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Book Review

Book Cover

City of Glass


Author: Cassandra Clare
Walker Books
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 4063 0764 1
Available 06 July 2009

With events coming to a head, Clary finally determines to travel to Idris and the Shadowhunter city of Alicante. But not everyone is happy with her decision and her brother Jace summons Simon to the Institute to help him change Clary’s mind. Before this can happen Jace and Simon are attacked and, in an act of desperation, open a portal to Idris. On her return Clary discovers the place empty and so starts her own journey to Idris...

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare is the third instalment of The Mortal Instruments trilogy, which follows the events detailed in The City of Bones and The City of Ashes. Although the third book gives you enough information to follow the plot, it really is worth while checking out the first two to get the most out of the story. The book falls under the category of young adult literature, though I cannot see why it should not be enjoyed by readers of all ages, except the very young. The main reason for this is the often complicated sexual/romantic relationships which exist in the book, not least of which is the complex relationship between brother and sister Jace and Clary.

The book uses a very naturalistic form of prose, which flows well, allowing the reader to immerse themselves in the plot. Whilst reading the book I could almost hear an ethereal narrator, the book has that strong a voice. This time, with much to resolve, Clare has picked up the pace of her writing. This is not really surprising as she wove a complex set of story threads with the first two books, which need to be resolved to her audience’s satisfaction. The increase pace reflects well the urgency which Clary feels about her mission, with Valentine already possessing the sword and the cup, it is a race to see who will get to the final artefact, the final Instrument. Clare has a strong visual style and the book abounds with strong imagery.

This choice would not be so effective had Clare not also spent time fleshing out the background to her world and the characters within. So we finally get the full back story of Clary and Jace as Clary meets various characters along her way.

The book is able to balance the various requirements of having a multi-layered plot. So, Clare not only deals with the intimate, especially the forbidden love between Jace and Clary, which neither can seem to walk away from, although they try nor resolve it. In the bigger picture the war between the Clave and Valantine is coming to a head, with the mystical creatures having to choose a side. In what seems to be a one-sided war the Clave even contemplate joining with humanity.

This is a dense and compelling ending to the trilogy, which will please fans of the first two books, though I would recommend that you read the whole thing to really appreciate it.


Charles Packer

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