Title: City of Lost Souls
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Published: May 08, 2012
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"Love isn't moral or immoral," said Clary. "It just is."
I feel the need to exercise some restraint here, as this could very easily turn into a jumble of my messy thoughts instead of a proper review. It’s not every day I discuss my most anticipated book of the year.
City of Bones, while not as astounding as its successors, commenced one of my favourite young adult series of all time. The story is adequately complicated, spanning efficiently over all of the books so far, and is ready to continue with maximum spark into the sixth. Clary, although stitched together with many flaws and irritating traits, is still a brilliant central character and Jace, the love interest, whom I cannot even mention without melting a little, is… well, he’s something else. The perfect blend of action, fantasy and romance has had me hooked to the pages since book one and with the release of book five (finally!) I feel as though I can die a tiny bit happier.
With City of Lost Souls arrived the challenge of separating good from evil, a feat easier said than done. Carrying straight on from the dramatic ending of City of Fallen Angels, we are reunited with Clary and friends as they attempt to locate Jace and Sebastian. Fans who were disappointed with City of Fallen Angels wills be happy to hear Jace, although not entirely himself, is reloaded with the strength and sarcasm he is known for. Sebastian, who most likely has as many enemies as Jace has fans, is back as an enigma of a character. I was supposed to despise him right? I suppose I did, at the start and end of the book, but for most of it, I found him almost… likeable. The brotherly banter between Jace and himself was enough to manipulate my emotions it seems. Both were central to the plot and both were also doing a thorough job of making me rethink everything several times…
While I found myself contemplating the possibility Sebastian might not be such a terrible person (even though this was momentary – especially after the eyebrow-raising move he makes on Clary), I was surprised to find characters that I adored in the previous books were edging their way into less favourable categories. Alec has always been a favourite of mine, but he frustrated me to no end this instalment. Has he always been like this and I have only just noticed? Whatever it was, I hope I will remember why I valued his character so much come the sixth book. Isabelle, on the other hand, was a lot more admirable in this book than she had been previously. Perhaps Simon draws out the better side of her. I enjoyed the growing romance between the two of them, and, as always, Simon kept things thoroughly entertaining.
“Basia coquum,” Simon said. “Or whatever their motto is.”
“It's Descensus Averno facilis est. The descent into hell is easy,” said Alec. “You just said Kiss the cook.”
“Dammit,” said Simon. “I knew Jace was screwing with me.”
The alternating viewpoints are still an aspect I can’t make up my mind on. Admittedly, some of the points of view felt unnecessary to include, and perhaps even a little on the tedious side, but others were brilliant. I imagine many people will have preferred a greater portion of Clary’s point of view (as with Clary comes Jace), but is that too much of a good thing? Even though I am not fully content with alternating viewpoints in general, I think it worked well in this book overall. Maia and Jordan, for example, were two characters I grew to warm towards in this book after having very little opinion of them previously. It was interesting to understand them better when the story shifted to their perspective.
The plot, as expected in a Mortal Instruments book, was full of surprises and twists, and nothing short of brilliant. The pacing was superb, the ideas still substantial (though the transporting house thing did surpass a few liberties) and each chapter proved to be engaging to core. Little mentions of a certain William Herondale, plus appearances of (possibly) that clockwork angel among other Infernal Devices references, had me smiling like a fool. If there’s anything I adore more than The Mortal Instruments series, it is the Infernal Devices.
Despite the flaws in this book - and yes, I’m happy to admit it is not perfect – the pure fact that it was impossible to put down is why I have rated it 5 stars. The incredibly long and excruciating wait for this book was been worth it, and now I hope the same can be said when City of Heavenly Fire arrives in 2014.
Rating: 5 stars
Favourite Quote: “Too much darkness could kill, but too much light could blind.”