Thursday 3 January 2013

Review: City of Lost Souls

Title: City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Released: 8th May 2012
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I felt a tad bit ridiculous putting the series and author up there.  Because I mean by now, who doesn't know this series?  Even if you haven't read it, even if you hate it, who doesn't recognise these titles if you read YA?  Who doesn't know who Cassandra Clare is?  Magical author, creator of a magical world, inspirational, evil, torturer...*takes deep breath*  Let's face it, soon it really will be everyone who knows her name with the upcoming movie.  City of Lost Souls also holds a special place because I get to start this year on a 5 star review, the same way as I got to end last year on one.  Of course I (half) planned it that way, but still.

Jace is now bound to Sebastian; if one is hurt, so is the other.  If one is killed, the other dies too.  No-one has any idea where they are and after two weeks of hopeless searching, the Clave de-prioritises it in favour of other problems.  Only a small team of people - can you guess who? - are willing to save him, and they know they must do it in secret: should the Clave get hold of Jace, they will kill him, believing there to be no way to sever the bond and it the easiest way to kill Sebastian.  All of this, however, is done without Clary, who's doing something else on her own.  Now the stakes are even higher, and this could easily be the end of both Clary and Jace.

CoLS somehow managed to manipulate my emotions so that they were the opposite of what they were before, at least to an extent.  Take Alec, for instance.  I like his character, I really do.  Yet for some reason he was acting ridiculously here.  A little trust and common sense would not have been amiss.  Isabelle, on the hand, only grew in my eyes.  The way she stood up for Clary and the way we see more of her vulnerability strengthened my respect for her.  I don't think I've ever particularly liked Jocelyn, Clary's mum, but I think here that dislike intensified.  Also, I don't know if it's just me, but Magnus seemed more serious in this one.  Not in a bad way - I thought it reflected the gravity of their lives at the moment perfectly; I suppose you know it's really bad when even Magnus is so obviously affected.  At the end of the book I felt really sorry for him. It's clear he has his own worries and his own life apart from the Shadowhunters, yet no-one seems to notice.

Clary herself surprised me in the way I saw her.  I've never had a problem with her before, yet here I saw a couple of flaws which bothered me.  Has she always been like this, or is it something that just happened with this book?  I really can't say.  I wanted her to be more questioning and take a few more risks despite the danger of her situation.  However, when it was needed, boy did this girl kick butt.  Suddenly she was strong and fighting and taking control.  A true Shadowhunter.  And Jace...(yes, I hear the collective sigh.)  He breaks my heart sometimes; so much happens to him, and all I can think is, 'Why?'  Why does it have to be this broken, scarred, delicious, fierce, amazing person who has to suffer even more?  I loved seeing the contrast between Bound Jace and Jace Jace.  I swear, each book I think it's impossible to love him more and then the next one goes and disproves that.  As for Sebastian, well, I'm not sure what I feel about him.  He is evil and I hate him as such, but did my heart betray me?  Did I start to feel an inkling of sympathy?  Possibly.  Clary certainly seemed to be affected at times.  He himself acted surprisingly on occasion.

Of course Clare doesn't just outdo herself with her characters, but also her plots.  The storyline in CoLS was suitably complex and compelling, astonishing me with all the ideas there were.  I have to wonder if there were too many, given that there were a couple of things that conveniently disappeared until they were ready to be dealt with again.  Overall, though, it's safe to say that I am in complete awe of this author's imagination.  I loved the surprises she brought us, and all the new complications. Again this is told from multiple POVs.  Usually I have no problem with this, but I felt that sometimes the switch between characters was made too quickly.  This did start to improve over the course of the book.

Maybe now you're wandering why I've given this five stars even though this book clearly isn't perfect.  Well, the flaws are only small.  They don't become overly tedious and really, Clare knows how to keep you entertained.  Her writing is fantastic and any problems there were were immediately dispensed with once we reached the climax, the battle between the two forces - good and evil, Shadowhunter and Sebastian - at its most intense.  Not to mention all the brilliant Jace humour.  Despite not having true control over himself, he is still his witty, sarcastic self.  That really is all we can ask for.  So now my only problem is that we have to wait for 2014.  One day they'll ask for too much and I really will die of the agony that comes from waiting for so long.

And on that note, I will leave you with Simon, the one we all not-so-secretly adore.

'She sat back, her arms crossed over her chest.  "Do you want to hear it or not?  You have to keep it a secret."
    "I would pluck out my own eyes with a fork before I would give away your secrets," Simon said, then looked anxious.  "Wait a second.  Do you think that's likely to be required?"'

'Clary sat back.  "You don't just get to say no."
    "This plan involves me!  I get to say no!  No."
    "Simon -"
    Simon patted the seat beside him as if someone were sitting there.  "Let me introduce you to my good friend No."
    "Maybe we can compromise," she suggested, taking a bite of pie.
    "'No' is a magical word," he told her.  "Here's how it goes.  You say, 'Simon, I have an insane, suicidal plan.  Would you like to help me carry it out?'  And I say, 'Why, no.'"'


  1. Yay, I'm glad you were able to enjoy this one so much As'Ishah!! I definitely liked it so much better than CoFA. I also loved how Magnus got a little more serious in this one- even though Alec annoyed the heck out of me. It added something interesting to the story. Also, Clary kicking some butt was quite a welcome change! I enjoyed watching her stand up for herself and actually kick butt. It was great. =) Also, I love how the author managed to portray the Bound Jace and Jace Jace, like you said. Rather than telling us when he was in each state, she managed to show it so well, which is something so difficult to do, as they're the same person. But the distinction was always made when Jace was bound and when he wasn't.

    Fantastic review Aa'Ishah! I'm depressed that we have to wait until 2014 for the next book (I KNOW, RIGHT?!) but I think it will be absolutely worth it.

  2. Ugh I feel so out of the loop here as I've only read up to the third book in this series and I wasn't really enjoying it that much. But I'm so happy that it's really working out for you Aa'Ishah, you're on the 5th book and it's still going strong so yay! Wonderful review A! :)

  3. Awesome review! I absolutely adored these books until the 4th one, when I started to lose interest in the characters and I felt like the plot was a little non-existent so I decided to not continue with the series and imagine it ended on book 3. But now? Now that I've read this review, I keep thinking that I should give CoLS a try! Meh.. I don't know, but great review all the same. :)

    Sadie @ Lyrics.

  4. Heeee. I actually didn't expect to like City of Lost Souls because I prefer The Infernal Devices world to TMI's. But CoLS blew me away. Mostly because of Simon and Isabelle. I'm probably going to be hit on the head for this- or maybe even thrown rocks at- but I got bored with Clary and Jace's relationship after City of Glass. With the second part of the TMI series, I enjoy reading about the other character's relationships more! So yeah, Izzy and Simon <3 Glad to hear you adore Simon too! He's so geeky I love it. GEEKS. ARE. HOT. Well, the non-creeper geeks are XD

    Great review, Aa'Ishah!

  5. I actually resolved not to read past CoG since I loved the ending and didn't want Jace to go through MORE problems, but this sounds really good! I might just have to read it now, so thanks for such a convincing review, Aa'Ishah! :)

  6. I only skimmed this because I haven't read book 4 yet. I refuse to read it until the last book is out because of CC's love of torture. That woman leaves off on the most horrible cliffhangers and I really don't want to get violent, lol! Glad to see your 5 stars though, Aa'Ishah. :)

  7. Every time I see this book cover, I say to myself, "Self, you really need to read this series!" and I still haven't yet. It just looks so good!

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed this series :)
    I was also having problems about Clary's attitude in this book. It was sort of annoying but thank goodness it was short-live or else I would have die reading the book,haha


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