“City of Lost Souls” by Cassandra Clare is the fifth book in the Mortal Instruments series. The series is so enjoyable and as always I find myself devouring the book. I dove into the fifth book as quickly as possible to find out what happens next after “City of Fallen Angels” ended with a cliffhanger.
SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST FOUR BOOKS IN THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES (UNLESS YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT SPOILERS IN WHICH CASE READ ON)
The fourth book in the series ended with Sebastian being brought back to life by Jace while under Lilith’s control. Clary left Jace on the roof to guard Sebastian without thinking about the fact that the mark Lilith had been using to control Jace would heal itself after Clary had destroyed it. Clary goes up to the roof to find that Jace and Sebastian are both missing.
At the beginning of “City of Lost Souls” the search for Jace and Sebastian has been going on for several weeks. There has been no luck finding either and Clary is beside herself with worry. She hasn’t been allowed to be involved with the search teams and is going stir crazy from her inability to act. Then when it looks as if the council is deprioritizing the search for Jace, Clary determines to do something about it. She goes to the Seeley Queen and is told the payment the queen wants in order to grant any help is a pair of magical rings in the institute. Clary breaks into the library during a council meeting and goes after the rings. When she is about to retrieve them, she suddenly has company. After weeks of nothing, she sees Jace and Sebastian working together to steal something from the institute.
Shortly after this, Jace comes to Clary and tries to get her to leave with him. Clary realizes that Jace is no longer her Jace. He is connected to Sebastian in a way that allows Sebastian to have control over him. Their connection also means that any harm that comes to one of them affects both. Clary does not know how to get her Jace back, but she is determined to do anything.
Clary decides to keep the rings the queen wanted for her own use and goes after Jace alone – her only lifeline being the rings. Simon wears one and she wears the other and they can communicate through them. Of course Simon can’t help but use the rings for a casual question. “Her voice came through, tinged with alarm. What is it? What’s happened? Did my mom find out I’m gone?
Not yet, he thought back. Is Azazel the cat from The Smurfs?
There was a long pause. That’s Azrael, Simon. And no more using the magic rings for Smurf questions!” (City of Lost Souls, pg 207). I really do enjoy how Cassandra Clare inserts humor throughout the book. There are times when things get very dark in this series and I think that her humor helps keep a lighter tone to the books, which helps make them overall more appealing to a greater number of people.
I think that another great thing about Cassandra Clare’s writing is that she inserts a fair amount of wisdom into her characters. For example, at one point Maia is begging for help from the Praetor Lupis and makes a promise on behalf of another. “…his voice held a note of warning. “I hope you understand that when you make promises in other people’s names, it falls upon your head to make sure they follow through.”” (City of Lost Souls, pg 204). This is something that I see a lot of people do and it is interesting to have a character explain what it really means to make a promise like that.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I don’t think that you could possibly read the first four books in the series and not be dying to know what happens next. Cassandra Clare creates an amazing fantasy world that I can’t get enough of. As the series continues to evolve, so does Clare’s writing. This book was just as enjoyable as the first four books in the series.