Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: City of Fallen Angels

By: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA, urban fantasy, romance
# of Pages: 424
Rating: 3 out of 5

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series, which was originally supposed to have ended after City of Glass, the third installment of the series. Although I am a huge fan of the TMI series, as well as The Infernal Devices prequel trilogy that Clare is working on in tandem with TMI, I can't exactly say that City of Fallen Angels lived up to my expectations.


There didn't seem to be much, if any, character development throughout the entirety of this novel. The only character I could say has any kind of growth is Simon, who deals with his curse of bearing the Mark of Cain as well as the mental consequences of feeding on a human for the first time. Clary and Jace are, disappointingly, rather flat in this installment of the series. Even though things are supposed to be smooth for them and their relationship since Clary brought Jace back from the dead and they know they aren't siblings, I guess it's impossible to have a romance in a YA novel without drowning in it teen angst...supernatural teen angst, in this case. From the beginning of the novel, it's obvious that there's trouble in paradise, but both Jace and Clary ignore the problems in their relationship rather than facing them head on, which of course, results in a near fallout. These two characters are supposed to be in so much love that even the prospect of having been siblings wasn't able to make them stop feeling for one another. After everything they've been through, one would think that Jace would have Clary (or at least someone else) about the murderous dreams he was having about his girlfriend BEFORE he attempts to kill her during a heated make-out session. And then whatd'ya know... He's been possessed by Lilith. *gasp* And don't even get me started on he and Sebastian's "becoming one" at the end of the novel. Sadly, that was one of the most unfulfilling endings I've read in quite a while.

Isabelle and Maia only seem to be in the story for romantic conflict in Simon's arc. It isn't a bad addition, but there just doesn't seem to be much substance to their involvement in Simon's life. Maia was never really one of my favorite characters in the series, and CoFA did nothing to move her higher in the ranks. However, I have always loved Isabelle and her actions throughout the book reminded me of why I love her so much. She's a badass female character in a fantasy/supernatural YA setting...and, lo and behold, she's not a complete and utter bitch. Unfortunately, the strong female role isn't something that's seen often enough in YA literature, especially that of which has heavy romantic overtones like this series. I hate to say it, but a lot of females have become Bella Swan's, and this doesn't exclude Clary. Okay, okay... I realize that she's just started her Shadowhunter training and blah, blah, blah, but she has her moment to fight and show that she deserves to have the strong LEAD female role in the series, and she fails...miserably. It's Isabelle who comes along and ends up saving Clary's ass from the Hydra demon in the Church of Taltos.

As much as I LOVE Alec and Magnus (they're actually the reason I picked the series up a couple years ago), I wasn't happy with their roles in this installment either. They start the novel off on a romantic vacation and are only called back when Camille is captured and refuses to speak with anyone but Magnus. Of course, angst is immediately thrown onto their relationship when Alec hears Camille mention Will in a conversation with Magnus, and Alec becomes jealous of the different people that Magnus has been involved with other the many years of his life. His anger only increases when Magnus refuses to make him immortal s
o they'll be together forever. It isn't until the end of the novel, after Alec is involved in a dangerous fight with Lilith's followers, that he realizes his anger is misplaced and Magnus declares that they have "hope" and they live happily ever after until something is brought up in the next installment.

As unfulfilling as this installment of The Mortal Instruments series was, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it. I'm a huge fan of this series and know that I will remain a fan until it ends. Despite all the controversy over Clare's character (as herself) and the respect I've lost for her since I learned of all that controversy, I'm able to look at the series for what it is and enjoy being lost in the world that Clare has created for us readers. However, while I was on the edge of my seat waiting for City of Fallen Angels to be released, I don't think I'm going to be quite as excited and/or desperate to have City of Lost Souls in my possession on the day it's released. Oh, I'll still buy it, read it, and hopefully enjoy it, but if I don't get it until I need to go to the grocery, it won't be the end of the world.

I'd recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of the rest of the TMI novels. Because it's so centered around things that happened in the first three novels of the series, there really isn't anyone else to recommend it to. :( I you haven't read the first three novels, then I'd recommend picking them up. City of Bones, Ashes, and Glass are amazing and tell such an intricate story, but I'm going to have wait until City of Lost Souls is released before I can say the same thing about the 3 novel continuation of the trilogy.

For any of you who decide to pick this book up, I wish you happy reading and please let me know how you felt about it when you're done!

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