TITLE: City of Lost Souls
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
LENGTH: 544 pages
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (May 8, 2012)
SUMMARY: (goodreads.com) The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.
No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?
Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.
And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?
REVIEW: I was impressed with everying in this book EXCEPT Jace and Clary’s story. I have been a fan of The Mortal Instruments books from the beginning and after City of Fallen Angels, I was convinced that Clare would be hard pressed to go wrong with the Shadowhunters’ story. With each book, the characters became more complex and layers were added to all of the characters’ stories to keep this world interesting. In most of the books, I’ve wanted to punch Jace at some point in the story-which I think is Clare’s desired response. But in CoLS I wanted to DROPKICK Clary and, by extension, the author. Clary’s inner monologue in this installment is SO ANNOYING. Hearing over and over again that Jace was not “her Jace” or that Sebastian was “suspiciously calm” just about drove me mad. Also, the sheer number of times Jace or some part of his anatomy is described as “golden” or “shimmering” or “bronzed” or “haloed” is riduculous. It seems that all other adjectives have been lost or ignored in the quest to describe Jace’s “angelic” (yet another overused word) physicality. I wanted to gag toward the end when it came to part of Jace and Clary’s story thread. I could almost recite the text along with the narrator. Perhaps listening to this as an audiobook make this more noticeable than it would have been reading it but either way, Clare needs to find some new adjectives or cease with the deification of Jace’s anatomy. A note about the audiobook: I was a little frustrated with this narrator (Molly Quinn) from her reading of City of Fallen Angels.) She seemed a little slow and I wasn’t too impressed with her inflection in Book 4 and the dialogue seemed a little flat at times. She has markedly improved in inflection and dialogue in this book. The pacing is still a little slow for my taste but overall I think she’s grown as a narrator.
Having said that, because all of the other characters’ story lines were well developed and well written, perhaps Clare spent the majority of her writing time with these other characters. All of the characters are lost and struggle to find their place within themselves, with their partners, and within the MI realm. I was pleased with the progression of Magnus and Alec’s relationship. Alec’s insecurity and jealousy are realistic and is something that most teens have to deal with even if their boyfriend isn’t hundreds of years old. While Jordan and Maya’s reconciliation seems a little storybook-ending, I still thought the progression through anger and forgiveness was appropriate. Simon’s attribution of his identity to his outer appearance/physicality is typical of most teenagers and discovering that who you are doesn’t have much to do with what you look like is an amazing discovery. In addition, his relationship with Isabelle is touchingly stalled. Neither of them has the guts to say how they feel and is resigned to losing the other instead of being forthwright. Izzy has to explore and name her own feelings before she can express them to Simon and tearing down a defensive barrier like that is difficult.
I enjoyed the character development more than the story itself. I’m not sure how Clare will bring it all to an end (or IF this is the end) but based on the other installments in both of her current series, I believe she can do it. I’m excited to see how she pulls it off and if the story development will equal the characters’ growth in the next book.