Monday, May 04, 2009

New Release Spotlight: City of Glass

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

The final installment of Cassandra Clare’s breakout Mortal Instruments series goes above and beyond the normal plot twists of other young adult urban fantasies. In the first two books of the series, City of Bones and City of Ashes, Clare put a new spin to life in New York and all the things that go bump in the night—specifically with the world of Shadowhunters, humans gifted by angels to protect the world from the demons who threaten to destroy it. But what if that threat is another Shadowhunter, one believed to be long dead?

Clary Fray, a sixteen-year-old girl who has just discovered her strange ties to the world of Shadowhunting, must travel to Idris in order to save the life of her mother from Valentine, a warrior who years before had led the darkest revolt ever experienced against the government of Shadowhunters, the Clave. A Shadowhunter who let his hate turn him into something dark and unbending. A man who is also her father. In her journey, Clary uncovers the dark secrets of her family, learns of another plot against the Clave, and struggles with her forbidden love for Jace. Jace, the blond warrior who first drew her into this world, the boy she would do anything for, her brother. But Clary’s life is about to get even more complicated as she gravitates toward the mysterious Sebastian, another Shadowhunter who always seems to have the information Clary needs and whose dark eyes hold untold secrets that will forever shape Clary’s world.

While the many ups and downs of Clary’s bizarre family relationships makes a reader wonder how this girl isn’t in therapy, Clare is able to keep the turmoil heartbreakingly easy to relate to. At this point, Clary has gone through every emotion imaginable since realizing that Jace is her brother, an idea that would be so simple for the reader to be turned off about. But Clare has built up these complex characters in such a way that it is difficult not to sympathize with them and hope for a good outcome. Each character is utterly unique and has a distinctive subplot which fleshes out the otherwise strange reality Clare has thrust her characters into.

One of the many aspects in this work that sets it apart from other urban fantasies, besides the creative plot and engaging characters, is the unique quality of the dialogue. Clare is able to perfectly balance emotional upheaval with witty sarcasm in a way that makes it difficult not to read this book without a smile, or even a smirk: “You’re not happy to see me, then?” Jace said. “I have to say, I’m surprised. I’ve always been told my presence brightened up any room. One might think that went doubly for dank underground cells.”

While an excellent ending to an amazing series, Clare leaves enough mystery in the end to allow not only for the reader’s imagination, but for the possibility of her continuing the work at a later time. Unfortunately, the wait might be a long one; Clare is currently working on another series, one that takes place in the same world of the Shadowhunters, but centuries prior to the Mortal Instruments series.

Review by Kim Greenberg, Indigo Editing & Publications

City of Glass
Publisher: McElderry Books
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1430-3
Hardcover: $17.99

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