Review: City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

4 stars – I liked it; it was good

This is book 4 of The Mortal Instruments series, and while I enjoyed this book no less than the others, it took me a lot longer to read it because I became so distracted over these past couple of weeks. I started reading it on April 10, 2022.

Finished on May 24, 2022.

Unexpected Plot Twist!

This book was very much about Simon in my opinion, as he was the instigator of the plot in many ways throughout the story. It follows a lot of him and his life as he adjusts to not only being a vampire but also being a Daylighter and having the Mark of Cain. After Valentine’s defeat and the Mortal War in the previous book had concluded, tension has reduced, and that leaves our characters open to being blindsided.

Throughout this book, I wasn’t quite sure what the plot was. It seemed a lot like it revolved around Simon. At first, I was suspicious about the wrap-up with Sebastian in the previous book. As a storyteller, I found that his disappearance was a clever tool hinting at his involvement in future books, and I was sure he was involved in this book, yet I wasn’t sure how he survived the fight with Jace at the end of “City of Glass”. I have to say, I was pleasantly satisfied by the twist in the end, though as it came to a head, I was quick to put the clues together, so I’d say that the clues were very well laid out.

The pacing was okay, but I can’t really comment on it as it took me quite a long time to read the book as I was distracted with other work and was unable to read nightly as I usually do. I continue to love the descriptions in this series, and while I find the constant back and forth of Clary and Jace’s relationship to be tedious and annoying, it provides consistent characterization for each of them.

The book also displays real-world views of personal problems. Oftentimes, people believe that in an incident, there is one perpetrator, and this book does well in explaining from both perspectives. I won’t name specific examples for spoiler reasons, but I enjoyed call-backs from previous books when characters were introduced and described, and then reviewed in this book in a different light. I think it also does well in describing the trainwreck of Simon’s recent choices. He knows what he is doing is wrong and how it will end badly, but he keeps putting off the solution even as Clary is pushing him to act. The situation, of course, blows up in his face, and snowballs from there until the end. This gives an excellent opportunity to the antagonist of this book to manipulate elements in their favour, and “stage a trap” for the characters.

The plot flowed very naturally from the previous book, the ending of which had worried me because of Valentine’s death. I was left unsure of where it would go from there—worried that a new antagonist would be introduced for the sake of continuing the series, but I was glad for how it turned out in this book, and I can see that the books are back on a clear path. In that way, the uncertainty was a somewhat pleasant reprieve from the typical straightforwardness of teen fiction.

Any critique I have for this book is minimal enough not to steer me away, though at times I found the events to progress quite slowly. I think this was also a factor in me not finishing the book as quickly as others, as I felt less inclined to put other things down in favour of reading.

Overall, though, it was quite a good read.

This book is in the middle of the series, so obviously I’d recommend it to people reading the other books. It’s a book about angels and demons, so anyone interested in supernatural teen fiction—this book is for them!

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