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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments, #5) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

What price is too high to pay, even for love?

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 542
Chapters: 21 (Plus a prologue and an epilogue.)
Publisher: Walker Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

City of Lost Souls picks up nicely from City of Fallen Angels, with the story continuing its new arc following the first three books. I'm glad I took that little break from the series though, because immersing myself back into the world Ms Clare has created makes me love it just that little bit more. The story, the characters, the writing, all of it is rich and pulse-pounding. Plus, come on, the last two books' cliffhanger endings? Who wouldn't want to dive into the next book right away. On the darker side of things, and I don't think I really noticed it before, I feel this entry to the series is just a tad bit too long-winded.

Jace is gone.
After the battle with Lilith and the arrival of the Shadowhunters, Clary finds herself stuck in her own personal purgatory.
Terrified of what's happened to the love of her life; terrified of what she knows she'll have to do to bring him back.
But with Sebastian waiting in the shadows to strike.
What will the consequences be for the choices Clary and her friends make in the name of love?

Like I said, City of Lost Souls' story is a great continuation in the series. It's intricate and fantastic, filled with magic and promise and scenes that force your heart into your throat. The build-up is also pretty darn awesome, with events within the plot steadily ratcheting up the suspense for the finale, not only the finale of this entry, but also the finale that is the final book in the series.

What weighs it down in this instalment though is its length. I'm sure it's around the same as the others in the series but, something about City of Lost Souls just makes it feel like it has far too many pages. It isn't helped by the fact that about every other paragraph is dedicated to describing our characters' features in explicit detail. It's another thing I'm not sure I noticed in the previous novels, but here it feels slightly overwhelming. We're five books in, I have a decent visualisation of our main characters without being reminded every five minutes.

Our cast of characters though are all great. They have distinct personalities that show just as well as before, with some solid development occurring with them that doesn't detract from the bigger picture. The two standout people in City of Lost Souls, for me at least, are Clary and Sebastian. Starting with the latter, I think Ms Clare has done a fantastic job of creating a sinister villain with multiple layers of nightmarish-ness. Sebastian is a much, much better bad guy than Valentine, and I can't wait to see which direction this boy goes.

Clary on the other hand has divided me once again. It was just a simple and short scene with her and her mother. The way our main character treats, speaks and antagonises Jocelyn really rubs me up the wrong way, and strikes me as slightly off key. I was fully behind Clary when she vented her anger the first time, but as events have unfolded and Clary herself has grown, she should now have a better understanding. But - SLIGHT SPOILER - to blame her mother for her life being hell, after the decisions Clary has made, angers me.

No, honey, your mistakes are your own. Your mother protected you from that hell all your childhood, giving you something others within the book didn't have. Be a little, no, a lot, more goddamned grateful.

But on a positive note, Clary's a bad-ass! During the second half of the book I really started to see how she's changed, how strong, both physically and mentally, she's become. There are some truly great scenes that redeem her for the reader. I also cannot help but love her recklessness and stubbornness. I think some people are a little put off by those traits, but for me, it's those bull-in-china-shop decisions that keep the world from crumbling. Before everyone else can come up with any definitive plan, Clary dives in to hold back evil's spread until they have one.

I didn't realise I had that much to say about City of Lost Souls.

Although it's definitely got me pumped for the final book.


Previous Instalment: City of Fallen Angels
Next Instalment: City of Heavenly Fire


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