Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare 























“I don’t think she believes she can’t die. I think, just like you always did, she believes there are things worth dying for.” – Luke, City of Lost Souls


Today I have my review for Cassandra Clare’s book City of Lost Souls, the fifth instalment in the Mortal Instruments series. I’ve been taking my sweet time with this series, but I know the Shadowhunter world is expanding even as we speak so I’m determined to wrap up the series this year. Warning: there may be SPOILERS in this review!

The blurb reads:

What price is too high to pay, even for love? 

When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. 

The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. 

She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

I wasn’t sure how I would fare with this book. After the first three instalments in the series, and from the direction the end of City of Fallen Angels took, the Shadowhunter world was seeming pretty overdone, but Cassandra Clare surprised me.

Her clever, elaborate plotting and gripping characterisation of Sebastian saved the book for me. I was worried the villainous boy would linger as a pale imitation of his father, Valentine, but Clare transformed him into an even more twisted psycho than I could imagine.

As far as the other leading characters, my adoration deeply faded. In the initial trilogy it was easy to root whole-heartedly for Clary and Jace. This time around I struggled to stay even remotely interested in their relationship. Clary spent a third of the book whining and pining for ‘her’ Jace, without really doing much about his fate other than rolling around in gondolas and dancing at nightclubs. Things got a little more exciting once she started using her Shadowhunter fighting skills and her Rune-making abilities. The writing was threaded with thrilling, fast-paced fight scenes that clawed for my attention, but those courageous moments were far too sparing for me to fully enjoy Clary’s perspective.

I was much more emmersed in the other narratives.

Simon shone in this instalment, brighter than he did in City of Fallen Angels. His selfless bravery radiated through the last chapters when the group raised the angel to help Jace and I can really see how his character has developed from the start of the series to now. Sadly I’m certain Simon’s heroic actions will consequently cause him trouble, as he no longer possesses the Mark which protects him. I’ll be intrigued to see how he faces these repercussions in the concluding 6th book, hopefully with Isabelle by his side.

But whilst the tense, sweeping plot propelled Simon and Izzy together, it drove Magnus and Alec further apart. Their relationship suffered tenfold throughout the novel, mostly due to Alec’s unwavering insecurities. The Epilogue saw Magnus discovering Alec’s secret meetings with Camille and breaking up with him – which I totally would have done too! But I’m sure that the pair will find a way back to each other before the series finishes. I only hope they get more chapters dedicated to their romantic resolution, as they definitely deserve it.

Maia and Jordan were somewhat separate in this book in a way that both pleased and upset me. Though I was ecstatic the pair finally reunited, they’re mission to the Praetor Lupus dragged them out of the main group too many times for them to feel like central characters. Still, with the creation of the Infernal Cup at Sebastian’s hand, I’m sure Clare will be pulling in all the characters for the finale.

City of Lost Souls expertly returned me to the dangerous, compelling lives of the Shadowhunters. Brimming with suspensful well-crafted chapters and characters that we all ache to save, the intricately woven narratives served as epic groundwork for a showdown that’s bound to be as dark and addictive as this fantasy world.

Rating: 4/5⭐️

With much love,


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