City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare | Rating: ★★★★★
“I know about parabatai,” said Magnus, an angry, dark undercurrent to his voice. “I’ve known parabatai so close they were almost the same person; do you know what happens, when one of them dies, to the one that’s left —?”
I can’t believe I’m almost done with my reread of the entire TMI series but here we are! Cassandra Clare still has me hooked all these years later and rereading the novels feels like I’ve been greeted by an old from. Onto one of my favorite novels in the entire series: this little guy is by far one of the funnest and darkest of the entire run; Cassandra as usual does the best with her plots.
Teenage angst, action, romance and mystery follow us–and in this installment we see even more descriptive locations that will leave us with hearts in our eyes just as much as our bones will chill by the events scattered about. In terms of suspense and comparison to the installments that came before it, City of Lost Souls rivals City of Glass.
In the aftermath of events in the previous book, our second to last installment picks up right where we left off. Mostly City of Lost Souls begins with one question: where is Jace? which follows into who is Jace, now? The answer is not simple, but what ever is?
Due to the attempts of Lilith in resurrecting him, Sebastian has been brought back from the dead and is now tied to Jace.
Ugh. I know, right? This is the terrifying answer to such a minor question; the consequences could lead to a loss of one of their own if they aren’t careful or if the wrong people find him before it’s too late.
We soon discover, as Jace makes his appearance known to Clary, that he is certainly not himself. At. All. He is hidden away and suddenly buddy-buddy with Sebastian, almost as if he is being controlled. Because in many ways, Jace is himself–he is there, he has his humor and mannerisms and wears his face but his belief system is far from what we know.
He agrees with Sebastian, he jokes with Sebastian as if they are the best of friends or brothers, even. Never mind that Sebastian is the villain of this arch, never mind that he killed Jace’s younger brother Max and could burn this world. Sebastian has him blinded by their ties.
Jace is so far gone that it’s straight up painful for fans to watch/read.
Even worse: they are up to something. We can’t tell just what for a while but our hearts tell us that something is coming. Sebastian, Jonathan Morgenstern, is two things: determined and fully evil, so our imaginations will go wild with theories for some time.
Because of his life being restored, Shadowhunters must rid the world of Jonathan and a hunt is well underway. But you cannot hurt one without hurting the other. Somehow, they are one. Of course the Clave would be willing to sacrifice an innocent life and kill Jace if it means ridding the world of Sebastian.
After Jace and Sebastian make a surprise appearance at Clary’s house, well technically Luke’s, she watches helplessly as the man who is like a father to her, Luke’s, life is in jeopardy and so much more is at stake. Now more than ever, Clary is determined to bring down Sebastian once and for all at to save her beloved boyfriend.
Clary, Simon, Isabelle, Jordan, Maia and Alec (with Magnus, of course) are on a mission to find a way to separate the two without killing both and they spend a great deal of the novel searching for ways and keeping silent so the Clave doesn’t intervene. They are all determined to bring Jace home safely and their scenes of planning and talking are amongst some of my favorite of the series.
They work excellently as a team. Team Good is on fire, guys.
From going to the Seelie Queen, to summoning an angel and to Clary leaving with Jace and Sebastian to spy on them (her only lifeline being a ring that allows her to communicate silently with Simon), our gang tries everything. Everything in their power to save their friend.
As for the other plots… there is a lot that happens in between time. Let’s break it down simply, character by character:
Clary is just as brave as ever. I love seeing her grow and seeing her fight for what’s right, for who she loves. She is quite impulsive but it works perfectly for who she is and what path she must take. I like that she doesn’t let her fear or nerves prevent her from getting shit done and she will go to extreme lengths to save her friends, boyfriend and/or family.
When she goes with Jace and Sebastian my skin took on this prickly tone to it. It’s terrifying knowing the danger she is putting herself in and it’s even more freaky watching her struggle with things. For me, these scenes between the three of them are some of my favorites in the series.
She wonders, a lot, while being with Jace and Sebastian if Jace is better off this way–not seriously–due to the air of happiness he has.
There’s also a lot of doubts about Sebastian. He easily feigns human emotion but there are times when he seems almost normal. He claims that when he and Jace were tied together, he was able to change just as much as Jace. Deep down she knows it isn’t true, but I think as they all travel and she spends a little time with him she longs for it to be true.
Clary knows that Sebastian isn’t her brother. He is a creation that was made from what her brother could have been and it’s heartbreaking because let’s be real, Sebastian is disgusting. As readers, we understand her mind and her emotions regarding this no matter how conflicting they grow.
She becomes a sort of piece in their game. Sebastian’s game. And she has a hard time keeping up with what’s real and what isn’t while trapped in this apartment with the two. I can’t explain the apartment much except that it’s magical and it moves and it’s kinda weird, but still fascinating to think of.
I really loved seeing her strength.
Especially towards the end of her plot line; as Sebastian steals her ring and she can’t communicate with Simon, as she understands what the two are planning (the horror of it all), when Jace is himself for a while due to an injury and she betrays him (to save his life and to in the end, betray herself in some ways), her big fight scene with Sebastian and finally when the Endarkened begin to rise and Amatis is taken.
She’s always been something of a warrior. It’s in her blood. But in this installment it really shines through in the darkest of moments. Really, it pokes through in the most heartbreaking of ways.
Beyond the games, the traveling, her confusion and emotions and all that she finds herself horribly upset. Luke could die, and he is the closest she has ever had to a father. Jace could die as well if things don’t go according to plan. And if her brother’s plan goes through, she could lose everyone and everything.
Next up is Jace. Jace just isn’t himself. I’ve already said that but I cannot stress it enough. We see him often: his interactions with Clary are almost as if he is himself but we know that he is not. He really believes in what he is doing because of the link and it’s terrifying to see him plotting something on Team Bad. Because that isn’t our favorite cocky Shadowhunter with a heart of gold.
When the real Jace pulls through after getting injured, the tie between him and Sebastian only temporarily severed, it’s like a moment of clarity for him and Clary and us as readers. I think it shows just how much of him was missing in the days since Sebastian was resurrected. He is warmer and more caring about Clary when he pulls through and it’s like our hearts just drop.
Especially when he decides to turn himself in while he still has his own mind and control over his actions. Part of us wants for him to do this, but it would more than likely mean that he would die in the process. Thankfully (and sadly) for us, Clary puts a stop to this.
But that means our Jace is hidden again for the time being. We do get him back, though, by the end of the book thanks to the efforts of our kids. As usual, they save the day even if it means that somehow Sebastian is still out there. Not without struggle. Or fire. Ahem.
Simon is in New York with Team Good. He is the only person who is able to reach Clary due to their rings and of course he is worried sick. But Clary is only a fraction of his concerns and it’s upsetting because Simon is such a sweetheart and I just want to wrap all these characters up and keep them from harm.
Simon worries a lot, a lot, a lot in this one.
He worries about his mother and her strong emotions about him being a “monster”. About Maureen and what she became because of him. About his feelings for Isabelle and whether or not they are together or what she feels for him.
About Luke and his injuries and what could happen to the man. About Jace being taken. About Sebastian being back and his part in it. About how he is immortal and will never grow old and how Magnus is all that will be left of his friends in years to come. About Raphael’s threats.
You see my point. And sadly, his worries only grow as the gang summons a demon and then an angel in an effort to find a way to separate Jace and Sebastian. Simon Lewis comes through in the end with a plan after speaking to an angel; he has been given a sword that will pull the two apart and destroy any of the evil in the body.
But the price is high for this. Not only is it going to be risky and tricky to find either guy, Simon had to pay for the sword with his mark, aka the only thing keeping others from killing him.
Isabelle and Simon have some great scenes as usual. Emotional, sexy, etc. Sizzy is one of my favorite ships so I am biased. How heartbreaking and beautiful was it when Simon wasn’t sure he’d survive summoning an angel? Or when he fell down and Isabelle briefly thought he was dead?
He also has good scenes with most of the main characters. Clary and Simon are as usual what best friends should be. Simon’s scenes with Magnus are really funny due to Magnus and the fact that he keeps “forgetting” his name.
Let’s go with Isabelle next. We see a lot of heart and emotion from her that we don’t always get to see. Isabelle Lightwood is strong as hell and could kick your ass just as easily as she could cuddle you. I like that we got to dig deeper into her and what makes her tick; I liked seeing her scenes with the Iron Sisters and how she ripped into them.
Another pleasantly surprising scene was seeing her interaction with Jocelyn. I didn’t expect to like their scenes together. I have my love and issues with Jocelyn Fairchild but it’s no use denying that she has a spark and maternal edge to her that other Shadowhunter mother’s don’t have. The two clash a lot, but seeing Isabelle breakdown in some ways and comforted by Jocelyn reminded me that I do love her.
I do think Isabelle started off the series as a beautiful girl with strength and determination that at first you can easily overlook how big her heart is. That those were her only traits, her looks and her skills.
But her heart is the number one thing to her the more we understand her. She doesn’t give it away upfront but it’s there and she perhaps has the biggest heart of the series.
Isabelle cares for her family and friends and this is showcased so much in her scenes and it’s wonderful. I love everything about Isabelle Lightwood and this one only strengthened my love for her character.
Next Lightwood: Alec. Another great character who grows and loves and makes mistakes. He makes plenty of mistakes this time around but it doesn’t define him. And tension is high when it comes down to it, so he isn’t always going to do the right thing.
His desire to find Jace is very, very high. Jace is his best friend, his brother and parabatai. No one needs to tell you this because you’ll feel it whenever reading about the two. My heart breaks that they are separated and that Alec can feel he is alive but that something is just wrong.
Alec’s relationship with Magnus has hit a rough patch, as well. He loves Magnus and this much is obvious, which is why the fact that they can’t grow old together is tearing him apart.
It doesn’t help that Magnus’ ex, Camille, is meddling a lot and getting inside his head with promises of a way to take Magnus’ immortality away from him. He contemplates this offer for the briefest of moments. But it’s all a trick, of course, and when Magnus finds out the relationship pretty much gets destroyed–for now.
I’m going to combine Maia and Jordan together because their parts of the story are mostly together. I’m not doing it to condense it, though. Basically they’re struggling in the awkward stages of “are we, aren’t we” due to the revelation that Jordan didn’t change her on purpose.
They hook up and it could end badly but that physical aspect is something that Maia definitely needs in the moment and she does love him in some ways even still. Jordan, of course, has never stopped loving her.
As part of Team Good they are seen frequently with the gang at Magnus’ place as they try and figure out ways to get Jace back. Maia isn’t optimistic about this, though. Besides this,
Other things: Luke’s sister, Amatis, is forced to drink from the new mortal cup–which creates Endarkened Shadowhunters due to the demon blood inside it and that is just the beginning of this new, horrifying, take on Shadowhunters.
I’m so heartbroken by this–Luke almost lost his life only to recover and find out that his sister is all but dead.
Basically a shit ton happens in this installment and proves how damn addicting and good The Mortal Instruments is. Summing up the final pages and all the events of this: terrifying, high risks, twisty turny and just the right amount of steam.
We’re about to embark on the final novel and so much could happen. I can’t wait to continue my reread and highly recommend this series to anyone looking for something fast paced and fun to read.