Book Critique – City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments # 5)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5

My Recommendation: The adventure and thrill that Cassandra gives us through Jace and Clary gets more and more interesting as the series progresses, with twists and turns, angels and demons, shadowhunters and downworlders and above all budding romances and eternal love.  

City of Lost Souls is the fifth installment in The Mortal Instruments series, an urban fantasy by Cassandra Clare published in May of 2012. These were the first set of books that were published in The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. 

This novel is set in modern day New York but in an alternate world where humans, vampires, werewolves, magical fey, demons and shadow hunters co-exist. The plot begins right after the events of the previous book City of Fallen Angels ends.

At the end of City of Fallen Angels, we see that Jace Lightwood, Clary Fray's boyfriend, is somehow tied to Sebastian Morgenstern - Clary's brother - even though at the end of the battle, Sebastian was killed. And Jace and Sebastian disappear. Now Clary along with her best friend Simon Lewis - a Daylighter Vampire, the Lightwood siblings of Jace - Isabelle "Izzy" Sophia, Alexander "Alec" Gideon - and Magnus Bane - High Warlock of New York; go on a hunt for Jace and find hopefully a way to sever the connection between him and Sebastian and ultimately save him.

Just as I guessed, Cassandra continues the plot with Sebastian and Jace joining forces while Clary and her friends fight against the evils plans of Sebastian. Killing an evil that swiftly and easily didn’t sit well with me when her plots have been so elaborate.

It had been two years approximately before I picked up the next book in the series. Naturally it took a little while for me to connect the dots in the story plot for references from previous books. However for some reason my opinion on the series changed with this book. I loved this book more than the previous ones and finally got what Cassandra Clare was showing the readers with this series. Although I still feel that the characters are not more than 16 - 17 years to be involved in sex and romance. Yet in the Shadowhunter and Downworlder worlds, you are practically an adult when you are that age. 

Cassandra gives more weight to other characters in her plot this time around. We see more of story behind Maia and Jordan - Werewolves, Magnus and Alec and of course Simon and Izzy's relationship. But Cassandra doesn’t go far from incest - a plot-line that I had been seeing it from the first book, even tough at the end of the story things clear up and incest vanishes. Still it eeked me out.

Now that I have been into five books in the series, I see that there are a few characters and plots that potentially could appear in the remaining four series of The Shadowhunter Chronicles. Since I havent read those yet, all these glimpses definitely are creating interest in me to read the other series too. 

Despite what my opinion about Cassandra's books in the beginning of the series, what I always admired was the various cultures and traditions she gives the readers glimpses of from around the world - albeit very small. And one such glimpse she gives is from my birth country, India. It pleased me very much to see those references.

Teenagers thrown into a world of elements that involve angels and demons, with twists that are unexpected and turns that are surprising. Cassandra spins a wonderful tale in the series that grasps the reader's mind effectively keeping them rooted. There are a few scenes that border on being mundane, but the emotions Cassandra evokes from the readers, the feelings of the characters she shows through her words is stellar.

The conundrum that Clary, Jace and their friends face at the turn of every page, the way they find solutions despite the adult world banishing them to, and at the end come out flying, makes the readers want to be part of their journey. 

A fitting sequel to the previous book, even though the previous one was a bit boring. Definite read if you want to delve further into the world of shadowhunters.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Cassandra divides the plot into various parts - Part One titled New Evil Angel; Part Two titled Certain Dark Things; Part Three titled All Is Changed; 

b. In the plot, Jace shows The Wild Hunt to Clary - Gabriel's Hounds who hunt during the night riding on the horses in the sky. The Wild Hunt reminded me of another series that I had started reading - Wild Hunt series by Nancy Corrigan. That series is an erotic romance fiction involving humans, fairies, wild immortal hunters from hell. My review of those books are here. The series definitely had a lot more meat despite the heavily erotic scenes. Unfortunately after four books, the author decided to take her series a different turn by creating a spin-off instead of continuing with the original one. And she hasn't yet started those books. 

c. The angel Raziel, calls Simon as Simon Maccabees, an ancestor of Simon. I am curious if Cassandra would expand this further in her next book.

d. Maureen Brown - vampire converted by Simon in City of Fallen Angels - kills Camille in this plot and becomes the leader of the vampire clan for New York.

e. Amatis, Luke's sister, is kidnapped by Sebastian and Turned to the dark shadowhunters that Sebastian seeks to build an army of. Sad to see such a beautiful character sacrificed. She doesn’t die in the plot, however, will Cassandra find a reverse cure for her at least in the next book?

f. Jace although saved by the angel's sword, Glorious, the angel fire instead of going back to the sword, it houses inside Jace. Making him similar to Hulk, where he can create fire if his emotions or adrenaline are heightened.

g. Sebastian again escapes at the end of the plot, which is expected, since we would need the villain for the final book too. He also sends wings of a living angel to the Institute warning them. Who is the living angel he chops those wings from?

h. Simon loses his Mark of Cain to the angel Raziel.

2. Cassandra gives various references from Indian culture and traditions all through the series. These are the few from this book:

a. Shanti Mantras - Jordan, the werewolf, has tattos on his arms of the Sanskrit words of these Shanti Mantras - Peace prayers from the Upanishads. More about these here.

3. Sub-Plots: 

a. Magnus had wanted The Book Of White very badly in the third book - City of Glass. Why did he want it? Was he going to turn Alec immortal with a spell? Or was he going to look for a spell that would turn him into a mortal? Yet what is the past in Magnus that haunts him?

b. What are the old ties between Herondales and the Silent Brothers? Perhaps part of the other series in the Shadowhunter Chronicles.

4. Characters that potentially could be part of the future series from The Shadowhunter Chronicles, that appear in this series are:

a. From the Infernal Devices - Magnus Bane (the High Warlock of New York); Camille Belcourt (current leader of the vampire clan in New York); Woolsey Scott (founder of the Wolf Guard, The Praetor); William "Will" Herondale - connected to the dead inquisitor Imogen Herondale.

5. Other books, TV Shows and movies author mentions in the plot:

a. Rudyard Kipling's poem The Law for the Wolves, hangs on the walls of Jordan's bedroom. 

6. Places we visit along with Clary and Jace through this journey:

a. Cassandra mentions through Jace and Clary that Venice is sinking and that in 100 years the whole city would be under water. I remember reading about this somewhere and googled to find an article that asserts Cassandra's assumption in the plot. That article is here.


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