Title: City of Lost Souls [Mortal Instruments 5]
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Urban, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult, Teen
Rating: 5 Stars
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?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I think this may be one of my favorites of the series. City of Lost Souls is a bit of a departure from the usual Mortal Instruments series. Though it does contain the usual back and forth between the main couple (Jace and Clary) and the secondary characters, this book seemed to deal a lot more with the personal relationships between the characters than the previous books (which tended to be a never-ending impact of action events and the character’s reactions). In part, I think that may be why I liked it so much.
Right around the fourth book in the series there was a gap in the narrative where Jace and Clary were very rarely mentioned, and when they were, it was a constant drama of fighting, ignoring, and getting interrupted by other characters. It was a nice change to see so much time being spent following Clary around, exploring their relationship, and getting to know Clary’s brother, Sebastian, better.
There was a very tense dynamic brewing through out this book between Clary, Jace, and Sebastian that was both fascinating, tense, and at times, tragic. I felt like I really got to know the character of Sebastian (Jonathan Morgenstern) better, and in a way, I grew to like him. yes, he’s evil-incarnate, but also he has a much softer, heart-breaking side that I finally got to see and appreciate.
Yet, I am heavily disgusted by his fascination with his sister. He very nearly attempted to rape her (no worries, your brains will be saved from that imagery), but I think a good deal of the evil he does throughout this series comes from his inability to connect with people on any level. I’ll blame it on the demon blood – it left him with a dark pit in his personality that he isn’t entirely responsible for. That sounds like a cop-out, but I think in this situation, it makes me feel a little sorry for the guy. What he really need, craves, is love. Be that sisterly love, romantic, or friendship… the boy desperately needs someone to belong to (as Clary puts it), and I don’t think he truly got that sort of affection from his father (the one person who actually did care for him in some sense).
I can’t help but wonder if Clary actually gave in and said “You’re my brother and I love you as my brother, despite your demonic blood… the demon in you isn’t your fault.” if maybe Sebastian could be pushed into being a better guy, or at the very least, maybe Clary could gain some sway over his actions. Instead, everyone is always pushing at him and calling him Evil, and though Clary seems to get a glimpse of his softer side through this story, she outright ignores it and continues to hate his guts. Come on Clary, give the guy a chance. I may be a bit of a Sebastian fan-girl.
That aside, it was nice to see more of the main couple, and to really get a deeper understanding of their relationship and more importantly, Jace’s feelings towards Clary. He’s spent so much time in the series being wishy-washy and angsty about their relationship, that it was nice to finally see him own up to it and give it a real shot. There’s still a bit of frustration dealing with the author’s inability to let the main couple get past second base, but I didn’t feel quite so annoyed by it in this book due to the strange situation Clary and Jace find themselves in. There’s really only so much you can do with your brother around and your boyfriend possessed.
I also found that I hated Simon a little less in this book that the previous ones (although don’t get me started on how he’s still whining about his past relationships with Clary and Maia). He’s beginning to develop into a person of his own, and I’m hoping that trend will continue on into the next book. It was nice to see Simon and Isabelle really start to develop their feelings for each other (especially on Isabelle’s end, as she’s always been the reluctant party).
Overall, I liked the book. There wasn’t a lot of action as in the previous two books, but I think maybe the lull and return to the interpersonal relationships between the characters was needed in this instance. I’m excited to see where the series goes from here, and I’d definitely recommend this book (and the series) to anyone who enjoys YA fiction.