HERE WE GO! My favourite book that Cassandra Clare has ever written! Honestly, I’ve never had this happen. I read this book in three hours. By the time I was done, it was two in the morning and I was sobbing in the middle of my bed. The story was amazing, but the epilogue ripped my heart out and stamped on it. I LOVED IT! Spoilers, ahoy!
The book opens with two flashbacks. In the first, Aloysius Starkweather is preparing his young and sickly granddaughter for her ruining ceremony. The ceremony goes horribly wrong, and his granddaughter dies from the ruins on her skin. In the second, Charlotte introduces Jem to Will, and for the first time since coming to the Institute, Will lets someone in. Both of these flashbacks became very relevant to the story later on, and it was a very good use of flashback to further the narrative.
Letters placed throughout the book between Consul Wayland and other elites in the Shadowhunter community aid to provide context as to how badly the situation is becoming for the London Institute. With Wayland trying to undermine Charlotte, Shadowhunters are less likely to come to the aid of the London Institute and Charlotte is more likely to fail in her duties. This hits a particular head when Jessamine Lovelace is delivered back from the City of Bones by automatons who attack the Institute, kidnap Tessa, and mortally wound Jessamine. In the last moments of her life, Jessamine redeems herself by talking to Will about Idris, which Cecily infers to mean Cadair Idris, a mountain in Wales.
This book was amazing for surprises, shocks and revelations! When Gabriel and Gideon Lightwoods father contracts demon pox and turns into a giant worm, I was howling. It was so satisfying to see Will justified in his demon pox belief. When Aloysius discovers that his granddaughter was not his real granddaughter at all, but replaced by Mortmain with a mundane child, I was livid. And when the automatons attacked the council and killed Josiah Wayland, I was vindicated.
The back half of the novel absolutely destroyed me. When Will sees his parabatai Rune bleeding and thinks that Jem has died, I was sobbing. The only person he had ever fully let in was gone, and now he had to fight for the woman they both loved? That would’ve taken so much moral courage. Then when he finds Tessa, he has to tell her of Jem’s death and that he himself irrevocably loves her. I. Was. Gone.
Charlotte, Henry, the Lightwoods, Sophie, and Cecily show up in Wales accompanied by Magnus and the Silent Brothers to save Tessa and Will. Then, in what I believe is the one of the two biggest bombshells in this series, Will runs straight into Jem, now a Silent Brother called Brother Zachariah. Mortmain reveals that he orchestrated Tessa’s birth and means to use her to create an elite breed of demon/Shadowhunter hybrids. Tessa, who had previously discovered that her Clockwork Angel necklace actually held the angel Ithuriel (bombshell number two!), transforms into the Angel and destroys Mortmain and his automatons. Jem separates himself from Tessa, breaking their engagement in order for her to heal, and allowing for her to marry Will. They agree to meet once a year on Blackfriars Bridge.
And there I thought that Cassandra Clare was done destroying my emotions! NOPE! Then she hit me with an epilogue so good I was crying for hours. Tessa recounts her life with Will: their children, their lives, and the day that Will died. When Jem came to play Will farewell, I couldn’t see anymore I was crying so hard. Then boom! 2008, Blackfriars Bridge in Central London. Tessa is waiting for Brother Zachariah, and turns to see Jem Carstairs, returned to his original form. Jem assumes that Tessa will reject him and walks away. Tessa thinks of what Magnus told her years before about being lucky enough to have two great loves in her life, and chases him. They agree to stay together, as Jem tells her a story of Lightwoods, Herondales and Fairchilds.
This book destroyed me. It may be the best book I’ve ever read. And it did everything I want a book to do – it made me cry, it made me laugh; I was full of happiness and full of sorrow. The epilogue gave me hope. I’m obsessed.