Rummanah Aasi
 Writing a series can be tricky. Sometimes they overstay their welcome, especially when a whole story arc finishes. I'm beginning to think the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare should have stopped after City of Glass where everything came together quite nicely.

Description (from the Publisher): The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon. Can the lost be reclaimed? What price is too high to pay for love? Who can be trusted when sin and salvation collide? Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Review: City of Lost Souls, in my opinion, is the weakest book in the Mortal Instrument series thus far. The book feels as if it's a pause button while the author gathers her thoughts for the finale. At 534 pages long, it is not only the longest book in the series but also the dullest, most frustrating to read. Normally, I burn through this series because of the nonstop action and great character development; however, with City of Lost Souls I just wanted the book to end.
  It goes without saying that I had a lot of issues with City of Lost Souls, but I will limit them to the big three that made me want to bang my head against the wall: lack of structure, anticlimactic/overdone subplots, and almost to nothing in the character development arena. I would think that with five books under her belt, Clare would avoid these pitfalls.
  The book immediately picks up right where City of Fallen Angel ends, but then the narrative quickly morphs into an amoeba going into different directions as the point of views move from one character to the next. I kid you not. The point of view changes at least ten times within a single chapter, many times without any logical transitions. I felt lost and no longer felt as if I was reading but rather a pinball machine flinging to one place to another. The second arc of the Mortal Instrument series is suppose to focus on Simon (now I have a sneaky suspicious that was all a ruse), an integral secondary character in the series but again the plot and center stage is hijacked by Clace (Clary and Jace) and their romantic turmoil. Instead of sympathizing with Clary or nodding my head in agreement of Jace not being at a good place, I grew tired of their rocky relationship which is more important than the fact that their entire world outside their bubble is falling apart. Both characters who I normally enjoy or in the case of Jace, tolerate, become extremely self absorbed, boring, and repetitive. Due to Clace's relationship angst, everything and everyone is brushed aside. We get clips of arguments with the werewolf council, snippets of homophobia amongst the Shadowhunter society, a few angels and demons summoned here and there, and of course the sexual tension between the various pairs that go teeter on the "are they a couple?" and "are they breaking up?" scale. Yawn.
    Despite these small threads, what disheartened me the most are the stupid mistakes the characters make. It takes them 50 pages to identify the obstacle and then come up with the wrong tactic to correct it. Really? You defeated the big bad with less resources in the first three books and now you stumble, bumble, and fumble to figure out what's right and wrong when the answer is right in front of you? In addition to this, there was a large focus on Jordan's and Maia's relationship, which puzzles me since they were only mentioned mostly in the City of Fallen Angels for a brief moment. I really don't know how this couple adds anything to the overall story arc. Don't get me wrong, I like Jordan and Maia, but their relationship is not important as the other characters that were present since the first book of this series.
   As I mentioned earlier, there isn't much character development in City of Lost Souls. The characters remain stagnant with the exception of a quick glimmer here and there of life, but by then it was almost too late to care. I can, however, point out to all the details of the clothes the characters were wearing throughout the story as there were passages and passages of those descriptions. I'm not convinced that Sebastian is a complex villain. Sure, he's twisted but menacing? Not really. His plot to ruin the world is pretty obvious, but it still takes our heroes and heroines over 500 pages to piece the puzzle together which I figured out in about 200 pages when I wasn't getting motion sickness from the narrative. Heck, even the grand reveal of the master plan and the detailed battle scene fails to bring on the thrills that we expect from this series. By the end of the book, it's pretty clear how things will end with the sixth (and final?) book in the series.
   Now you're probably wondering what did I like in this book? I liked the small moments between Simon and Isabel when they were given limited page time. I also liked the scene where Magnus tried to knock some sense into Alec. There are some great lines here and there that made me chuckle, but that's about it.
   I know there are going to be readers who will love everything in this series, but I expected a lot more from this well established series. Now I'm worried about City of Heavenly Fire which is slated to be published in March 2014 according to Goodreads. For once I think the long wait might be a good thing.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, allusions to sex, and some disturbing images. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (March 2014), Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, Evernight series by Claudia Gray
7 Responses
  1. For some reason I've never been compelled to pick up this series. If I do decide to read it, I may just stop at book 3 then. Is it just me or are there a whole lot of relationships to keep track of in this series?


  2. Yeah, I know some series that went a little to long. They played the same storyline over in each book until the final very underwhelming conclusion. I haven't started this series and have read very negative reviews of books 4 and 5. Maybe I'll just let it end at 3 and be happy there. At what number is this seris supposed to end? This book sounds like filler. And a long one at that.
    And I think you better duck when you say you tolerate Jace, I think someone may throw a dagger your way, not me, but he seems to win every poll, contest, question etc. Now I'm not even sure if I want to read this series. Do I?

    Heather


  3. @Z: There are about 5 relationships not including the adults in this series. Two of the five developed during the first trilogy.

    @Heather: I really liked the first three books. It's an unique world and the characters are generally really good. I just don't know what happened with this one. It's like the middle book of the second set of the second trilogy. I tihnk there are 6 books with this one and then I heard a spin off series is in the works?

    p.s. I'm a Simon girl through and through. The Jace fans don't scare me. ;)


  4. Candace Says:

    Well crud. I'm worried now! This is sitting on my shelf just waiting for me to read it. I guess I can only hope I like it more. But now my expectations won't be so high. Thanks for the honest review!


  5. Finally a review that I believe. I thought City of Fallen Angels sucked. I am sick and tired of the clary Jace drama they just need to be together or not the continued upheaval is lame...Second I detest CC's cliffhangers, they are awful. Third I don't know this series has worn out it's welcome and I am done with it!


  6. I still need to read the first one, but this does not bode well. I've have heard some of the same things. Hm... I think I can wait to start this series a bit longer.


  7. I've heard mostly good things about this one so I'm happy to read something different (variety is the spice of life). As much as I like continuing on in the Shadowhunter world, I kind of with Book 3 had been the last one.


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