City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
3 stars – it was okay
I started reading City of Lost Souls all the way back on May 24. Wow! I’m so disappointed in myself. I’ll probably use the excuse that I couldn’t finish reading this book before purchasing the next one, but it rings false even in my own ears. I did manage to find the sixth book, though.
Finished on July 22, 2022.
Big Focus on Romance
Clary is franticly searching for Jace after his and Sebastian’s disappearances from the rooftop. It seems Lilith’s resurrection has worked after all, and now not even tracking spells can find them. So, in true Clary fashion, she comes up with the reckless and foolhardy plan to join the enemy as they hop from country to country while she works on a way to free Jace from Lilith’s Mark.
I’m going to start out by saying that while this book was still well-written and thought out, it wasn’t my favourite of the series. I’d even go as far as saying I enjoyed it the least, but only because it doesn’t match the types of books I like to read. Instead of being much more plot-driven, this book had a heavy focus on the relationships between the characters. Mostly romantic relationships, which I believe there were five of, the main one being Jace and Clary, seeing as Jace disappeared at the end of the last book, and this one was about finding him. The others were Jocelyn and Luke, Alec and Magnus, Simon and [spoiler], [spoiler] and [spoiler]. As such, this book was mainly romance with a bit of action thrown in, as opposed to my preferred genre of action/adventure with a bit of romance thrown in.
Clary is also not the kind of protagonist I personally enjoy. She’s very headstrong, led by her emotions even if she knows her choices aren’t the right ones. She’s brash and while things haven’t gone well for her, the way she reacts to things isn’t always in the best interest of everyone—which you can see a lot of in this book. I guess my personality type just doesn’t mesh well with hers. With that in mind, the character I enjoyed the most was Magnus. His type of character is always the one I love the most; he’s powerful and mysterious, and he’s soft for one person. He’s lived a long time, and as such, he’s the type of person to do what’s good for him; he’s not much of a philanthropist. However, he does also do what’s right for the people he cares about and, unlike other characters, doesn’t mess things up along the way. In this book, we’re getting closer to unravelling Magnus’s secrets, but, true to form, he is very secretive and doesn’t talk about himself a lot, even with his boyfriend Alec. We still don’t know a lot about him, but hints are being dropped and I definitely get the feeling that we’ll learn a lot more about him in the next book.
Meanwhile, Jace is the cocky male protagonist that a lot of people enjoy, and I love how in love he is with Clary, even though I don’t relate to them much. Sebastian, who, at this point has made himself into quite the antagonist, is changeable and unpredictable; he’s so unlike the other characters because you can never tell what he’s going to do next. He is just the right amount of slimy and manipulative for a proper cliché bad guy.
I think the way the characters interacted throughout the story was realistic and believable—if a bit frustrating at times. The problems they face, while magical in nature, are problems that everyone can relate to—wanting people to accept you for who you are, the fear of losing a loved one, and so on. Simon in particular is facing a lot of personal problems in this one—his relationships are a mess, he’s still got the Mark of Cain to deal with, and he’s stuck somewhere between human and vampire and therefore feels excluded from both.
Now, while the book is a lot of back and forth dealing with interpersonal relationships, there’s still a bigger plot going on. Namely, Sebastian’s plans and how Jace and Clary fit into them. The whole thing keeps you in suspense because you don’t really know his intentions. Valentine is dead, after all, and Simon destroyed Lilith in the last book, so who is Sebastian on his own? What are his plans? Every time you think you’ve figured them out, they seem to change, but Clary is doing her best to figure them out while her friends on the other side try to deal with freeing Jace.
Something I really enjoyed about this book is that we were able to explore a bunch of new locations. While on the run with Sebastian and Jace, Clary is taken to different cities throughout Europe. We also get to take a look at other Shadowhunter locations like the Iron Sisters’ forge.
Overall, I’d like to say that the book is great for people who love exploring characters because this book gave us a lot of interactions between so many of them and even introduced a few new ones. It also gave us a lot of new lore, though we didn’t interact with the Clave as much as in books three or four; the younger characters were the main focus. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy romantic relationships between characters. It is clear that Romance is one of the main genres of this book while Adventure takes a back seat.
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