City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
City of Lost Souls is the fifth book in the Mortal Instruments series. There wasn’t as much action in this book as we normally get making its pacing seem a little slow, but the character development I feel that we receive in this book makes it worthwhile. The ending also packs a punch that the rest of the book generally does not. As this is the fifth book in a series, anything beyond this point could be considered spoilers if you have not read the rest of the series.
After the events of City of Fallen Angels, we find our heroes in disarray because they find that both Jace and Sebastian are missing. They find out that Jace and Sebastian have been linked by the dark ceremony, which means that Jace is no longer himself. He feels that anything that Sebastian does it right and assists him, despite the fact that it would go against his true nature.
I really enjoyed seeing Jace and Sebastian’s interactions, because it showed a more human side of Sebastian. There were times when there was no one else around besides Jace, who was linked to him and had no free will of his own, and Sebastian seemed almost normal. He even had rare moments with Clary, which made you question just how much the demon blood affected him.
You know he is evil and that he has the ability to fake human emotions, but it was those actions that make you wonder, what if? Could the bond with Jace be affecting him, even to a small degree, in the same way that it affecting Jace? Giving him some dimension and the slightest influence of good? I loved how Clare made you question everything that you believed about Sebastian, just as Clary did in the book.
The character development also extended to our other favourite characters, which was nice to see since it’s such a large cast. We see Izzy being both strong and determined, and fragile, insecure and hurt. She has a broad range of emotions and her world does not revolve around a boy, which was so refreshing to see. Simon is struggling with his change and who he thinks he is now, still the old Simon or is he cursed now?
Despite the fact that they’re not the focus, Magnus and Alec’s relationship is wonderfully developed in this book. They struggle with both magical and mundane things coming between them but love one another to always persevere. Alec is still very insecure, so he worries about everything that Magnus does tell him about his past and the fact that one of them is immortal and the other not. Their love and their heartbreak is very real, which was such a redeeming characterization in this book.
Although Clary/Jace is my favourite pairing overall, I definitely love the Magnus/Alec evolution throughout this book and those that come after it. They are a very close second and probably a better portrayal of a relationship in the end. In this book, I worry about the portrayal of Clary and Jace’s relationship at times because it’s not always healthy. Obviously, people make mistakes, so it is realistic but it can border on obsessive and controlling at times. I understand that Jace is Clary’s first love, but he is not the only person in the world and sometimes she is worryingly single-minded.
The plot culminates and plans are laid for the fantastic conclusion to this series. Although the book does not end with a cliffhanger, you are still left wondering exactly what Sebastian’s plans are and how our heroes are going to stop him. Or if they are going to be able to stop him. Despite the fact that this is not the most well-written of her three series, I adore it nonetheless and constantly recommend it to people.
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