Book Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

This is book five of the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I started reading this series in early 2020 and for some reason I put the series down and didn’t pick it up again until now. I will say I had been enjoying the series but the book prior to this one felt like it was a bit of a filler which isn’t great. However, I was determined to finish this series during 2021, ideally at the beginning of the year so I didn’t have what feels like hundreds of series to finish off on the bookcases waiting for me. After all I seem to just keep adding to the number of series I am currently in the middle of reading.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare book cover,  book five of the Mortal Instruments Series

The City of Lost Souls picks up exactly where the previous book finishes, and follows the characters as they do everything they can to find their missing member. When Clary is reunited with Jace she discovers that not only is he changed, he is linked to her brother.

The characters do develop during this book and we learn a lot more about Clary’s brother Jonathan (who is known as Sebastian to prevent confusion). This information helps the reader to understand more about the challenges he has faced in his life and allows more insight into the person who previously everyone disliked. His experiences allow the reader to sympathise with him in a small way and make you feel like anyone of the other characters in the book could have succumbed to the darker parts of their personalities.

We also see the challenges that are facing Alec and Magnus. Alec is not comfortable with the thought that his partner will live forever staying young while he will age and die. This leads to a lot of tension in their relationship and we see how this impacts negatively due to the lack of communication between them.

This book has a handy recap at the beginning of the book, which for those like me, who have left a long time between volumes was very useful. I will admit some of the descriptions weren’t helpful to me as it had been so long since I had read the previous books, but the writing was good, and gave a good sense of place. City of Lost Souls was well paced and the pacing reflected the tension that the author was building.

One of the themes explored in the book is relationships, we see the main character having to make a decision about which relationships are most important to her and act upon what she thinks is best. I personally feel that the decision she makes is not great but I can understand why she does so. We also get to explore the relationships that her brother has experienced and this brings some understanding to the reader to help them sympathise with his character. This shows how important relationships can be in your formative years and how if you have a difficult basis this can impact your life for a very long time.

Another theme that the book explores is the grey between good vs bad. The book shows that sometimes good people make bad decisions and sometimes bad people can do good things. While the book is based on angels and demons, the book shows that humans have will power which allows that characters to make dubious decisions.

The book made me desperately want to read the last instalment of the series (which I already have done so keep your eyes looking for that review!)

I gave the book 4 out of five stars.

If you have read the book let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.


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