Plot: Valentine and Sebastian have been defeated and the Mortal Instruments are back where they belong. But things have not gone back to normal: Clary and her friends are faced will all new dangers… and some very old ones. Jace fears that he is too much like Valentine and that he will eventually hurt those he loves most. His dark dreams only intensify his worries. Meanwhile Simon is forced to come to terms with his vampirism and the Mark of Cain that Clary placed upon him.
It took me a while to get around to the fourth book in Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I enjoyed the series (though I prefer The Infernal Devices) but, in my mind, the third book was a conclusive end to the narrative. I didn’t know where Clare could possibly go from there. But she has managed yet again to get her characters into a lot of trouble, throw their emotions into turmoil and spin a gripping tale around it.
If I had to give the book a subtitle, I’d call it the book of bad boyfriends. Jace is plagued by doubts and nightmares; he responds by distancing himself from Clary (which has an unfortunate parallel to recent events in my own life). Simon is dating both Isabelle and Maia, and neither of these formidable ladies knows that they’re sharing. Maia’s horrible ex, the same who turned her into a werewolf, is back in town. And last, but not least, Alec is hurt and angered by what Magnus’ eternal life might mean for their relationship.
But it isn’t all romantic trouble. Clary is training to be a Shadow Hunter and tracks down a cult that is trying to create another human/demon hybrid like her brother Sebastian. And she can’t even count on Jace to back her up. But most interesting to me are Simon’s troubles. He is being followed by mysterious men, wooed by powerful vampires, troubled by new hungers and thrown out of his home. Thanks to the Mark of Cain, he is in no danger of being hurt but fears the harm he can do to others. Worst of all, he is quickly coming to the realization that he is nothing like the Shadow Hunters that he calls friends.
The pace is quick and it’s all very exciting. But it can also be a little emotionally exhausting. And there is not enough Magnus. There is never enough Magnus. I will not be satisfied until he has his own book. 🙂
The paperback includes the story of Jace and Clary’s first kiss from Jace’s perspective. I’m not a huge Jace fan (I don’t know how one body can contain all that ego and angst) but even I thought it was sweet.