Kiki's Reviews > City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
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's review
Mar 15, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: angels-and-demons, now-pls, ya, waterworks, awesome-ya, favorites, faeries, werewolves, decent-vampires, choking-noises, i-hate-that-i-love-you
Recommended to Kiki by: A shut-in
Recommended for: Shut-ins
Read from May 21 to June 13, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

This book couldn't make less sense if it were written in elvish, and I know that some people actually understand that - as in, they're about as hardcore about Tolkien as I am about French bread - but that's the whole point; this book is a clusterfuck unless you've spent an exorbitant number of hours poring over the characters and their histories and their family trees and the mythology of this world, and let's face it, that's impossible. Impossible, because this is Cassandra Clare we're talking about. She is so inconsistent, she's basically the human embodiment of a 90's sitcom.

The synopsis makes about as much sense as the ingredients of shampoo, so you're blundering through the dark when you turn the first page. By the time the plot manifests itself, it's fucking impossible to care. This book will make you feel like a sociopath. That's how dead you'll be inside.

If you know anything about me, you know I loved the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series. I absolutely loved them. They're not great literature; they're not ingeniously plotted or poetically written; but they're just so much fun. They're outrageously hilarious, fast-moving, easy to follow and really? They took me on an adventure. A good, old-fashioned, magical adventure.

City of Fallen Angels, however, was like standing at the bus stop in the rain and getting shat on by a pigeon. Cosmically unfair. I don't understand how Cassandra Clare, who'd written the first trilogy with such heart, could then suddenly morph out of all recognition and just stop giving a single fuck. It just doesn't make sense. Ghost writer? Loss of inspiration? These theories make more sense with the release of City of Lost Souls. It's not the worst of the series - I'd give that honor to COFA - but it's pretty darn bad. And it pains me even more than Kegels to say that. That COLS was just awful.

For starters, where was the plot? I sat down for a good while after I'd finished this book and tried to come up with a short synopsis of what this book was about. I got nothing. Because it's not one solid plot, but a lot of complicated and awkward situations kind of tied together at the ends, filled with OOC behavior and fade-to-black sex scenes and whining. Endless, endless whining.

Clary was probably the worst part of this book for me. She was like the Daphne of the whole mission, constantly getting herself captured (yes; getting herself captured. This is not victim blaming, people. She literally walks into the clutches of the villain and asks to be captured. I'm not exaggerating) and concerning herself with the most menial things, like the shape of a dress or the boats in Venice, when she ought to be "saving the world" or doing something else that a kangaroo would be better qualified for. She's so fucking incompetent and I can't believe that Shadowhunter civilization ceaselessly places its hopes on the shoulders of such a nincompoop. These people are meant to be professionals but they act like stoners.

Yet I hesitate to complain. Clary is just insufferably stupid, but she doesn't sit on her ass and do nothing. In comparison to the Bellas or Luces or Bethanys out there, and in Olympic high-bar terms, she's the Fabian Hambuchen to their Kohei Uchimura. She's no better or worse, but at least she has the good grace to shave her armpits before competition.

It's not as if her relationship with Jace is even anything to write home about. As creepy and incestuous as it seemed in the first two and a half books, it was then that I rooted for them the most. I mean, come on! These books are fluff. Magical fluff. They'd never explore anything as serious as GSA with any kind of depth or insight. We all knew from the moment Jace said, "Leia, I am your brother" that they weren't really siblings. It was fucking obvious, and it was for this reason that I gave in to enjoying them and at the end of City of Glass when they were finally and properly together, was on the verge of crying tears of fangirl joy.

Now? They're a snore. They're about as interesting as a piece of wax paper, but that's not to say they're the flattest soufflé in the baking tray. Maia and Jordan are particularly problematic as a couple. On Tumblr, Cassandra Clare seems committed to writing healthy relationships and frequently defends her plot and character decisions with good, solid blog posts that generally allow me to better understand the thinking behind the decisions she makes.

There have been no such posts about Maia and Jordan. The way I saw Maia and Jordan's relationship was that Maia's life had been ruined by what was clearly a metaphor for dating violence, but strong as she was, she managed to champion that, move on and become stronger.

But after COFA, Maia is back with Jordan. Yes; the boy who attacked her and ruined her life by turning her into a creature of the night. How is this okay? I don't understand what Clare was getting at with this plot thread. Was it simply a desire to pair everyone off? Because if it was I'd rather Maia had been with Simon. That was what I assumed at the end of COG. Either that, or she ended up alone, which would have been even better.

But this problematic palming-off of dating violence aside, Maia and Jordan's constant sexcapades just did nothing to push forward the plotline of this book. Cut out Jordan, who in my eyes will always be the boy who attacked Maia (the fact that he was "out of control" doesn't excuse it - only makes it worse. How many more times might he "lose control" in the future?) and ruined her life, and Maia could have merged with the main group and become a protagonist, not just a punctuation point.

Nah! She's just thrown back at her abusive boyfriend, because love trumps all, yay! (Fuck off.)

Probably the most agonizing part of this ordeal was Alec and Magnus, and let me put this into perspective: Alec and Magnus, to me, were what Bella and Edward were to Twihards. They were just...amazing. Their love was so pure.

But that's not even it. As separate characters, they were my favorites in the entire series. Alec, in particular, I adored. He was so awkward and shy, protective and genuine, calm and sincere. He and Magnus, with such different personalities, just gelled together perfectly.

But then along came City of Fallen Angels and everything went to shit. It was disheartening, to say the least, when this new and blindingly irritating Alec surfaced at the end of COFA. He underwent a total personality transplant, and I wonder if perhaps it was a marketing tactic. The fanbase for Alec and Magnus is probably just as big, if not bigger, than the fanbase for Clary and Jace. It seems as if Alec and Magnus have been destroyed and turned into another Bethany and Xavier to shift the love of their fandom over to Clary and Jace who are, of course, the unbreakable power couple.

I'm just so mad about this. The whole thing only got worse in City of Lost Souls. Theoretically, Alec should be totally irredeemable for what he considered doing to Magnus. But when I was reading COB, the Alec I fell in blind love with then would never have done what the COLS Alec did to Magnus. They simply aren't the same character. He would never shorten someone's life without their knowledge, and for his own gain. He would never seek relationship advice from an obviously evil vampire. He would, however, have stood on that hill and used his archery mojo to protect his friends.

And it was those brief little glimmers of Alec-ness that hurt the most. I don't...I can't. It would be so easy to hate Alec, but I can't. My feelings are a force far greater than I. And "a million little paper cuts" was so fucking beautiful. Ok, I need to pull myself together.

The plot was all over the place, as aforementioned. I had to flip back pages and re-read paragraphs over and over just to understand why the fuck they were summoning the demon and then the angel and what have you, and I was sure, throughout all of it that to get their answers they probably could have just asked someone, maybe an adult who isn't made of straw. And the thing with the faerie rings? I'm not even going to go there.

Clary, the ring moulded to your finger. That's specifically how it works. If it moulded into a perfect snug fit for your finger, why the hell would it fall off? How have you not already had a piano fall on you?

Raphael, why are you still trying to kill Simon? Why does that matter?

Maureen, why did you kill Camille? You wanted her dead, but to what end? Why? And why were you even a character in this book in the first place?

Camille, why are you still sniffing around Magnus when he is clearly in a serious relationship? Why are you suddenly game to help Shadowhunters when you've shown absolutely no interest in doing so before?

Magnus, if you were thinking about taking away your own immortality way back in COG, why did you not tell Alec? Why have you gotten so boring? Where are all your hijinks?

Alec, what the fuck happened to you?

Jace, why are you even still alive? And could you BE any more Edward Cullen, now that you sparkle? Why does everything always have to happen to you, like you're the most important person in the world? Truth is, you're boring. Very boring. I have no interest in you any more. But for some reason everything important has to surround you, everyone has to want you for their evil schemes, and you get captured more frequently than Clary. What gives?

Sebastian, give it up. You're nothing but a wedge engineered to come between Clary and Jace, who apparently don't really care that you tried to rape Clary. You literally pinned her down on the floor, and yet neither Clary or Jace are at all fussed about it. Jace, in particular, is impassive, even when he comes back to being himself post-possession. I get that Clary is angry, but her anger feels half-hearted, which seems bizarre after she was victimized in such a terrifying way. I abhor the people who say that Clary ought to have "learned" or "grown" from the attack - it is not the victim's responsibility to "learn and grow" because being pinned down and almost sexually assaulted is not a fucking rite of passage, but I feel as if the whole issue was somewhat glossed over.

The thing I find most problematic, as I mentioned before, is how little Clary and Jace seem to care. It's no one's right to say what a victim's reaction to rape ought to be, and another thing really bothering me about the general reaction to this scene is the volumes of people crying, "How could she kiss Jace after she was almost raped? She should have not wanted to touch another man!" That's just not how it works. You cannot possibly say what is or what is not the "right" reaction to rape - BUT! Having said that, any reaction would have left more of an impression on the reader, and would have highlighted the attempted rape as something more than a flippant plot device. The scene didn't anger me; Sebastian's actions were in no way condoned and Clary was never blamed as a victim (which is an unfortunately common trope when it comes to rape in fantasy settings), but I just feel as if the whole thing was an afterthought. And kind of glossed over.

The writing was enjoyable, smooth and fun to read, and as usual the setting throbbed with life, like another character in the cast. There were also a few lovely funny moments, some great dialogue, nice mythology moments, engaging fight scenes and despite the book's lower points, it kept me hooked consistently from the first page to the last.

You know what I wish? I wish the Mortal Instruments had ended back at City of Glass, and this second TMI trilogy had been replaced with the new one, The Dark Artifices. I think we're more or less over the characters in this corner of the Shadowhunter universe. Sure, I'd have missed them bitterly, but the fresh LA crew probably would have remedied that.

Oy vey. Where there's money to be made, there's someone who'll make it. Capitalism is swell.
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Reading Progress

05/21/2012 page 14
3.0% "So I just remembered how much I love Isabelle and Alec. They're made of win. Brother-sister win. Badass win. Clary, get the fuck away from me."
05/21/2012 page 20
4.0% "Oh, this is wonderful! Shadowhunters, I've missed you!"
05/21/2012 page 21
4.0% "I haven't missed you, Clary. What the hell is wrong with this girl? She's so freaking stupid! Why would the Clave halt ALL activities, with some as important as REPAIRING A WARD THAT PROTECTS THE ENTIRE EARTH FROM DEMON ARMAGEDDON just to search for one boring emo Shadowhunter? I'm sick of Jace. He was so awesome in COB and COA, but after COG it's like..."Jace is on an emo rampage. What else is new?""
05/21/2012 page 26
5.0% "Aliiiiiine! This girl is great. I think she's in the Dark Artifices. (Least that's what I heard on tumblr). I'm also still enjoying Alec. What I am having trouble with, though, is this ridonkulus plan to go to the Seelie Court and ask the fae, the fucking FAE, for help. What? Why? The fae don't help anyone but themselves; open one book on fae lore and you figure this out. Clary, you're insufferably brain-dead."
05/21/2012 page 36
7.0% "Faerie Queen: go die in a hole."
05/21/2012 page 42
8.0% "Magnus and Alec are what makes this series worth reading. Trufax." 1 comment
05/21/2012 page 44
8.0% "Simon's whole "I'm not a monster" thing isn't really convincing me. I'm not sure why. But it just seems so Cullen. I hate to say it, because Simon is a fabulous character, but it's true." 3 comments
05/23/2012 page 47
9.0% "Simon, forgive me. I love you. You're the best friend ever. Clary doesn't deserve you." 1 comment
05/23/2012 page 50
9.0% "These side characters are so uninteresting. I have a little fondness for Maia (since she's pretty kick-ass) but I don't see why we have to have SO MANY viewpoints. I'm not kidding; this series has been told from the point of view of about ten people. That's too many."
05/23/2012 page 56
10.0% "Clary, shoot Jace. Pull out an Uzi and shoot the bastard. I don't even care. You're a twerp, but seriously? He doesn't deserve you."
05/23/2012 page 62
12.0% "*snortsnortsniggersnigger* Magnus, you fucking kill me. I love you, man. I love you."
05/23/2012 page 71
13.0% "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OH GOD LOL! What am I thinking of? Alec is still my favorite character. I adore him. I've been laughing at meth lemonade FOR HOURS. HOURS."
05/23/2012 page 75
14.0% ""Alec...had thought of this moment, lying awake at night beside Magnus, listening to the warlock breathing, hearing his own breaths, numbering them out. Each breath a breath closer to aging and dying. Each night spinning him closer to the end of everything." I don't know about anybody else, but this touched me. I understand everything now; Alec's insecurity, his feeling of leaving Magnus behind. It's horribly sad." 1 comment
05/23/2012 page 79
15.0% "What? I thought Jocelyn and Luke already got married? Oh, who cares, anyway. I pretty much repressed everything about COFA anyway." 3 comments
05/23/2012 page 84
16.0% "What the fuck are you doing, Maia? I mean, really. What the fuck are you doing?"
06/03/2012 page 385
72.0% "It's been way too long since I updated my status, but that's probably because literally NOTHING has happened in the last 300 pages. Like, nothing. Apart from lots of sex and some Mindless Badass fighting. And Sebastian, what the fuck are you even doing here? Just go home. Go home, have a cup of tea, put your jammies on and go to bed. Give it up. You're a nebulous enough character as it is." 3 comments
06/06/2012 page 420
79.0% "THIS IS GETTING SO EXCITING~ Ms. Clare, why must you always make me fall in love with you?"
02/08/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 249) (249 new)

message 1: by Kogiopsis (new)

Kogiopsis It can't be Magnus, Simon, Maia, or Luke, because the description says it's one of the Shadowhunters' own. Thank goodness for that, at least.

Kiki I think it might be Jace or Isabelle. I hope it isn't Alec, because that would be ridiculously out of character.

(And because I love Alec.)

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Alec=too sexy to be bad.
Jace=I'd believe it, Herondales are shady!(Prepares to be shot to death by Jace lovers, don't take it the wrong way i love Jace too i just wouldn't be surprised if it was him).

message 4: by Kiki (last edited Apr 07, 2011 06:55PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki Mocha, you're right about Alec. He's too damn gorgeous.

And about Jace, I think there's a chance it could be him. Unless she's bringing in a new Shadowhunter we haven't met before, the new kid will be the betrayer? Let's hope so.

To clarify, BB, my bets are on Jace too. I bet thirty bucks. UH-HUH. Honestly, I will Paypal whoever wins the bet the money.

message 5: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla I think it's Jace too. I've tought about it and this is maybe like on City of Ashes when they let Clary and Jace believe they weren't able to be together. Only I sincerely hope this time around he allows himself to get the help I'm sure the others will offer.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)


Kiki NO! Wait a sec. Is it a CoFA spoiler? Is it to do with Magnus?

Kiki Tell!

message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 09, 2011 08:31PM) (new)

Tell me and i'll offer you this.

Don't resist the cupcake!

message 10: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki (How I love having a bargaining chip! I'm so evil!)

message 11: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki I WAS SO THINKING THAT. Maybe he'll become a vampire?

message 12: by Kiki (last edited Apr 10, 2011 01:48PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki If he becomes a Downworlder, like Luke did, he won't be considered a Shadowhunter anymore, and that would kind of be like betrayal of the Clave.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I almost died from the absolute hotness of that Light and L picture.

message 14: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki I know, right, Mocha? That was some hot shiz. I loved that rain scene, and I was on the edge of my seat praying for some hot L on L action. But it never came! Tears!

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

How about another?
(view spoiler)

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Haha, then you'll die when you see this one.(Don't really die though, the world still needs you!)

(view spoiler)

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

haha i've got more(ones that probably shouldn't be posted publicly).

message 18: by Chamonix (new) - added it

Chamonix It's totally Jace.

message 19: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki BB! I'm proud ashamed to say that I have already seen that glorious piece of art on Photobucket. Oh, the joy of yaoi artists! I worship them as saints of the anime world.

message 20: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki That was good afternoon, my dear! I left you that when I got home from school :) I think there's a time difference between us, my love, which is why I appear to be on here at irregular times! Woe!

Abbey I agree one billion percent.

message 22: by Elaine (new) - added it

Elaine Oliveira hahahaha... it will be... can I help? I already wanted to do that by the end of the forth installment...

Jahlia ((thing 10 Evil 1)) I agree, after the events of city of fallen angels it has to be jace. Hpmh. Why couldn't Sebastion just be revived and kill somebody? Hmm? And their trek to the city of lost souls be to bring someone back to life? That would've been far less painful

message 24: by Rose (new)

Rose I don't think it's Jace, because Cassandra Clare is a smart author - she knows that if it turns out to be Jace, she will have like 4 million screaming girls out in her frontyard.
I suppose it's Alec or Isabelle - but damn, i hope i'm wrong!

message 25: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki Me too, Rose! I think it might be Alec, for reasons that are revealed in City of Fallen Angels...

message 26: by Tanya (new) - added it

Tanya I feel like it could be Jace in that accidental "I was being controlled by incredibly powerful beyond world forces way" and therefore it wouldn't actually be his "fault," but I kind of don't want it to be that because a) poor Jace, and b) it's not a "betrayal" if it's unintentional. Could it maybe be one of the more minor characters, like Maryse or something? Also, like the idea of Alec becoming a Downworlder!

message 27: by Rose (new)

Rose Tanya wrote: "I feel like it could be Jace in that accidental "I was being controlled by incredibly powerful beyond world forces way" and therefore it wouldn't actually be his "fault," but I kind of don't want i..."

Yeah, i agree with you.

message 28: by Ava (new) - added it

Ava I think that it's Robert (Alec & Isabelles dad), because i thought she dropped some hints about that in City of Fallen Angels. Plus he's away!

Jahlia ((thing 10 Evil 1)) ??????????
What hints?

message 30: by Rose (new)

Rose Ava wrote: "I think that it's Robert (Alec & Isabelles dad), because i thought she dropped some hints about that in City of Fallen Angels. Plus he's away!"

Ow, that would be awful for Isabelle and Alec, and especially Maryse.

Lydia Strope Haha i totally agree!! I have a feeling that the traitor is gonna be jace. :( I love jace but the way that cassandra left it at the end of fallen angels i think its gonna be him. Its gonna be so sad!!! :(

Greed If i had to say someone it would have to be Alec. His love for magnus would want him to do something out of the ordinary as some may say

message 33: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki True, Greed. That's kind of what I had in mind as I was reading CoFA.

message 34: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki I'm so sorry.

I reread it, and ended up choking myself out of fury. I'm just so upset that all the characters have been spoiled and that I don't fancy Jace any more and that Clary is just whiny and that Alec, my precious Alec, has been reduced to nothing but a pile of fail. Bear in mind, two stars means (by the Goodreads system) "it was okay". It was, but it was not good. It angered me.

I will be reading the next one, without a shadow of a doubt. I will probably buy it the day it comes out, because I so badly want everything to be okay again. I want to fall in love with it like I did the first three.

[desperate sobbing]

Greed I dont think jace will try anything because he thinks about clary too much and the same goes for clary for jace. simon dosent wawnt to be apart of things, even though i think he should embrace his vampire self. izzy might be a contendant for traitorbecause of her hate for sebastian, alec...still think he has a good chance, their dad big chance and maybe the mother also. COFA just made me suspect so many people because of greed, lust, wrath, and revenge.

Even so jace still loves clary and would kill himself before he did anything.

message 36: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle Ballantine wouldnt it be jace though because of what happened at the end of COFA

message 37: by Rose (new)

Rose Danielle wrote: "wouldnt it be jace though because of what happened at the end of COFA"

I haven't read the ending, so i don't know about that, but i'm still quite sure it's not Jace.

message 38: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle Ballantine well once you read the ending.... yeh.

Greed im sure she put it that way so people will think its jace

message 40: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle Ballantine yeh i guess... well maybe it will clary because of what happened with jace

message 41: by Amma (new) - added it

Amma I bet it's Isabelle. Then Alec. Actually it's Magnus. I don't know. I say Isabelle.

message 42: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kiki Lol, Ammi, I think the same way. I'm like "it's him. No, it's got to be her. Or it could be him. Yeah, it's him. Or her."

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

This is what happens in COLS:

(view spoiler)

message 44: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle Ballantine i really hope its not izzy causse shes one of my favorites

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

And don't worry about Magnus' missing silk bed sheets. I'm sure they were just misplaced.

message 46: by Kiki (new) - rated it 2 stars


Mocha, you kill me. *wipes tear*

message 47: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle Ballantine hahahahahah omg. what.

message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Probably. We'll have to look into it later.
*wanders around* did these pink fuzzy handcuffs get here? O.o

message 49: by [deleted user] (new)


(view spoiler)

message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, Skyla. Me + boredom = me going Magnus/Alec photo hunting...or cupcake photo hunting. Depends on my mood. Today I was in a Malec mood =3

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