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City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)

Title: City of Glass (#3 The Mortal Instruments)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: 24th of March 2009 – Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover – 541 pages

“There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity. “I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.” – City of Glass

Hello Hello! How are you?

It’s Saturday, yay, but we have an extra yay today as it’s another Shadowhunter Saturday! I’m really starting to adore these Saturday posts that I do with Fiona from Fi’s Bibliofiles for our Shadowhunter universe reading mission. If you haven’t heard about this yet and want to find out more, head over to my announcement here, and Fiona’s announcement here.

I have been having a bit of a bad week but I have to say that this book made me forget everything. I had been struggling with the first half of the first two books in these series, and then as soon as I picked this one up, it was fast-paced, action-packed and so much better.

So, today I’m bringing you my mini-review of City of Glass, and the spoilery discussion with Fiona’s answers! Just like last time, keep reading for my mini-review and Fiona’s thoughts on this book, and don’t forget to head over to Fiona’s blog to read her own mini-review along with my thoughts!

The first part of this post is a non-spoilery review of the third book in The Mortal Instruments series, and the second part contains many spoilers, plot points and all of Fiona’s point on them.


To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.


City of Glass by Cassandra Clare is the third book in The Mortal Instruments series, set in the Shadowhunter world. This is a YA fantasy paranormal series which has been getting hype for years, and I am very happy to say that I am finally seeing that hype, and am now bitten by the Cassandra Clare bug.

As I’ve said, the previous books started really slowly, and the first one I even wondered if it would actually get any better because it was cringey, eye-rolly and boring, but this book, wow, it just flew away with me right from the first page. In this book, we start off from where we ended in book 2, and I’m not going to go into too much detail in case I give anything away as this is the non-spoilery part of this review. But what I will say is that this book does not take part in New York like the previous ones, but instead, in Idris, the home of Shadowhunters and where the next part of this stories and many revelations are unveiled.

I was immediately hooked, as was Fiona, and this third instalment in this series was so fast-paced, action-packed and flowed much better than previous ones. I think only one part made me roll my eyes, and another part made me want to puke, but after the revelations at the end of the book, I don’t feel so bad about that now (you know what I mean if you’ve read it).

We met some great new characters in this book, my personal favourite was Amatis, and I have to say I got so angry at Sebastian, I was suspicious of him right from the start, and let’s just say that this book was very frustrating and had a lot of plot twists. The epilogue, on the other hand, was such a satisfying ending, I was so happy with how it ended, of course, I wanted more, but I feel like it is nicely set up for City of Fallen Angels and there is a lot of potential for new stories because of the unanswered questions.

“People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but its the way you live your life that matters.” – City of Glass


Overall, I enjoyed this book so much more than City of Bones and City of Ashes, it had so much more going for it right from the get-go, it was fast-paced, action-packed, emotional (Cassie had me tearing up quite a few times), it was frustrating, revelatory, it had big plot twists and suspicious characters. This was a great end to the first Shadowhunter trilogy and I am finally now seeing and understanding the hype. I suppose you could say I’m hooked on this story, this world, these characters, and I cannot wait to get to read more in this universe with our next read which is Clockwork Angel.

I gave this book 4 stars as I enjoyed it more than the previous two books and it had fewer issues with it. If you are still debating whether you should read this series then yes, yes you should, it starts slow, builds up and then just runs off with your heart and your brain and I am just so committed to these characters now. It was such a great read, we both enjoyed it and had a lot to say about it, amid many reaction gifs! I highly recommend this series and this author!

“In the end that was the choice you made, and it doesn’t matter how hard it was to make it. It matters that you did.” – City of Glass

Now I’m going to pass the reigns over to Fiona so we can hear all her thoughts on the plot elements and spoilery events of this book! We have both answered the same questions, if you have not read these books and do want to read them, I would advise you against continuing reading this post as there are SPOILERS!!

Here are Fiona’s answers for the more generic questions about the book!

What was your favourite moment?

“This one totally got me. I was hooked and there were lots of moments I was like oooooh damn that’s good fun. I really loved Jocelyn’s arrival, especially how Clary reacted. I thought that was really well done. I adore Alec and Magnus’ romance. I hope that when the series continues we get more of them as I really really want to know how that turns out. Then again I love Mangus and his sass. We had both kind of predicted that Jace and Clary were not siblings but it was kind of nice to see them actually getting to have a bit of romance. It really was a bit of a rollercoaster.

This is the “end” of the first trilogy do you think it was a good end?

“I think this had the best pacing of all three. It really did get the action going and again poor Simon got the worst of it! I think this did a really good job of closing off the current storylines but leaving room from more. We got a complete story, they defeated Valentine, they all coupled up, there is potential for happily ever after but there are enough grey areas to open up new stories.”

Have your thoughts about the series changed?

“This book definitely changed my opinion, I wasn’t convinced by the hype myself. And I am still not sold its the best series. The writing is not fantastic, there are moments where it is cringey, moments when it jumps over explanations or world-building. It is definitely not going to make it into my favourite books but I am enjoying them. I am finding myself quite attached to the characters, and I genuinely want to read more. We will see if the move to Infernal Devices changes that.

There is a second trilogy to this series. What do you think is going to happen next?

“There were some nice open questions at the end like what happened to Sebastian, what will happen with the new seats on the council? Clary refusing the Seelie Queen could be interesting and I do want to know what happens with Clary and Jace, Magnus and Alec. Does Clary ever train to be a Shadowhunter? Also, what will happen with Simon and the other vampires? I really think there are some interesting areas we could explore. 

And now for more spoilery, in-depth discussions about some of the plotlines!!

Simon getting dragged into another Shadowhunter mission:

“Poor Simon. It’s always Simon. I really wonder what Cassy Clare has against him as she just doesn’t seem to let him have a break. He is always nearly being killed or beaten up or kidnapped. He got dragged into it all because of Clary and now he is stuck in a world that doesn’t let him just be and I feel sorry for him. At least with him being able to move in the daylight he would have been able to have some form of regular life but again the Shadowhunters pull him in.

Clary makes a portal and falls in a magic lake:

“I think this was fun that Clary dived into using her new found powers so quickly in this book it really sped up the action. It set up a very clear, this is about Clary and her power storyline and that was awesome especially as it led to the resolution of the whole plot. The Lake and how Luke described it was a bit of obvious foreshadowing for me. I had guessed from his speech about how Shadowhunters couldn’t enter the water that it was most likely something to do with the Mortal Instruments plotline, which did kind of spoil the big reveal for me.

Luke’s sister – Herondale:

“I really liked this link back to Luke’s past as a Shadowhunter and how she linked back to the various other Shadowhunters we met. I also liked how she could give Clary insight into both her mother’s past and those bits Luke didn’t want to talk about. It was a nice way of tying that all up. Also the solace she could give Jace was also nice. I wish we had got a little more of her character. She seemed like she had a lot more to her that we didn’t get to see.

Simon being thrown in prison by the Clave:

Again Simon! I got really frustrated with him as a character at this point as he is just too trusting. He trusted the various Shadowhunters, he trusted the other prisoner, he just seemed to accept it and that really bothered me. This also really didn’t endear me to the Clave. This was rather clever of Cassy Clare. Valentine is the bad guy because he wants to bring the Clave to its knees, but he is kinda justified as they are incompetent, but his methods are awful so instead, our heroes get to save all and make world peace by solving both problems. Defeating the bad guy and ousting the corrupt government!

Magnus Bane in Idris and Ragnor Fell getting murdered by Valentine’s demons:

I LOVE MAGNUS. That’s all. I love him, he is so sassy and I just want to have coffee and talk shades of blue hair sparkle with him. I did like the little bit of doubt cast on Magnus over the Book of the White. I liked the twist of not finding Ragnor but finding Magnus instead, it seemed like all this build-up for Clary for it to just fall. That it is Magnus that has to help all along is kinda fun as I got the impression of Magnus getting a little fed up with being dragged into it all too.

The Book of the White – Clary and Jace go to find it – Ithuriel in the Wayland Manor:

I did feel this was another convenient plot point. We get to return to Jace’s childhood home where he can reminisce only to find out his dad was hiding an Angel in the basement without him knowing! I spent a good ten mins going “why did they knock all Valentines diaries off the shelves when they could have just read them”? The man kept diaries with his plans and his experiments. Both Clary and Jace have spent half the book moaning about not knowing what experiments he did on them. “THE NOTES WERE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM” ahhhhh!

Demons arrive in Idris as the wards go down on the Demon Towers:

“I agree with Ellie, you know that Valentine was going to attack the city we got the foreshadowing of exactly how he could break the wards if he got a demon into the city but this showing up halfway through the book was unexpected. I thought it would be the big battle at the end and to have it in the middle creating such a dark and desperate atmosphere was entertaining. The short sharp, perspective changes at this point really did create drama and it really did create the chaos feeling. The subtle reveal of Sebastian as a villain was great. He had that creepy feeling the whole way through and it was a gasp moment when he attacked Isabelle.


“I didn’t expect the fellow prisoner to be Hodge. It was a great way to link it all back. He was a great way to get a lot of inside information to Simon so we the readers knew what was going on. It real started changing the energy of the book, Hodge’s death on page really made Sebastian the bad guy. As Hodge meant so much to Jace, Alec and Isabelle it really hit home. I liked how flawed a character Hodge was.”

Sebastian kills Max – Sebastian is not Sebastian Verlac:

“This is the moment Clare had me. I audibly Gasped. Then proceeded to inundate Ellie with cry gifs. I don’t know why this hit so hard. I didn’t have an attachment to Max at all but I just wasn’t expecting him to be killed off.  I think this moment is when I realised I was into these books.

Clary’s mother arrives in Idris:

“I liked how this was handled. I like that Clary got mad! It was such the teenage reaction to all that emotion of missing her mum to boil over into anger about all her mum had kept from her I really thought it was good. We do have the case of the absent adult and the missing information being the sole aspect of the plot in the first book and I think Clary getting angry at that is a great way to combat that. 

Jocelynn as a character was rather blah. I found her kinda boring. Clary and Luke had built her up to be this strong warrior woman protecting everyone from her evil husband but she was just kinda dull, in the end. At least to me.”

Clary and Jace are not siblings – Sebastian is Clary’s brother:

“Phew! Thank god for that as I was really getting sick of the very cringy incest adjacent scenes. Ellie and I discussed this possibility as we were very much like why haven’t we heard anything about the incest plotline in the book community so it was kinda an “oh that’s why” moment for me rather than a “Yeah!, now they can be together at the moment”. I like that they get to be a couple but I still find it a little weird, just as they spent all that time thinking they were siblings.

I really feel sorry for Jace. He really is put upon too. To find out you are not who you were brought up as twice in only a few short months or so is a bit mind-boggling. I hope that we do see a return of Sebastian (as we are not sure he is dead) as that would be really interesting to deal with.”

Clary and Jace have angel blood:

“We knew that Valentine had done something to his children, due to their abilities and it was nice to get an explanation for those powers but this is where the book got a little wools for me again. There could have been so much more to this. But we only got the explanation in Jocelyn’s story as to what brought Valentine to do this. The “I want Power” explanation was just a little dull.”

The Clave and Downworlders: their alliance against Valentine thanks to Clary’s rune:

“I really liked how this came about. I like that it was Clary’s power and the unification that brought down Valentine. I was a little disappointed the battle lasted all of ten minutes, after all that deliberation which was a little dull to read about. With all the action and intensity in this book, Clary finding a way to defeat the hordes of demons was awesome and it does set up nicely for some interesting political machinations and friction in the next 3 in the series.

The Lake, the Angel and Valentine’s death:

Again I saw the foreshadowing as the Lake as the third Mortal Instrument very early on so a showdown on the water’s edge was also somewhat expected. I like that Jace and Clary came to it separately both hell-bent on saving the day their own way. I do love that in the end Valentine was slayed by his own miscalculated belief in himself. He thought he was worthy and deserving and that he was just in his actions and it backfired on him. I hate to admit it I wasn’t that shocked by the whole killing and resurrection of Jace. I don’t know why and I do like Jace as a character but it just didn’t register with me.

Another really long epilogue!

“Cassy Clare Queen of the huge Epilogue where everything gets a nice little bow. I didn’t mind tidying it all up in this case. I liked that we got a lot of unanswered questions answered and I do think it sets up some potential paths for the next books in the series. Overall I enjoyed this ending, we got a little bit from every character and got to see them trying to move on with life and I like that. I am excited to return to the New York Institute.

Fiona had some great answers on all those plot points, it was such a fun post to write today and I had a great – and frustrating, stressful, emotional – time reading it. This one was so much better and I really have started to love this world. I’m going to say it again in case it wasn’t clear, I’m so glad Clary and Jace are not siblings ahah! I wonder what is going to happen next, either way, I’m so excited and looking forward to it!  

Don’t forget to head over to Fiona’s post for her review and my thoughts on these elements!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon USWaterstonesBarnes and NobleAudible UKScrib’dKobo

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  1. I’m so happy to know you enjoyed this one more than the previous two! Honestly, my favorite from The Mortal Instruments series in the sixth and final book, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it! Great review as always 🙂

    1. Yes, it was much better and got started off with a lot of cool stuff right from page 1! Eeeeek, can’t wait to get to it, thank you so much! 🙂

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed this one.

    I can’t imagine what it was like reading the series not knowing the truth as I saw the show first, which makes it very clear from the beginning about that little detail through an alternate reality. So, I had completely different thoughts reading the books.

    And yes, poor Simon. The guy goes through it.
    ♥ Mae

    1. OH my lord, that was disgusting and yucky and it was just such a relief to finally realise it wasn’t true, we were getting to the point where we knew it must have been just a ploy by the author, but honestly, phew ahah! Can’t wait to watch the show too! Oh yes poor Simon, he deserves a big hug and I’m sure that this isn’t the end of him getting it all thrown at him aha! Thank you so much! 🙂

      1. Yeah, I could imagine that. The entire time I was reading it, I was like it’s not true. It’s fine… but if you didn’t know that I can see how it would be gross.
        ♥ Mae

        1. Hahah, so gross and now I’m SO HAPPY that they can be in love without the whole incest plot over their heads!! 🙂

  3. Glad to know you enjoyed it!
    Reading your reviews has kind of made me want to read more of the books in this series. I’ve not read any since the last book in the Infernal Devices came out. I enjoyed them more than the original trilogy, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of them.

    Also Simon always gets the short end of the stick the poor guy. And the incest plotline I had kind of forgotten about. I think I might have blocked it from my mind lol

    1. Thank you Sarah! So far, I’m about 1/3rd of the way through Clockwork Angel and I am enjoying it much more than the first Mortal Instruments series, so I’m very excited for all the next books eheh! Oh yeah, poor Simon, I want to give him a big hug! And that was so disgusting, I’m so very glad it’s over even though it’s still a bit weird because for nearly 3 whole books their romance was totally forbidden!

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