City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
This is the third book in the Mortal Instruments series, and it seemed to me that each one was better than the last. I don’t mean that as flattery, but as an assessment of Clare’s improvement as a writer, meaning that the first book, City of Bones, needed much improvement. The first half of this book has many of the flaws of the first book in the series, especially Jace’s pointless jerkiness and Clary’s idiotic tendency to run straight into danger without thinking. But the second half finally answered lots of questions and wrapped things up in a very satisfying way. When he’s not being an asshole, Jace is prone to making the kinds of sweeping declarations of undying love that teenage girls daydream about. It’s a series written for the kind of readers who love Twilight uncritically, but it has fewer of Twilight’s obvious issues with sexism. It also makes attempts to be more inclusive and diverse, since the plot hinges on Downworlders and Shadowhunters coming together to defeat a villain who wants to cleanse the Earth of vampires, werewolves, fairies and warlocks. There are descriptions of Alicante as full of Shadowhunters of all races, but the main characters are mostly white. One subplot involves a gay character finally coming out to his parents.
The climax had two too many near-death experiences for the two heroes. When someone is gravely injured, it increases tension, but when those injuries heal with miraculous speed, just in time to be compounded with additional life-threatening wounds, and then nobody dies, it stretches credulity and makes it all seem too easy. This novel ends in a way that rounds off the trilogy nicely. It could easily have ended for good here, but there are more books. The final chapter includes just enough deliberately planted loose ends to allow for them.