Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (Spoiler Free!)

8755785Genre: 

Young Adult, buy Urban Fantasy

Pages: 

725

Part of a Series?:

The final book of The Mortal Instruments series

Release Date: 

May 27th, stuff 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

My Review:

I will warn you now: there will be NO NO NO NO NO spoilers for City of Heavenly Fire in this review, but there will be spoilers for City of Bones, Ashes, Glass, Fallen Angels and Lost Souls. If you’re reading this and you haven’t read the first five, I can’t imagine why you’re here, but I would suggest not reading this review.

Now I’m going to jump in. I was very excited for this book but also incredibly apprehensive. I loved the way the first trilogy of this series ended, City of Glass is beautiful and it remains my favorite. Fallen Angels was disappointing to me, and Lost Souls was better but I just didn’t feel like the second half of the series was good for me. I was happy with how City of Glass ended.

That being said, now after reading City of Heavenly Fire, I can say…that City of Glass is still probably my favorite of the entire series but City of Heavenly Fire was incredible and I’m highly impressed and I thought that the ending was really great.

It wasn’t perfect though, but I’ll get to that later. I’m going to be as spoiler free as I can possibly be, but if you literally want to know nothing before you read this book, I suggest you go. I promise to be spoiler free, and vague but it still may not be enough for you.

First off, the story. When we leave Sebastian at the end of Lost Souls, with the Infernal Cup, and the ability to transform the Nephilim into darker versions of himself, I thought, where on earth is this going? We know Sebastian is insane, and that the demon blood in his body has made him into a sick person but I couldn’t see exactly where the story was going in this book. It opens up with Sebastian attacking Institutes in order to build up his Dark Shadowhunter army. The fear of him is real, and the building tension and fear throughout the story is very real. I was clutching the pages, anxious to get through because I had to know what happened next. It wasn’t just the whole “it’s the end of the series” anxiety but also the “Ohmygod, what is happening, what is Sebastian doing, what is going to happen to my favorite characters” anxiety.

The romance in the story is absolutely beautiful too. There are so many great romances in the Mortal Instruments series and seeing them interact and struggle and work together, it was beautiful, and I loved all of it. I do love that we get to see Jace and Clary fight together, side by side for the first time in the series. Its the first time we really truly see them as equals and I absolutely loved it. There are a few couples that don’t make it, all heartbreaking but done in ways that killed your heart but also made sense too, if that made sense. Its hard to explain without feeling like I’m revealing stuff but the couples that didn’t make it together, it hurt but it was done in a way that it made sense and it was heartbreaking in all the right ways. Plus there are a lot of FANTASTIC sexy scenes, enough to get all of us Shadowhunters all hot and bothered.

We’ve known for awhile now that we would meet the main characters of The Dark Artifices-Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn-would be introduced in this and I was surprised with the…frequency that they appeared in the story. I won’t say more than that but what little we get to know of them as young Shadowhunters-in-training in CoHF makes me absolutely love them and I can’t wait to dive into their stories later. I also like that we get what seems like hints for Lady Midnight in this book.

Again, from the hints, and from Clockwork Princess (if you haven’t read that, please skip to the next paragraph), that Brother Zachariah would be…no longer a Silent Brother anymore. Again, no spoilers, but this scene caused me to burst into uncontrollable tears and the interaction between him and Jace was beautiful. I marked it in my book because it was truly one of my favorite scenes in the book.

I did have some issues with the end. I think that Cassandra Clare could have been…harsher than she was, and that she could have taken more risks than she ended up taking. I was disappointed that the sort of sacrifices she made didn’t make as much of an impact as she could have. Its so hard to talk about it without spoilers but I just thought Cassie could have taken more risks. I thought that the direction she took with Simon’s story was the sort of risk I was looking for but it changed in the end to something I didn’t expect and was also kind of disappointing too. I think she went safe in the ending of the book, though heartbreaking and heart wrenching, could have been…more realistic, I guess is the word I’m looking for.

The conclusion of Sebastian’s story, I’ll just do words: unexpected. but kind of expected. perfectly written. perfect in general.

I had two favorite parts: when Zachariah, no longer a Silent Brother, meets Jace. Then there is a part when…a group of our favorite characters come into contact with a demon that makes them…see things. The things they see…its very emotional and I had to pause after I read that part in order to wipe the tears literally streaming down my face.

Basically, I am highly impressed with this book, and the fact that it brought together so much that has happened in the Shadowhunter world. We got flashes to the time of Tessa, Jem and Will, we got hints at the time of their children. We have everything of the Mortal Instruments time come together and wrap up and we have hints at what is to come in the future, and I think it all comes through nearly flawlessly and I applaud Cassie Clare a million times. I am proud to wear the fearless rune permanently on my shoulder :)

One last thing that’s SLIGHTLY (very slightly) spoilery: Simon’s band finally picks a name. And its WONDERFUL.

Ave Atque Vale, Shadowhunters. Until Lady Midnight!

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Fandom Friday-The Shadowhunter Chronicles

So I’ve decided to start a new segment of my blog called the Fandom Friday

This basically comes from my desire to find more fandoms…and this doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m trying to fill my life with more fandoms but I’m trying to be more open to other ones.

The biggest reason I’m doing this is because I’ve always felt like…so many fandoms preach acceptance and tolerance and equality and respect and all that. And yet…I’ve found that a lot of us nerds can be kind of judgemental on other fandoms, sick myself included. I mean, some people are REALLY judgemental and mean about it, sometimes.

And I’m trying to be better at it. And I’ve decided I want to learn more about different fandoms and kind of have people…backing up the fandom? That doesn’t sound quite right. I guess I just want people to write of the fandoms that they like and say why they like them, and what they mean to them, and maybe we can all start to understand each other.

Hey, I’m not saying that you have to like the fandoms. There are some things that we’re just not going to like. But I’m hoping that we all learn about some new ones, understand the ones we don’t like and finally figure out the ones that we don’t really understand.

So the first one is my own. I’m looking for anyone and everyone who would like to contribute to this. You can do any fandom that you’d like, except Harry Potter, Stars Wars and Doctor Who…ONLY because these are my three biggest fandoms and they are also really, really popular and I write about all three of these all the time. Any others though, free game, and leave a little comment below (make sure to click “email me for replies”) and we’ll get this going!

So this week’s first Fandom Friday is The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. And I know its Sunday but its been a busy weekend and we’ll just forget the days of the week just this once okay?

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Now, the reason that I pick the Shadowhunter Chronicles as my first fandom of the week, instead of Harry Potter or Star Wars or Doctor Who is that I have almost never had to really defend my obsession with these. These are VERY popular fandoms and very highly accepted fandoms and some people may shake their head at HOW obsessed I am, but I never really have to defend it as a whole.

The Shadowhunter series…those I am always, always, always defending. They are honestly a big reason why I’m trying to be more accepting of other fandoms, even the ones that I just think are plain awful. Then I realized…a lot of people have a problem with Cassie and her books. It goes both ways.

Officially right now, there are 8 Shadowhunter books in two different series. The Mortal Instruments takes place in present time and is as follow: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and the 2014 finale, City of Heavenly Fire. The Infernal Devices is a companion series, taking place in Victorian England. This series is complete: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess. Cassandra has three more series planned: The Dark Artifices, (Lady Midnight, Prince of Shadows and The Queen of Air and Darkness) which is a Los Angeles series taking place five years after the finale of the Mortal Instruments, TLH, which is acronymed and not named and will be following the children of the Infernal Devices series and a completely secret series, that will take place three years after the Dark Artifices series.

The books are an urban, contemporary fantasy. Its a world that we all recognize and know, but there’s more to it than we know. Demons roam our world, along with vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fae. And there are those that would protect the world from those demons, called Shadowhunters, humans with a dash of angel blood, warriors trained their entire lives to fight these demons. They have their own secret world, can shield themselves from us and have their own secret country, Idris. They use special weapons like seraph blades, blessed by angels to defeat demons, and use steles to draw “Marks” or “runes” on their body to give them extra or enhanced abilities in battle.

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The Mortal Instruments takes place in countemporary world, with Clary Fray, a sixteen year old girl who suddenly can see people and things she wasn’t able to see before. She stumbles upon some Shadowhunters while they are on the hunt, when she shouldn’t be able to see them. Shortly after, her mother is kidnapped and it is revealed that her mother is a Shadowhunter and once was married to a man named Valentine, who has a desire to “purify” the race of Shadowhunters and begin a superior order. Clary has to find her mother, and help to defeat Valentine, along with the help of her human best friend, Simon Lewis, the warlock, Magnus Bane, and her new Shadowhunter friends, Jace Wayland, Alec Lightwood and Isabelle Lightwood. The first book in the series, City of Bones, will be hitting theaters this summer, on August 23rd.

InfernalDevices

The Infernal Devices takes place in Victorian England at near end of the 19th century. Tessa Gray, again, is a human girl, who leaves New York to join her brother, Nate in England. She is kidnapped as soon as she reaches the dock, and soon learns that she has abilities she was never aware of: shape-shifting. As long as she’s holding the personal item of a person, she can change into them, and access their memories. According to her kidnappers, she’s being prepped to become the wife of a man called the Magister, who has a use for her and her talents. She is rescued by the Shadowhunter boys, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs and, just like Clary, is suddenly aware of a world that she wasn’t before. Her story  shows her trying to figure out what she is and why the Magister wants her, and what he has planned for her and the Shadowhunters.

I first discovered these books three years ago, in 2010. To keep a story short, my boyfriend and I had broken up, and lets just say it wasn’t a nice break up. It was kind of a messy one and a lot was going on at the time. My boyfriend and I had gone through a tough time, and broke up due to that, and a couple other reasons. I was feeling crappy at my job. I was taking five classes in college and was overwhelmed. Everything was just kind of down in the dumps and I was absolutely miserable. It SUCKS to break up with someone that you had plans for in the future. Of course, it all worked out, in the long run because we ended up back together and have been together for five years :)

But at the time, I just needed to be distracted. I didn’t want to think about all the crap that was going on; I needed distractions. I discovered Starkid during this time, and became super addicted to their Harry Potter musicals because of how much they made me laugh. And I found Cassandra Clare. I went to Borders to pick up a book, and I found City of Bones. I read it that night, and picked up City of Ashes the very next day, and picked up City of Glass the day after. Then I read Clockwork Angel. I got addicted FAST.

Now, a big part of the reason that I was addicted so fast, and that it remains one of my biggest fandoms, is because of what it did for me at that time. It really helped me. I needed to be distracted and it did just that. It kept me from being absolutely miserable. The stories are super funny, especially with Simon and Jace and their sarcasm. The pop culture references are always awesome, makes me think of Boss Joss Whedon and his pop culture references in everything that he does. Its action packed, and it has a lot of biblical and mythological aspects (though I do think she could go further with these). The world she builts is sexy and addicting and she spins a romance that I’m in love with. And Jace Wayland is a character that you just can’t get over, especially when you’re single and lonely haha.

But its also more than that. Despite what a lot of people say, I think Cassandra Clare is a great writer. I think she’s very contemporary and that’s the way I write. Not all of us are going to write like Jane Austen or whatever. Not all of us can write classically but that doesn’t mean we aren’t great writers and I think she’s a great writer. I also don’t think that she’s “stolen” all the things people believe she has. I believe she used a lot of it in her fan fiction but that was her fan fiction and let’s move on. And yes, there are allusions to different worlds from different books, but doesn’t everyone do that? There are no 100% original stories anymore. We all tell the same stories, but HOW we tell it, and the characters we have, in the places we have…that’s what makes our stories unique. Cassandra Clare pulled from J.K. Rowling who pulled from J.R.R. Tolkien who pulled from Norse mythology which…and on and on.

But sometimes, we just enjoy things that aren’t literary masterpieces. Not every book I read is going to be an excellent example of literary prowess. Sometimes I just want my not so guilty pleasure book. I enjoy these books. I love the stories and I love the characters and they’re good for me.

And I do like the ideas that Cassie brings in. She talks about fears a lot. She talks about bravery and courage and the idea of fears. Clary is afraid of loving Jace, she’s afraid of her father, she’s afraid of a lot of things. Jace is afraid of letting himself love and be loved, both in family and romantic ways and he’s afraid of Clary. Isabelle is afraid to let her tough girl guard down. Simon is afraid of losing his best friend. Luke and Jocelyn are afraid for Clary‘s safety and what Valentine is capable of. Alec is afraid of his sexuality and coming to terms with it. Valentine is afraid of not having control. And a lot of times these fears hold them back, and cause more problems than anything.

And she doesn’t preach of just overcoming your fears, but learning to accept them and learning to live with them. This is a huge reason why I have the Fearless rune tattoo on my arm. I really agree with the way she approaches fear, and courage and bravery, and overcoming and accepting fears. These people aren’t fearless, no one can be fearless but you can learn to live with your fears.

One last thing, I do like that Cassie has included gay, bisexual and lesbian characters. Alec is gay, and Magnus is bisexual and Aline and Helen are lesbian. I really like how a familiar concept can be presented in an unfamiliar territory. I do love that more and more authors are exploring these in books, not just in subtext but in more obvious ways. I love that even though Cassie gets letters from parents complaining about the LGBT characters, she continues to write about them. Its fantastic.

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So maybe you’ll never be a huge Cassandra Clare fan, or even a fan at all. But maybe you can understand and respect my own obsession with it, the way I am starting to respect YOURS!

And don’t forget, I am looking for some guest blog posts from ANYONE on their fandoms! Comment below, with what fandom you’d like to write about. It can be anything: movie, tv show, book series, video game, card game, cartoon, whatever. I want to learn ALL about it. Comment below and I’ll be able to contact you and you can be part of the Fandom Friday :)

Can’t wait!

And Then I Got Another Tattoo…

Yes. Oh, buy yes. I went there guys. I definitely went there.

I got my sixth nerd tattoo. I so went there. I have 4 Harry Potter tattoos (one of them is half HP and half Something Corporate) and a Star Wars tattoo.

And today, see I got my sixth tattoo.

I got my Mortal Instruments tattoo today. I got my Shadowhunter rune, order Fearless.

Thats me! With my new tattoo!

And there is a close up.

I am insanely happy with it. I had an appointment today to get my tattoo and it worked out perfectly, because I was having a terrible day. This cheered me up immensely. It looks freakin fantastic, didn’t hurt at all and was fairly reasonable priced. If you live in Southern California, I truly recommend Bob at Above All Tattoo in Fullerton. Amazing job and a super cool guy.

Some of you might be wondering, what the hell is that anyway? So you all know how obsessed I am with Cassandra Clare and her Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices series. The series focuses on a group of warriors called Shadowhunters. They are humans, with angel blood, who fight demons and keep the peace between warlocks, fae, werewolves and vampires.

Now they use a variety of weapons to accomplish it: daggers, seraph blades, whips, bow and arrows, etc. But they also have these object called a stele: a wand like object that draws both permanent and temporary Runes…black tattoos that give Shadowhunters various “powers”…they can give them strength or stealth or silence or they can open things, etc.

I chose the Fearless rune to tattoo on my body. The superficial reason is that its one of the best looking ones.

But the real reason I got this tattoo (besides my LOVE for this author and her series) was that I would love to be fearless.

Two of my tattoos, my Harry Potter tattoos, have to do with death: Deathly Hallows symbol and “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”. I did these because I’m terrifed of death and I want to be unafraid of it, the way Harry and his parents were. They greeted death, they didn’t try to cheat death, like Voldemort and I think that’s something that’s extremely admirable. Death scares me more than anything.

But I’m also scared of so much else. I’m scared of my future, I’m scared of bugs, I’m scared of heights, I’m scared meeting new people and I’m scared of the dark. I’m kind of an anxious and scared person. And I don’t want to be that kind of person. Over the last year, I’ve definitely tried to change that. I’m trying to overcome my fears and become a better person. i don’t want my fears to hold me back from experiencing and loving life.

So that is why I chose the Fearless rune tattoo. I want it to be a sort of reminder that fear is temporary and that you can overcome it. I can never be completely fearless…but I can begin to overcome these fears, and tackle them and handle them. And the Fearless rune, while temporary for Jace and Alec in the books, gives both of them the courage to overcome their fears. Alec eventually realizes that he can come out as gay and he can be honest about his relationship with Magnus. Jace can overcome his fear of showing love for others, not only just his romantic love for Clary, but also his family love for the Lightwoods. And it gives me the courage to overcome my own fears.

And damn it looks so badass!

If you haven’t had a chance to see my tattoos or some of my friends’ awesome nerd tattoos, check out this blog post here.

And feel free to share your nerd ink with me. I’m always down to do another post about some epic nerd ink!

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Book of The Week: City of Bones

So…I haven’t read anything new this week. I’ve been really busy, help honestly! I have a big exam in my art history class coming up…I just had a big exam in children’s literature…my best friend is getting married…all sorts of things!

So I’ve started some new books, dosage I’m currently reading The Eyre Affair by Jaspar Fforde, Anne of Green Gables and a book called The Demon King by Cinda WIlliams Chima. I literally will have a TON of books to review and share with you guys very very soon, and I know Jackie will too. This week…we got a little lazy…and that’s okay! Sometimes that happens.

And today, today is a VERY big day. Its Harry Potter Bowling Night! If you live in Southern Californa, you need to be at this event tonight! Its going to be epic and see if you can spot me, I’ll be a Helper Elf all night :D

So because of all this busyness and whatnot, I’m doing one of my absolute favorite books today. I’m sure those of you who read this blog know my absolute obsession with Cassandra Clare and her two series, The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices. However, some of you may little to nothing about these books at all and are wondering what the heck I’m talking about all the time!

Plus I’m getting my MI tattoo on Monday, so I’m really really excited about this!

So this week’s book of the week is:

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

 This book is the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, which up to now, has 5 books, the 6th one slated to be released sometime in 2014. Now I went to the bookstore, I needed something new to read and this book caught my eye. The premise sounded interesting, it had Holly Black’s recommendation on it (I adore Holly Black!) and to top it off, it was fairly inexpensive (10 dollars for a fat paperback? I’m sold…) so I decided to try it.

I finished City of Bones that day. I went out and bought the second book, City of Ashes the next day and finished it that day. I went out and bought the third book, City of Glass the day after that and finished it that day. I spent 30 bucks in 3 days because it was so good! I had to wait about five months for the next one, City of Fallen Angels to come out but it was okay. I was hooked.

The basic premise of City of Bones is this: Clary Fray is a normal, every day girl living with her mom, Jocelyn, in New York City, hanging out with her best friend, Simon. That is, until one day, Clary sees people that no one else can see: Jace, Isabelle and Alec. She learns that they are called Shadowhunters, a group of humans who have a spark of angel blood and are trained to fight demons. When her mother is kidnapped and she is attacked by a demon, she gets wrapped up in this world. She soon finds her that her mom is a former Shadowhunter, and was kidnapped by her father, Valentine, a very rebellious and evil Shadowhunter. She has to figure out a way to save her mom, and help Jace, Alec and Isabelle figure out what Valentine is up to…and try and discover who she really is.

The Good or The Bad: 

Obviously this book has a ton of good. Its one of my favorite books, and I’m obsessed with the MI series so yeah, definitely a lot of good going on here.

I love the urban fantasy of it. I love true and high fantasy, don’t get me wrong. Just put the word fantasy there and I’m going to read it. I really like, however, with this one that it takes place in modern day, in modern New York City but it brings that fantasy element of demons and fae and vampires and werewolves and warlocks to the front. It seems so real and believable. Who knows what could be going on around us? Like Muggles, mundanes don’t notice whats going on most the time. So Cassandra spins a world in our world that’s just awesome.

I want to be a Shadowhunter. I want to be one. I know the life is dangerous and the life expectancy isn’t great but I want to be one. Cassandra Clare makes you want to be a Shadowhunter. I want seraph blades and a whip to fight demons. I want Runes on my skin to make me faster or stronger or fearless. I want to be part of that world. It sounds so magical. I’m getting close enough as I can, getting a fearless tattoo and putting together a cosplay outfit of Isabelle Lightwood.

The characters are great. I love Clary. Clary has been getting a lot of comparison to Bella Swan lately but I’d say Clary takes the cake there easily. Clary has no idea anything about her life, really, or her mother and father’s. She is suddenly thrust into this world, learning she is of Shadowhunter blood, but I feel like she takes it in stride. Sure, she’s surprised as hell. But she is so concerned for her mom and the safety of Simon that she runs headlong into everything.

The supporting characters are so great as well; I love them all. Isabelle, Simon, Alec, Hodge Starkweather, Luke, Magnus, even Church the cat. You just have to love them all. They are such dynamic characters in that…they’re all struggling with something and they all change through out the series. They don’t stay the same, not one of them. That is a sign of well-written characters. They are all so different as well. I also like that Alec is gay, and he and Magnus eventually have a relationship. It is awesome to see a gay couple in a novel, so openly, and having them deal with that. I like seeing it again with Aline in the later books.

Oh, but Jace. Jace Wayland. We all know my crush on Jace Wayland. He’s such a pain in the ass but he’s sexy as hell, as Isabelle puts it. He’s got this wry and sarcastic charm, and he’s physically good looking and he’s funny and quick and clever and a badass Shadowhunter. His dynamic, his attitude, everything about him drives you insane. But damn, do you want him and Clary to get together. I’m usually not a big rooter for relationships, I am more like STAB THAT GUY! But I wanted that one badly.

Which leads to me to the villain, Valentine. Valentine isn’t in your face evil like a lot of villains that you read. He’s slick, he’s cunning, he’s conniving. He’s sick. He hurts because he enjoys it. The further along in the books, the better you see this. I will say this, SPOILER ALERT: But he tells Jace and Clary at the end of City of Bones that they are brother and sister, and by this point, both of them are hooked, gone, in love. You learn later in City of Glass, that this is a lie, a complete lie. He tells this lie simply for the enjoyment of watching them suffer. He’s a damn good villain. Ugh, Valentine.

The only little problem that I had was the love triangle. We alllll know how I feel about the love triangle. I’m just not a fan of it. I feel like it takes a lot away from the plotline. Like, ugh, stop worrying about the two boys and go fight these people or go save this person and whatnot. So the whole love triangle thing between Simon, Clary and Jace was like AGGHHH. But I will say, its not as bad as most books go. While Clary is like, Simon or Jace?, she doesn’t focus on it all the time. Honestly, her main goal through all the books, what she does everything for, is to save her mother. So there’s that.

I could go on and on and on and on and on about this series for days. I love it that much. But I won’t do that to you. It’s not nice. But seriously, I recommend you picking up these books and enjoying them! I have, I love them and they’re great. They come from a super awesome author, who I had the chance to meet a few years ago, right after City of Fallen Ashes came out.

She was the nicest lady, and a serious inspiration for a budding writer like myself. She signed each and every book that her fans brought to the signing (I have CIty of Bones signed as well, but I lent it out to a very trustworthy friend). Since then, I’ve become pretty obsessed with her companion series, The Infernal Devices, following Shadowhunters in the Victorian Age. She also has a series, the Dark Artifices, planned to take place in modern day Los Angeles, which I am so excited for because I’m a Southern California girl and that is AWESOME.

Also, the movie adaptation, starring Lily Collins as Clary Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland is hitting theaters this summer, August 23rd 2013 so definitely check that out.

So click the link above, it’ll take you straight to the book on Amazon and enjoy! See you next week for the Book of the Week.

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Cassandra Clare’s Books

The Mortal Instruments Series
City of Bones
City of Ashes
City of Glass
City of Fallen Angels
City of Lost Souls
City of Heavenly Fire (due out September 2014)

The Infernal Devices
Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Prince
Clockwork Princess (due out March 2013)