Book Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare


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. 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.

((Note: I originally wrote this review February 15, 2014. )

This book was just ok. Not as compelling as the previous books in the series. This forth book of The Mortal Instruments is supposed to be read after the prequel series’ Clockwork Angel and before Clockwork Prince. Which means the reader is not supposed to know who Brother Zachariah really is.

I feel though that either Clare should have kept The Mortal Instruments a trilogy or that the second half should be read after all threeInfernal Devices books. That way Tessa could have been included in City of Fallen Angels too. Her gift would have been very useful, and these kids would not have screwed up the way they did.

Spoilers Ahead:

When Camille refused to give the information she had unless she was granted immunity, the Clave could have been like, “F-you. We’ll get the information.” Then Tessa, having changed into the vampire Camille before, could have done so again to get access to her memories. They would have been a step ahead of Lilith.

Speaking of Lilth, the first demon and mother of all demons, was a disappointment. I felt Valentine was more of a diabolical villain than she was written to be. You would think that she would know the rules of the ritual she was trying to preform on Jonathan Morgenstern better than anyone. So why did she insist Simon compete the second half of the ritual to give his blood to Jonathan when Jace, or perhaps even herself, or anyone, could have done so?

Also, the climax became receptive on pages 341 and 348, already stating what was first said on 339, that since she can’t hurt Simon with his Mark of Cain, she’ll hurt Clary to get him to do her bidding. I swear it was repeated 3 times. Cassie Clare was stalling.

Not only that, shouldn’t Lilith be more cunning about getting around Simon’s Mark of Cain? Sending immature ransoms notes is really lame for the mother of all demons.

Jace, ok, I like that there were consequences to his being brought back to life by the Angel. A free pass it too easy. I did not like the execution. First off, Jace and Clary are still minors. The Silent Brothers should have immediately notified their guardians/parents and the Clave that Jace was brought back from the dead and needed the ritual for new protection spells. Second, his multi-personality behavior towards Clary was downright annoying and creepy. Third, and this blame goes to Clary. You would think after the shit and grief she gave her mother in City of Glass for keeping secrets, lying to her all her life and the consequences of those secrets, she’d listen to her own lecture. Keeping Jace’s death and angelic resurrection a secret is exactly why they are in this shit storm.

Simon does not need a bodyguard. Jace does! How could they have left him with the body of Johnathan after EVERYTHING that JUST happened? Brainless idea.

Which brings me to Alec and Jace’s parabati relationship. After reading Will and Jem’s parabati relationship in The Infernal Devices I feel cheated. Maybe in the history of parabati Will and Jem were unique and stronger than most, but still Alec and Jace have such an underdeveloped relationship. Alec should have stayed with Jace, not pushed Clary out of the elevator to stay. If it were Will and Jem, neither of them would have left the other alone with the not-quite-dead Johnathan.

And speaking of Will, I now come to Alec and Magnus. I love Magnus, and I really like his relationship with Alec. Wish we got more of them than of Jace and Clary. Anyway, Alec needs to grow up. Silly, I know because he is 18, but come on. Magnus is centuries old. Did Alec really think Magnus spent his whole life celibately waiting for Alec to come into his life? Magnus is not Edward Cullen, who only waited one century for Bella, not five (or however old Magnus is.) It makes me sad that Alec is allowing Camille’s words to poison their love with jealousy over lovers who are either long dead or have moved on.

Funny how he is jealous over Will (Herondale) who, not only Magnus did not have an affair with, but is also Jace’s great-great-great grandfather and his own great-great-great uncle. LOL. I know that from the family tree printed in the jacket of Clockwork Princess. I would love for Alec to find out he is jealous of his great-great-great uncle for no reason.

I believe I caught a Silent Brothers blooper. I am too lazy to look for the exact passage, but I swear that in City of Glass it was stated that Valentine murdered all the Silent Brothers and it would take time to replace them with new members. Then all of a sudden it is stated in Fallen Angels that only a few survived only because they were not in the Silent City at the time but away on missions. Clare totally retcon and I think it was to include Brother Zachariah (a.k.a. Jem) in the story.

Also, many of the clues in the plot are just left hanging. The dead Shadowhunters – why didn’t we see more of the investigation into their murders? The dead babies from the cult that were experimented on. What was the reason behind that when Lilith was luring Simon to awaken Jonathan anyway? It made no sense.

Now, there were some amusing moments.
Isabelle to Clary on page 228: “You’d think the Angel would have been foresighted enough to give us a birth-control rune, but no dice.”

Simon to Isabelle on page 239: “When someone prefers their own brother over you, it isn’t a confidence booster.”

Magnus on page 251: “Alexander, I have been alive for hundreds of years. I’ve been with men, been with women – with faeries, and warlocks and vampires, and even a djinn or two.”

Magnus to Alec on page 295: “I met Napoleon once. We didn’t have an affair, though. He was shockingly prudish for a Frenchman.”

This one takes the cake though for best quote in the book. Jace to Lilith on page 383-4: “You and your name dropping. ‘I knew Michael.’ ‘I knew Sammael.’ ‘The angel Gabriel did my hair.’ It’s like I’m with the Band with biblical figures.”

It wasn’t all bad. She could have ended it with just a trilogy but if she had to go on with this series it could have been so much better. 2 out 5 morning stars

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