City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
Book 5 of “The Mortal Instruments”
Fantasy, Young Adult
Trigger Warnings: Death, joke about asexuality, incest, attempted rape, sexual assault, loss of a loved one (past), injury, incestuous storyline, gore, war
Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Character Guide ⇩
►Clary Fray → Main character, Shadowhunter
►Simon Lewis → Clary’s best friend, Daylighter/Vampire, Jewish
►Jace Wayland → Shadowhunter, love interest
►Alec Lightwood → 18, Shadowhunter, Gay
►Izzy (Isabelle) Lightwood → Shadowhunter, cute and powerful, I love her a lot
►Magnus Bane → High Warlock of Brooklyn, Bisexual, powerful, very chill
►Luke Garroway → Wolf, A good dad
►Jocelyn Fray → Clary’s mother Shadowhunter
►Maia → biracial, wolf, ptsd, scar along her neck
►Jordan → Maia’s ex, Wolf
►Lillith → First of all demons
►The Iron Sisters → Sister Sect to Silent Brothers – in charge of weaponry carving etc., live in solitude, rarely seen
►William Scott → Alpha of the Praetor
*Just a heads up – there are very minor spoilers in this review!
I try to be as honest as possible in my reviews, so here we go, I stuggled getting into this book a lot. I picked it up the first time in October last year and ended up DNFing it. I was meant to be taking a break for a few days but ended up not picking it back up until 7 months later. Also, interestingly, this book was a totally wild ride for me. I hated it from the get go and so I put it down, but then I picked it up again and it was bad but, it wasn’t that bad!
Here’s one of my notes from when I picked up the book last year:
“I’m only a few chapters in but I can 100% say that I no longer care about any of these characters even a bit and that I cannot wait for this series to be over. I have been putting off starting this book for weeks and I already just want it to be over.”
So yeah, this isn’t going to be a glowing review, but I’m okay with that. I’m mostly just reading this series so I’ll be able to move onto the next series in this world.
Some quick overall notes:
- I think Izzy is quickly becoming one of my favourite characters and she’s finally starting to feel like less of a background character.
- When I originally read the books way back when, I wrote in my notes that this book gave me a Clace headache around 200 pages in and the same applies, except I was getting a Clace headache by chapter 2.
- Alec in a nut shell ↣ In battle: A bad ass // The rest of the time: A dumb ass
- Oh my god, the whole Malec thing. The thing is, I get it. Like, I get both sides of the argument and it makes me so so sad. I don’t love Magnus as a character but, I understand his perspective and I understand how Alec feels about him so knowing how sad Alec will be in the next book makes me so sad! And the thing is, and I know I already said this, but I get why Alec went to Camille. I don’t condone it, or agree with it, but I understand it. and I think Magnus does too. But it makes him feel unsafe being with someone who would go behind his back like that, and to change him. I really hope they get some killer development out of this and learn from their separation, but oh boy am I sad right now!
THINGS THAT MAKE ME UNCOMFY
- Everything is fine, but then Cassie will hit me with the angst and suddenly I want to stop reading and never pick up the book again.
- Wow, watch me be uncomfortable about Jordan and Maia for an entire book. I really don’t love them together, their whole dynamic makes me nauseous which I went more into depth about in my City of Fallen Angels review.
- The fact that I can understand both Alec’s and Magnus’ pov in their argument just makes it all so much worse, because I can’t even stand over here all superior, like, here is the answer!!
OH GOD, THE ANGST!
- I think probably some people love this book and all the angst but the fact that I had to keep pausing this book literally every couple of minutes to cringe is really telling, and no I’m not exaggerating.
- I think I’ve already talked about this in my review of book 4 but, Cassandra Clare’s books tend to have very little action, opting for mostly teen agst and secrets that don’t need to be secrets. CC is big on the miscommunication trope. This book is 90% angst and 10% plot that was tacked on in the last 50ish pages.
- Don’t get me wrong, this was defintiely worse than book 4, which I gave 1 star, but it’s still not good. There’s too much angst, and not enough everything else. Please tell me there’s less ridiculous teenage angst in the future books!
“Can you tell me a story?” He blinked. “What kind of story?” “Something where the good guys win and the bad guys lose. And stay dead.” “So, like a fairy tale?” he said. He racked his brain. He knew only the Disney versions of fairy tales, and the first image that came to him was Ariel in her seashell bra. He’d had a crush on her when he was eight. Not that this seemed like the time to mention it… “Okay, I’ve got a good one.” Simon stroked Isabelle’s hair, feeling her lashes flutter against his neck as she closed her eyes. “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”City of Lost Souls (Pg. 157-158)
- Finally we’re getting some quality Simon and ISabelle content! Everyone has been shipping them together this whole time and I’ve been over on the sidelines having no clue and yelling boo! They’re had no chemistry up to this point, but I’m starting to come around because these to are dorks and it’s cute. I’m super excited to see how their relationship develops!
“Iz,” Alec said tiredly. “It’s not like it’s one big bad thing. It’s a lot of little invisible things. When Magnus and I were traveling, and I’d call from the road, Dad never asked how he was. When I get up to talk in Clave meetings, no one listens, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m young or if it’s because of something else. I saw Mom talking to a friend about her grandchildren and the second I walked into the room they shut up. Irina Cartwright told me it was a pity no one would ever inherit my blue eyes now.” He shrugged and looked toward Magnus, who took a hand off the wheel for a moment to place it on Alec’s. “It’s not like a stab wound you can protect me from. It’s a million little paper cuts every day.”
This quote. This quote right here. It gets me overy god damn time. I think Alec’s story is really left out of the series but this quote really sums up the experience that we don’t get to see most of the time because he and Isabelle are more like background characters (in my opinion). I think it’s really interesting how homophobia (and in this case, subtle homophobia with the little conversations like with his mum) is shown in this series and I really hope Cassandra Clare will go into this in the next books or in a future series because I think it’s a theme that should be talked about more, since the Shadowhunter world is so unforgiving and hesitant to change.
- I’m having a really weird reaction to this book. I really didn’t like it when I tried reading it back in October, and then I had some time off and wasn’t loving it but, it was okay. really not that bad apart from the unbearable angst. BUT, the second half is actually legitimately enjoyable, like I’m actually interested in all the characters (minus, Maia and Jordan because who cares) and I want to keep reading. This is making me really interested to see how the series will end! Because I feel like I’ve seen all of these characters really mature over this series, I’m interested to see what they’ll be like as adults, which is somethign I really wasn’t expecting when I started this series.
EVERYTHING WAS GOING WELL AND THEN SHE HAD TO HIT US WITH THE INCEST. JUST CALL ME BOO BOO THE FOOL
I’m not gonnna lie, I’d almost forgotten how crazy everything was in this series. I honestly thought I was safe but, I see you Cassie Clare! I see you and I don’t appreciate your Incest kink!
“Did he show you a good time, at least? Because I would have.”
She tasted bile in her throat. “You’re my brother.”
“Those words don’t mean anything where we’re concerned. We aren’t human. Their rules don’t apply to us. Stupid laws about what DNA can be mixed with what.”City of Lost Souls, (Ch 19/ 83%)
This is probably the least distasteful quote in ths book, and there are a few more quotes, generally around chapter 17 – 19 but I’d rather not have to type them out. If you want me to DM them to you I’d be happy to, I’d just rather not discuss incest anymore than I have to. Basically, there’s a sexual assault and attempted rape scene beween Clary and her brother and it was disgusting to read about.
The fact that I was actually starting to enjoy this book and thought I’d really be able to turn this review around is crazy to me. Just call me Boo Boo The Fool, I guess, because I have been bamboozled!! Everything was fine and then CC hit us fool-force with the incest and attempted rape (chapter 17/ 83-84%). Fuckn clownery is what this is.
I think on one hand, if incest had never been a thing in the series, you could argue that Sebastian’s obsession with Clary and “having” Clary and the general creepy incest tension that CC writes into Sebastian and Clary’s scenes together, is just a product of his insanity and that is just shows how unnerving and disturbing he is. BUT, unfortunately for literally everyone, this isn’t the first time Cassandra Clare has hit us with the gross incest storyline so… I’m just going to say this now, so please don’t hate me. I think this is more of the author having a fascination or an obsession with the content and wanting to satiate her fetish, rather than the character, as it serves no actual purpose within the story or character development. Okay, there I said it, Gross. Moving on oh my god.