on April 13, 2011
if you are anything like me then about a year ago or so you closed the cover of city of glass and placed it on your shelf with a satisfied sigh. It was a good ending to a great trilogy. For the next few months you would touch the books fondly as you passed by your bookshelf, reminiscing about the world clare had created. Then one day you heard the impossible, maybe from a friend, bookseller, or book review...there would be a fourth mortal instruments book "But i thought...!", you exclaim. Well, you thought wrong! Cassandra was indeed adding a fourth, fifth, and sixth installment to the beloved series. Your heart raced and your fingers twitched just thinking about it. So when that fateful day came you ran to the bookstore and grabbed the book. You went home, opened it and began devouring the pages. Except..you couldn't. Two days passed And you were only fifty pages in. Hmm how peculiar, usually you would have finished the entire book in one sitting. But this story was different. It didn't captivate you like the others had. Sure Simon was just as endearing as always. But the others. Well you just had the overwhelming desire to strangle them. Much like Jace did with Clary, in fact. Which you might add was rather annoying. Couldn't they just be together without any problems?! Jace had a completely different voice in this book. Gone were his witty banter and endearing arrogant nature. Sure, he had his moments. But most of the time he was in the corner brooding. Last time you checked twilight was still sitting on your shelf.... OH and the ending, Dear God. Way to take a hard earned twenty dollars and flush it down the toilet cassandra Clare! Why can't dead characters stay dead! move on! we are tired of living in the past! overall, this was not what i expected from one of the best book series i've ever read. Sure, ill read the next one. But i won't be expecting much...
on April 6, 2011
I just finished the book, and haven't decided whether I hated it or loved it. I'm giving it 3 stars because I was hooked, and that counts for something.
I just want to say I was highly anticipating this book, I read all the sneak peeks on the site, all the bonus chapters, everything. And they all made me even more excited to read it. I feel a little bit cheated, it was like the best bits in the book were taken and became the 'sneak peaks'... and what I assumed would be emotionally-charged scenes ended up being a very small portion of it.
I'll try to keep spoilers out of this review.
I read the first chapter on Cassandra Clare's site, and the second chapter at the back of 'City of Glass'. They were easily the best chapters of the book. I didn't enjoy the scenes after that-Clary's dialogue was choppy, very out- of character. She shifted back into the Clary we know and love from the first few books somewhere in the middle of the story. I also disliked the Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde thing Jace has going on, I swear at the end of one chapter he's telling Clary he loves her and at the beginning of the next he's avoiding her. I was looking forward to the Clary-Jace scenes, but 60% of them involved Clary whining about him not returning his calls and Jace repeatedly trying to convince her that he loves her, but can't be near her. Why can't this couple be left alone? I assumed at the end of the last book that they'd uncover some dark secret of their past, why Clary was the 'wrong person' to fall in love with. Maybe they will in one of the next two books but their relationship was mainly Jace and Clary pining after one another from a distance. Oh, and their final scenes in this book were so sickeningly 'been there, done that'. I used to love Jace's character, because his snarkiness and dark sense of humor made for some interesting dialogue. I figured with Valentine dead he wouldn't be whining about how he was a monster, and didn't deserve Clary etc. But of course Clare found a way to incorporate that into this book, too. The ending frustrating me immensely, I won't spoil it but I wish dead characters would stay dead.
I almost wish that the series had ended at City of Glass, but I don't regret reading this, it gave some insight into the other characters (not enough Alec-Magnus, they only really were featured in the last half of the book, pity). But it was interesting reading from Simon's point of view. I found Simon a very dull character previously, he's a little more three dimensional to me now. I expected a bit more drama with Maia-Isobel, but I guess what was in the book was sufficient. I really enjoyed Isabel in this book, and her relationship with Simon is definitely not what I expected. Some new surprise characters turned up, and were pretty cleverly played out. This book seems to be setting the stage for the last two, which will hopefully live up to City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass.
From the sneak peeks I also expected some more Simon and his mother scenes, him opening up to his mom. Well, I got once scene and it was partially covered in the sneak-peek.
Many elements in the book were picked up and dropped quite suddenly. Things like Jocelyn and Luke's wedding, (did they even get to it, in the book? It's not clear) were brought up when Cassandra Clare needed to fill in empty space. The Seelie Queen's appearance was confusing and just didn't fit with the rest of the book. There are some clear cliffhangers that will be resolved in the next book I assume, but all they did here was slow down the plot. The difference between this and something J.K Rowling writes is that you read through the books, and things that you just read through in the first book reappears in the seventh, but not in an obvious way, and you could hardly imagine it would somehow make it's way back into the plot. In City of Fallen Angels it's very, very obvious.
This book definitely did not live up to my expectations (which, granted, were pretty high), but it was Cassandra Clare and somehow she makes you believe it's all real. There were some enjoyable Jace lines, some enjoyable Isabel scenes. I'm glad I read it, but can't help feeling some disappointment. Not as much re-reading potential as the rest of the series.
on June 14, 2011
This book is obviously an attempt to revive a series that has already been concluded and resolved in order for the author and the publisher to make a predictable buck from Cassandra Claire's fans. I just wish the novel hadn't made that fact so obvious.
Simon being made into the main character was a mistake. He doesn't have a strong enough personality to carry a book. He has no drive, and no real goals except for his constant whining about being a vampire. I was even more annoyed with him because of his continual immoral and irresponsible behavior in this book. He kept causing himself trouble by being inconsiderate and stupid. I also thought that he could have been used more as some sort of fighting character. He's practically invincible, and yet he never really fights in the book. He stands there while others try to hurt him and fail.
Jace had his moments. Fans love Jace because of his rude sarcastic exterior hiding a decent, angst filled, brooding guy. But at the end of City of Glass, he got his happy ending, and therefore had no more reason to be angst filled or guilty. Claire quickly tries to remedy this by attempting to bring back Jace's self-loathing and perception of unworthiness, but it feels forced and poorly motivated. It's not until late in the book that Jace's reasons for being filled with guilt and shame seem reasonable, but by then I was too annoyed by his earlier ridiculous guilt to feel better about it.
The end of the book was the best part in my opinion. The action was decent, and the resolution well set up. But overall I was dissapointed by City of Fallen Angels. I had to force myself to finish this book, and I haven't had to force myself with anything else of Claire's so far.
on April 11, 2011
I'd like to preface my critique by saying that I loved the last three books from the MI series. Cassandra Claire managed to create a unique, very believable world with colorful and multidimensional characters. The story arcs were riveting and the characters had such unique personality quirks, that you couldn't help but feel invested in all of them, even the minor characters and the antagonists.
I just finished City of Fallen Angels today and I was sadly disappointed. When I'd heard she was generating the fourth book, I think I let my hopes up too much. The book's plot is slow and plodding and I remember looking at my progress, thinking, "I've already gotten through 1/2 the book and I'm still not getting anything out of this,.."
I'm not sure why I feel this way, but all the characters felt more two dimensional this time around. Even Simon, who is really the main protagonist, is lost in the story and never really "is" the story. It felt like Cassandra Claire was so busy moving the plot forward that she did it at the expense of any further character development. The usual smart and lighthearted bantering that we've come to expect of the main and minor characters was distinctly absent and the whole mood of the book is clouded by Jace's unapologetic self-absorbed feelings of unworthiness.
Actually, now that I think of it, that's a common theme. Every one feels unworthy. The whole book is a pity party.
Simon feels unloved as he is now a downworlder and he bears Cain's mark, Alex feels unworthy because he can't live forever like Magnus who has had multitudes of prior relationships to reference, Kyle feels unworthy because he hurt the one person he loved the most, Clary feels unloved because Jace has shut her out emotionally and she is constantly berating herself for only thinking of her own feelings (which she should)... you get my drift.
What is that all about?
There isn't an ounce of redemption in the whole book. To top it off, the end of the book is clearly a plot device to launch the next book off of and just about rounds up the whole disappointing experience we have of Jace's fall from grace.
Also, Cassandra Claire has aded a plot twist that annoys me in many YA novels that I've read recently--- Something happens to a character so that he/she is freed from the responsibility of his/her actions because they've fainted or been mysteriously controlled by an outside force.
In the real world, when you've done something wrong, even if it's not intentional, you still bear the responsibility of that action (like running over something with your car). The admission of a mistake made, and the corrections we make to prevent it from happening again is what creates character and strength in all of us. If you can't own the problem, you can't grow from it.
In City of Fallen Angels, Jace conveniently is absolved from the responsibility of his actions by being possessed in his dreams and then in real life by a Demon (he regains control of himself not through his own will, but because of Clary's interventions), and then he stupidly falls for it again in the last chapter as he is controlled by Sebastion's spirit. Honestly, I hate this kind of weak story/character development. Where is the snarky, arrogant Jace we've all come to love? Where is his strength of will? Where is anyone's will in this examination of the weakness of the human spirit and the constant self doubting of the downworlders and shadow hunters alike.
Finally, and I didn't realize this until I listened to the audiobook version of the book in my car (before I had to turn that darned thing off since Jace and Simon both had an Italian "goodfellows" accent read by a British reader that was absolutely grating and the female narrator had a distinct and out of place midwestern accent that in other books would be fine, but not in this book of characters from urban America). The point of view keeps jumping between Simon and Clary's story without real rhyme or reason, and the disjointed narration only highlights the glaring "cut and paste" feel of this story.
Harsh? I guess so. I just think that Cassandra Claire really has it in her to create a better story, to evolve a better world without relying on the relationship tension between Jace, Clary and Simon to move the story forward. I really hope that the next book takes a turn for the better and that for the audiobook version, they fire the two narrators reading City of Fallen Angels.
on March 14, 2015
This is the last book I had to read for my read-a-thon I did this week. I tried to get through as much of it as I could and even though I didn't get it done during it, I did finish it the next morning after it ended. I am flying through this series because I can't stop even if I tried. I spend my days that I can't read at the time thinking about it.
I like where the story picks up. It does in a way of joy and then Jace starts to pull back and we know why, but no one else does. So most of the rest of the book is trying to find out when Jace is going to finally let it all out.
The book definitely takes a turn at the end. You have a feeling you kind of know why things are happening, but in the end it definitely wasn't what I thought. There is some parts that are connected to it, but not in ways I had imagined.
Clare leaves it off in a way that you pretty much HAVE to pick up the next book. I need to know what happens and I already know after the 5th book I am going to be really upset having to wait for the final book to come out in 2014. I might even re-read the series before it comes out just so I can jump right into the last one.
I love how the characters continue to become a part of you and grow not only has an individual but as a group of not only friends but becoming a family as well. I don't want to say much more than that without ruining the book for you all.
It wasn't my favorite out of the series, I definitely enjoyed it and I still give it 5 stars, but I think book 3 is still my favorite. I still felt like the series could have ended there and I loved the happy ending that it gave in more ways than one. I am still hoping for that happy ending with the end of the series.
This book definitely leaves you with a feeling of dread of what is going to happen at the end of it. I pretty much just set the book down and stared up and wanted to yell no, but knew I would scare my dog if I did, so I did the next best thing. I got up, went to my bookshelf, grabbed book 5, then walked in here to write this for you all :)
I know this isn't the best review, I am horrible at writing reviews on series and trying not to give spoilers for you all. I just hope you see my sincerity that I loved this book and I love the series. So many said it wasn't good after the 3rd book and that had me scared, but for me I still love the series, and I hope that remains the case after book 5 and 6.
on April 14, 2011
Absolutely loved the first three books in the trilogy but I can't say the same for this book. The he-loves-her-can't-be-with-her plot line is one we've seen before; I'm ready for Clary and Jace to JUST BE TOGETHER! The romantic triangle Simon finds himself in is not unexpected and teen readers will certainly identify with. In fact, I did enjoy seeing Simon have a more prominent role. Was very disappointed with the ending and the direction the series seems headed. This is obviously the way the author will string it out into two more books but I would've been happy to see the series end with the City of Glass. It will be interesting to hear what my middle school students think of this book--I'm checking it out today to the first person on the hold list, a very eager young man who can't wait to get it in his hands.
on April 14, 2011
This book felt tired to me. Loved the original trilogy--Clary comes across powerful, even in her most insecure moments. In this latest installment she is pathetic. Her and Jace's actions are reduced to mad making out and Clary chasing, while Jace evades her...and really, that's it until the big somewhat climactic scene.
Certainly, some of the questions this book tries to address--consequences attached to Clary's bringing Jace back from the dead and her giving Simon the mark of Cain are provocative and worth pursuing. The narrative itself, the way these questions are answered build the ho-hum factor rather suspense, though. While I was impatient for this book to come out, I wish Cassandra Clare had taken a little longer to think this through.
I've read all the previous books in The Mortal Instruments series, and after finishing CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS, the overwhelming thought I had when I closed the book was: she should have stopped at book 3. The The impossible love between Clary and Jace has been the driving force of the first three books. And honestly the incestuous obstacle to their romance has always been a real hindrance to my enjoyment of the series overall. I knew eventually it would be revealed that somehow they weren't actually related, and I had to cling fiercely to that thought every time they started making out thinking they were brother and sister, but it was big on the ick scale even still and I think that particular storyline was drawn out much too long. But after such a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to their love no longer exists, what could possibly trump incest in CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS?
The answer, unfortunately, is nothing.
But Clary and Jace still act like their love is impossible. Jace brings new meaning to the word brooding. His objections to being with Clary felt very thin to me and her response was overly melodramatic. I haven't been able to loose myself in this series really since the first book, but I felt especially detached from this one. It didn't help that half the book was devoted to Simon's perspective and his ongoing struggle to come to grips with his new life as a vampire. He's never been a strong enough character to hang a book on in my opinion, and he proves that in CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS.
Bottom-line, the Jace/Clary parts of the book were unsuccessfully trying to recreate the romantic tension they had in the previous books, and the Simon parts just weren't interesting enough to warrant the page time he got. Yes, there is a plot involving demons and murdered Shadowhunters, but with all the characters faux drama, it fell flat me. Diehard fans of the series will no doubt love this latest installment, but if you've been lukewarm like me, you might want to pass and try Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices prequel series instead.
Kissing. References to homosexuality.
on April 17, 2011
I truly enjoyed the first three Mortal Instruments, though I did know that they were derivative and campy. I felt that there was enough newness to them to enjoy the story without it feeling stale. So, I picked this book up without expectation that it would be much more than that. However, I did expect it to have the same flavor as the original trilogy. Unfortunately, this book has the general idea, but not the same flavor. It reads much more like an outline that has some fleshed-out parts. Like the book isn't really finished. The transitions are truly awkward at times, and occasional so sudden as to leave the reader wondering how everyone got to where they were. I found the characters unbelievable whereas in the other books, I thought that they weren't completely unrealistic. Finally, it shows either disrespect to judeo-christian religions or simply didn't do the research.
I kept getting lost. I was really disappointed by that. The characters were here, no there! Wait, they've left the institute, but wait, when did they get to the hospital..... this is where the book felt like an skeletal outline instead of a the flesh I've come to expect from this genre. I'm not sure if I'm just mis-remembering the facts, but it seems like some of the Shadowhunter traditions/rituals that appear in this book disagree with the broad strokes from the first three books. This added to the disjointed feel, and this may be my own failing or perhaps too much hair-splitting on Clare's part. However, I expect that if the Author needs to bend the rules of the world they created or create an element that is counter-intuitive it should be explained in-universe or be a major plot point.
As for the characters, it seems like their knowledge of the mundane world dried up an blew away. How kids living and WORKING in NYC could somehow be unclear on standard weddings in America is beyond me. It seems like that the characters were dumbed down to give the readers a chance to see how Shadowhunter traditions work. This could have been handled much more elegantly than a cheap retcon. Also, I found it rather unrealistic that the Lightwoods would be acting like business as usual, and wangsting over boyfriends when their little brother was dead. Especially not given how it is constantly ground into the reader how much they loved Max and protected him. I couldn't buy that. They were being dumb teenagers at times, and that's acceptable to me, but just going against their characterizations that were mostly stable in the first three books bugs me.
Finally, and this is part of the characterization problem, but it should be mentioned on it's own because it's so huge. While it's not the only plothole (another notable one is why aren't NORMAL people always demon ridden if, without a shadowhunter baptism they are so easy to posses and manipulate?) it's the largest. Simon in a good, well-educated jewish boy who clearly takes his religion seriously. He should have known who Lilith was right off the bat. Except for, in Clare's universe, suddenly a HUMAN woman is a greater demon with a path very dis-similar from the story in the talmud.
I understand playing with the mythos. I understand fleshing out things that have been left vague, but blatantly changing the story so that it barely resembles the original myth to create a CHEAP villian is offensive to me, not because I'm christian or jewish, but because I think disrespecting a faith so badly is a mark of hubris that is not easily forgiven.
It's my opinion that Clare has lost what made her work the guilty pleasure it has always been because of excessive ego and pride.
on April 19, 2011
I was like everyone else who read the first three in the series, excited for this book. I bought this book yesterday and had it finished in 6 hours, at one o'clock in the morning I read the last page and shut the book w/ a feeling of sincere UGH! I fell in love w/ the characters through out the series, but, this book, THIS BOOK, was less than satisfying. There was so much going on in this book, you didn't have time to get excited for one thing, because the other was already happening, and then the stuff, you remembered you excited about, was dropped and gone. To me it felt like Clare didn't really know where any of the characters where going. The cliff hanger in the end was so predicitable that I was fine w/ it, but, the spoilers that were on her page and others I have read where nothing to what this book is about. My advice, wait until the fifth book is about to come out before you read this one, that way you won't be as dissapointed as I was. I honestly returned the book, I have never returned a book before, I love my collection of books, but, I just couldn't stand to keep this one in hardback form anyway, i may pick it up again in paperback form just to complete the collection, but, as for now, I couldn't bare to put it w/ the rest of the collection. Thank you for listening, and if you disagree I'm glad you got what you wanted from this book because I didn't..