“City of Heavenly Fire” is a fantastic novel written by Cassandra Clare.
The book follows a young woman named Clary and her friends, as they go on a quest to defeat her brother Sebastian, and save the world. In the book the author explores the meaning of love, as well as the nature of evil- are people born evil, or different circumstances and their upbringing makes them sinful? The text challenges the readers by presenting elements that at times can be obscured, but can be further interpreted in order to reach a better understanding of the main characters. For example, the use of fire to draw differences between Clary’s brother- Sebastian, and Clary’s boyfriend- Jace. In the book, blue fire is symbolic to Sebastian as he performs magical rituals while the fire pyres around. The blue fire shows the readers the truth about his tainted soul- it is cold, longing to tantalise someone, for the fun of it or to achieve his vicious plan.
However, Jace who carries heavenly fire within him, represents the means to destroy all that is evil in the world. The heavenly fire is colourful, and it “tests gold”- you either shine out, or destroyed because it burns all that is foul. Another example, is Maureen- the thirteen year old girl that is a vampire, undead, but dresses as a princess. She always represented innocence and childhood in the midst of chaos, however after she became undead, she began causing it. The authors utilisation of places to represent the nature of good and evil astonished me. In order to defeat Sebastian, the group travels to Hell, where he chose to hide and scheme. Sebastian believes that “it is better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven”, therefore he plans to watch the world burn, with his sister by his side, because after all “if he cannot reach Heaven, he will raise Hell”.
He rules this dimension that is made for the dead and is designed exactly like Alicante- the capital city of the shadowhunters country Idris. A place that is Heaven like- beautiful, divine, that populates people that are half human, half angel, but also symbolises pain, war and loss, of people and innocence, to all the main characters. Which proves that the most beautiful of things, or places, are forged from pain. Sebastian rules from a throne room that has two mirrors in it- “one showing desolation” and other shows Alicante.
His high throne watches over two worlds, the one represents death and destruction and the other represents life, almost as if to represent his inner conflict that is shown more towards the end of the novel. He believes that to love is to take, that it is conditional and ought to exist because of blood connection. He was seeking validation his entire life- from his father that took his choice of fate before he was even born, and condemned him to a life of mischief and exploitation, and his sister Clary, which he continues to hurt throughout the series because he loves her, and believes he is doing the right thing by her. In conclusion, the novel makes you question the fact of whether or not, we are all fallen angels in our own way. It is breathtakingly amazing in more ways than one, especially because all the characters are extremely relatable, and at times present different elements of yourself and of the process of growing up.