Main Characters: Clary, Jace, Simon, Maryse, Isabelle, Maia, Alec, Magnus, Jocelyn, Luke, The Seelie Queen, and all the other minor characters who have survived so dar. And some who haven’t – seems that Sebastian is only sort of dead.
Camille – the head of the Manhattan vampire clan. She left the clan in Raphael’s hands but she is back. And, it turns out she is the one killing the Shadowhunters at Lilith’s command. She justifies it by saying that she is only killing those who were part of the circle.
Kyle/Jordan Kyle – turns out he is the werewolf that turned Maia. Part of a group of werewolves who protect others.
Main Premise: There’s something going on with Jace and his nightmares and he’s pushing Clary away as a result. Someone is out to get Simon. We meet Camille early on when she makes an offer to Simon and tells Simon that she can help him if he helps her, we aren’t really sure as to the details of what this deal will be.
Shadowhunters are being found dead. We don’t know why or have any real clue as to who is killing them. It all comes together when we discover that Lilith is the culprit. Yep, Lilith the first demon and the greatest (at least as far as she is concerned). She is out to bring her “son” Sebastian back from the dead the way Jace was brought back. And she’s evil and crazy. She and her cult of followers are experimenting on mothers and new-borns trying to recreate what Valentine did. Clary’s mom sees the news story about a dead baby and thinks she knows what happened. But, she’s so upset by seeing the baby, and she’s also so preoccupied by her upcoming wedding to Luke that Clary is the one who ends up investigating.
So, where we end up: Simon had been lured to Lilith. Jace was tricked, in his dreams, to accepting Lilith (she was in the form of Max) and he accepted her mark and Lilith was able to control Jace and have Jace bring Clary to her. Lilith’s plan was to set right the balance that Clary upset by having Jace brought back from the dead. She says that she can now bring someone back – because if the light gets a soul then the dark gets a soul too. While Lilith is destroyed by Simon when Lilith tries to strike Clary and strikes Simon instead, and when Simon bit Sebastian that gave Sebastian just enough life back that when Jace is alone with Sebastian, he can control Jace and he makes Jace cuts himself to bleed on him and they become one (sort of… Jace’s bleeding on Sebastian brings Sebastian back to life, and Sebastian can be inside Jace’s head too… so it’s more then simply Sebastian being alive again). And that was moments after Clary and Jace made up and all seemed right between them.
Locations: NY City (the Institute, the City of Bones, and other general NYC locations like diners, factories, apartment buildings).
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: Well, the big one is that Jace and Sebastian are now tied. Jace was supposed to be re-baptised (of a sort) by the Silent Brothers but it didn’t happen. He has the mark of Lilith on his chest and while Clary distorted it enough to free him temporarily it obviously didn’t last. Clary was given a bell by a messenger of the Seelie Queen, which will summon the Seelie Queen if the need arises. While Clary initially thinks that will never happen, I am sure the gift wouldn’t have occurred if it won’t be important later. It looks like there will be more between Simon and Isabelle then something just casual. Kyle and Maia are probably together. Clary isn’t giving her powers enough attention. The mark of cain means that people who try to harm Simon get turned into a pile of salt. And Will Herondale (yes, from the Infernal Devices series) is mentioned – by Camille when she asks for Magnus and talks to him (and Alec tries to get info about him out of Camille but doesn’t manage to do so). It seems that Magnus and Will had some sort of relationship in the past. Camille has escaped. Simon still doesn’t really seems to accept what it means to be a vampire and he isn’t living with them. He has finally tasted a human though and that human later turned up dead – although he isn’t the one who killed her. And there have been other “daylighters”, at least according to Camille. Finally, there’s something that Magnus thinks that makes him smile when thinking about having Alec for ever. But we don’t know what (they fought most of the book once they return from their trip, and they fight about Magnus’ past and their future together). Magnus also comments to Simon at one point (and then Simon thinks about it again later so we are reminded about it again and my conclusion is that this will be important as a result).
Review: This is an example of why I don’t like it when an author takes a series which is set to be a certain number of books and then changes that number. To get the story arc to work, it usually leads to all sorts of contortionism. And that felt like it was the case here. In some ways, it would have been better, in my opinion, to have had something totally unrelated to the whole Sebastian/Valentine/Circle/War thing as the driver of how many ever books are coming next. It was also a little disappointing to see so little action. We hear that Clary is training and learning, but we get the scene with the Hydra demon and the end (and the end was not all that great) where she basically hides in the bushes the whole time. What about seeing her do some damage. How about seeing her use her skill creating runes?
It was comforting to see some characters that I had been so attached to back again. And it was easy to fall back into the world that has been created. However, Shadowhunters and downworlders and the Accords – it was so nicely tied up at the end of the last book that it felt like the first act of contortion to see them twisted and falling apart. The second act of contortion was when Jace and Clary – which was going so well – all of a sudden fell apart. Jace wasn’t breaking up with Clary but he behaved that way and for a while we don’t know why. Him wanting to protect Simon so that he could feel closer to Clary was a crazy kind of logic, especially since he hadn’t broken up with Clary. Bringing Sebastian back was the final, and largest, act of contortion, it was the one that bothered me most.
There was no additional world building, since it wasn’t necessary. The world was finely built in the first three installments. the characters were very well developed but Jace’s sudden insecurities and him feeling like he doesn’t know who he is felt forced. Like it was a way to create conflict, when it wasn’t necessary and the plot could have been much more believable. Jace being so insecure was so not in line with the character that the author had built up until now. Now, Alec’s insecurities, given his history with Jace, made much more sense. But I wish we had seen more of him.
The only thing that didn’t feel nearly as forced was the way the Clave wasn’t involved. Had the been more involved, we wouldn’t really have had much of a story. We wouldn’t have had the little bit of action that we had.
All things considered, we didn’t get enough action, we just got a lot of teenage drama. But, I guess given this is a YA book, that shouldn’t have been so unexpected. I think my expectations were higher given how much I liked the other books and how much the other books did not feel like just a bunch of teen drama. So, this installment was ok. Nothing too wonderful but not bad enough to take away from my eagerness regarding the second Infernal Devices (and in some ways, I am more eager since I know we might get some of Magnus!)