Book Review: City of Lost Souls

Title/Author:  City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
(The Mortal Instruments #5)

Genre:  Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Published:  May 8th, 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry

Hardcover, 534 pages

How I Got This Book:  Put it on hold ASAP and got it by the Friday after release from my library

Why I Picked It Up?:  Well, after breezing through the first 4 in this series, I just had to know what happens next!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?”

My Review of this Work:

Caution:  I have some thoughts about this book, but I fear that I cannot keep the spoilers out of my review.  So if you have yet to read this book and don’t want to know about it, I suggest you skip reading this review, as you might find out something you didn’t want to know.  **Minor spoilers**

I want to begin this review by making the following statement:  Overall, this is a pretty solid read!

I feel the need to state that upfront because I believe this review will sound mostly negative, even though this is not a negative review at all, because I did really like this book!  That being said, there were some aspects of this book that just didn’t quite convince me to love it like City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels did.  So that is mainly what my review will be about.

However, I would like to tell you what I really enjoyed about this novel.  Like City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls spends a great chunk of time developing the minor characters.  Once again, we get a lot more of Simon, who I am really starting to like as a character since he stopped pining for Clary.  In fact, one of my favorite parts of this novel has to be the development of Simon’s relationship with Isabell (or shall I say, the development of Isabell’s relationship with Simon).  I freakin’ loved how much time and attention was paid to the growth and development of Isabell in this novel, and how her growth allows her and Simon to grow together.  I have been rooting for them, especially since Jordan came into the picture (For Maia), and I am really happy with the pace and growth of their relationship.  It is one of the most pure and realistic developments in this series, and I really appreciate the attentiveness Clare gives to each of them.

I know that there are some readers who did not appreciate how much of the story revolved around Jordan and Maia.  However, I enjoy getting to know these two newer characters on a deeper level.  I feel like the main Clary/Jace/Sebastian story is so dense and heavy that I welcomed the light-hearted moments with Jordan and Maia.  They have a deep (and dark) past with each other, yes, but the heftiness of their past is, thankfully, in the past, allowing their relationship to develop in the present in spite of their past.  Their scenes serve as almost a welcomed break from the stress and heaviness of the mainplot (at least for me).  Plus, I just like getting to know new characters, especially in a longer series.

But then we get to the list of things I was not so appreciative of with this novel.  The first (and probably biggest) dislike is the way that Alec and Magnus start treating each other in this novel.  City of Fallen Angels showcases some trust issues between these two, but that is nothing out of the ordinary when a 200 year old Warlock is dating an 18 year old “kid”.  But in this novel, these trust issues are taken in extreme!  Alec feels hurt because Magnus just won’t tell him things that Alec feels are important to know, and it drives him crazy!  So crazy that he turns to Camille for answers and an ultimate solution to his problem–taking away Magnus’ immortality.  Alec thinks about this like you would think about ways to murder your best friend in his sleep (as in not very seriously) and decides not to follow through on that extremely irractional act.  But that doesn’t matter, because Magnus gets upset at the fact that Alec was even thinking about it!  But hello! If Magnus would just, I don’t know, TALK to Alec about the things that Alec is feeling hurt about and establish a good communication then MAYBE Alec wouldn’t have even considered it!  Sheesh!  For Magnus Bane being however old he is and ragging on Alec for being so “young”, Magnus doesn’t really know how relationships are supposed to work either.  This is the first time in ALL of Clare’s books that I have really not liked Magnus.

I know I have not mentioned the main cast of Clary, Jace, and Sebastian.  I think it is because, while their plot in this story wasn’t horrible or anything, it just wasn’t that exciting either.  In fact, the most exciting part where Jace breaks through the hold Sebastian has on him, and Clary yells for Sebastian!  Okay, so maybe she was freaking out because Jace was going to hurt himself, but still….call for your enemy brother?!? C’mon Clary.  While I understand that her emotions (and not rationality) led her to that decision, I can’t just pretend that it didn’t irk me.  Because it did.  But other than that, their side plot was kind of predictable in a way, which kind of took the excitement out of the read for me.
No big cliff hanger at the end? Nothing to propel me into the final book!  Where is the excitement?!  Okay, so maybe there is one little shocking thing that happens in the epilogue, but for the next book being the last one in this major series, I was just expecting a little more UMPH at the end.  Instead, it’s all sappy/gushy or REALLY FRUSTRATING!.  And that kind of annoyed me and left me with a more negative outlook on this book than I wanted to have, especially when City of Fallen Angels had such a killer ending!

Despite some negative feelings about this book, I still generally liked it!  I guess I just don’t really like the fact that now I have to wait 2 more years to see how she resolves some of my issues.  I kind of felt this way after finishing City of Ashes, too, but I got to jump straight in to City of Glass, and after I finished that one I liked City of Ashes better.  So hopefully, the same thing will happen after I read City of Heavenly Fire (In March of 2014!! /facepalm)!!! SO LONG TO WAIT!

Something that I did want to address in my review is the strong and violent content against Clary in the form of sexual assault. In fact, many readers have been questioning Cassandra Clare about the inclusion of such scenes that she posted a long and personal response to the many emails she has received since publication on her blog, which can be read here (Caution–this post DEFINITELY contains spoilers). She stands up for her work and herself and gains a lot of respect in my book for it.  And it gives a lot of insight into certain characters and scenarios which you may be wondering about.  It is definitely worth a read!

Memorable Moments:

“We’re meant to protect each other, but not from everything.  Not from the truth.  That’s what it means to love someone but let them be themselves.”
–page 523

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Fourth Shelf Book!

After reading the previous two books in this series, there was just something missing from City of Lost Souls.  Not to say that the book is bad by any means.  I just felt like the excitement factor quickly died down by the end, and as it is a lead in to the final book of this second Mortal Instruments Trilogy, I just thought it could have been better.  But there are some really interesting developments that occur in this book, and a lot of things are still up in the air, so I am excited for the final installment!

Love and A Little bit of Pixie Dust,
Jennifer

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