Monday, June 2, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire Discussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! I'm here with another summer reading challenge post! I've finally reached the end of The Mortal Instruments series, and I can't believe that it's over! WOW. When I finished this book, I really didn't know what to do with myself. It's like when I got to the end of Harry Potter.

Book Summary

[Reminder: don't read this section if you haven't read all 5 of the previous books. I have to talk about what's happened up to this point to discuss the plot of City of Heavenly Fire!]

Sebastian is on the move, attacking Shadowhunters and turning them into Endarkened warriors, tearing apart families and friends. The New York Shadowhunters retreat to Idris, but not even Alicante's Gards can keep Sebastian away. Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must find out how to destroy Sebastian before he destroys the entire Shadowhunter race.

Overall Thoughts

Non-spoiler section!

First of all, can we just talk about the inside of the cover?

It's so pretty! My only wish is that it were an actual poster included rather than on the dust jacket. I want to put it up on my wall, but it's the book jacket, so I have to keep it on the book. I actually considered buying a second copy JUST to be able to display this. I might do it eventually, but for now, I'm going to stick with my one copy.

After being slightly disappointed by the last two books, I was incredibly impressed with this one. It was an action-packed, exciting conclusion to one of my favorite series. The balance between the romance and the action was really great. Cassandra Clare may not always write the perfect book, but she knows how to write amazing series endings. She proved that with Clockwork Princess, City of Glass (the end to the original Mortal Instruments trilogy), and now with City of Heavenly Fire. She has a special talent of writing a conclusion that is a great mix of happiness and heartbreak.

My one complaint that I did have was about the new characters that were introduced. As many of you may know, Cassandra Clare is writing a new trilogy called The Dark Artifices, which is a companion trilogy to The Mortal Instruments and is set approximately 5 years after TMI. It follows the teenage Shadowhunters at the Los Angeles Institute. Cassandra Clare spends time in City of Heavenly Fire introducing us to these characters... but they're often not really necessary. There were only maybe two points in the book where they proved to serve an actual purpose. After spending 5 books with characters I really care about, I wanted to see what they were doing, not these new characters that I don't care about yet. But that was fairly minimal, since our main characters went through so much in this book. 

So, rating. I think I'm going to give this 5 stars out of 5. I keep comparing it to Clockwork Princess, and I have yet to decide which I liked better. I've also been comparing it to City of Glass, and those two are neck-in-neck as well. In the next few days, I'm going to have to compare these series, and I still don't know how I feel. I'll figure it out, right? RIGHT?

Spoilery Discussion!

OK, so let's talk about my predictions that I made. Because I'm kinda proud of myself, honestly.

First: deaths. We were told that 6 named characters would die. My predictions were: Sebastian, Maureen, Rafael, Robert Lightwood, Jordan, and Amatis. Of those 6, I correctly predicted... FIVE! Let's talk about my correct predictions.

1) Sebastian. I mean, we all knew this was coming.
2) Maureen. She made herself a villain, so she had to go. BUT, I thought Camille was going to burst in and be like " I'm not dead!" and kill Maureen. But apparently Camille is really dead. I still don't buy it. I bet she turns up in The Dark Artifices and gets to announce "I'm not dead!" then.
3) Rafael. This turned out WAY differently than I thought. He wasn't killed because he was trying to kill Simon, which was the whole reason I thought he would be killed. And I still haven't decided whether or not I like Rafael.
4) Jordan. The saddest death, for me. I'd grown to love Jordan over the last two books, and it was really sad to see him killed.
5) Amatis. Like I said in my last post, she had been turned. We knew that there was no way to turn her back into a Shadowhunter. She was now a villain. If she couldn't be turned back, she'd have to be killed.

So, the one death that I predicted which didn't pan out: Robert Lightwood. I'm not trying to cover myself by saying this, but I thought this was the flimsiest of my predictions. My prediction was based upon info someone mentioned about a possible Shadowhunter funeral early in the book. Clearly, that didn't happen. Oh well, you can't win them all!

And, the one death that happened that I didn't predict: Meliorn. I didn't predict this... but I kinda did. Ish. I put the Seelie Queen among my list of other characters I think could die, due to her alliance with Sebastian. I'm not sure why I didn't even think of Meliorn. But he did die for the reason I listed, so.... half credit?

I was also right about the epilogue taking place at Luke and Jocelyn's wedding! Obviously other things happened in the Epilogue, but my point was that I thought the book would end at Luke and Jocelyn's wedding, and it did! I loved it. It was really great.

Also, it WAS Tessa that Magnus was talking to in City of Glass! I was right! Woo! And the heavenly fire DID save "Zachariah"!

And the last bit of me tooting my own horn: I got the relationships correct as well. Maia and Jordan were the couple separated forever. The rest of our couples fell into place pretty nicely. Well... mostly. I'll get more into that couple later.

Now for my major failure: the Isabelle theory. That was a total bust. I had actually convinced myself that Isabelle could really be Jace and Clary's half sister! Clearly I was way, way off target. Oh well. It was a cool theory to think about.

Now into the part of the book that kept me sobbing. And sobbing. And sobbing. SIMON. Honestly, I would have preferred him dying over him losing all of his memories of the Shadowhunter world [and therefore all of our main characters]. At least if he had died, he would have died as the real, true, Simon rather than living a false life for the rest of his life and believing in false memories. Him losing his memories was the most heartbreaking part of the book for me, and I was actually convinced that Cassie was going to leave it at that (which would have left me murderous). Thank goodness she didn't. Hallelujah. While we didn't get our Simon back fully by the end of the book, we're starting to. I'm not sure if we'll ever have our Simon fully back, but any amount of our Simon is better than a Simon without any knowledge of his real life. That poor boy has been through the ringer. Being turned into a vampire, getting the mark of Cain placed upon him, then having the mark of Cain removed, and then being stripped of his immortality, vampirism, and memories. Poor, poor boy.

I thought it was really cool to see our main characters travelling through demon realms. It was interesting to see this new part of the Shadowhunter world, and I wasn't expecting it (even though the dust jacket totally mentions demon realms. I definitely didn't read the description well.). I think my favorite part of it was seeing all of their hallucinations... how Clary's life could never be complete without Simon, how Simon truly loved Isabelle, how much Isabelle loved and missed Max ("I'll always be nine" how heartbreaking is that?!), and how Alec just wanted Magnus's love and his father's respect.

OK, issuing a warning: if you haven't read the Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, skip this bit, because I'll be talking about the cross-over. OK? OK.

I'm not sure why Cassie Clare didn't just allow Jem to be Jem. I understand that she's probably trying not to spoil the ID for people who have only read TMI, but if she doesn't want to spoil them, she probably shouldn't include so much crossover. As someone who can now say I've read all of Cassie's published books (except the Shadowhunter's Codex but I don't think that really counts), I really appreciate the crossover. BUT even while continuing to call Jem "Zachariah," I feel that people could be spoiled. Maybe not that they would know without any other knowledge that Zachariah is Jem, but that they would figure it out before they were supposed to. Tessa mentions the connection between Emma and Jem... I mean could it be more obvious? Someone who has read TMI, who then reads the ID would see "Jem Carstairs" and could probably deduce who he is. And there you go, Infernal Devices spoiled.

I'm not saying that Cassie is making a mistake having all of this crossover... I just think that the order to read the books in should be more clearly stated. It says on her website (I think that's where I read it) that the books should be read in the order they were published. Meaning that you should start with TMI books 1-3, then Clockwork Angel, City of Fallen Angels, Clockwork Prince, City of Lost Souls, Clockwork Princess, and City of Heavenly Fire. I think that probably really is the best way to read them in. BUT, no one seems to know this! I see people asking what order to read them in ALL THE TIME. I just think this knowledge needs to be better circulated to fans so that they don't accidentally get spoiled. That's just my opinion.

Anyway, after that mini-rant, I have to say, I love seeing the two series intermingling... Tessa and Clary chatting was super cool. Too great. I wish we'd gotten to see Jem just a little more, since he became Jem again approximately 200 pages in. Also, we didn't get to see Tessa until the very end, which made me sad. I assumed we'd get more of them!

Overall, LOVE. Just LOVE.

Favorite Quotes

As you can see above, I marked SEVERAL places. Each color represents a different person. Yellow is for Jace (because he's all gold!), Green is for Simon. Blue denotes the death of a character we know. Purple is for "Zachariah." Pink is almost always Magnus, but occasionally is Alec, and once it's for a warlock that reminds me of Magnus. 

Page 34: Jace leaned over and grabbed the phone out of his parabatai's hand. Alec protested and reached for it, but Jace held him off with one hand, expertly scrolling through the messages on the phone with the other. "Magnus, just call me back. I need to know if you're okay-" He shook his head. "Okay, no. Just no." With a decisive move he snapped the phone in half. The screen went blank as Jace dropped the pieces to the ground. "There."
Alec looked down at the shattered pieces in disbelief. "You BROKE my PHONE." 
Jace shrugged. "Guys don't let other guys keep calling other guys. Okay, that came out wrong. Friends don't let friends keep calling their exes and hanging up. Seriously. You have to stop."

Page 327: "Simon, you're blushing," observed Jace. "And you're a vampire and almost never blush, so this better be really juicy. And weird. Were bicycles involved in some kinky way? Vacuum cleaners? Umbrellas?"

Page 403: "Help? Of course we can help," Malcom said, turning around to face them. "You need to get a message through? There's always carrier kittens."
"You mean pigeons," said Bat. "Carrier pigeons."
Malcom shook his head. "Carrier kittens. They're so cute, no one can deny them. Fix your mouse problem too."

Page 439: "Don't look at me," said Jace. "My adoptive father was a mass murderer, And I still worried about what he thought. It's what we're programmed to do. Your dad always seemed pretty great by comparison."
"Sure, he likes you," said Alec. "You're heterosexual and have low expectations of father figures."
"I think they'll probably put that on my gravestone. "He Was Heterosexual and Had Low Expectations."

Page 532: "WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING?" There was a sound of shattering glass, and they both sat up to see Alec glaring at them. He had dropped the empty bottle of wine he had been carrying, and there were bits of sparkly glass all over the cave floor. "WHY CAN'T YOU GO SOMEWHERE ELSE TO DO THESE HORRIBLE THINGS? MY EYES."

Page 538: They all stared for a few silent moments. Then Simon pointed. "What's that wobbly thing?" he asked. "Is it a tree?"
"Those are the gates," Jace said.
"Ohh," said Isabelle, pleased. "So what are the swirly bits? Is there a moat?"
"Those are trajectory lines- Honestly, am I the only person who's ever seen a strategy map?" Jace demanded, throwing his stele down and raking his hand through his blond hair. "Do you understand anything I just said?"
"No," Clary said. "Your strategy is probably awesome, but your drawing skills are terrible; all the Endarkened look like trees, and the fortress looks like a frog."

Page 573: Magnus exhaled- for a moment he no longer felt ill, or afraid of dying, or even angry or bitter. Relief washed over him, as profound as sorrow, and he reached up to brush the cheek of the boy leaning over him with the back of his bruised knuckles. Alec's eyes were huge and blue and full of anguish. 
"Oh, my Alec," he said. "You've been so sad. I didn't know."

Page 704: He [Simon] looked down at her. There was uncertainty and hope in his expression, and a slightly dazed look, as if he'd just woken up from a dream and wasn't entirely sure where he was. Then he smiled. "I don't remember everything," he said. "Not yet. But I remember you." He brought her hand up, touched the gold ring on her right index finger, the Fair Folk metal warm to the touch. 
"Clary," he said. "You're Clary. You're my best friend."
I'm so pathetic that I'm tearing up just reading it again.

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! My discussion for The Mortal Instruments should be up tomorrow!

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  1. why isnt Clary on the poster/inside cover?

    1. The only thing I can think of is that maybe it's because she's on the front cover. I can't think of any other reason for her to not be on the inside. I guess Cassie Clare thought that having Clary on both the front and inside cover would be too much.

    2. I think it is because the picture is from HER perspective. That's my bed guess


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