City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare

I’m kinda lost on how to score this from 0 – 5 shuriken stars.

Guys, please don’t kill me. A lot of this is based on my own personal taste in books. I can imagine people reading this book and absolutely falling in love with it. But that’s not me.

And this is kinda gonna be a review for the series as a whole, because I’m too lazy to do an individual review on each one, but it’s mainly the last book.

Summary

Jace is kidnapped by Sebastian. The other characters try to find him, while dealing with a lot of teen angst and romance and way too many make out sessions.

Cons

This one is kinda stupid.

Inconsistencies

This isn’t like Nevermore, it’s just that sometimes stuff didn’t make sense. In the beginning of the book, Isabelle is described as not wearing any make-up which made her eyes look bigger or something, but the next moment she’s described as having mascara smudged all around her eyes which made her look like a French actress, if I remember correctly.

Or when Clary was in the house with Jace and Sebastian and she was like “All the sleepwear is really slutty what do I wear because I usually just wear a camisole and shorts but obviously I have no access to that right now”, and then the next time she’s described as wearing a camisole and shorts. Or the fact that she checks her bag, sees that she only has a pair of jeans and a hairbrush, but then after the shower she miraculously changes into a brand new sweater that didn’t exist.

It barely happened, but it did bug me.

Chopsticks

This one is also pretty stupid. Basically Isabelle holds her hair in a bun with a pair of chopsticks.

No.

That is not possible.

Because she is described as having hair that’s glossy, down to her waist, and mega thick. There is no way she could have put her hair up, let alone securely, with just a pair of chopsticks. That’s not how thick hair works.

It’s really not relevant at all to the plot or anything, but that annoyed me. They were magical Shadowhunter chopsticks anyway, so maybe they, like, levitated her hair into place or something.

Jace + Clothes = Sunshine

That sounds weird right, but I first put “Jace + Clothes” and left it like that, which just makes me seem like a perverted weirdo who doesn’t like it when Jace is dressed. What I’m trying to say is that every time Jace does anything or wears anything Clary is like “Jace’s blue top brought out his eyes”, or “Jace’s jacket made him look like sunshine” etc.

I get that she’s madly in love with him, but seriously? Does anything that Jace wears not bring out his golden skin or his gold eyes and gold hair and chiseled abs and angular face… I got really sick of all the descriptions of Jace looking amazing and so on. Even Simon thinks Jace looks like an Angel.

I get that it’s probably because Jace has angel blood and stuff, but then why isn’t Clary super-mega-foxy-awesome-hot as well? She’s pretty, I know, but she’s not STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL THAT PEOPLE BASICALLY FAINT WHEN THEY SEE HER. And she doesn’t look like an angel, and doesn’t have gold everywhere and so on.

Seriously, Jace, you could be wearing a bin bag and Clary would think it brought out the gold in your abs.

The Romance

Wasn’t for me.

My favourite book in the entire series is actually City of Bones. I was on a school trip and I brought it with me, and I remember flying through it. I thought it was fantastic.

I’ve worked out why I like all the other books less than that first one. Usually I’m the opposite, and I’ll like the later books more than the earlier ones. There are exceptions, of course, like The Hunger Games and The Looking Glass Wars, but apart from that, that’s usually how things go.

But the reason I really liked the first book the most, was that it wasn’t primarily a romance book. Sure, you knew that Clary really liked Jace, but they don’t even kiss until the last few chapters, and I actually thought it was really sweet. I remember liking Jace a lot more back then, probably because he had a lot less teen angst.

That’s also probably why I liked the first three books a whole lot more than the 4th and 5th, because they are not revolving around the romance. I think those three make a brilliant trilogy on their own. Sure, Clary spends a lot of time agonising over the fact that her and Jace are related, but it’s still primarily about killing Valentine and saving her mum and so on. However, the last two books have mainly revolved around romance and angst.

Seriously, the romance gets piled on thick.

Which some people would probably like, but not me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate romance in books. When it’s done right in books, it can quickly become one of my favourite things in the entire series. Like The Chaos Walking Trilogy, Leviathan, or Skulduggery Pleasant (I have not read Death Bringer yet, so don’t you dare ruin it for me. I’ve heard some spoilers already about Fletcher and Valkyrie and I don’t want to know any more. Of course, if there’s a review by me out, then feel free. But as of this moment, nope).

THERE IS SO MUCH ROMANCE EVERYWHERE IN THIS BOOK. SERIOUSLY.

In the 4th book, the main plot is Jace and Clary being worried that they can’t be together and then Jace getting mind controlled and stuff. Then there’s Alek and Magnus sorting out relationship problems. Jocelyn and Luke trying to get married. And Simon dating two girls, Isabelle AND Maia, and then Maia’s ex boyfriend and everything. Sure, there is some sort of other subplot somewhere which I probably can’t remember, but the main thing is LOVE.

And it gets piled on thicker in this book. EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IS DEALING WITH RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS. IT GETS PRETTY FRUSTRATING.

Jace getting kidnapped was only really dealt with badly for Clary. Because Clary LURVES him. It seems to glaze over Isabelle and Alec and Marisse, who are probably worried that their brother/son is missing. But no, it’s all about Clary having ice running through her blood because they are dating and obviously that’s the strongest bond they can have. For a couple that’s been dating for half a year. You’d think at least that Alec would be worried about his best friend and parabatai being kidnapped, but no. He’s more worried about his boyfriend troubles.

I just wish we’d seen more of a reaction from the other characters.

You know what I would have wanted to see? Isabelle get kidnapped. Not because I want her to get mind doohickeyed by a psycho, but because Alex and Isabelle seem to be really close as siblings. It would have made some nice plot if it was Alec going crazy over trying to find his little sister, because they are FAMILY, not because of a romantic relationship. Something like that would have been a lot more interesting to me. That and I don’t really buy the idea that all these teenagers are meeting their soul mates at what, 17? I can’t really remember how old they are.

But seriously, it was kind of hard for me to get through this book, when every few pages had a make out scene, or a deep conversation about love, or them talking about them being in love, or how hard it was to be in love. I mean, yeah, have romance in the plot, that’s fine, but it’s annoying to me when it isn’t a side for the plot, but it is the plot itself. Just because I don’t like reading romance novels. I like it when romance is just an extra to the awesome plot.

Man, this Con is getting LONG.

So Jace is missing, and Clary is depressed because she loves him. Isabelle has feelings for Simon, but feels angsty because she doesn’t know how he feels. Alec and Magnus are having way too many fights and relationship problems to do with immortality. Even the Lightwood parents are having problems to do with divorce and cheating and stuff. Jocelyn and Luke are in love, but not much really happens with them. Maia and Jordan are trying to be in love as well.

Seriously, try to find a main-ish character in this book that isn’t in a soul matey relationship. Other than Sebastian (who is still having kinda weird romantic problems, I guess. If you think of what he tried to do to Clary. I won’t say if you don’t know what happens.)

Get your hands off of each other

Seriously. Clary and Jace really need to stop having heated make out sessions all the time. And did they have sex? I don’t remember that happening, but then Sebastian kept bringing it up. Which reminds me…

Not PG anymore…

Cassandra Clare seemed to really bring out a lot more cussing and a LOT more sexual stuff in this book. It’s not really a con, but it’s not a pro so I decided to put it here. But Clary does swear a lot more in this book than the others, I think. And the mental naked pictures of Jace thing that they mentioned, and like all the makeout sessions between her and Jace, plus that thing with Sebastian. And a lot of mentions of people’s sex lives.

One more thing, before we get to the good stuff.

Who names their child Valentine? I’m sorry, it’s really random, but I’ve never met a guy called Valentine. I can imagine a girl called Valentine pretty easily, probably because of Ender’s Game, but a boy? Really? I swear Valentine isn’t a guy’s name. Then again, it might be, I don’t know. If your name is Valentine and you’re reading this, or you know someone called Valentine, please tell me. I’m way too curious.

Pros

Well, the writing and pacing and characters and so on were all good. The weird thing is, Isabelle and Simon are really moving up on my favourite characters list. (This is a metaphorical list, I don’t have a physical list of characters. And no, I’m not planning on making one.) I guess they are both getting more character development, and it’s great. Magnus Bane still holds the top, though, but not by much anymore, since the whole thing with Alec at the end made me kinda mad. Not very, since I saw it coming, but still. I love Alec as well, though I would like to see more badassery from him in future books – well, book.

And Sebastian really is messed up. Like, in the head. Seriously. I read a Dark Transformation and just thought to myself, “You really had the worst childhood ever”. No wonder he turned out that way. I’ve heard that people are saying Cassandra Clare promotes the stuff that he stands for, like murder and incest and rape and so on, but I’m pretty sure if she did, she wouldn’t make the main, psycho antagonist do all those things. I don’t know the woman, but I’m pretty sure she made him do that stuff because she thought it was bad.

And of course the humour’s good. Simon seems to make the most jokes now, since most of Jace’s jokes have loads of angst behind them.

Overall

I was puzzling over how much to give this for a while. I can imagine people putting it a lot higher, but then I thought to myself how much I enjoyed. If I would be willing to read it again. Originally, I was gonna go 4 shuriken stars and be nice, but that’s the same rating as Divergent, and it just doesn’t rate that high to me. I don’t think I would want to read this book again, to be honest. So let’s give it 3 shuriken stars. For the series as a whole, I would give it 4, but this particular book just wasn’t as enjoyable for me, with the whole romance factor involved.

So, yeah, read it if you want. It’s a really good series, and if you don’t mind a lot of romance, you’ll really enjoy it. Be warned though, there is a whole lot of blood.

Like, City of Ashes, when they did that thing to Simon on the boat. Urgh. That made me shudder.

Just… urgh.

It really isn’t that bad for someone who doesn’t mind that stuff, but for me I was just…. urgh.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by April on September 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Ok, i must say i rarely ever (as in never) read reviews of books, especially if they are as long as your own but i came across yours and just decided to read it. I like your writing style, it’s what actually made me read the *whole* review. I am now reading The City of Lost Souls (TCoLS), and i must say that i agree with almost everything you pointed out, though i never thought about any of it until i read your review.

    Talking about the romance, i absolutely love it and i like reading sex scenes(especially between two main and *favorite* characters), so i enjoyed reading the book immensely and i must point out that there IS a lot of romance but it still doesn’t come out as the *main* plot in TCoLS (like you said, comparing this book with the previous ones), i must say that there is a lot of action too, we also see how everyone(including Magnus) searches for a way to break the Jace – Sebastian bond, even summoning a demon, and Isabelle and Jocelyn going to see the Iron Sisters (and i must also point out that the Sisters were also introduced in this book), also there are a lot of descriptions of Europe (Italy, France). All in all, it’s obvious that the emphasis in TCoLS was made on the Jace – Sebastian bond and Sebastian’s plan, and the romance of course played a great part (but i must admit that it wasn’t even enough for me. Yes, yes, I’m the kind of person who enjoys reading heated make-up sessions, getting closer to sex, I’m 16 so i think everyone will agree that it’s absolutely normal).

    And as for the name Valentine, you’re very wrong there, because my cousin (boy) is named Valentine and there is also a Russian girl name – Valentina and a guy name – Valentin, it’s not very common, but come on, we’ve got a lot of uncommon names.

    Overall I’d give this book a 4 shuriken stars, but hey that’s just my opinion:)

    Reply

    • seeing as i have a pretty uncommon name myself i guess i should take the valentine comment back. ah well, i think it’s just personal preference. as with the romance thing, again it’s just my taste in books. i’ve never really liked romance books that much so this book being very full of romance kind of irritates me, but i can totally see why other people with different tastes would like it. 🙂

      Reply

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