Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments, #4
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Date Published: April 5th, 2011
City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.
Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.
At the end of City of Glass, everything was kind of wrapped up in a nice little package, with a big ol’ bow on it and everything. The bad guy was bagged, the main couple was together, and everyone was seemingly happy. Well, the primary reason for that, as most of you probably know, is that Cassandra Clare originally planned on writing just a trilogy for this series. For some reason, it was decided that after the original three books, she would write three more! This is all fine and dandy, except that is there really much more to tell?
This book is primarily a look into the aftermath of the past three books. At this point Clary and Jace are together, but there’s still baggage there that still needs to be dealt with, primarily with Jace. In addition, Simon is not just a vampire now, but also a Daylighter and he as his Mark. Now that things are slowing down he is dealing with this huge life change and the reality of it. He is also being pulled in many different directions. Alec and Magnus are also together, but they are thinking a lot about the fact that Magnus is immortal and Alec…is not. So while there is of course a villain and all sorts of action, this book seemed more like a character study than anything else. How are our favorite characters going to deal with the reality of their situations after the dust settles and they have the opportunity to think things through?
Despite the fact that I adore this series, there was a lot I didn’t like about this book. The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that the story just felt a little bit forced. It’s kind of obvious that this book was an afterthought because it feels like there’s a lot of stretching to connect the dots between the plots in this book and the plots in the previous books. Although she makes it work, it’s not very believable. Some of the connections created, I just couldn’t help but roll my eyes at.
In addition to the forced story, the humor that I so love about these books is pretty much non-existent in this book. In the previous books we get a sarcastic, snarky Jace who manages to make cockiness look adorable; and we get the equally sarcastic and hilarious Simon. Put the two of them together in a room and you’ve got pure entertainment. While there was some humor and Jace/Simon moments in this book, it was very few and far between. Both Jace and Simon are dealing with their issues so they’re not really in the funny mood. Depressed and introspective Jace/Simon are not as much fun to read about. *shrugs*
Which brings me to my other major problem with the book. While I didn’t find Simon’s dealings to be that annoying, I did find Jace’s to be. He is extremely self-loathing in this book and I just couldn’t help but want to smack him and tell him to move on with his life. I mean, he got to sounding a bit too much like an emo teenager. The problems he’s dealing with are important, but the way the goes about dealing with them is rather difficult to read.
Let’s move on to some good things though because there was a lot I did like. I liked the introduction of Jordan’s character. Although he is very much a secondary character and I don’t know how much of a POV he’ll get in future books, I look forward to seeing his character evolve. I also liked Isabelle. I thought the way she handled things in this book was very mature and I loved that about her. It was so refreshing to read about her after despising Jessamine in Clockwork Angel, who could be considered similar in some ways, but totally different in all the ways that count. I loved the few Jace/Simon moments we did get. I loved the action. Cassandra Clare knows how to write a good action scene. When those come onto the page, I have trouble putting the book down.
Overall though, I did like the book. I didn’t hate it or despise it. It just wasn’t up to the standards I’ve come to know these books for. I will continue to read the series and see where all this goes. I think perhaps it would have been a better option to leave it at three books, but perhaps the characters will grow more in the next books. We will see. I can tell you right now though, that based on how this book ended, I will be absolutely loathing the next book! My poor Jace. Can’t a guy just get a break around here!
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