothered me about this series I still love it a lot šŸ’™šŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I get what you mean about Sebastian! Cassandra Clare did a pretty good job mixing his vile deeds with his deeply-rooted hurt and loneliness. He made his own decisions in the end, but his parents really helped turn him into a monster. šŸ˜

      It seems The Mortal Instruments is one of those series where every character has to be paired with someone else, haha. I’m just glad that Clare didn’t cast Simon to the side after Clary chose Jace. He still helped his friends and got to take part in all of the action, which is pretty awesome! I agree what happened to him towards the end though was awful. šŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never read the Mortal Instrument Series, but I’ve watched the movie, and a little bit of the series. i really want to start it soon, but there’s sooo much for me to read lmao. I have like 3 more book series to go through before I can even think about starting this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can totally relate! šŸ˜„ I’m only just now catching up on these series and there’s still so many books I want to read. Including standalones.

      If you don’t mind me asking, which three series are you interested in reading? šŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Great review! It’s been a while since I read this particular series but I do remember enjoying the personal struggles as well as the all out war as the series progresses. It’s fun seeing a fresh review for these books as they still get talked about a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Just trying to catch up on my reading, haha.

      I see a lot of talented artists making some beautiful fanart for these books (and other older series) as well. I agree with you: it’s fun seeing how books stand the test of time! šŸ™‚

      Like

  4. Great review! It’s been a while since I read this series, but I do recall this book was my favourite of the lot. The later books are even better though, I’d love to hear what you think of them, particularly The Dark Artifices, if you’re planning on reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

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