4 out of 5 Crystalline Stars
This is the third book in the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, so beware spoilers for the first two books.
Things are heating up in the Shadowhunter world. After the battle with Valentine in the harbor, the Lightwoods are going to Alicante, the capital of the Shadowhunter world. Nearly every Shadowhunter has been called back to fight the threat of Valentine and his demon horde. Which is interesting, as they don’t really believe he’s capable of actually hurting them. But go figure. Clary is intending to join them, hoping to find a warlock that might have the key to getting her mother out of the coma she’s been in for the last two books.
Things are soured from the get-go. First, Jace doesn’t want Clary to go and tries to conspire with Simon, her friend-turned-Vampire to convince her to stay behind, only things go terribly wrong. Simon is transported to Alicante with the Lightwoods, injured and close to death. Then Clary, frustrated at missing the portal to Alicante finds her own way, and accidentally drags Luke, her substitute father who is also a werewolf, along with her. The problem is, vampires and werewolves are expressly forbidden entrance to Alicante without prior authorization. Oops.
In this book, we see Clary’s headstrong, leap before looking personality reach new heights of idiocy. There is a lot of storming off between herself and Jace. A lot of running out of rooms. None of this leads to good things. You can’t really blame them: the problem is that Jace and Clary are in love with each other, a condition that developed before they found out they were brother and sister. They hadn’t really acted on the feelings yet, but it was obvious to everyone that these two were in the first stages of twitterpation. They had yet to declare their love, so they are both trying to pretend it doesn’t exist. The cruel barb of the Seelie Queen is still digging into both of them – that they were experiments crated by their father. They are both incredibly conflicted, and then, along come the Penhallows. The Lightwoods are staying with the their friends, including their daughter Aline and visiting cousin, Sebastian. Jace and Sebastian lock horns on site. Sebastian is gorgeous, charming and smooth as a river rock. A little too smooth. And he clearly has his eyes on Clary. Jace is trying to push Clary away, both for Simon’s sake, who has asked him not to lead her on and to try and give himself a little space. It’s an angst fest. But it’s actually pretty well done.
We finally see more Joceyn’s backstory with Valentine. But I’m not quite sure of it. I mean, he was horrible, and she stayed. I’m very confused with how far she went with his ideas. When did she change her mind and see the Downworlders as equal to human? Valentine hates the Downworlders and wanted them destroyed. At first he just wanted to loosen some of the Clave’s rules but then he became a full on bigot. I get that we don’t want to demonize Clary’s mom, but it seems like she’s getting a big pass.
We have a lot of fun things in this one. Clary is learning the strength of her powers. She’s also being stupid and getting herself into trouble – besides dragging Luke into Alicante with nowhere to go but to his estranged sister. Simon ends up imprisoned by a twisted Clave member. Raphael, the Vampire master, is still menacing him, believing his daywalker abilities are too strange and unnatural to be allowed. He kinda has a thing with two girls. Both Maia and Isabelle are showing interest in him.
And can we talk about Isabelle Lightwood for a minute? She’s an ass-kicking, demon-killing, fishnet-wearing bad ass bitch. She is flawed. She is abrasive. She is sexy. She is un-apologetic about all that. And I love it. We need more Isabelle Lightwood’s. I know there are a lot of ass kicking girls out there, but I like how she expresses her sexuality but isn’t shamed in any way. Heaven help the person who tries to. And of course, she has a good heart. Simon sums it up perfectly when he says, “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.” I don’t think I’m alone in wishing she was the main character.
I am enjoying the series even more the 2nd time – and the stuff that is uncovered about Valentine, his horrible experiments, the depth of his depravity and what it led him to is amazing. The ending is one of the best ever endings to a trilogy I have read. Of course, she went on and did another 3 books, and that ending was freaking amazing as well. Clare does endings pretty damn well.