Friday, 18 May 2012

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Released: May 8th 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 536
Buy The Book: Amazon

"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."

City of Lost Souls is a welcome return to form for Cassandra Clare, who, in my opinion, dropped the ball with City of Fallen Angels (check out my review here for my thoughts). The odd decisions and the strange character development that ruined CoFA for me have given way to a much more engaging plot, and the 'fanfiction' element has all but fallen away. I'll try to keep this relatively spoiler-free, as it's still quite close to the release of the book and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't got their hands on it yet.

Having read the books that have been released so far in the companion series, the Infernal Devices, I'm struggling to find Mortal Instruments quite as engrossing; in fact, I thought the most interesting parts of this book were the parts that dropped heavy clues as to what would happen in the next and final Infernal Devices instalment. However, that's not to say I don't seriously appreciate Cassandra Clare's craft and supreme talent, which is more evident in this novel than ever. The woman knows how to structure a story, CoLS is wonderfully put together and excellently written, with plenty of the old spark that I so missed in CoFA. Cassie is growing with every novel (writing CoFA off as a blip) and, despite my lingering reservations about her continuing the series past City of Glass, I'm actually quite excited to see what the final book holds.

Where my favourite character used to be Jace by a country mile, I am now appreciating Simon and Sebastian much more as literary constructs. Sebastian is masterfully well-written, the scenes where he has an almost easy and charming camaraderie with Jace certainly lull the reader into a false sense of security before he transforms into the monster we know him to be. He's a very charismatic villain and it's easy to see why people fall under his spell, even if his methods and aims aren't to be celebrated. Simon has also blossomed; in the first three novels I saw him as an annoyance but he's absolutely pivotal now and I don't find myself dreading the chapters that begin with his POV anymore.

In the way of criticism, I'd have to say that, as diverse and wonderful Cassie's cast of characters are, I'm finding the sub-plots to be a little distracting. The Maia / Jordan side-story didn't add contribute much to the actual plot, and I find it a little too neat that every single person in the main cast is involved with another member of the main cast. I know that it's fiction, but I find it a little too convenient, and I hope Cassie shakes it up a little in the final book. I'm sure she will, she writes tragedy extremely well.

All in all, I'm starting to warm to this series a little more, and I hope the final book is worthy of standing alongside City of Glass, which I thought (at the time) was an ideal ending to a series.

1 comment:

Luxembourg said...

I have always loved Cassandra Clare and it was definitely no surprise that I enjoyed City of Lost Souls.
So much happened in the novel and there was action in every page, there was not one point when I felt like the pacing was too slow. We really got to know Sebastian in a way (by the angel, he's intriguing) I also loved the little things that linked The Mortal Instruments with The Infernal Devices.