Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

* This review may contain spoilers for the previous books in The Mortal Instruments series.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4)
By Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: With Valentine no longer a threat, Jace and Clary can finally be together—or so they think. Clary worries that Jace is withdrawing into himself more and more, and she’s at a loss to help him. Meanwhile, Simon is grappling with the consequences of not only being a still fairly new vampire, but one who can walk in the daylight and who bears the Mark of Cain, which will destroy anyone who tries to harm him. And there are several people who seem determined to harm Simon.

Review: During my first read of books 1-4 of The Mortal Instruments three years ago (yikes—has it been that long already?!), City of Fallen Angels quickly established itself as my least favorite TMI book. Jace was not the Jace I fell for in City of Bones. His plotline in CoFA revolves around the mystery of what’s wrong with him, and the first time I read this book, I hated that plotline. Like, dude has been through enough already, what with being raised by an insane, murderous megalomaniac who popped back into his life and continued making it an absolute hell. A depressed and brooding Jace was a chore to read about; his sarcasm and arrogance, while not entirely absent, have been the hallmarks of this series for me.

Maybe knowing what to expect with Jace made rereading CoFA okay. I mean, there were a few things that I still felt iffy about, like the introduction of a character from Maia’s past. I don’t have a problem with Maia; it’s the necessity of adding yet another secondary character that I’m unsure about. And just when you thought Jace and Clary were going to kill demons side by side happily ever after, this book happened. Even if the Angel himself played matchmaker, something would get in the way of these two being together forever.

Although my opinion of the above-mentioned aspects of CoFA didn’t soften with a reread, I do feel that overall, the book is more finely honed than its predecessors, both in terms of the writing and the pacing. The exchanges between Jace and Simon, which have always been heavy on the snark, were particularly snappy, in multiple senses of the word. Speaking of Simon, he really takes center stage in this novel, and I remember being slightly annoyed by this the previous time I read CoFA, because as much as I like Simon, the lack of Jace-ness was palpable. This time, however, I really felt for Simon. He’s the odd man out—not a Shadowhunter, not the average vampire thanks to being a Daylighter. And almost everyone seems to want to kill him. So, lots of sympathy for Simon, whose luck in this book eerily resembles Jace’s, i.e. bad.

Going into this rereread, I was pretty sure that CoFA was going to fall fairly short of the 4 stars I gave to the other three TMI books. As I read, though, the book suprisingly held up quite well. I wouldn’t go so far as to say CoFA has become one of my favorite TMI books, but I was way too hasty in assuming that I was going to be rather tough with the rating. Besides, CoFA marks the first TMI appearance of a certain Silent Brother . . . .

All in All: City of Fallen Angels actually improved upon a second read, but that was largely due to knowing the story beforehand.


  1. It's funny how time can change things and add a different perspective to reading the same book, just at a different time in your life. I remember when I read this one, I'd finally gotten fully hooked on Jace and the romance and all the characters for book 3, so I was still riding high off of that and remember enjoying this one probably close to as much as book three! I wonder how I'd do with a series re-read, given that I'd know what to expect this time around...

    Anyways, I agree with you 100% that poor Jace had been through ENOUGH at this point and I just wanted the poor guy to have SOME measure of happiness! And his and Clary's romance was certainly put through the ringer once again here. I giggled at your comment about the angel matchmaker because, seriously, for real! Simon had certainly grown on me at this point, I hadn't connected with him much in the first few books but by this point, I was really liking him and enjoying his story arc. Another fantastic review Lee, I'm really loving reading your thoughts on the TMI series :)

    1. I was a little nervous about doing the reread because quite a bit of time has passed since I first read TMI, but the books have held up pretty well for me. I still find Clary really annoying at times, but fortunately, that lessens as the series goes on. I'm about 3/4 done with the final book, and it's awesome. I think I'll be very happy with the conclusion to the series. Hope you get to read it soon! :D

  2. I wasn't very happy with this book. I thought the books were supposed to be a trilogy (right?) then because of its success this came out. It's okay but Clary and Jace were even more annoying!! Ugh! Sorry, if you love them, I can't take Clary and Jace's emo-ness! I love the secondary characters though.

    1. There have been many times when Jace and Clary's relationship drama became too much for me. I like Jace a lot; Clary- not so much. But, I do think the series turned around after this book and is very much worth seeing through to the end.

  3. I never re-read this one. I did the first three over and over again, but not this one. I was so ticked off when I read this book. It's just that feeling of when a character can never catch a break. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

    1. I was really nervous when City of Lost Souls first came out because I could not have handled a repeat of this book. Luckily, I enjoyed book 5 a lot. I do remember thinking the first time I read this, "Why Jace?!" The poor guy just seemed destined to be miserable, lol.


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