Today we hear from Bookbabbler Liz…
The Mortal Instruments 4: City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.
Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. (from Goodreads)
I have to say, I was slightly wary approaching City of Fallen Angels. I had loved the first trilogy in the Mortal Instruments series, and the ending of City of Glass was such a fitting, amazing ending, I couldn’t have been happier with it. So when I heard Cassandra Clare was writing a new trilogy, I simultaneously experienced “YES I AM SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY” and “But what if it ruins everything?” I can tell you now, it didn’t ruin everything. While I still love the end of City of Glass, reading City of Fallen Angels made me realise that were a lot of things that were left open, and it’s these things that are explored in book four.
One thing I liked about City of Fallen Angels was that we got to see a lot more of Simon. Seeing things from his perspective was interesting, because previously, we had only ever gotten Clary’s view on Shadowhunters and Downworlders, and what their world was like. Simon, however, saw things differently to Clary. Being a Downworlder himself, he was more aware of the divide between Shadowhunters and his kind, and he could see it wherever he went; with Isabelle’s parents, and with the other vampires who really didn’t like him because of his association with people like Jace and Clary. It was nice to see the other side of things. I also liked Simon’s perspective because it made me laugh to read about why on earth he thought it would be good idea to date both Isabelle and Maia at the same time. I thought it seemed a little out of character for Simon to treat the girls that way, but it turned out he really just couldn’t explain the situation he was in! It was almost funny how surprised he was that he’d ended up with two girlfriends. I felt like we got to know him better too, and he became less of a side character, and more of a main one.
I was glad for the return of Clary and Jace too, however. Both characters, while far from perfect, held a certain quality that just made it impossible for you to stop reading about them. Every scene they were in drew me in, even when Jace was acting odd and hiding things from everyone. Clary was her strong, stubborn self, and Jace still hadn’t gotten over his self-loathing and terror that he would turn out like Valentine. They were both still suffering from what had happened previously. Together, they were both stronger, yet more vulnerable – because their relationship was complicated and so volatile. Like a certain character said to Jace and Clary in the book, “You love each other – anyone can see that, looking at you – that kind of love that can burn down the world or raise it up in glory.”
Another thing I liked was how the new storyline developed. The deaths of a few Shadowhunters at first didn’t seem to tie in with any of the other things going on, such as Simon’s visit from an ancient vampire, Camille, and Jace’s strange dreams, but as you read on, you begin to realise there is a link between all these things. It was cleverly revealed to us bit by bit, and though you may be able to guess a few certain things, there is a rather big, or should I say humoungously gigantic, cliffhanger at the end that will leave you with your eyes wide and your jaw dropped.
The only complaints I have about City of Fallen Angels are that one: it read differently to the previous three books in that it didn’t flow as well. I think this is because we were seeing things from multiple perspectives (because all the characters get a bit of a say this time) that it seemed slightly jumbled. Some chapters focussed on a certain aspect of the story (e.g. Jocelyn’s wedding) and then halfway through switched to something else and the previous thing wasn’t mentioned again. It just seemed like there were a lot of things going on at the same time, and it was a bit all over the place and hard to keep up. Two: Alec and Magnus simply weren’t in it enough. They were my absolute favourite characters, yet we only saw them right towards the end! I missed Magnus’s unique wit and crazy-warlock dress sense. Their scenes were funny and sweet though, and I hope we get to see more of them in the next book.
In conclusion, City of Fallen Angels was an engaging, fast-paced and spine-tingling addition to the series. If you’re looking for more action, more drama and more dangerous situations with all the same characters (and a few new ones too), then read this book! I’ve already resigned myself to the torturously long wait it will be until City of Lost Souls is released.
Thanks, Liz, and thanks to Walker Books for sending us a copy.