Friday, September 18, 2009

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Main character: teens Clary, Jace, and Simon
Location: the otherworldly home of the Shadowhunters
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: The Mortal Instruments #3

I have really enjoyed this series and the vivid world it depicts. We leave New York City behind to go to the City of Glass, the ancestral homeworld of the Shadowhunters and witness the final battle between Clary and her father, Valentine.

There are some things that struck me as I was reading this, and I am walking a fine line between vagueness and spoilers here so read at your own risk. All through the series, one of Clary's main motivations has been to find a cure for her mother, lying in a coma in a hospital. When she finally appears, I expected Clary to fly to her arms and have a touching reunion. Instead, Clary flies into a rage that took me (and her) totally by surprise. It took a few beats, but then I realized that though it has taken three years for all the books to come out, the story itself takes place over a very short time. (This might be a case where people who start the series now and read the books one after another will have a better feel for the time span than those of us who waited a year between each book.) Clary is still overwhelmed by everything she has learned, including the discovery that her mother has lied to her all her life and even has gone so far as to drug her to supress her powers. (I had actually forgotten that detail from the first book.)

One of the aspects that disturbed me from the beginning is the potentially incestuous relationship between Clary and Jace. When they meet in the first book, there is an immediate and powerful attraction between them but they then discover that they are brother and sister. Clary does not seem to be bothered by this, but Jace strives mightily to deny his feelings for her even though it makes him seem moody, distant, and (let's face it) a bit of a jerk. The situation is resolved, and that resolution felt to me a bit contrived, a bit too simple. But related to that resolution is the wonderful irony that Valentine, in trying to create an uber-Shadowhunter, actually created his own defeat.

And then there's Simon. Dear, wonderful Simon who stole my heart. I am finding that in these series with a romantic triangle, I always fall for the boy who gets left behind. In the Twilight series, I am firmly on Team Jacob; here I am on Team Simon. Now, I am not rooting for them to win the girl--Clary belongs with Jace just as Bella belongs with Edward--but Jacob and Simon are the ones I prefer.

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