Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Read - City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls
by Cassandra Clare
534 pages

From Amazon.com:
What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

I had a harder time reading this book than any other in the series.  At times I had to force myself to pick up the book and continue, just so I could get through it.  And when I finally finished, I went online to look at other reviews to see if I was the only one who felt this way, if I was being too harsh again.  I was relieved to find many other people pointing out the same things I was feeling.  So what was so 'bad' about this one?

There was way too much going on.

If you've read any of my book reviews natterings, you probably know that I don't like overly busy plot lines.  If there is a story to tell, tell it.  Don't add in tons of extra garbage just to pad the length.  Also, supposedly this Mortal Instruments series was originally supposed to end after the third book.  I mentioned that the fourth book did have a different feel, and now this fifth book is crammed SO full of characters and side-stories and just a ton of really unnecessary things.  The first three books were not like this.  Even if you strip all that away and look at the main plot, it's becoming more elaborate and farfetched with each new book.  It's all rather disappointing because there are still things in the basic outline of the story overall that have such potential.  They were just buried under all the extra baggage this time.

There were a lot of weaknesses in this book.  It was hard to keep things straight most of the time.  Jace and Sebastian . . . ok, let's start right there and make up our minds on what these two are going to be called.  I think we all know by now that Sebastian's real name is Jonathan.  We all know him as Sebastian.  If the author wants us to know him as Jonathan she should have made a very clear switch back to that a long time ago.  If she wants us to know him as Sebastian because that's how we were introduced to him, then stop referring back to Jonathan all the time.  Same with Jace!  ERRRGH!!

Anyway, Jace and Sebastian are bound by ancient evil magic.  One cannot be hurt without hurting the other.  Kind of clever, as it assures Sebastian's survival while he tries to carry out his evil plan, and while everyone scrambles to find a way to save Jace.  But then it just becomes all confusing and often too convenient.  Oh, Jace doesn't remember this or that while he's under the spell.  Oh, Jace broke away from the spell for a bit but he won't remember it once Sebastian gains control of him again.  Or wait, was it that he'll remember things he did while under the spell but not as himself?  Or was it that when he's back to himself he won't remember what he did while under the spell?  I totally lost track of all that because it didn't seem to stay consistent at all.  He remembered things whenever it was convenient for the story.

The mysterious traveling apartment was way over the top.  What point did that serve at all?  Just a way for them to play house together and have access to pretty clothes for Clary.  That whole thing was completely ridiculous.  Again, the same things could have been accomplished in my simpler and less time consuming ways.  I do wonder about one thing though.  When Clary's rune destroyed the apartment, that would seem to imply the 'J.C. box' was ruined too.  Why then, was so much made out of the fact that Sebastian had somehow taken that box from Jocelyn's house?  Why were huge hints dropped about having possession of a lock of someone's hair, and knowing there is a lock of Sebastian's hair in that box?  I had thought THAT was going to be the key to breaking the spell but then -Poof!- all of that was gone.  Yeah, I'm guessing it will all come into play in the next book.

Sooooo many side stories going on!  Jordan and Maia, and the Praetor stuff.  Really?  Even Luke's near death situation.  Really??  Did we need ANY of that?  All of that Camille-Rafael-Maureen stuff was a confusing waste too.  Even Alec's secret meetings with Camille proved to be useless.  Granted, the result of that was shocking and heartbreaking, but there was so much extra stuff attached to it that it was just more mind boggling clutter.  The continued mentions of Will Herondale . . . ok, let's have something more with this please, instead of just continuing to randomly throw his name into things.  And now we're supposed to be all curious about who Magnus's father is?  Yeah yeah, I'm sure all of these are just setting things up for the next book but geez . . .  too much, too much, too much!  And considering the next book is *supposedly* the final book, it looks like it's going to be even more 'busy' than this one was.  Ugh!

Despite all my whining, I did not hate this book.  I'm invested in this series and I want to see it through to the end.  I do want to know what's going to happen with these characters.  I just wish the telling of this part of the story would have been streamlined, and better paced, thus making it more solid.  If the author is trying to constantly up the ante and out-do herself to the point that things can't fully be explained anymore (traveling apartment, anyone?) then she should probably step back and focus on writing something a little less 'awe inspiring' and something a little more believable.  I'd rather have a decently paced shorter book than a long book full of unnecessary filler.

Have YOU read this, or any of the other books in the Mortal Instruments series?  I'd love to talk about it with someone!


  1. I read all the TMI books except this one and of course CoHF xD

    1. Hello!

      What did you think of them? Have you read the Infernal Devices series too? I'm reading Clockwork Princess right now.