Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

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4 out of 5 Lost Stars

This is book 5 of The Mortal Instruments series, so beware spoilers for previous books.

We left the 4th book on a big cliffhanger. Jace has disappeared with Sebastian’s body…. which might not be a body anymore, but a living thing. In truth, he’s not Sebastian, he’s Jonathan Morganstern, Valentine’s demon-influenced son. Jonathan killed the real Sebastian, and has no qualms about taking the name of the murdered boy. There are a lot of parallels in this series, and a lot of them are in this book. Because Jace has several different possible names (I often get confused what they are). It’s interesting that his name is a nickname, a blend of what he thought was his name (Jonathan Christopher) and his last name should be Herondale, but he chose Lightwood. And these two boys with these amorphous identities are now bound together with demon magic.

I really liked the plot of this one. Jace and Sebastian were bound together because Jace was restored to life, so the demon side were then owed a life. Then Lillith bound them together with a rune so that whatever harm comes to one it also manifests in the other. So they can’t kill Sebastian without doing the same to Jace. He’s not himself anymore – the rune also binds him to Sebastian’s will. Whatever Seb thinks is a good idea, Jace follows suit, and when has Jace ever been one to follow someone else’s direction without a fight? The crew needs to find a way to separate them without involving the Clave. They know that if the Clave gets involved, they will kill Jace to be rid of Sebastian and Valentine’s influence once and for all.

Along with this rune business of Jace’s is the Mark of Cain on Simon (like I was saying about the parallels.) He and Isabelle are my favorite characters. Now he’s dealing with his mother’s knowledge that he’s a vampire and trying to accept who and what he is. It’s a great subplot of the series. I loved how at one point, Luke gave him a “how to come out to your parents” pamphlet intended for gay teens. I mean it drove the metaphor home, but it’s fitting. The mark of Cain comes into play in this, in an amazing way. It might be a little too perfect… but it’s just so good. And it shows Simon’s incredible heart and courage. There are some cool moments of foreshadowing into stuff that happens in the future, and it’s pretty awesome. I’m pissed that the Shadow Hunter Academy book isn’t coming out till later this year, because supposedly some of these stories have bearing on Lady Midnight. I don’t want to buy the  individual novellas, cuz I’m getting that sweet hardback.

Another parallel intrudes on the relationship of my favorite couple… just as Clary has the Seelie Queen fucking with her, Alec has Camille messing with his head in regards to Magnus. She’s such a manipulative cow, and Alec falls for it, hook, line, and sinker. He’s just so insecure when it comes to Magnus’s past and she uses that to move him into position. Whereas the Seelie Queen is manipulating Clary for her own ends, Camille seems to be doing this for funsies.

Basically, everyone is working an agenda. And everyone’s got relationship troubles to get through. We get more Maia and Jordan in this, but to be honest, they’re kinda lukewarm to me. The thing that continues to surprise me is how much I am enjoying the Clary/Jace relationship. I’d swear I hated it the first time and found them both really irritating. That may have been because I was reading the books too fast. In this one, they are in this different dynamic, because Jace isn’t truly himself. He’s affected by the rune but Clary believes the real Jace is in there. And Sebastian is starting to show an interest in Clary that’s kinda gross. The vampire clans are in turmoil. The Seelie court is clearly up to something. The Lightwoods are trying to stay off the Clave’s radar, dealing with the aftermath of Max’s death and a possible impending divorce. And the main plot of Sebastian, which proves that he is far worse than Valentine ever was.

Just another strong book in the series. The plot is good with plenty of room for all the relationships going on, a little bit of angst and making out. Just really enjoying this re-read of the series. Also, super impressed with the way these paperbacks hold up, as I’ve said before. It still holds true.

I’m so excited for the last book… and won’t it be the final test in regards to the paperbacks – because that bitch is hefty. I hope I don’t crack the spine!! I don’t know if I’m going to read the Bane Chronicles next or just go right into The Infernal Devices. I’m so excited. When I first read them, I had them as ebooks from the library and now I have the beautiful hardbacks (which I bought used and for amazingly cheap prices on Amazon). and I loved that series even more than The Mortal Instruments.

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