Monday, May 14, 2012

Spoiler-Free Review of "City of Lost Souls" by Cassie Clare

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 535

From Goodreads: "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?"

Despite this series being my most favourite series of ALL TIME I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to read this book. While I had initially liked its predecessor "City of Fallen Angels" (book four in the series) I came to realize through rereading it multiple times and thinking it over for weeks, if not months, that it was in fact not as good as I had originally thought (I originally rated it 10/10, if I were to go back I would now rate it 7/10 or 8/10)- there was a lot of things about it that irked me, for instance seemingly random plot points becoming MAJOR (I don't know about y'all, but I thought that the Lilith thing was kind of a stretch and yet *another* thing standing in Jace and Clary's way? UGH). However, I now realize that my fears for this book were entirely unfounded (or at least a *little* bit unfounded- there were admittedly still some problems with this book, but nowhere near as many as "CoFA").

One of my biggest problems with this book was Sebastian. For weeks after seeing the trailer for this book I was Tweeting, Facebooking, and telling anyone who came within a ten foot radius of me how BAD-ASS Sebastian was going to be. I mean, how could he not with wings of fire and his declaration of "I am going to burn down the world"?
But I am sad to say that he wasn't.That is not to say that he wasn't creepy or evil, because he was as creepy as hell, but more so creepy in a 'I-want-to-make-out-with-my-sister-despite-knowing-FOR-LEGIT-that-she-is-my-actual-sister' rather than 'He’s-climbing-in-your-windows-He’s-snatchin-your-people up-Hide-your-kids-hide-your wife-And-hide-your-husband' kind of creepy (a la Antoine Dodson). Overall I found Sebastian to be a a bit flat, lackluster, and almost *too* nice (I know, I feel SUPER weird writing 'Sebastian' and 'nice' in the same sentence)- My opinion is that if you are going to be evil, you'd better not half-ass it, you better be the most evilest, vile, and BAD-ASS thing to EVER EXIST.

Another problem which I had with the book is that I found the first half to be SO SLOW. Typically when I begin to read a book I have been highly coveted I will literally DO NOTHING until I finish it- whether it be eat, care for the cats, answer the phone- seriously, ANYTHING, but that wasn't the case with this book. I would read it for about half an hour, set it down for a few hours, pick it back up and read a bit of it, and then set it down once again- I just didn't find myself as engaged in the beginning as I was with the earlier books. That being said, I found the second half to be much more fast-paced and unputdownable. An additional problem that I was that I found that at times the plot felt too linear, going from plot points A> B> C> D without any interference (especially towards the end when a highly sought after item was procured), I think that it's nice to shake up the plot every now again, for instance, plot points A> D> C> B.

Complaints aside, there was A LOT about this book that I enjoyed. For instance, I had forgotten how funny Cassie is in her writing. I bookmarked at least 30 different sentences/ passages in the book that had me literally laughing out loud. For instance:

[Magnus's response to Alec questioning him about Camille] "She wasn't very pleasant the last time I saw her. Of course that could be because I've got an eighteen-year-old boyfriend with a stamina rune and she doesn't" (pg. 42). 

"I was hoping they'd put up flyers like they do for lost cats," he said. "Missing, one stunningly attractive teenage boy. Answers to 'Jace', or 'Hot Stuff'" (pg. 94). 

"Sebastian can't be the greatest company." 
"We don't know that. He could be absolutely fantastic at Scrabble" (pg. 114). 

And I thought that it was really nice to see the snarky Jace that we have come to know and love in the first three books, rather than the way too mopey, bordering-on-depressed Jace we saw in "CoFA".

Believe it or not, but I have never really been much of a Clary fan. I can't pinpoint exactly why she always rubbed me the wrong way in the earlier books, but she did. But in this book? I not only didn't find myself wanting to pull my hair out/ groaning in frustration at everything that she did, I also actually came to like her. I think that why I had this change of opinion was because in this book she gave a lot more thought to everything that she did, she didn't have to rely upon anyone to physically defend her- she was able to do it herself, and most everything that she did in this book was selfless.

Furthermore, I also enjoyed the other characters of this book- Jordan and Maia didn't make much of an impact on my in "CoFA" but I was rooting for them the entire book- I think that they make a really cute couple. I also really enjoyed Izzy letting down her guard in this book, it was nice to see her being not only vulnerable, but real. As for Alec and Magnus? I've always had a thing for them, so obviously I LOVED seeing them play a larger role in this book, however, I must admit that they did break my heart a bit. I also really liked that the parents played a lesser role in this book than they did in "CoFA", I personally wasn't a fan of Jocelyn- I was happy to not have to read of her incessantly chastising Clary for her feelings for Jace in this book to the extent that she had in "CoFA" (I mean, pot meet kettle, anyone?).

I also really enjoyed the mystery surrounding secondary characters in this book, for instance, who exactly Magnus' father is- I think that whoever he is he can really shape the outcome of "City of Heavenly Fire". Also, I am really curious about Brother Zachariah- I think that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to him and I have an inkling that he is somehow connected to, if not one of, the characters from "The Infernal Devices". Furthermore, I am also intrigued by heavenly fire itself- admittedly I understand little about it, so I am curious as to what role it will play in "CoHF".

All in all, despite my complaints I did VASTLY enjoy this book- I thought that it was a much worthier companion to the original three books than "CoFA" was. I thought that Cassie did an amazing job weaving together all of the various elements from the earlier books in this book- and I LOVED the fact that she didn't just answer questions with more questions like she could have. I also was a fan of the new plot elements she threw in here and there. I cannot wait to see what the last installment of this series, "City of Heavenly Fire" has in store for us!

Rating: 4/5


  1. Great review ... I guess I have to read this book soon ... happy you like it :)

  2. I have the first 3 on my tbr. I can't wait to meet and know all these characters you are talking about. I do love a book that despite it's problems, it still was so good. YaY!

  3. I liked the amount of drama secured in the text. About every second in the text something surfaced. Such as drama. Three words. Best. Book. Ever!
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