Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis (Goodreads):
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.
My Thoughts: A few reviews ago I mentioned that I rarely read other reviews before writing up my own because I don't want to get caught up in the things that other people liked or disliked about a book before getting my thoughts down.  That said, the wild swings between "loved it" and "hated it" for this book caught my attention.  So I read a few reviews.  (Y'all were supposed to stop me from doing this, remember?!?!)  It's funny to me that a lot of the reasons people fell into the hated it camp were the very reasons I loved it.

One of the points made was that City of Glass tied up the Mortal Instruments storyline and Cassandra Clare should have left everyone with their happily ever after.  Another story wasn't needed.
My response: This arc directly builds on Clary's actions at the end of CoG.  It isn't a brand new "let's see what shenanigans these Shadowhunters can get into now!" storyline but rather an organic continuation of the first cycle.  One that addresses the idea that even well-meant actions have consequences.  Jace is dealing with the fallout of what he experienced.  The Lightwoods are dealing with the death of Max.  Simon is dealing with the Mark that Clary gave him.  Clary is getting her life back into a normal groove but she still feels lingering guilt over giving Simon his Mark and a vague hope that her gift for Rune-Writing has gone away for good.  Add to that the realization that her wish to bring Jace back to life has opened a doorway to allow Very Bad Thing to happen and you realize that everything isn't rainbows and puppies.

Honestly, I thought all the characters benefited from the events in this book.  It wasn't nice, it wasn't bloodless, but it made them grow.  I liked seeing Alec more confident in his own skin.  I liked seeing Alec and Magnus together.  I liked that Isabelle is coming to grips with the reason that she goes through boys like socks.  I liked all the little things that made these characters come alive and gave them depth even beyond what the first series gave them.

The other issue I saw popping up that seemed to drive people batty was that there were a lot of threads left dangling plot-wise.  Well, duh.  It's the first book in a story arc that will span 3 books.  If everything was tied up here why would we bother with the next two books?  Personally, I loved that the end of the book had this big, horrible happening that seems so catastrophic I can't see how Cassandra Clare is going to solve it.  I LOVE IT WHEN BOOKS SURPRISE ME!

I have faith that the story will play out the way it needs to.  I have faith in Cassandra Clare's vision for her characters.  I nearly keeled over with the revelation at the end of City of Bones but everything worked out in the end and the characters I adored ended up in the place they needed to be.  Why wouldn't I believe that this is going to happen this time?

The bottom line is that I loved jumping back into Jace and Clary's world.  I loved spending time with them.  I loved seeing that winning the war didn't solve everyone's problems.  I'm in it to the end, guys.  Through every battle, be it physical, emotional or moral.  And, yes, I'm dying to see how things play out.  I wish it was 2012 already just for that.

She touched his face with her fingertips, delicately running them over the planes of his cheekbones, down to the curve of his mouth. Jace never said things like that to anyone else but her. Alec and Isabelle knew, from living with him and loving him, that underneath the protective armor of humor and pretended arrogance, the ragged shards of memory and childhood still tore at him. But she was the only one he said the words out loud to. She shook her head; her hair fell forward across her forehead, and she pushed it away impatiently. "I wish I could say things the way you do," she said. "Everything you say, the words you choose, they're so perfect. You always find the right quote, or the right thing to say to make me believe you love me. If I can't convince you that I'll never leave you--" - pg 75

Other reviews in this series:
The Mortal Instruments 
Book 1: City of Bones
             Endlessly Quotable: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Book 2: City of Ashes
Book 3: City of Glass

The Infernal Devices
Book 1: Clockwork Angel

More books by Cassandra Clare

Reading challenges: The Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge, The YA Reading Challenge


  1. I totally need to start this series!

  2. I like how you made your points in this review. I think I might hold out to read this one I haven't read many reviews don't want to get a spoiler but from cassie's tweets I've gathered a cliffhangeer in this one. I think I might wait. Lol if I can. xoxo Parajunkee

  3. Bookish Brunette: YES, YOU DO! (<--very serious all caps!)
    ParaJunkee: It's a well written, well plotted, well paced book but it does end on a cliffhanger. I can't deny that!

  4. I completely agree with you on all points. LOVE Cassandra Clare's work and the cliffhanger has me squirming but in an excited way.

  5. D-JustMomsBlog: ACK! I know! How will everything be fixed?!? HOW?

  6. On the one hand Clare brings in several new characters into this story (she also expands the roles of some peripheral characters from the first cycle of Mortal Instruments books). On the other hand, the plot felt familiar in spite of a new villain and sinister happenings in New York City. Clary and Jace still can't be together, Simon is still having trouble with the ladies, Isabelle is still inscrutable when it comes to her heart, Alec and Magnus are still having their own problems, and yes the Seelie Queen is still asking obnoxious questions and causing trouble.