Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: 5th April 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Adventure, Horror, Fiction
Number of Pages: 424
Start Date: 22nd May 2022
Finish Date: 22nd May 2022
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.
City of Fallen Angels is the fourth novel in the popular Mortal Instruments young adult urban fantasy series by Cassandra Clare. This is a fairly complex fantasy series so it’s really necessary to have read the previous books in the series before starting this one.
The Mortal Instruments books follow the adventures of Clary a teenaged girl from New York who discovers that a supernatural world exists and she is a part of it. Along the way it is revealed that her mother is a Shadowhunter, her to-be step-father a werewolf and her best friend Simon (a nice normal Jewish boy) gets turned into a vampire. Clary met Jace and fell instantly in love with him, only he turned out to be her long-lost brother – and then he wasn’t – so it all turned out okay in the end! It’s safe to say there has been no shortage of excitement or drama in the series so far.
The storyline in City of Fallen Angels take place a few weeks after the events in book three, City of Glass. City of Glass had a grand finale. All secrets were finally revealed. The bad guys were slain. The world was saved. That book felt like the end of the series and I liked it. There were some questions left about Simon, such as how would he cope with being a vampire in the long term but for the most part everything was fairly well wrapped up.
One way in which this book feels disparate from City of Glass (book 3) is its use of new plot. There are significant details from prior events in this series that come back in City of Fallen Angels, but whereas City of Glass was originally the end of a trilogy with everything from those first three books all coming together inside it, City of Fallen Angels feels like the beginning of something new rather than a continuation of what came before. It seems more like City of Bones, when the group is setting off on an adventure they don’t really understand yet; little mysterious things are happening but it doesn’t all make sense until the last hundred pages or so. And then it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger that will definitely connect this volume to further books. I didn’t expect this one to feel so much like the beginning of a second trilogy, but it does.
On another note, I did not like the weird Clary/Jace situation in this book. It just seems so pointless to me when two people in a book who love each other can’t just talk about their problems and they let them spiral out of control instead until they’re forced to talk about the problems eventually anyway. Exceptions to this rule usually involve a third party who is protected along with the secrets, but there’s no third party here. So that was frustrating, but it did eventually right itself.
Instead of focusing on a new plot line and maybe a new romance for secondary characters, Cassandra Clare drags out more of the same tired issues that readers saw resolved in City of Glass. Clary and Jace are together but the happy couple aren’t happy. Jace is withdrawn and Clary is anguished. Oh no, they can’t be together even though they love each other so much. In the previous books this plotline worked because Clary and Jace’s forbidden love (they thought they were brother and sister) gave a huge amount of soap-opera style drama to the story. In City of Fallen Angels it feels like Cassandra Clare decided that Clary and Jace’s relationship angst worked so well for the first three books that it would serve as the plotline for this book too; but unfortunately she forgot to supply a real, solid, reason for them not to be happy. She also lazily recycled the previously vanquished (dead) villain – why couldn’t we have a new bad guy?
To me the problem with City of Fallen Angles was that the Mortal Instruments series was originally planned to be a trilogy (a story of three parts) but like all popular fantasy books that sell well the author was soon contracted for further instalments. I love the Mortal Instruments world, its characters and its stories; so this should be a cause for celebration but I am fast coming to the conclusion that you can have too much of a good thing. If an author has nothing new to add to the story then maybe they should decline the offer to write more.
City of Fallen Angels is one of the most tedious books I’ve read in a long while. No real drama. Tired recycled plotlines and villains. Frankly this book is just dull, which is disappointing when you consider how much better Cassandra Clare can usually write. At times I could have easily given up on finishing City of Fallen Angels altogether but I stuck with it for Simon. Somehow I’m sure that there is a fascinating story in here somewhere about a sweet and nerdy vegetarian Jewish boy who got unexpectedly turned into a vampire, then cursed with the freaky power to literally bring the wrath of God down upon those who would harm him. To my way of thinking this would make a much better story than “Clary and Jace love each other but can’t be together, part 2.”
This book didn't need to be written or, she could've focused it on another character or written about something else. The whole Jace linked to Sebastian thing shouldn't have been done as it was just so completely unnecessary. I do remember hearing that this book was supposed to be from Simon's point of view, yet Jace and Clary took centre stage once again.
Magnus and Alec were also constantly whining in this book. It started off with them going on a sort of honeymoon even though they're not married and it was sweet and all but then when Magnus mentioned he'd dated Camille in the past, Alec starts going into a huge huff about all the previous relationships Magnus has been in before. I could see why Alec was upset but seriously, if you're hundreds of years old of course you're going to have been in a relationship before. City of Fallen Angels had so much unnecessary angst in it at times, it was quite frustrating.
Then there was Simon, Simon who I absolutely adore, I wanted to hear more about Simon! And the story started off well, as it was focusing on him. Some people said in City of Fallen Angels that Simon had changed and wasn't the sweet, geeky Simon like in previous books but I thought Simon was still the same in here. I wish he did break it off with Maia and Isabelle as it was extremely rude of him to string them a long, but I hope things will work out between him and Izzy, and I hope Maia will find someone too...I'm not sure if I want her to go back to Jordan, even though he was Changing when he struck and bit her...I still wouldn't go back to him, but we'll see.
The characters all seemed different in this book. Alec was incredibly sensitive and quite unfair towards Magnus. Magnus also seemed to be lacking his usual spark which sucked as I adore his character. Jace was extremely emotionally unstable in this book, but I felt extremely sorry for him as you could see the plaintive feeling of torture he was going through completely engulfing him. Clary was very dependent in this book although I was extremely proud of her when she was fighting that demon, it's about time she starts defending herself. I absolutely adore Isabelle she's got so much spunk and character and I completely love her! It was interesting being introduced to Jordan in this book and seeing the interaction between him and Maia, due to their tumultuous past.
I wasn't laughing as frequently in the City of Fallen Angels as I had in the previous books. They all seemed to be lacking their usual sparkle and humour. I'm not sure if I want to read City of Lost Souls, I don't want to read more about the dark, twisted things that happen in these books and I'm also quite irritated about the constant drama in Jace and Clary's relationship. I do like how this book shows that she loves Jace so much she is willing to do anything to save him. That was a plus in this novel, the extraordinary lengths someone will go to in order to save the one they love.
City of Fallen Angels was filled with angst, deceit, betrayal and heartbreak, however, it was lacking it's usual charm.