Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Just a much, much better book than the first in this series, in terms of pacing, story and character. One of my biggest complaints was how Clare seemed unable to blend the main storyline in the first with the romantic storyline, and they both fought for dominance while it seemed like two whole books slapped together. They're interwoven perfectly this time, with the relevance to the main action apparent.
Clare also willfully defies expectations, subverts what was seemingly put in place in Lady Midnight. The thing is, I didn't always love what she subverts it for. Ever since Sarah J. Maas got popular, it seems like it's ALWAYS THE FAIRIES nowadays. Not that this is unknown to Clare; the Seelie Court makes a HUGE impact on The Mortal Instruments, but since the first book started as more of a Gothic tale of magic and unfulfilled love, it was a letdown, for me, to jump to the Faeries.
And the death (again) of a CERTAIN CHARACTER from the first novel was surprising, to be sure, and so was the hand that dealt the killing blow; I had assume that that CERTAIN CHARACTER was actually the titular Lord of Shadows, until I came to understand it was the Unseelie King and we were going full-out Faerie. I liked that CERTAIN CHARACTER and wished that he'd been more fulfilled as a villain.
And while there's an excitement in following the Blackthorn clan to London and Idris, I miss the melding of the flashy modern world, in the shape of L.A., mixed with the strange and unique of the magical world from Lady Midnight. Though at least England does provide a bit of that dark romance that I was missing from the first novel.
The end is a little bit of a letdown. No one wants a political council meeting to be the climax to such a huge tale, and the loss of one main character actually seems ridiculously mandatory and unnecessary; I wasn't even certain what she was still doing there or why another CERTAIN CHARACTER lashes out at her. Shrugs. And I thought I knew where it was going, where the story was taking me, with Jules and Emma, making them an echo of the tragic couple from the first novel, but that was another subversion and... I'm not certain how I feel about that.
Emma does remain probably the strongest character, in my opinion, that Clare has written; while Clary remains a favorite of mine, Emma sort of fulfills what I had wanted Clary to be.
A solid entry, and I enjoyed it far, far more than I actually thought I would. Despite being nearly 700 pages long, it read fairly quickly, and I never felt a fatigue, which is a testament to its spot-on pacing.
I do have to say, I think it's hilarious, in a series that references anything and everything in pop culture, especially with fantasy fiction, the fact that she openly avoids mentioning Harry Potter is howl worthy, considering this world started off as Potter fanfiction. So things that could have been written off as another reference actually seem like she's ripping them off, because none of the characters mention it. Not a huge problem, just something I thought was funny.