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City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments) Hardcover – May 8, 2012
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* "If a cliff-hanger can be considered satisfying, then this book delivers."--VOYA, *STARRED
"The action once again climaxes in a tense, lush battle sequence just waiting for digital cinematic treatment. . . . [A] goth-and-glitter pleasure."--Kirkus Reviews
"The Mortal Instruments series features a rare marriage of extremely intricate, fast-paced plotting with ample digressions into the emotional lives of characters we’ve come to care about deeply. . . . With a movie in the works, this is an excellent time for new readers to jump on board one of the most enjoyable series in YA. Smart, fun, and epic, these books are addictive for all the right reasons."--Locus (Gwenda Bond)
About the Author
Cassandra Clare is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Lord of Shadows and Lady Midnight, as well as the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. She is the coauthor of The Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, as well as The Shadowhunter’s Codex, which she cowrote with her husband, Joshua Lewis. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages, a feature film, and a TV show, Shadowhunters, currently airing on Freeform. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.
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Where to start? First of all, CC's weaknesses as a writer haven't improved any. She still goes for purple prose, and she still spends an inordinate amount of time describing what everyone looks like and what they're wearing. Hey, I bet you didn't know that Jace has gold hair and gold eyes and that he smells like salt! I bet you didn't know that Sebastian has white hair and pale skin and black eyes! Cassie Clare apparently doesn't think you know, either, because she goes to the trouble of reminding you every other page.
...Okay, that's an exaggeration, but she seriously does mention it in every scene they have. This is a holdover from the previous books. No wonder Stephenie Meyer likes this series so much; both she and CC give you the impression that they fantasize about their male characters nightly (if you know what I mean), considering the way they constantly go on about how stunningly gorgeous and hot and beautiful they are. It's like bad fanfiction, which would be fitting in CC's case.
Cassie Clare is also a master of the cop-out ending, and she does it again here. (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, DON'T COMPLAIN IF YOU READ FURTHER) You might have heard that one of the main characters dies. That character happens to be Jace. But let me put your mind at ease by telling you that she brings him back to life immediately afterward. If you're getting a sense of deja vu, that could be because CC has done this before. In City of Ashes, she kills Simon only to bring him back as a vampire (and then she *almost* kills him again at the end of the same book, but then we got the reveal that he was a Daylighter, ta da). In City of Glass, she kills Jace and then has Clary wish him back to life. And in City of Lost Souls, she kills Jace AGAIN and brings him back to life AGAIN.
It's getting tiresome. CC brags about how she's not afraid to kill off her characters, but it doesn't count if the death hardly ever sticks. What's supposed to make death so awful is the permanence of it. CC takes that permanence away, so why should we care when these characters die?
To be fair, there *are* characters who have died "permanently", but they're not main characters and readers obviously don't care about them as much. I'm not saying that I WANT all of the main characters to die or anything, but CC should either put up or shut up. And she needs to stop killing her characters and bringing them back. Either kill them or don't, but don't try to have your cake and eat it, too.
Another problem with this book is that Clary, as the main protagonist, is rather unlikable and incredibly self-centered. Everything she does has to do with what she wants, and what she wants is Jace. Unlikable protagonists by themselves aren't necessarily an issue; there are plenty of books featuring unlikable characters. But the issue here is that we're not supposed to see Clary that way. She's stupid and runs into danger without thinking, disregarding what anyone else tells her, but we're meant to think that she's headstrong and fiesty. She's also selfish when it comes to Jace - she actually sells him out and betrays him to Sebastian to keep him from turning himself into the Clave, even though doing so would save countless lives. Fortunately, she apologizes later and does in a sense make up for it when she is willing to put a sword through Jace to cut him off from Sebastian. It's still troubling that she goes there in the first place, but, of course, we're meant to see this as an indication of how true her love is for him.
And Clary's selfishness isn't a new development, either. In City of Glass, Clary is granted one wish when she summons an Angel. What does she wish for? To have Jace back. She tries to justify and rationalize it by saying that maybe it's not right to wish for something like world peace (fair enough), but all I could think was: What about Max, who was, you know, brutally murdered not all that long ago? The one who, as Isabelle points out to Clary, was NOT a solider, unlike Jace, but an innocent 9-year-old child? What makes his life more forfeit than Jace's? Oh, right, because Clary didn't have a thing for Max.
The reason I'm giving this book two stars instead of one is because, unlike the previous book, things at least happen in this book. City of Fallen Angels was basically nothing but Clary and Jace angsting and mooning over each other. Here, there's more action, although I agree with other reviewers that the pacing was terribly slow; there was no reason for the book to be as long as it was.
Another plus: although Clary might be a frustrating character, the good thing about this book is that we don't spend as much time with her as we have previously. CC spreads the wealth a bit as we spend a lot more time with people like Isabelle, Maia, and Simon. I always liked Isabelle and Maia more than Clary; I hated Simon in the first book, but since then he's turned into a decent character. So, all things considered, I figure that's worth an extra star, but my standards might be low.
Also, this series has got to be one of the worst cases of trilogy creep ever.
The pacing was extremely slow. There was absolutely no action (if you want to call it that) until the very end. The pov changes didn't seem to flow as well as they have in past books. Minor characters Maia (whatever her name is) and Jordan served no real purpose to the storyline. It appears that she threw them in to saitisfy the Jordan lovers. IMHO her writing has gotten very sloppy(noticed this in CP also). How many times does she have to describe Jace? It was established in book 1 that the guy is the gorgeous to end all gorgeous. Why oh why must we read a description of his hotness every time his name is mentioned? The word gold/golden shows up so many times, that I began to wonder if she knows that there are other colors that exist. The romance between Clary and Jace just seems forced at this point. Jace hasn't been himself since about two books back and yet the crazed obsession between those two hasn't eased up.
Simon and Isabelle. Loved how we are seeing the sensitive and caring side to Isabelle. Their romance is a refreshingly realistic take on young love. I really enjoyed their apprehension in letting the other know how they feel for risk of getting rejected. Sebastian(Jonathan) is creepy as heck! Makes Valentine look like an outstanding human being.
If you are a big fan of the series (as I am) then it is a must read. BTW who is thinking that Brother Zacharai might be someone many of us adore from the other series? Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
This book was a huge improvement on 'City of Fallen Angels' and a hell of a lot better than half the YA sludge out there. I still get excited for each of Cassandra's new releases; but to be quite honest, 'The Mortal Instruments' just feels tired. I won't be sad to see it go. I still love Cassandra's writing and will continue to buy her books, but after all this time I just couldn't give a damn about the TMI characters.
Jordan + Maia = No1curr. I do not care about these characters, nor do I know them enough to read pages and pages dedicated to their love affair. It felt very intrusive and unwelcome, almost like going to a restaurant and receiving a plate of food you didn't order.
Alec + Magnus = OMG GO AWAY. How can any of us feel sorry for or even believe in Alec after he behaves so stupidly out of character? Again, I didn't feel the suspense in Alec and Magnus's relationship and they both bored me to bloody tears. I don't like them as a couple. I realize this is an incredibly unpopular opinion but I so prefer Magnus on his own, the way he is in 'The Infernal Devices', which is a vastly superior series, IMO. When Malec are together it almost always seems to be an exercise in Alec's whiny-ness, neediness and endless stupidity. He proved himself quite selfish (and very foolish) in CoLS and I was glad when Magnus kicked him to the curb. I would have done the same thing if my spouse wanted to SHORTEN MY LIFE.
Clary + Jace = Yawnorama City. I've seriously had enough of these two. The constant will they/won't they is getting really irritating, and they both seem to be rehashing all of their issues from the first three books. I realize Jace was possessed for most of CoLS but that doesn't change the fact that these two were bland as tapioca this time round, which was really no surprise for me. They lost their luster in 'City of Glass' as far as I'm concerned.
Isabelle + Simon: Would it hurt some of these characters to stay single? There's way too many relationships going on at once. I don't think Isabelle and Simon feel organic at all and reading about them makes my brain numb.
All in all 'City of Lost Souls' was an entertaining read but I just didn't *feel* anything while reading it. I was completely disconnected from the characters and not at all invested in the narrative. I don't think the drama, danger and suspense felt quite real enough. The book wasn't without its positives: the Prague nightclub scene, in particular; Clary's character development; the humor which was almost absent from CoFA, and the quality of the writing in general. I'm sure I'll read 'City of Heavenly Fire' when it comes out but I'm far more excited to read 'Clockwork Princess.' I'm well and truly 'over' TMI.
Before I go, here's some final thoughts for the cast of 'The Mortal Instruments.'
Maia: What are you even doing here? Don't you have some place to be?
Jordan: Again... What are you even doing here? Don't you have some place to be?
Magnus: I cheered for you when, at the end, you said: "It's over. I don't want to see you again, Alec. Or any of your friends. I'm tired of being their pet warlock." I was going to say... Magnus, you spend way too much time cleaning up a bunch of teenagers' messes for free. What are you doing? Get the hell outta Dodge! There's a war comin'!
Luke: Sucks to be you.
Jocelyn: I really, really hate you.
Sebastian: I liked you better when you weren't such a cartoon villain. For a moment there I thought you were going to be complex. Silly me. You're Valentine 2.0.
Simon: You're boring.
Isabelle: Wow, you got boring.
Jace: Awesome, you found your funny bone again. Too bad you lost your sex-appeal.
Clary: For what it's worth, you kicked ass, Clary.
Camille: It *really* sucks to be you.
Maureen: I look forward to seeing you again. Wreak some havoc, Claudia-style!