About three minutes ago, I finished reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. I am very emotional right now. It's hard to believe that this is it. The Mortal Instruments series has come to an end. Sure, there are Cassandra Clare's other Shadowhunter books... I have The Dark Artifices to look forward to, but it's not the same.
It took me a long time to read City of Heavenly Fire. After purchasing my copy at the midnight launch party in NYC, I ended up taking almost three weeks to finally read this book. Three weeks may not seem like a long time, especially for such a ginormous book, but three weeks is like an eternity for me. In the past, I've devoured all of Cassandra Clare's new releases in just days, ignoring sleep and responsibilities and all that in favor of reading the newest installment of the story of my favorite characters. Sure, this time around I was busy with things like BEA, but I don't think being busy was my only problem.
I think a part of me wanted to stretch out my experience reading this book for as long as possible. I didn't want it to be over. I couldn't handle it being over. For years, this series has been a huge part of my life. It's hard to accept that the last book is finally here, because what happens after that? There are no more books to wait for. It's over.
I started reading The Mortal Instruments series back in middle school. While I had a bit of a rocky start with them (not because of the books' quality, but because I hadn't quite fallen in love with reading yet... that didn't come until the very end of middle school), I grew to love this series. The first author signing or book event I ever attended was for Cassandra Clare with City of Fallen Angels. The Mortal Instruments is the first series I've ever truly fallen in love with and developed a strong emotional connection with.
Before I read The Mortal Instruments, I was a Twilight fangirl. What 12-year-old girl wasn't? But, while I did love those books, reading all four in the span of two weeks did not allow for the years of emotional attachment that I had with The Mortal Instruments. And Harry Potter came after The Mortal Instruments for me. I know, I know, what was I thinking, not reading Harry Potter until age 14? But I didn't, so that makes The Mortal Instruments series the only series I've truly been able to "grow up" with over the years.
The Mortal Instruments series has changed my life in a lot of ways. Not only did I develop strong connections with the characters, I developed strong connections with people in real life, outside of the books. This series resulted in new friendships, as well as the strengthening of old friendships. It's what made me finally accept that I loved reading and wanted to be part of the book community. After I read these books, I went online and found Cassandra Clare's blog and twitter, which led me to other authors' social media, which led me to bloggers and BookTubers and all of the wonderful people I've interacted with, or even just followed, online.
I'm so grateful to Cassandra Clare for giving me the gift of The Mortal Instruments series. These books have affected me in countless ways. They've made me see the world differently, they've made me more comfortable with myself, they've made me laugh and cry and throw things at the wall in frustration. I care more about the characters in this series than I do any other characters in any other series, simply because I've been with them the longest. While my love for things like Twilight and the Jonas Brothers has faded since I've left middle school and moved on with my life, my love for Cassandra Clare's novels burns brighter with each sentence I read.
It is impossible to untangle my emotional and meaningful experience with this series from my critique of the quality of the books, so while I do plan on rambling about City of Heavenly Fire soon, I admit that it will be a completely biased ramble that will not point out any criticism whatsoever. To me, these books are flawless. I know people will try to tell me that they're not, and I totally get that, but my experience with this series is so personal and so important to me that I simply cannot accept any kind of criticism. I respect other people's opinions, of course, but nothing will sway my opinion or stop me from loving this series with all of my heart.
Thank you so much, Cassandra Clare, for creating this story and this world, and for allowing me to be a part of it for the past few years. I'll be a Cassandra Clare fan for the rest of my life, and I can't wait to fall in love with more Shadowhunter books in the future.