This book came out last month and I was looking forward to it. I loved the first three in this series and I was really impressed with what she was able to do in this unique world she created. The characters were lovable and well developed. After the big plot points were done at the end of the third book I couldn't help but wonder: "Where will she go next?"
Unfortunately, this books was not good. It was compeltely self-indulgent, and in all the worst ways. The charm in the way Clare was able to use classic literary quotes in the first three apparently wore off and most of the time it felt like she was just throwing in random quotes to show off, not because it fit and added to the story. It has the feel of Breaking Dawn in that she is obviously writing for herself, so obsessed with her own creation, that she doesn't really care that she's kind of ruining what she had achieved before(or how readers feel), in the previous novels.
No character in this entire book is likable anymore (especially Alec, OMG what a HORRIBLE character to have to suffer through). Except for Simon, I actually liked him more in this book than the others. Other than him, everyone has turned either into a stupid/mushy/lovey/disgusting couple OR an annoying/whiny/petulant/dramatic couple. Sometimes both at the same time. There is SO MUCH DRAMA AND NOT THE GOOD KIND! For most of the book I felt like hardly anything had happened, save for a few tiny dramatic twists in Jace and Clary's story that meant nothing to me, even before I finished, because we ALL KNOW it's going to work out in the end. And when something finally does happen to push the plot along, this frightening event is SECONDARY to all the relationship drama going on. WHY is all the relationship drama between everyone more important than the horrible things going on behind the scenes? It makes no sense, and only decreases the sense of dread I'm assuming Clare wanted us to feel as it neared the ending.
Clare has taken Jace, an originally strong, Byronic hero and turned him into a hollow, Edward Cullen figure. It never stopped upsetting me throughout the book what she does to him. Even the way Clare describes Jace has changed. It makes him seem weaker, even in his presentation. He loses his depth by continually struggling with the same old problems that he's already tackled in the first three books. Along with that, Clare has changed Clary from a strong, spunky heroine to a dense, immature girlfriend who is rendered weak in the knees just by Jace's touch. Does that type of leading lady sound familiar to anyone else? Since when did Clare become Stephenie Meyer? Not only that, but the way she continuously describes their love affair again and again in the same overly-dramatic terms is sickeningly similar to the Twilight series. Especially because most of the book is spent showing us Jace's self-loathing actions predominantly made up of inexplicably pushing Clary away to save her from himself, then sulking.
What was so disappointing is that what Clare had before this book was so special. But she just couldn't leave well-enough alone. With this one book she has undermined and maimed this series. And the baby images were so good and terrifying, too! She wasted that great idea on a lame story and bad writing. Again, like Breaking Dawn, I have a feeling many fans will just be pretending this 4th doesn't exist. Unfortunately the ending of this book is not the ending. I guess, had I cared more, it would have been a cliff hanger, but since I was so tired of seeing Jace weak and being used by all types of weird new magic/rules Clare made up to perpetuate this affliction, it didn't strike me as a shock. It just irritated me. Guess I will be ignoring the 5th in this series, as well.
P.S. She referenced a line from Lord of the Rings. I know she did it on purpose because she's too big of a fan of that book not to know better. IT WAS NOT WELL RECEIVED.