CITY OF LOST SOULS by Cassandra Clare, 534pages,$ Prices Vary @ Amazon.com
Jace has disappeared and so too has Clary’s evil brother Sebastian, aka Jonathon Morgenstern. Clary’s fate is being decided by the Clave. The truth has finally come out about Clary saving Jace’s life using the Angel Raziel’s powers, and even worse in the minds of the Clave is the appearance of Lileth the mother of all evil. Lileth is a high demon and she’s returned because of Clary’s actions. Now Clary’s waiting in Isabel’s bedroom for the Clave’s verdict. When she gets the good news that the Clave has cleared her of all charges she also gets the bad news that they’ve deprioritized the search for Jace. Naturally, when the Clave decides to back off, Clary and friends push forward.
For a book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments Series, this would normally mean a book full of action. But missing in this tale is the fiery character of Jace as we’ve come to know him, who Ms Clare has removed from the action if not from the story. We have instead a book that revolves around the numerous love relationships that have formed over the course of the previous books. In City of Lost Souls Ms Clare has drowned out the fires of her action based storytelling in favor of something more aqueous. The reader is left waiting for the action as the characters stand around drinking wine and snogging, an experience as disappointing as the smell of wet ash is to a freezing Shadowhunter.
Alex is still tiresomely miffed with Magnus over his hundreds of years of lovers. Simon has lost his mother seemingly forever because she believes he’s a possessed monster. Isabel likes Simon but Simon doesn’t know it and she doesn’t know if Simon likes her. Maia and Jordan take long drives with lots of small talk.
The story is also marred by Ms Clares unfortunate overuse of what has been described in earlier reviews of her work at Yaroos.com, as her limited tool box of descriptions: Blood in the mouth (5 times); Clenching finger nails into the palms of hands till they bleed (3 times); Ice in her veins (9 times); Mouths that open and close in dumb struck wonder (3 times); tucking a strand of hair behind the ears (5 times). She almost succeeded in foregoing the ubiquitous YA phenom of “blood pounding in the ears” but it appears she couldn’t resist. Though this time Clary’s blood has accelerated from pounding in her ears to thundering.
Die hard fans may consider our taking umbrage with Cassandra Clare’s ‘tool box’ to be no more than a display of pettiness. But for people who can only remain fans of writers who work diligently to keep their books free of cliche’, Ms Clare is running the risk of losing that portion of her fan base. This is a pity. She is a story teller that promises greatness in her work. It would seem however that Ms. Clare is more fatally dedicated to a greatness in her bank accounts, cranking out book after book, without any regard for quality. She is a five star storyteller with minus two stars (2.5 stars in this book) of bad habits.
City Of Lost Souls disappoints, fizzling at the end as it limply (and apologetically?) promises that the ultimate evil is yet to come.
We at Yaroos.com wonder if Ms Clare shouldn’t take a vacation from her book mill, coming back refreshed and ready to really write a book that’s worthy of her talents. But that will depend one supposes on how badly she wants a bigger house more than she wants to be known for writing a great book. Yaroos! gives this book 2.5 Stars.