City of Glass is the third book in The Mortal Instruments series, a young adult urban fantasy series set in New York written by Cassandra Clare. It was originally published in the United States in hardcover on March 24, 2009.
Plot[edit source | editbeta]
After the battle at the river against Valentine in 'City of Ashes', Jace resolved to treat Clary as just his sister, recognizing that he was having an emotional and psychological breakdown and that his incestuous feelings towards her are as wrong as she has been proclaiming ever since they learned they were brother and sister. Ironically, Clary has found herself now in the throes of her own breakdown when he reveals his new intentions, and is devastated by his rejection-though they both know it is the right thing to do. A glimmer of hope is ignited when Clary learns from an old friend of her mother's, Madeleine, that Jocelyn is actually under a spell, rather than in a coma. The key to unlocking the spell is to find a warlock named Ragnor Fell, who lives in the city of Alicante-the city of Shadowhunters.
Picking up from that point in the story, 'City of Glass' begins a few days after Clary and Simon's incredibly awkward break-up, focusing on her adjustments to the changes in her friendships and relationship, and her pain at being rejected by Jace. Even though Alicante is incredibly dangerous, Clary is determined to find a way in which to feel useful in her own life, to take away the sense of helplessness she has been overwhelmed with since the end of 'City of Ashes'. Gaining the permission of the Clave and Alicante, she enlists the help of Magnus Bane to create a portal that will send the Lightwoods, Jace, Clary and Madeleine to the city. Desperate to keep Clary safe from what he deems will be an inevitable imprisonment and interrogation, Jace devises a plan to keep her in New York, by using Simon. Luring Simon to the institute, he asks him to lie to Clary about their departure time. Simon refuses, but their argument over the issue is interrupted when the Institute is attacked by Forsaken. During the attack, Magnus opens the portal and sends them through-but not before Madeleine is killed, taking her secrets with her. Simon is seriously injured, which leaves Jace with no choice but to bring him through the portal as well or risk the Forsaken finishing Simon off.
Clary arrives at the institute to find the Institute a wreck from the attack and the portal closed. Magnus explains to her what has happened, and despite Luke's relief that Clary will be safe, she is overcome with anguish at being left behind. Using her powers to create one of those extraordinary runes of her own making, Clary creates a portal and goes through. Luke attempts to stop her, but instead both are dragged through to Alicante. Since none will enter the city who are not authorized, they are thrown outside of the city into the surrounding fields, mountains blocking their path to Alicante. They land in a strange lake, with odd reflective powers, and Clary almost drowns. Luke partially transforms into a wolf, using his animal strength to drag her free of the underwater plants she is tangled in. Once they are out of the lake, he urges her to throw up as much water as possible. He explains that they landed in Lake Lyn, which is the very lake that Raziel emerged from with the Mortal Cup and Sword, offering the instruments to Jonathon Shadowhunter (the first of the Shadowhunters). Lake Lyn has been cursed for all Shadowhunters since; the water is incredibly toxic and if ingested, causes intense hallucinations and fever, followed by death.
When Luke asks for her Stele, Clary realizes with horror that she has dropped it in the lake. Since they cannot attempt to retrieve it, Luke says they must move as fast as possible to get help, as the effects of the lake could begin to take hold of Clary's senses soon. They travel to Alicante, passing through one of the Shadowhunter's graveyards. Upon seeing the Fairchild crypt, Clary has a vision of her own grave and Luke realizes she has little time as the effects of the lake water have taken over. Upon reaching the city, she is almost delirious, fevered and confused. Using a hidden alley, Luke and Clary slip into the city, only for her to collapse into a heap. Luke carries her to the home of a Shadowhunter known as Amatis, who reluctantly takes them in and helps to nurse Clary back to health. When the fever passes and the poisons of the water have worn off, Clary learns that Amatis is Luke's sister, who shunned him when he became a werewolf. Clary also learns more about the previous inquisitor and her son Stephen, as Amatis was Stephen's first wife. When Luke became a werewolf, Valentine demanded that Stephen have their marriage annulled, as the thought of any Shadowhunter being associated with any family or person touched by demons or Downworlders goes against his new world order. After her recovery, she remains behind with Luke's sister Amatis in the city while the others are introduced to Aline Penhallow and her cousin Sebastian Verlac. Jace flirts with Aline, angering Simon since it's clear he is still not over Clary and might play with her feelings. Some members of the Clave want Simon to lie and say that the Lightwood family are Valentine's spies, but Simon refuses, which leads into his imprisonment.
Clary sneaks away from Luke's sister's house to find the others, only to find Jace and Aline kissing each other, which initiates a fight between the two siblings; Jace yells harsh words at Clary to drive her away and cause her to return home. Clary leaves, heartbroken over his harsh words. Sebastian offers to take Clary home, only to find an angry Amatis waiting for her. Meanwhile over at the Pennhallows, Jace is angry at himself for saying all of that (he was only forced to do so to drive Clary away) so he punches the window and gets hurt, and Alec makes Jace heal like a mundane would heal. Clary sorts things out with Amatis, and Sebastian later catches up with her to help her with her plan to help her mother. The two go to Ragnor Fell's house the next day, where Clary is shocked to discover that Ragnor has been killed and that Magnus was there in his place. Before Clary reveals Magnus' identity, Magnus freezes time and informs Clary that she must gain a spellbook in the Wayland country home. After unfreezing time, Clary convinces Sebastian that they should leave and they travel to the ruins of Fairchild manor, where she and Sebastian share a kiss that she breaks due to it not feeling right and he then gets a little aggressive towards Clary. Sebastian then informs Clary that Simon is in jail. In jail, a projection of Raphael appears before Simon. Many vampires are willing to drink his blood (including Raphael himself) to become a Daylighter, a vampire that can withstand sunlight.
Clary returns to Amatis's house where Jace is waiting for her. He apologizes to her for his harsh words, only for the two to fight once again about him not telling her about Simon being in jail to which Clary even throws glass plates and dishes at him in anger (which he easily avoids). After the two manage to calm down from their fight, they then eventually travel (through a portal Clary made) to Wayland manor, manage to get the spell book disguised as a cookbook only to discover the remains of an experiment Valentine had been running on a half-dead angel. They then learn through the angel that Jace has demon blood. The two barely make it out of the house alive when it begins to explode and while lying on the ground together afterward, they end up passionately kissing in the heat of the moment and share a brief moment of passionate romance. Clary stops the two of them when things begin to go too far, accusing Jace of using her so he can hate himself when he says he blames his demon blood for his incestuous feelings for her. The two return to find Alicante in flames. Meanwhile Isabelle just saves Aline from being grabbed by a demon and Aline then runs off. Alec goes after her only to find Magnus, where they resolve their relationship and share a kiss. Clary gives the spellbook to Magnus so he can wake up her mother.
Jace, Clary, and Alec leave to break Simon out of jail where Simon is kept and breaks both him and Samuel (Simon's roommate out), only to discover that Samuel is actually Hodge, the previous keeper of the Institute. He informs them that the mirror, the last of the Mortal Instruments, is actually the Lake Lyn. Hodge is then killed by Sebastian, who claims that he did it to keep them out of danger. This causes the four to realize that Sebastian is a spy for Valentine, who then flees after a difficult battle with them. They return to the Hall, only to horrifically discover that Sebastian has killed Max. After Max's funeral, Jace sneaks into Clary's bedroom and tells her he loves her and always will. The two then fall asleep on her bed together, holding hands. The following morning, Jace leaves a note behind for Clary to find (along with his family's ring telling her in the note that he wants her to keep it) and sneaks off to find Sebastian.
Clary manages to convince the Clave to fight with the Downworlders and teaches them a binding rune that the dying angel showed her. It is during this time that she discovers after talking with her mother, who had finally awaken from her coma by Magnus through the spell book, that she had received angel’s blood while in the womb and that Jace is actually the son of Stephen Herondale, son of the last Inquisitor, who had also received angel's blood during his own experiment while he was in his mother's womb. This means that Jace and Clary are not siblings, Jace does not have demon blood but rather more angel blood and further reveals that Sebastian is actually Clary's brother. Clary then marks Simon with the Mark of Cain, a powerful protection spell, with the intent of saving him from Raphael, who says that vampires will only fight with Shadowhunters against Valentine if they give him Simon. The exchange causes the vampires to fight with the Clave. Meanwhile, Jace finds Sebastian talking to Valentine, who intends to use Lake Lyn to summon Raziel to destroy all the Shadowhunters not bound to him. After Valentine leaves, Jace battles Sebastian, who informs him the actual familial bonds that Jocelyn told Clary, finding out that they were never brother and sister after all.
Clary portals to Lake Lyn to stop Valentine from summoning Raziel, only for Valentine to capture her using a spell to paralyze her body and voice. He then reveals to her his intent of using her as a sacrifice to complete his plan and also out of spite since he believes she is the cause of Jocelyn's ongoing hatred towards him. When Jace arrives to rescue her moments before Valentine is about to sacrifice her, Valentine instead uses Jace's blood for the sacrifice by stabbing him in the chest, and successfully summons Raziel. However, due to Valentine’s selfish plans and because Clary managed to put her name on the Binding runes instead of her father's, Raziel sees through Valentine's schemes and kills him. When Raziel offers to grant Clary one wish, Clary asks for Jace to come back to life. Raziel then fulfills Clary’s wish, bringing Jace back to life.
Afterwards in the epilogue, taking place three days later, the two finally meet up after Jace leaves the infirmary for his wounds. The two then kiss, now finally able to be together. Later, they head downstairs to join the others for a celebration of the successful war. Here, the Queen of the Seelie Court asks a favor from her, to request Meliorn to take the Faery's seat of the Council. She promises a favor in return, which Clary objects. She joins Jace and her friends to watch the fireworks in celebration of the successful battle with nothing to keep them apart.
Cover and Title[edit source | editbeta]
The cover features Sebastian. The title refers to Alicante (the City of Glass).
Reception[edit source | editbeta]
Reception for the book was mixed, with Kirkus Reviews stating "Derivative though it may be, melodramatic emotional wallowing has never been so much fun." Booklist gave City of Glass a positive review, writing that it had a "satisfying end". The School Library Journal gave a mixed review, citing "predictability and overblown writing" as a downfall of the novel while saying that fans of the series will still be satisfied by the book.