Book Review: City of Lost Souls

cassclarex-inset-communityTitle: City of Lost Souls
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Date of Release: May 8, 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary: “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?” – Goodreads

I picked this book up the very day it came out, and began reading immediately. The previous book left off with a cliff hanger and a lot of questions I couldn’t wait to have answered. Regrettably, I just now finished it. It’s September. Granted, I had a lot of academic work I had to tend to, multiple big life changes, and so on. But reading is something I adore, and it’s rare for me to take months to finish a book.

This book is by no means bad, it’s merely slow. But not with a lull in the middle or something else common of many fantasy books, it’s slow from the get-go. If I weren’t a dedicated fan of The Mortal Instruments, I might not have even finished it. The last eighty pages though? Now that was a ride. It was action packed, had conflict, people defied the odds; everything a story like this needs. The last eighty pages are responsible for why I’m not giving this book a two or possibly lower.

I like the content of the book, I adore the romantic development, Sebastian’s mysterious personality & plans, Jace and the not-really-Jace, etcetera, but I don’t think it should have taken five hundred plus pages to get there. A lot happened in just eighty pages, without being too fast or losing the reader. Pretty good book, pretty bad pacing.

Clary and Jace’s relationship was a complicated one, but plot-wise I think it was handled pretty well. In all honesty though, I probably liked Sebastian best. I can’t help but fall in love with a good villain, especially the kind that play off emotions. He’s a flat out twisted guy. He uses the fact that he and Clary share blood to get to her. He tries to get with his own sister. I can’t deny that he’s a creepy guy, but a powerful one who almost created an army for Hell out of Heaven’s warriors. Tell me that’s not awesome. Tell me.

Really, the only thing propelling this book forwards the majority of the time were the romantic relationships springing up; Jordan and Maia (which I had been waiting for!), Simon and Isabelle, Alec and Magnus, etc. While the break-up between the last two had officially split my heart in half, I can’t blame Magnus for the decision he made. But in all fairness, I think it was out of character for Alec. Alec is a Shadowhunter. Engaging with a vampire because you don’t want your romantic life to suffer? I’m not sure the puzzle pieces all fit together for that one. (On a similar note, I’m not sure I buy that a brand new vampire was capable of murdering Camille.) Either way, I trust Clare to sort through this by the end of the next book.

By the way, I’m completely convinced Brother Zachariah is either Will or Jem. Anyone else?

Overall, I felt that quality of the characters and plot was overshadowed by poor pacing and some out of character/hard to believe plot points, leaving this book at a 3 out of 5.

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