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City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments) Paperback – September 1, 2015 by Cassandra Clare (Author)

I have been reading The Mortal Instruments series for about a year now, and although the first two books of the series left something to be desired, I persevered. I am happy to say that I was greatly rewarded because Cassandra Clare’s books just keep getting better and better. As the plot thickens, I have become deeply invested in her characters and their fates. Here are the four reasons why I gave The Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls 4 out of 5 stars: COVER ARTI don’t usually give stars for a book’s cover, because the outside of a book does not necessarily allude to what exists on the inside. A plain cover may hold the most intricately written, thought-provoking story. And, an elegantly designed cover may contain a dull, one-dimensional story. We’ve all heard this stated a lot simpler: Never judge a book by its cover. Well, I am throwing that idea out of the window today because this is a book cover that I would frame and put on my wall; it’s just so damn beautiful. All of the covers in Clare’s Mortal Instruments series are remarkably stunning, but this cover is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite. There is just something about Clary and Jace’s loving embrace, and not to mention the models who are the perfect embodiment of those two characters. PLOTIn City of Lost Souls, Jace has been bound to his evil adoptive brother Sebastian. Clary, Isabelle, Alec, Simon and Magnus must figure out how to unbind Jace from Sebastian, among other things. I really liked the plot of Book Five. It allowed readers to venture outside of New York with the characters, and to see a different side of Sebastian–a side that really loves Clary (or at least what he considers love). Action, humor, romance, adventure: City of Lost Souls has it all. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENTI like reading about Jace and Clary, but I have to admit that their relationship is beginning to fall on the back burner for me as new, more dynamic characters emerge. Magnus & Alec, Isabelle & Simon, Maia & Jordan, and even Sebastian (who has no pairing) are getting more spotlight. And, this is Clare’s greatest move. We are seeing how love is changing these people. Even Sebastian. He seems to be lonely and in need of companionship or love, and it makes you sympathize with him throughout this book. In my opinion, Clary and Jace haven’t really reached the peaks of their development arcs yet. However, we do see Clary display some of her new fighting skills in this book. BREAKS BOUNDARIESCassandra Clare is not afraid to journey across untread waters with her stories. I love the way she writes about sexuality. When you are reading her stories, you’re not thinking "Oh, yeah, Alec and Magnus are gay. Helen and Aline are gay. " When you read Clare’s works, you simply see these characters as people who are in love. Her writing is very poetic and lyrical, and it really speaks to emotions, emotions that help you to forget about gender, race, and stereotypes. In this way, Clare’s writing literally breaks boundaries for me, because in the world she creates there are no boundaries, just love. Clare also touches on another topic that you don’t often see in YA books–incest. This theme recurs in her stories. We see it first in City of Ashes in the case of Jace & Clary being in love even after finding out that they are brother and sister. And then it returns in City of Glass, when Clary meets Sebastian. But, things get really uncomfortable with City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire. The subject of incest is disagreeable, but I admit that it is well written and it fits into Clare’s overall story. She is trying to evoke specific emotions from her readers when she writes on this topic–disgust, confusion, empathy–and she succeeds in doing so. LENGTHThe Mortal Instruments books are generally pretty long. But, sometimes they can be too long as is the case with City of Lost Souls. The length of this book gives way to repetition; I felt that some of the same things were being said over and over, some of the same points were being re-re-emphasized. I also thought that the length created a lack of action and plot projection. So, all in all, this book just seemed unnecessarily drawn out. ***Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed City of Lost Souls. It’s definitely not my favorite of the series, but I would not say it’s my least favorite either. I highly recommend this series to everyone. Before this series, I thought I hated fantasy but, as it turns out, I was wrong. You guys should give it a try and see how you like it!Clare has created a very complex world of Shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc. Rarely do we see an author handle so much subject matter effectively–Cassandra Clare does so with grace. Check it out!

Review * “If a cliff-hanger can be considered satisfying, then this book delivers.”–VOYA, *STARRED”The action once again climaxes in a tense, lush battle sequence just waiting for digital cinematic treatment. . . . [A] goth-and-glitter pleasure.”–“Kirkus Reviews””The Mortal Instruments series features a rare marriage of extremely intricate, fast-paced plotting with ample digressions into the emotional lives of characters we’ve come to care about deeply. . . . With a movie in the works, this is an excellent time for new readers to jump on board one of the most enjoyable series in YA. Smart, fun, and epic, these books are addictive for all the right reasons.”–“Locus” (Gwenda Bond)

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments) Paperback – September 1, 2015 by Cassandra Clare (Author) Review

In the first four books, I thought Cassandra Clare had developed some wonderful younger characters. ..(of course Jace) as well as a bevy of other memorable teen boys. (The girls are a weaker group). And is the case in most YA books, the adults are utterly disposable. ..(which is a shame because technically teens are trying to enter their world. ..but hey. …the fact that they are disposable gives adult readers a world to truely escape to. ) But most disappointing in the first four books were the weak villains. I found the villains contrite, predictable and just plain . ..well. …black. I get it. ..teen minds. … black and white worlds. .. yadda yadda yadda. …. But in this book, I found (spoiler alert) the development of the villain (Sebastian) more complex, and far more interesting. I actually found the lure of his and Jace’s world, with the addition of Clary, dangerously exciting and kind of intoxicating. Why should I villain be one dimensional? Why wouldn’t he freely consort in a land of gray and thereby make Clary’s and Jace’s view of the world . ..well. …better rounded? Of course, the promise of this particular ( and most adult) fantasy of mine was eventually dashed by the proverbial battle of black and white, but nonetheless it presented itself as a possibility for a good chunk of the book, and for this reason I give this a 4 star review. My happily ever after would involve some strange, somewhat dark world, where twenty something versions of Jace, Sebastian and Clary would be vaguely "bad" and cause a good deal of mischief for others, (but mostly themselves). ..with a lot of messiness and moral ambiguity. …but crap. ..thats the plot of Breaking Bad. …and I will go back to my adult pleasures. -Read Reviews-

It took me an awfully long time to read this book. Part of it was school and work. Though I couldn’t get through a lot of this book due to the emphasis on the romance between Jace and Clary, which we were, unnecessarily, reminded of every second page. The upcoming war is, in my humble opinion, better material than their romance and obvious feelings, but I digress. I still find some of the romantic writing to be some of the best. I have no idea how long it’ll take to read Book 6, but I’m ready to tackle it.

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