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.