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City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 by in 4 stars, Book Reviews | 0 comments

City of Lost Souls

Author:  Cassandra Clare
Series:  The Mortal Instruments #5
Format:  e-Book
Release Date:  May 8, 2012
Dates Read:  May 8-23, 2012

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?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

On a personal note, I must beg your pardon for the extended period during which I’ve gone without reading much or writing  a single review.  I blame:  1) my community pharmacy rotation, essentially a full-time job with homework which took place during the month of May  2) my summer class  and 3) the release of Diablo 3, a game I have been waiting for since it was announced in 2008.  With my rotation complete, I should now have some free time in which to read and review.  Similarly, these are the reasons why it took me so long to finish City of Lost Souls.  I believe the epilogue went unread for about a week /hidesinacornershamefully

City of Lost Souls picks up directly where City of Fallen Angels left off, with Jace on the rooftop and the ensuing plot thickening.  For those of you who don’t know, The Mortal Instruments  series was originally intended to be a trilogy.  Cassandra Clare decided to extend the series to six novels, so the last three book are a sort of quasi-second-trilogy.  I bring up these possibly confusing and seemingly pointless facts because I was somewhat concerned City of Lost Souls would suffer from middle-book-itis, wherein the plot and character development serve only to drive the overreaching arcs forward and set us up for the final run.

I am pleased to say that I did not get that feeling from this book.  Although it does serve its purpose to set the  story up for the finale, the novel does so much more.  We see new sides of characters we’ve either never seen or only caught glimpses of before.  Sebastian, although he is clearly supposed to be the bad guy, is so much more interesting than just a stock villain figure.  The changes in Jace are intriguing and cause quite a quandry for Clary.  Clare also plays with the characters and their relationships.  And I don’t mean just Clary and Jace.  While this book is about them, it is just as much about the secondary characters.  I particularly enjoyed the developments between Isabella and Simon, Jordan and Maia, and of course, Alec and Magnus.

City of Lost Souls dredges up lots of character development through dealing with tough issues.  Isabella must come to terms with being vulnerable if she wishes to experience love, Alec must come to terms with his mortality and Magnus’s lack of same, and Clary must repeatedly decide between her principles and the love of her life (though not just in the way that first comes to mind).  Self-discovery through trial-and-error, angst and sundry tribulations is something that young adult fiction is exceedingly good at and well known for.  City of Lost Souls is a great and enjoyable example.  There are so many feelings in this book, and I love it.  If you’ve enjoyed the previous Mortal Instruments novels and/or The Infernal Devices, I would not hesitate to pick up this book.  I can’t tell you much about it without giving major plot spoilers, but I can tell you that Clare has written a solid novel here, and I await City of Heavenly Fire with much eagerness to see how it all ends.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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