Book Review: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

I read Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels in about 8 hours total on its release day (not counting the time I had to work in the middle of it all…), though I’ve had no time to review it until just now. It did not disappoint; in fact, it did exactly what Cassandra Clare does best: it made me crave more.

Taking place about two months after the disastrous events of City of Glass, everything seems to be going fairly well all around for Clary Fray, Jace Wayland, and company. Clary and Jace are in love. Clary is training to be a Shadowhunter, learning to use her talents and powers. Simon, finally learning how to deal with who he is as a Daywalking vampire, also learns about love and relationships. Jocelyn (Clary’s mother) and Luke are finally planning a wedding, and the Accords are in place, which means there should be some relative peace and happiness in the world. Which means everything is about to go wrong.

Several Shadowhunters lie dead throughout New York, Downworlders seem to be at fault, and Simon’s life is turned upside down when the ramifications of the Mark Clary used to save his life at the end of City of Glass begin to become apparent. Jace is acting strangely while people seem to be manipulating Simon for make use of his newfound, dreadful abilities. Something ominous is on the horizon ensuring that peace and happiness will not last for long.

This is truly an ensemble novel, marking a bit of a change for Clare’s books. While the rest of The Mortal Instruments books have primarily been seen through Clary’s point of view, Simon’s perspective dominates the novel. This makes Clary’s storyline no less integral, yet it is a significant change to not have Clary’s story prevail. I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about that, as Simon was never one of my favorite characters (though I always liked him just fine). However, any lingering doubts I had were quickly assuaged.

Clockwork Angel, which I loved, came out less than a year ago, and I was happy to see a whole new side of Cassandra Clare’s writing style. She has matured with each successive book. In no way does that mean that the first in her The Mortal Instruments series was poor or lacking, but she has moved away from borderline paranormal chick-lit and into some really strong Urban Fantasy. Her wit is contagious and addictive, effortlessly (but never oppressively) streaming from her characters’ lips–Jace and Simon in particular. There are some truly excellent, laugh-out-loud lines, as with each of the TMI books. While I certainly loved the Victorian world, seeing the juxtaposition of the social propriety of the Victorian culture with the bloody deeds of the Shadowhunters, it was wonderful to be back in Clary’s world. Clare’s fans are incredibly lucky to have her develop two facets of this world at the same time in The Infernal Devices prequel trilogy as well as in the continuation of The Mortal Instruments series here. She forges connections between them, tantalizing us a bit with hints at connections, and really thrusts this world we enjoyed with the original TMI series onto a whole new plane.

I cannot wait to see where both sides of the story go, and I’m already eagerly awaiting Clockwork Prince, which debuts in December, and City of Lost Souls in 2012.


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