City of Lost Souls

by Cassandra Clare
ages: 14+
First sentence: “Simon stood and stared numbly at the front door of his house.”
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Others in the series: City of BonesCity of AshesCity of Glass, City of Fallen Angels

This series — now five books in — is becoming increasingly complex and somewhat convoluted (not necessarily in a bad way). I’m not sure I can even begin to summarize what went on in this one. Let me try (spoilers for all. You’ve been warned.)

Jace and Sebastian are connected, linked in such a way that to harm one is to hurt the other. And Jace isn’t himself, but rather an extension of Sebastian. Clary knows this, but goes over to Team Evil anyway with the express idea that she’ll figure out what their plan is and report back to Simon using these fairy rings.

Meanwhile, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and Magnus (I loved that Magnus played an active role in this book) are off searching for a way to split Jace and Sebastian apart that doesn’t involve killing Jace. (It’s okay if Sebastian dies. In fact, they wish he would.) This involves raising a prince of Hell as well as an angel. It’s more complex than that, but those are the basic bones of the story.

This one was a lot harder to get a grip on. It’s bigger than the others (or it feels bigger, anyway), weighing in at 534 pages. And it was a lot slower to get started as well. But the end? It was totally worth the slog to get there. I really liked the role Simon had to play, as well as Isabelle — while she’s not quite the same Isabelle I liked in City of Bones, I think she’s settling into herself, and there was some of the spunk I liked. In fact, there was a lot of the sass and spunk from the first books back. I know Jace wasn’t himself in this one, but I liked him a whole lot better than I have for a couple of books. He was funny. And even Clary wasn’t simpering; she finally puts up a fight for what she believes, and makes an impact. And her decisions at the end? Courageous.

And I’m committed: I need the next one to come out so I can see how this all ends.

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