on July 22, 2012
So, um, I've publicly stated many, many times that I don't think The Mortal Instruments series is as good as The Infernal Devices. Of course, I've always LIKED the former (Cassie Clare is an absolutely brilliant author), but I really LOVE the latter. Well, I can officially say, after reading City of Lost Souls, that I now LOVE The Mortal Instruments as well. The books in this series get exponentially better as the the series unfolds, which is a feat in and of itself, because let's face it, the first book, City of Bones was great!
So, City of Lost Souls? Well, it picks up where its predecessor, City of Fallen Angels, ends. Jace has disappeared into oblivion with the sinister and evil Sebastian, after saving his life. He is nowhere to be found; the Silent Brothers can't find him, nor can The Clave, Magnus, Clary, or anyone else. Shadowhunter magic isn't helping, not even dark magic is doing the trick, and everyone is worried. Jace's friends and family are worried for him, The Clave is most concerned with eliminating Sebastian, even at the expense of Jace's life... When Jace finally turns up, he isn't the Jace we all know and love. Instead he is, through Lilith's binding magic, Sebastian's pawn, and Sebastian has a truly evil plan that Jace now thinks he agrees with. Clary realizes all of this and feels compelled to save the one she loves, a need to bring the true Jace back, at any cost, putting herself, her friends and family, humanity as a whole, and the life she has grown to know and love in very grave danger.
There were a lot of things I loved about this book. First and foremost, is Cassie's writing. Seriously, she could write a guide to auto mechanics and I would greedily read it. She's THAT good. If you haven't read anything by her yet, you NEED to run out and buy one of her books NOW (I suggest Clockwork Angel because it's a better 1st of the series book than City of Bones). She does her research and because of it her world building is some of the best I've ever read. She immerses herself in the world she is writing, and it totally comes out on the page. She also uses such beautiful language; her books are full of wonderful literary quotes, relevant verses from religious texts, and an almost lyrical style of writing. I tend to slow-read her books because I want to savor every page (especially when I know it will be at least a year until I get to read more of her delectable writing). When I was reading this book, there were several parts that had me going back to reread because I loved being a part of the scene that was unfolding. It doesn't get much better than that!
But it does... As fabulous as Cassie's worlds are, her characters are just as great! Most authors focus on the main couple, and while many are adept at developing the supporting characters and their relationships, nobody does it as well as she does. I know Jace and Clary and the "central" figures, but I never really felt that way when I was reading this book. Magnus plays a huge, and very important role in this book, and since he is one of favorite characters EVER, I was thrilled. Of course, Alec also has a much bigger role as well, and although I am a little more than displeased about certain events involving the two of them, I was still super thrilled that they were so central. We also get lots of Simon and Izzy (TOGETHER!!), and that made me super happy. I didn't love Izzy at the beginning of the series, but she has grown on me, to become one of my favorite characters. As for Simon, well, I've always loved him, and it made me happy that he played such a critical role in this book, following his majorly awesome role in the last one. Then there's the deliciously evil Sebastian, the too-cute-for-words Maia and Jordan, manipulative Camille, and an even-more-mysterious-than-the-others Silent Brother Zachariah. Let's just say that the characters RULE.
Another thing I loved about this book was the direction the story took. Jace and Clary have overcome some serious relationship obstacles, and I really didn't think Cassie could have much more in her arsenal to stand between them, and then she pulls out this little bag of tricks and it blew me away. Not only does she have a brilliant imagination, but she doesn't hold anything back; she is SO not afraid to make her reader uncomfortable. (Let me tell you, Sebastian made me a little more than uncomfortable a few times!) The plot and pacing of this book kept me reading long into the night, constantly in a state of suspense and disbelief... This book is full of emotional tension, and it builds and builds as the story progresses, ending in Cassie's signature style, with a huge reveal that will leave your mouth hanging open. Once again, I found myself cursing her for her crazy cliffhangers. When I found out that it will be almost TWO years (yes, you read that right... March 19th, 2014 is the expected release date of City of Heavenly Fire) for the conclusion of this series, I almost cried!
I think it's pretty clear that I think City of Lost Souls is made of amazing with awesome-sauce on top... Again, if you've never read anything by Cassie Clare, you are seriously missing out, and need to get on this ship NOW. You won't be sorry!
My Rating: 5 stars++
Grade Level Recommendation: There are some pretty hot almost-sex scenes in this book, as well as some drinking and drug use (if you consider "fairy drugs" drugs), and of course, violence galore. This book is definitely a bit darker than most of the others as well. I think this book is appropriate for grades 7 and up (ages 12+).