At last! We’ve reached the final installment of the Mortal Instruments series. I was a bit wary going into City of Heavenly Fire since City of Lost Souls did not entice me as was expected. At 726 pages, it is longer than all the previous volumes so I was concerned I was going to spend all that time not liking the story. While there were moments that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, the overall story was nicely paced for my tastes.
The prologue starts with the introduction of Emma Carstairs, who is dropped off at the Los Angeles Institute to study while her parents investigate a supposed demon attack. Along with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn, and his extensive family the day starts off ordinarily enough. Then things quickly escalate as the institute is attacked by Sebastian and his Dark Shadowhunters, who use the Infernal Cup to turn many of the institute’s inhabitants – including Julian’s father – into one of them. Julian, Emma, and Julian’s siblings barely manage to escape via Portal to Idris, but sadly have to leave Julian’s half-faerie brother, Mark, behind with an unknown fate.
Back in New York, a few months have passed since Jace’s rescue from his binding to Sebastian. The heavenly fire courses through his veins but he is doing is best to contain and control it, with the help of his friends. Simon has lost his Mark of Cain in exchange for Glorious from Raziel to save Jace, but he still has Jordan looking after him. The story, however, quickly leads to unhappiness for our heroes:
-All of the Shadowhunters are recalled to Idris to make plans regarding Sebastian and his Endarkened, resulting in many good-byes
-Jordan and Simon’s apartment is soon attacked by Sebastian’s Endarkened, which ends up with Simon being kidnapped by the vampires at Maureen’s request
-The Praetor Lupus is attacked by Sebastian when his attempt to take the London Institute fails
-The Downworlder representatives – including Jocelyn – are kidnapped by Sebastian’s allies, the faerie courts
-Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, and Simon travel to the hellish dimension of Edom in order to stop Sebastian and free the Downworlder representatives, but Jace loses control of the heavenly fire
As one might expect, our heroes do indeed defeat Sebastian, but they pay a high price for it. Many of their friends do not survive the war – either physically, mentally, or both. Virtually no one comes out of the Dark War unscathed, and that includes Clary and Jace.
But the volume does end on a happy note: the wedding of Jocelyn and Luke. It is then that we are reunited with a number of characters, including Tessa – who was mentioned frequently in this volume but never actually made an appearance until the end. We are also reunited with Church, who hasn’t made an appearance since City of Ashes.
A lot goes on in this volume. We are introduced to a number of characters that will be the main focus of Cassandra Clare’s current series, the Dark Artifices. There are multiple points of view and settings, from Edom to Alicante to New York. The action is interspersed with quiet moments, such as the one our heroes share in a cave in the midst of Edom.
Overall, this is likely my favorite volume of the Mortal Instruments series. Each character has developed to a point where they are entirely different from how they started the series. Throughout the volumes, there were times where I really disliked a character, but in the end that made them richer in this final segment. I look forward to seeing them all again in later series, but as secondary characters, and to being introduced to new members of the Shadowhunter society.
My rating: 4.5/5