In the months leading up to the release of City of Heavenly Fire, I was terrified about this book. Not because of the six confirmed deaths of characters we knew (though that piece of information certainly had me sweating bullets), but because it meant saying goodbye. Goodbye to these characters that have lived and breathed through Cassandra Clare’s words and in my mind and heart for nearly a decade. And I’m sure most fans felt that way. How could you not?
There were tears. (There always are.) Lots of tears. Happy tears. Sad tears. Unexpected tears. Tears that I succumbed to in the most random moments of the book. When a book or a series – an author, really – can make you feel that much, it’s something extraordinary.
In City of Heavenly Fire, we pick up after the events of City of Lost Souls where Sebastian has left a warning for the Nephilim: Erchomai. I am coming. And he came. When the Nephilim are confined to Idris, Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec and Isabelle must journey to the realm of demons in hopes to defeat Sebastian and save their world. That’s where the actual synopsis part ends, as this is a spoiler-free review. Shh.
Perhaps my favorite thing about City of Heavenly Fire was how it united four Shadowhunter Chronicles series. The other series in a way gravitated back to The Mortal Instruments. Yes, the five series are all related in some way, but in City of Heavenly Fire, The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices and even The Last Hours, theywere united. They all had a part somewhere between those 733 pages. There was so much weight in the names that were mentioned, past events reflected upon, teases of what’s yet to come.
When I heard that we’d get to see some characters from The Dark Artifices, including Emma and Julian, I thought we’d get brief cameos. But they played a huge role in City of Heavenly Fire. And that’s one of the reasons why City of Heavenly Fire is my favorite book from The Mortal Instruments series. It was like The Mortal Instruments was passing the torch on to The Dark Artifices. It was such a beautiful introduction and backstory for those new characters, and I’m even more excited to read Emma and Julian’s story.
As far as concluding the series goes, Clare knocked it out of the park with City of Heavenly Fire. Dare I say it was an even better conclusion than City of Glass, which I thought was a perfect end to the series at the time. Without going into spoilers (spoiler-free review, remember), the epilogue was everything I wanted before I knew that was what I wanted, if that makes any sense. There was an even greater sense of closure to this story without ever really saying goodbye. Because these characters will continue living their lives. Just without the continuous threat of impending death. They deserve a reprieve after all they’ve been through in six books, I’m just saying.
You know in television series finales where you’ll see a montage of all of the past seasons with that sappy music that brings you to tears instantly? That’s what the epilogue was to me. References to past books, back to the very beginning, watching everything come full circle within Clare’s beautiful words. It was so bittersweet because it was beautiful and fitting, but it was the end. I guess you could say it was a sad happy ending. But that just means Clare did it right.
There was so much emotion, especially at the end, that at times I forgot that we still have three Shadowhunter Chronicles series on the way, which provides ample opportunity for surviving Mortal Instruments characters to make cameos. As the saying goes, ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’ And The Mortal Instruments has opened up numerous doors for future Shadowhunter Chronicles series that will keep readers entranced and feeling all the feels for years to come.