3 - maybe 3.5 starsI had a TOUGH TIME with this book. It felt as if 70% of the book was just leading up to one very dramatic scene. A scene that can and does change things forever....POTENTIAL (small) SPOILERS AHEAD...Putting aside my feelings about how that scene played out and ended for just a second, I was really irritated with the build-up to it. Maybe I'm reading these books too quickly or need more of a break in-between? I just tired quickly of the secrets and lies. That seems to be Cassandra Clare's overall theme - secrets and lies. Hiding from others and one's self. Not wanting to ask questions or ask for help. I get that we often deal with our problems and lives that way. But does EVERYONE in this book have to do that all the time?There's also a HEAVINESS about this book that really pulled me down. IMO, this book is really not a full-length anything. If I had my way, it would be a much shorter novella, where we get to the point and the punch line much sooner. I couldn't bear all the in-between. YES, there are some revelations in this book, and they were very welcome. We learn more about this "world", including more about Maia and her past and how it affects the present.But it seems that too many revelations come TOO LATE... that knowing a little more a little sooner might have saved a whole lot. And again, that got old to me, since it happened time and again in this book.Simon is struggling with his mom and his home. And being a Daylighter with the Mark of Cain on him. Someone is after him, but whenever they try to kill him, the person who makes the attempt is literally blown apart into sand or salt. I feel Simon's struggles, and they're "realistic" for this world and his circumstances. His is probably the most difficult situation, since how do you tell your mom that you're now a vampire without completely freaking her out? Then there's Raphael, who's leading the Manhattan vampire clan, and who thinks that Simon's ability to be in sunlight is an abomination. Raphael's not too keen on helping Simon; rather, it seems as if he'd rather kill him or force him to wander solo. Camille, whom we met in [b:Clockwork Angel|7171637|Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)|Cassandra Clare|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327137475s/7171637.jpg|6674837], has a small starring role in this book. We learn that she's really the head of the Manhattan vampire clan, but disagreements between Camille and Raphael sent her away for awhile. Problem is, who's telling the truth about which of them is defiling Clave Law?The joy of wedding preparations for Jocelyn and Luke are completely overshadowed in this book. That's part of my beef with it. The moments that should be happy and joyful are not. That joy and happiness are stolen and twisted into anger, hurt, betrayal, and despair. Ms. Clare needs to learn that in such a heavy book, she needs to "lighten" the mood more - give the reader a break with comedy or joy. That's the time-old tradition of the best writers, including Shakespeare. It's where "comic-relief" comes from.All the usual witty repartee is overshadowed and dulled - Jace is in a funk, because he's being tormented and tortured in his dreams about killing Clary. So he's avoiding her, not eating, not sleeping, and generally dull. Magnus and Alex are away on a trip, and they provide at least one bright moment when Jace mentions a picture of Magnus... in lederhosen. But even when Magnus returns, he's caught up in the drama and becomes rather dull. There are a few bright moments, but they're few and far between. We do finally learn what's going on... and it's a doozy. It involves Clary asking the Angel Raziel for Jace's life back from book #3. Because Jace & Clary decided to keep this between them, it sets in motion events that lead up to the stunning climax and conclusion of this book. But here's the thing: JACE should have had some inkling about the possiblity... given that he's born-and-raised as a Shadowhunter. So he should have remembered something about the birth rituals. I think that it's highly likely that how things came about and how they ended has much to do with my dissatisfaction of this book. I hate to admit that, since I really try to keep my feelings separate from my ratings. Great books can contain all kinds of hateful things or events that I don't like, such as [b:Outlander|10964|Outlander (Outlander, #1)|Diana Gabaldon|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1304187141s/10964.jpg|2489796]. But between all the secrets, lies, hiding, and just plain ugliness and awfullness that takes place in this very dark, heavy book, I just can't prevent my feelings from bleeding through into my rating. Because ratings are as much about the enjoyment of the book as anything else; and I just didn't enjoy this one.AND I HONESTLY DID NOT READ ANY REVIEWS FOR THIS BOOK BEFORE I READ IT OR WROTE MY REVIEW. So I wasn't unnecessarily influenced by some of the 1 & 2-star ratings below; but I agree with them. I kept the rating at 3 stars simply because of the overall story of the series. And I can see that what's happened in this book fits into that series and can keep it alive.