It's 6 weeks after CITY OF GLASS and Clary's training to be a Shadowhunter, she and Jace are finally going out and her mother is getting married to Luke. But then Jace begins pulling away from her and actively avoiding her. Confused and hurt she turns to her best friend Simon, but he has problems of his own. Camille, the true leader of the New York vampires has returned and wants to use Simon's mark of Cain to help her gain control back from Raphael, he's double-dating Isabelle and Maia and random people are trying to kill him.
Soon Clary, Jace and Simon discover that Clary's actions in CITY OF GLASS have set in motion a horrific chain of events that threaten everything and everyone she loves.
Cassandra Clare's follow-up to the successful MORTAL INSTRUMENTS TRILOGY ties together unresolved plot strands from CITY OF GLASS with elements from THE CLOCKWORK ANGEL (the first her Victorian era prequel trilogy). It's an ambitious book with a large cast and a lot to pack in, but the story (for the most part) cracks on at a fast pace and I liked the way Clare interwove elements from the other books (which you need to read to get the most out of this) but there were some clunky moments of exposition, which deadened the pace.
My problem with the series has always been Jace, who I found too arrogant to care about. Here he's more vulnerable as he's forced to confront his feelings for Clary and his fear of losing her, although the device used to convey this is hackneyed and I never believed in his refusal to explain to her what's happening (or her refusal to press him on it, instead assuming the worst).
Simon plays a bigger role in this book and while I could have done without the love triangle (mainly because the conclusion is telegraphed), his story does have the most potential and I really liked the addition of Camille who is an unknown quantity working to her own agenda.
The last quarter feels a little rushed, with Clare packing too much in and some of the emotional scenes in the book veer towards soap opera and the cliffhanger will drive the fans mad. However, I enjoyed this more than I did the previous books as the story is more original and as such I'll be reading on.