Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

city of lost soulsReviewed by Jen

I liked this installment better than the last one.  It still doesn’t quite have the same epic resonance as the initial trilogy, but Cassandra Clare has definitely upped the ante in this second arc with the resurrection of Sebastian. He doesn’t feel the same caliber of villain as Valentine, to be sure, but part of that is due to the fact we see quite a lot of him here, and almost the entire time, he’s wearing his mask of humanity.

It’s been about two weeks since Jace brought Sebastian back to life and the two have been missing ever since.  All of the Clave members have been searching for them, to no avail. 

So when a new emergency pops up, they downgrade the search, effectively giving up on Jace until Sebastian makes his next move.  Clary and the Lightwood gang were just about to take matters into their own hands, when we learn that Jace and Sebastian are actually working together. Even worse, their lives have been bound together by the same curse that bends Jace’s will to Sebastian’s.  He’s still Jace… sort of… but he sees the enemy through rose colored glasses that not even his love for Clary can change.

The story follows Clary’s attempt to infiltrate the Jace-Sebastian bromance, while everyone works to figure out a way to break the binding.  It’s difficult watching Clary struggle with her feelings for the “new” Jace, who is really the guy she loves, but without his sense of right and wrong. She has to play on his love for her, and often can’t quite separate her real feelings from her pretend ones.  It’s even more difficult seeing what this storyline has done to Jace.  We’ve always known that his swagger hid some deep seated vulnerability, but now, there is a barely a pretense of strength.  Yes, when the chips fall, he tries to make the right decision, but this kid is so broken.  And when it comes to Clary, he’s just a bowl of jelly.  The glimpses of his vulnerability were so poignant before because they were just glimpses. Now, it’s like his permanent state of being.

On the plus side, I found I enjoyed the evolution of Simon’s story. I like where Clare has taken his vampire story and how the whole Mark of Cain thing has played out. I also really like where things are going with him and Isabelle.  The Maia and Kyle story also works for me.  The Mangus and Alec story… less so.  I love that there is a romance between these two, don’t get me wrong, but Alec’s destructive behavior has been extremely disappointing.

I’m ready for the big finale. I’m ready for Clary and Jace to get a HEA. (And between you and me, I am ready for these two to seal the deal.  If some side characters can get busy, so can they.)  I hope Clare can pull of the kind of conclusion she did with City of Glass. And I hope I can forgive her for whoever she ultimately decides to kill in the final installment.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

City of Lost Souls
by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

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