Clary Fray, student and Shadow Hunter finds herself torn between the love of her life, Jace who has joined the dark Shadow Hunter Sebastian in building an army and her own family as the final battle between good and evil looms in the distance. Clary Fray is only fifteen and a Shadow Hunter, a hunter of the things that go “bump” in the night and are part of the supernatural world that she used to never know existed. Clary has dealt with many horrific events over the last year, her mother being attacked by her father, Valentine and cursed into a deep sleep, her fledgling romance with Jace Wayland, another Shadow Hunter, her best friend Simon turning into a vampire and her killing her father by sacrificing him to the Angel Raziel. However, for once in her life things have begun to quiet down—for the time being.
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After fleeing his home due to his mother seeing him as a vampire, Simon returns hoping to revive their relationship. However, when Simon arrives he is shocked to see he cannot enter his home. He calls out to his mother who is cold and heartless, believing him to be an imposter who killed her son. Simon pleads with his mother, trying to convince her that he is the real Simon but she refuses to listen. Unfortunately, before Simon can give one final plea, he receives a call from Clary who is in a complete panic because Jace has gone missing. Worried that Sebastian, a young man who was killed months ago and then resurrected by Simon has taken him, Clary begs Simon to go with her to meet the Seelie Queen (Queen of the Fairies).
Simon agrees and they travel to the Seelie Kingdom where she asks the Queen for her assistance in locating Jace. The Queen is hesitant at first, not seeing a reason that she should help humans or Shadow Hunters due to past grievances. Refusing to do the work for nothing, the Queen demands they find two rings that were lost to the kingdom. Clary is apprehensive at first since she knows the Seelie are known to be tricksters and is worried that she will help them only to have the Queen not follow through, but due to her desperation to find Jace she reluctantly agrees.
Later that evening, Clary returns to the Institute (Shadow Hunter Training Center) and searches the library with the hopes of finding a book that might point her in the direction of the missing rings. However, while there she spots Jace and Sebastian talking and collecting books from the shelves. Clary is even more alarmed because Jace seems totally at home with Sebastian like they are old friends. She watches them closely as they collect more books and leave in the veil of darkness.
That night, Clary tosses and turns unable to sleep. She wakes to find Jace in bed with her and she begs him to tell her what is happening. He informs her he is working with Sebastian and he came back for her because he loves her and wants her to join him. Unfortunately, their intimate moment is cut short by Sebastian who tells them it's time to go. Clary's mother Jocelyn wanders into the room wondering what all the commotion is about and is mortified to find Sebastian in the room. She screams for Clary's stepfather Luke who attacks Sebastian but Sebastian stabs him brutally and leaves him for dead, fleeing with Jace. Jocelyn forbids Clary from seeing Jace any longer, the danger too great, however; Clary has other plans.
The next day, Clary is able to locate the Seelie Queen's rings but decides to keep them so she can communicate with Simon while spying on Jace and Sebastian. Clary meets with them and soon discovers Jace is possessed and Sebastian has found a way to control him through runes (magical symbols that have great power). Clary finds a way to temporarily deactivate the rune which allows Jace to come into his right mind for a few moments. He tells Clary that Sebastian is a complete psychopath and plans to use the vampire Lilith's blood (she was killed by Simon a month earlier) to infuse Shadow Hunters and create his own dark force that the world will not be able to stand up against.
Jace feels horribly guilty for having assisted Sebastian this much and makes the decision to turn himself into the Shadow Hunter Council (known as the Clave) in an effort to stop Sebastian. He tells Clary he loves her and will always love her but that the Clave will not see the difference between possessed and not and will most likely kill him for helping. Clary refuses to let this happen, her love for Jace too strong for that. She summons Sebastian against Jace's wishes and alerts him that Jace has broken his binding rune. Sebastian thinks Jace is very clever to have gotten away with it but he also admires Clary for turning him in thinking that her loyalties now lie to him and not Jace. Later that night, Clary contacts Simon in an effort to tell him of the sinister plans Sebastian has for the Shadow Hunters. She tells Simon they need assistance and to summon the infamous angel Raziel in an effort to help them. Simon agrees, though he knows Raziel is of the unpredictable sort and it could get sticky.
Simon heads to another dimension through a portal and to a lake where Raziel resides. When he summons him, he tells Raziel of Sebastian's plan to create evil Shadow Hunters. Raziel knows of only one blade that could take down the corrupted hunters as well as Sebastian known as the blade Glorious. Simon begs for him to release it to him however it comes at a price. Due to Simon becoming a vampire under extreme circumstances, he was given the ability to kill anyone who tries to harm him. Raziel says to get the blade, a a sacrifice must be made. He removes Simon's mark making him now vulnerable yet Simon rather be at risk and help Clary than not because deep down he is in love with her.
Meanwhile, Sebastian unleashes his Shadow Hunters to fight the good one's of the Clave and a battle ensues The fight is brutal and Clary calls upon her friends Alec and Isabelle (also Shadow Hunters) and the sorcerer Magnus Bane to assist in the fight. Jace is able to break his binding rune and a vicious battle breaks out between him and Sebastian. As the fight turns desperate, Simon arrives with the blade Glorious which will kill and set aflame anyone with a dark heart. Simon hands it off to Clary who moves through the fighting searching for Sebastian. As her group begins to overpower them, she watches him flee through a portal and take the remaining dark Shadow Hunters with her. Clary gets an idea and runs to Jace and in a leap of faith stabs him with the sword with the hope that it will cleanse the darkness Sebastian bestowed upon him. Jace is engulfed in the cleansing flame and collapses and is rushed to the Institute to be healed.
A few weeks pass and Clary visits Jace who reveals to her he now has the power to set those with dark hearts on fire. He has now become the cleansing flame of the Glorious in the flesh. Clary worries that this could make him a target by the dark forces at work but Jace assures her he will protect her to the very end. They both know Sebastian will regroup and return, the question is how and when. They recommit their love to one another knowing that if they stand strong together, they will be able to shine through the darkness as a beacon of light.
Best part of story, including ending:
I am really finding the Jace going bad and Clary saving him arch to get old. This has happened for two books now and it is a recycled plot device that seems to toy with the audience.
Best scene in story:
I loved when Clary stabs Jace in a moment of passion. She doesn't know if it will work and cleanse Jace but she does it anyway as she loves him and wants to free him from the darkness. It was a powerful moment.
Opinion about the main character:
Clary continues to be a love sick puppy putting others in danger for her love for Jace. It is getting old and I wish things could change so she can become a strong woman.