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on May 10, 2012
In this latest installment of The Mortal Instruments, Jace finds himself in a predicament. We last saw him being tricked by Sebastian into some creepy ceremony. Turns out that this ceremony has bound the two together. What Sebastian wants, Jace wants. Prick one of them, and the other bleeds. This proves to be a problem for the Shadowhunters, who want to kill Sebastian but can't do so without killing Jace as well. And off we go...

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.
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on May 8, 2012
Where do I start with this review. I have been a huge fan of Ms. Clare's writing for several years, sadly I am starting to see the cracks.

The Bad
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.

The Good
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.
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on May 16, 2012

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!
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VINE VOICEon May 9, 2012
Disappointed in this one. It always worries me when an author drags the series out too long and starts filling it with stuff I don't care about. And where did all these other relationships come in? Clary, Isabelle, Simon, Jace this is who I want to read about not a bunch of other people sleeping together at every opportunity. The book has just changed and I didn't like it. Where is the action the pace of this book was so slow. She bopped around from one person to the next and it just bothered me. And I hate to say it but Jace and Clary are getting old. Just let them be already. I did love Simon and Isabelle and there relationship and the changes you get to see in both of them. Sadly I am not looking forward to the next and probably last book. I can't imagine how this could be dragged out further.
Sex- Lots of heavy making out that goes into a little detail. Lots of implied teen sex. Sleeping in the same room together. Gay relationship that gets more detailed than in earlier books. Vampire Sex
(wear they get heated up sucking blood) I didn't know what else to call it.
Violence- Lots of Blood and gore.Frightening images of death, monsters and dead bodies. Lots of fighting and an attempted rape that doesn't go to far.
Language- A little. B word, religious words.
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on May 21, 2012
Was very dissapointed in the first book. She ruined it when they found out they were related! Jace seems to be a great character, but it just got boring and I couldn't continue anymore. Couldn't finish the second book.
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on January 23, 2016
Lots of rambling and possible spoilers ahead:

*ugh* Where do I even start?! This wasn't as terrible as a lot of people say it is...once you sift through the ridiculous amount of Clary whining over Jace. Can I just say that Jace under Sebastathan's control was much more likable than normal Jace?! CC really wrote him as an unlikable character. And it's funny because his love for himself and confidence could be compared with Magnus', but where Magnus is sassy and hilarious, Jace is conceited to the point where he seems like he's truly in love with himself, and it's just U.G.L.Y. (He ain't got no alibi!)

And is it wrong that I LOVE Sebastathan? Where I hated Valentine because he was just a crazy zealot, I love Sebastathan because he's just pure evil. Valentine mistook his crazy self righteousness for pure intentions. Sebastathan knows he's evil and is surprisingly okay with it. Although deep down I think he does wish he was capable of love and being loved--specifically by Jace and Clary. That just may be his downfall. Or maybe not. More than likely Jace and new his heavenly fire along with Clary's blind, dumb luck will be the end for Sebastathan.

And once again Clary races off into danger to save Jace without regard to herself or anyone else. Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and Magnus all risked their lives by summoning a greater demon and an actual angel of the lord, but at least they went in with a plan and they all worked together. Clary sees Jace in trouble and just goes running blindly into the unknown leaving everyone else to (potentially) pick up the pieces if her non-plan is an epic fail. Which it usually is. I get love, love so deep and passionate that you would potentially let the world burn to save your beloved, but that's only in thought not in deed. Once she stopped and thought about what was happening, she realized what a ginormously huge mistake she made by not letting Jace sacrifice himself. Jace knew what the cost of saving himself would be and didn't want to pay it. Now Sebastathan is on the loose with an Infernal Cup and revenge on his mind. He will very likely make a huge shadowhunter-hunter army. There will be a huge war and lots of people who didn't have to die, will in fact die. I'll say it again, Clary is selfish and thoughtless. It would have probably broken her to lose Jace, but the world would have kept on turning, Magnus is proof of it. I just feel like her selfishness is constantly rewarded. The amount of angst this couple exudes is just too much. I know it's teenage love, but DANG!

Isabelle needs to get over herself and tell Simon how she feels. She's the first one to think men should be tripping over themselves for her--that no one is worthy of her greatness, so why would anyone feel like they could truly have her? Why would they express their undying love if they know they're unworthy of her? That they'll just be shot down? She's another one with just a little too much conceit for my taste. I love a strong, confident, bamf, but there's a thin line between self assurance and narcissism.

And poor, sad, clueless Alec. I feel so, so bad for him. He's never done a relationship--even his familial relationships seem to be seriously lacking in the relationship department. Magnus was one hundred percent right to break-up with him--I sure as hell would have--but I still feel bad for Alec. He doesn't know what to do with these feels he's having, and quite frankly there isn't any one to talk to about them. His parents are useless, his sister is too self involved, Jace and Clary can't see past one another, and he has no other true friends--he'd ever go to Simon. He was scared, and jealous, and confused, but it didn't make what he did right, even if he did realize how foolish he was and decided to do the right thing. It was so wrong to try to make such an enormous decision for Magnus. He should have spoken to Magnus about it; if he had been honest, he would have learned that Magnus was already considering it, and that would have probably been enough to ease his fears. But he didn't talk to the man he supposedly loved and ended up losing him. Poora, poora, pussy cat. (Anyone who gets that reference has my respect as a lover of old school!)

And poor Magnus! How must he feel being betrayed by someone he loves so deeply. He never wanted to, or thought he could love a shadowhunter, but he made an exception for Alec--not that he could have stopped himself from loving him, but he could have stayed away from him. Magnus risked a lot getting involved with a young, inexperienced, closeted, shadowhunter. He risked his heart, his life, and quite frankly his sanity to be with Alec and he is repaid with treachery. And what's worse, he was actually considering giving up his immortality so that he could grow old with Alec. That's like the ultimate slap in the face!

Now with all that being said, Alec didn't mean any harm, and he really had come to his senses before he did anything irreparably stupid. I truly hope Magnus doesn't take too long to realize this and they get back together. But I'm sure the road to a Malec reunion will be long and full of *shudder* angst. I never knew there could be too much teenage angst in an YA series and yet we have THIS series. I'm committed now; five books deep, there's no turning back. There had just better be an epic reunion of Alec and Magnus in the next book...and less Clace wangst!
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on May 16, 2012
I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet and get right to the point. This book was a big let down in the "Mortal Instruments Series". I've read all the books and it only took me 24-48 hrs to read each one. It took me a week to get this one done. There was very little action and the story just drug on and on. I also got very tired of reading how "Jace" looked, smelled, tasted, blah, blah, blah. It felt like the author ran out of things to write, so she just started explaining everything and everyone in great detail. If one more person dies, and comes back to life, I'm going to scream! Also, I got really sick of reading about all the gay relationships. That's not something I'm interested in and it seemed like Cassandra Clare was trying to shove it down my throat. Maybe she needs to go and try writing one of those books next. I'm not going to give up on this series though. The other books in this series and in the "The Infernal Devices" were defiantly a 5 star.
**SPOILER** I was so glad when Alec and Magnus broke up at the end I nearly cheered out loud. It's one thing to write that a character is that way and has a significant other, and another to explain in detail their love affairs. If I wanted to read one of those books then I would, but I don't, and I don't appreciate an author trying to shove it down my throat. I've heard others feel the same way. I hope that the author doesn't write off Magnus. I believe she won't, since he was one of the main characters in this last book. (Short as I could get it).
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on April 28, 2015
I'll be honest, I hated "City of Fallen Angels." It felt like an unnecessary attempt to draw out a series that had previously been completed. I'm a completionist, and with only 2 books left in the series, I figured I could push through the last installments to see if Clare could turn around the mess that was the last book. Much to my dismay (and annoyance), not only does "City of Lost Souls" fail to make the previous novel seem worth it, it somehow manages to be worse. Spoilers follow.

"City of Lost Souls" takes place a couple weeks after "City of Fallen Angels." Sebastian has completely disappeared from the map, unable to be tracked by the Clave...and he's taken Jace with him. Worse, the ritual from the last book has bound the two together, making it impossible to hurt or kill Sebastian without doing equal harm to Jace. Though the Clave has put the search on the backburner, Clary refuses to give in and willingly turns herself over to Sebastian in hopes of discovering what has happened to Jace and what Sebastian is planning. What she finds is terrifying: Jace is under some sort of mind control to do Sebastian's bidding...and Sebastian is planning to create a new group of demonically-aligned Shadowhunters using his newly-created Infernal Cup.

The plot may sound straightforward, but it was difficult to pick out the central story because the book is all over the place. I mentioned in my review for the previous book that the story got hopelessly lost amongst all of the relationship drama; the same thing happened here tenfold. Note that a vast majority of the big plot deals with Jace's disappearance, which means that a huge portion of the book is devoted to Jace and Clary...again. I'll address them further in a bit, but story-wise, Clary's point of view is used the most (the point of view rotation seemed to be Other Character, Clary, Other Character, Clary, so she takes center stage every other point of view switch), which ends up being a problem since most of what she addresses barely seems relevant. Sure, she sees some of the big events, but most of her parts deal exclusively with her pining over Jace, going on dates with Jace, and making out with Jace. It gets old fast, and Clary isn't the only one guilty of this. Pretty much every character has a significant other and their own associated drama to pad the pages out. I flew through this book, not because it held a captivating story, but because I eventually got so tired of reading about characters making out or brooding about their boy/girl friend nonstop that I just started skimming every time these things popped up...which is at least once in pretty much every chapter. Simon, Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus (or Team Good, as they're called in the book) seem to do more to move the story forward, but with every chapter containing long romance-related scenes, I wanted to scream at the characters to stop making out and do something! The novel is mostly relationship fluff; the action doesn't start until about a couple chapters from the end, and there's definitely some promise in the events that occur there, but it's too little too late. There should be some big things in this novel, but instead it's mostly filler - you can skim through most of it (like I did) and not miss anything.

Equally annoying is the fact that the series could have easily ended with this book, yet Clare chose to drag it on for one more novel. It only adds to the feeling that this is an unnecessary filler book when the action doesn't really start until the end and the author provides a way for the protagonists to stop the villain, only to conveniently make it so it doesn't work out, necessitating another novel. I liked the idea of the sword Glorious, its origins, and what it was capable of; it could have been used to provide a satisfying demise to Sebastian, but instead it was wasted for the sake of extending an already overextended series. Also, Jace dies...again. Don't worry, Jace fans, he's brought back...again. I disliked it when this happened in the third book and I liked it even less in this one. Cassandra Clare seems to like the idea of being edgy and "not afraid" to go there, but the impact of this is completely lost when dead characters keep coming back. Death is terrifying and heart-wrenching in its finality. Take away the permanence and it just becomes another contrived plot device for the author to use in a lazy attempt to pull at our heartstrings or put Clary in suspense when she has to make a difficult decision. Either let him stay dead or don't bother.

I believe I've said this in every review for this series so far, but Clare's writing is just not improving. That's not to say she's a bad writer; she has a knack for settings and can describe a scene (whether it's an action scene or something more peaceful) very fluidly. However, she's still too predictable. The plot twists can be seen way before they're revealed, which lessens their impact and can make for a disappointing reading experience. Additionally, both this and the previous novel felt very phoned in in terms of voice and style. The first 3 books had a certain wit and tone to the writing, and it just hasn't been present in these last couple installments. And the description...most of the problem with it is repetition. I should have kept count (or started a drinking game) of how many times Jace is described as golden/angelic/smelling of salt/etc. We get it...he's hot. Clary's pale skin and red hair are mentioned again and again, as are Magnus's cat-like eyes. Also, apparently all couples about to make out use the other's belt loops to pull their partner closer (seriously, who does this?). It feels like Clare simply isn't "into" this trilogy like she was the first one. The writing is lackluster and flat in delivery, which makes the pages of romantic fluff, repetitive descriptions, and predictable plot twists incredibly difficult.

Though, on a random note, I have to commend the author on her well-placed "Star Wars" pun. I'm a huge "Star Wars" fan, so I got a chuckle out of it (one of the very few times I laughed while reading this).

The biggest part of "City of Lost Souls" is the romance and, if we're going to be honest, this thing reads like a teenage soap opera. I'll get my bias out of the way up front: I don't like romance. That being said, I accept that it's part of most (if not all) novels and have even enjoyed it on rare occasions when it's well done. It's not well done here. Perhaps my biggest peeve is that every character is neatly paired up with someone; I don't think there's a single main character in the book without a significant other. This contributes to the issue of every chapter being bogged down with romance. It's overkill. Even Jocelyn's few scenes are riddled with her feelings for Luke. With such a big cast, it's simply not realistic that everyone would have found their perfect partner (especially when most of the characters are teenagers) and its ridiculous that they all brood about it.

Clary and Jace are obviously the most prominent relationship in the book, and that's a bit of a shame because they're also the most boring couple. Their story and development ended at the end of the third book; since then, their relationship has stagnated and been dragged on too long. Clary's mother comments at one point that they simply aren't meant to be together...and I'm inclined to agree since they don't really bring out the best of one another. Worse, I don't really feel any chemistry between them beyond their make out sessions. And on the note of the physical side of their relationship, could they just have sex already? I'm usually not a big supporter of kids getting it on, but they begin to get intimate countless times in the book, only to be interrupted just before they can go any farther. It's frustrating, and not in the good, suspenseful way; it's tiresome to read/skim these scenes, knowing they aren't adding anything to the narrative. And since the novel ends with Jace effectively not being able to touch Clary, we're probably in for even more whining about not being able to be physical in the next book. Yippee.

Simon and Isabelle are a tad more interesting than Clary and Jace, but when I say a tad, I mean it. Perhaps it's just because Isabelle's character has never really resonated with me, but I find it difficult to care about who she ends up with. That being said, she and Simon actually have some chemistry and face more interesting hurtles than the main couple, which makes them marginally more enjoyable to read about. Alec and Magnus used to be my absolute favourite pairing in these books, but Alec's personality got mangled somewhere between "City of Glass" and this book. I was frustrated with him throughout most of the book and almost cheered when Magnus broke up with him (contemplating shortening someone's life against their will and not telling them is a decidedly big, unforgivable mistake). Their spark is gone, and it's a pity because they used to have the most enjoyable dynamic in the series. I don't know why Jordan and Maia were even in this book. They don't contribute anything to the plot and spend most of their time mooning over each other and having fade-to-black sex scenes. They could have easily been cut out (and shortened the page length of the novel) without affecting the story. There are too many couples packed into this novel, all fighting for attention, which results in none of them feeling fully developed.

We can't discuss the relationships without addressing Sebastian's creepy incestuous advances on Clary. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Clare thought it was necessary to include this. To repeat myself a bit, she appears to enjoy pushing the envelope to prove how edgy and unafraid to flout convention she is. This works well in some cases (I give her mad props for including not one, but two same sex couples), but this went too far for the genre and age group, in my opinion. I have the same issue with it as I did when Clary and Jace thought they were siblings: it simply isn't given the gravity or seriousness it needs. Granted, Clary doesn't reciprocate Sebastian's feelings (thankfully), but it still feels thrown in for the sake of it. Maybe it was meant to show us how demented Sebastian is? If so, it wasn't needed; we can see that he's plenty insane without it. Rather than thinking the author was unique and edgy by including this, I found myself questioning her taste and judgment.

Moving on to characters, I'll be blunt and say that I strongly dislike Clary as a main character. She's incredibly selfish; all of her thoughts and actions revolve around what she wants, which at this point is Jace. She's reaching Bella Swan levels of obsession with her boyfriend - almost every thought in her head is about Jace, how attractive he is, how much she wants to get in his pants, how he isn't himself when being controlled by Sebastian, and so on. She has no interests or hobbies outside of her significant other. I can only read about Jace for so many pages before I start to get irritated at this character's lack of a life outside of her relationship. Also, after five books, she's still terrible about making stupid, impulsive decisions that put herself and her friends in danger, even when others try to make her see reason. This wouldn't be a problem if it was presented as a character flaw...but it isn't. Instead, people attribute it to Clary being headstrong and stubborn; in essence, they stand around going "Oh, that Clary! What can you do?" I don't understand why she hasn't grown at all, despite being the main character for five books.

As an aside, if I didn't like my Kindle so much, I possibly would have chucked it at the wall when Clary called to Sebastian to essentially tattle on Jace when, in a brief moment of regaining control over himself, he wanted to turn himself into the Clave. It's possibly the prime example of Clary being inexcusably selfish. Coincidentally, this is also why I think they're a terrible couple. Clary only thinks of herself; at no point does she consider her boyfriend's feelings...it is all centered on what she wants. She sort of makes up for it by stabbing Jace at the end when she realizes she can't reach Sebastian, but the damage is done.

Speaking of Jace, I didn't really see too much of a difference between mind-controlled Jace and normal Jace. Mind-controlled Jace was perhaps a little more bloodthirsty and of course was more obedient of Sebastian's orders, but both he and Clary went on and on about how mind-controlled Jace was a completely different man than regular Jace, and I just didn't see enough of a difference to validate that statement.

Most of the other characters (with a couple notable exceptions) seem to be shadows of who they were in the first trilogy. Simon is easily one of my favourites. If a character makes me laugh, it's usually Simon (or Magnus). I've enjoyed watching him come to terms with what he is and what having the Mark of Cain means (though, on that note, couldn't he just ask Clary to draw another one for him after losing it in this book?). Heck, I've even liked seeing his relationship with Isabelle develop. My only complaint regarding Simon is how much time he spends with Clary. He's supposed to have moved on from her...and while I get that they're best friends, he still seems incredibly devoted to her (moreso than to his potential girlfriend, which he thankfully realizes late in the book). Isabelle and Alec almost aren't worth mentioning because they either aren't terribly present (Isabelle) or have had their character butchered (Alec). Magnus is Magnus...he's always magnificent. Jordan and Maia, again, could have been left out of the book for all they accomplish both in terms of plot and character growth.

Sebastian really just isn't doing it for me as the novel's villain. He's evil, that much is made clear, and we get it. However, it often feels like Clare is trying to make him bigger and more nefarious than Valentine, and while he's perhaps nastier than Valentine, he isn't as satisfying an antagonist. I liked Valentine because, despite his means and goals being questionable, he had a sort of honour, which produced some lovely shades of grey when dealing with him. Sebastian lacks the same multi-faceted persona. He's just pure evil, which isn't that interesting.

So, in closing, I essentially have nothing good to say about "City of Lost Souls." I thought the last book would be worst installment of the series, but it looks like this one will hold that honour. It suffers horribly from middle book syndrome: nothing really happens and most of the book is fluff, meant simply to fill the space between the first book of the second trilogy and the third. With the exception of a couple things at the end, you could probably skip this one and go into the last book without missing anything. When Jordan and Maia went to the Praetor Lupus headquarters, they encounter a werewolf who is being reprimanded for some big event in Boston that resulted in his charge's leg being broken...I found myself wondering why we couldn't have read about that story instead of the boring drama we ended up with. Ultimately, that's the biggest problem with this novel: it's full of uninteresting relationship drama. We get it, they're teens and their hormones are raging...but the world as they know it is possibly about to end. Let's get our priorities straight, people! If there wasn't only one book left, I'd probably abandon the series here, but as it stands, I'll be reading the final installment, if only to see how this mess ends up. One star...and that's only because amazon won't let me give a zero or negative star rating.
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on May 21, 2012
In City of Lost Souls, there'll be hell to pay
The Shadowhunters' world is in disarray.
The reality is blurred between friends and foes,
And in this game of hmmm....love? anything goes.

For Jace is lost and his will is on loan
And if Clary's not careful, all will be blown.
Will their love be strong enough to withstand
The pain and destruction from Sebastian's hand?

And then there is Simon, with the Mark of Cain,
Will he be Heaven or Hell's, and can he be slain?
And Isabelle Lightwood who stole Simon's heart,
Will losing Max and then Jace tear her apart?

And what about Alec who loves Magnus Bane,
Is immortality possible for him to obtain?
Or will he grow old and thus wither away,
Perhaps he should bargain with the Queen of the Fae.

To burn down the world is Sebastian's goal,
But even more, he wants his sister's soul.
To make her love him is his greatest need
Through blood and death, will he succeed?

Through broken hearts and minds and dangers untold,
For fighting heaven and hell, they will pay tenfold.
At the end of the day, they must all stand and fight,
Or else they fall victim to Sebastian's dark might.

This is the BEST book in the Mortal Instruments series!!! I read it in one day, and then I went back and read and re-read my favorite parts--there were quite a few! I'm actually tempted to stop writing right now and go re-read them again!!!

You know how there are certain moments that change your life? Well, reading City of Lost Souls was one of those (okay...so much more than a moment, but still) moments! I was swept away into Cassie's world--if only I could live there permanently.

Okay...so most people who are going to read this book already love Cassie Clare and TMI, so I'm just going to go with a few reasons why you should read this RIGHT AWAY! (We'll do a countdown)

5. I love when the Fae interfere--I mean, they are just so cunningly evil! Anytime the Queen is around, you know you are in for something dark and twisty!

4. We get to see into Magnus's world! His world is quirky and fun, but with an air of mystery and danger. It divides the line between good and evil, and it's nice to ride that line with the warlock. Magnus has been in so many of Cassie's books, but I really love seeing him get personal in this one!

3. I love the world that Sebastian, Jace, and Clary get swept away in. I won't say much because it would be too spoilery, but there was so much grey there that I didn't know who to trust--and I didn't care! I just wanted more!

2. Sebastian is the absolute best villain ever! I mean--bold statement coming--I think I like him better than Voldemort! (Please don't strike me with a lightning bolt...) He's charming and sexy and manipulative, but I just can't help but have a weird crush on him! There is nothing better than a hot villain!

1. Jace--of course! Even though he's not the Jace we all remember, he is still to die for! He's just as sexy, just as scandalous--even more so because Sebastian's pulling the strings, and just as kick butt! I date you not to completely fall in love with him!

So...if my wonderful poem didn't convince you and my wonderful countdown did not convince you, then I have to conclude that you are just crazy! May Jace's stele strike you down!
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on May 9, 2012
This review is more like 2.5 stars. I couldn't decide between 2 or 3, but bumped it up because it was good enough to get through in a day.

I'll try to keep it mostly spoiler free, as my complaints have little to do with specific plot points.

I've been reading a lot of Cassandra Clare's work lately, and greatly anticipated City of Lost Souls. It was less on the grounds that she's some amazing writer, but more on the entertainment value of finding out what happens next. Call it a guilty pleasure, if you will. But there were so many problems with this book that I couldn't overlook this time, and it detracted from my overall experience.

Firstly, the descriptions are ridiculous. It was established in the very beginning that Jace is beautiful, angelic. We need not be reminded every time, yet we are. Even when characters are thinking about Jace, we have to hear how beautiful he is. It's also unnecessary to describe every article of clothing a character is wearing, as it takes focus away from what's happening. Same for the new locations. They're described in such detail that I found myself skipping over certain lines and missing nothing, because there was no need to focus on it. Overused descriptions are another problem. I cringed a little every time a form of the word "gold" was used in this book. Also "hearts slamming against chests," and "half-closed eyes." They simply bother me.

Focus is a good word that this book needs. Events are all over the place, and it's difficult to determine what's important. It didn't bother me at first, but I'm beginning to really dislike the constant POV jumps. They occur much too frequently, it's often ambiguous whose POV it is at first, and honestly it's a little insulting to my attention span. I feel like it's overused to build tension, when tension should occur normally within the span of a scene. I find few things more jarring than being in the middle of a tense moment, only to have to read about Jordan and Maia being all over each other again.

I'm starting to get the feeling that this book has far too many characters for the story it's trying to convey. It's probably too late at this point, but the series would benefit greatly in scaling back the number of POVs to perhaps just Clary, Simon, and possibly Jace. Other characters can still be there, don't get me wrong, but it's unnecessary to know what everyone is thinking about everything. There is intrigue in knowing only one side of the story.

Overall this wasn't a terrible book. It's just that a decent story was drowned in a lot of unnecessary things. Many fans will love it, I'm sure, but it simply had too many problems for me to enjoy it to its fullest. I still look forward to the conclusion, just perhaps not as much as I would have otherwise.
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