It is a relatively well-known fact that I am a huge Cassandra Clare fan. When I heard she was planning to write more in The Mortal Instruments series, I was ecstatic beyond belief. It should be no surprise to hear that I bought City of Fallen Angels (aka CoFA) on my Kindle just so I could have the book without needing to wait for the bookstores to open the next morning. In fact, I didn’t wait for morning at all – I read straight through the night and went to sleep right as the sun was rising.
Obviously, I had high hopes for this book. And overall, I was entirely satisfied. The same characters I loved from the original three books each received their due page time (even though there were rumors that the book focused on Simon, these were untrue; the focus is divided exactly the same as before). I was slightly disappointed by the fact that for the first half of the book, Magnus and Alec were absent, but when they return, it’s in grand fashion.
By far, the best part of City of Fallen Angels was the character growth. Personally, I had never much enjoyed Simon as a character, but by the end of CoFA he was one of my favorites. We get to meet the band, and seeing their dork-musician camaraderie provides bits of light-hearted teasing in a book that could have easily fallen into despair. As for our leading girl Clary, she has begun to train as a Shadowhunter, and she actually develops a bit more toughness than in the first three books. She may still be weaker than most of the other Shadowhunters, but her physical fighting has improved significantly.
Speaking of fighting, City of Fallen Angels retained that same intensity from the previous books, even if it took a little time to get there. The beginning focuses more on the characters, but when the plot takes off, it really takes off. The climax brings everything together epically, and just when all seem well….
Yes, I know you probably want to hear about the ending. If you hadn’t heard, Cassandra Clare wasn’t shy about the fact that the end of CoFA is a cliffhanger – I believe on twitter she and Holly Black compared it to having your kneecaps broken. As I read, I was equally excited and terrified to see about this torturous cliffhanger. She was right – it is evil. As a slightly weird person, I actually liked it, but I am in the vast minority. The worst part about the ending is that it comes after everything seems resolved. All is well, the bad guy has been defeated, and then BAM! All is not well. I would recommend having a box of Kleenex handy.
Don’t let this discourage you from reading, though. The book is still filled with wonderful moments, a certain also legendary alley scene, and yes, Jace is still hot. If you have read the first three books, then read this too. Though City of Fallen Angels has a bit of a different tone than City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass because the Jace/Clary issue has been resolved, the book continues their story, and everyone else’s, keeping the integrity of the world she created. If you haven’t read the first three books in a while and worry about needing a refresher, have no fear. The book starts afresh, not jumping right into the plot and requiring detailed memory of the previous action. If you haven’t read the first three books at all, then what are you waiting for? Come visit with me in this intense, beautiful world that Cassandra Clare has created!
About the Reviewer: Rachel is a huge sports fan and her favorite baseball team is the White Sox. She can be reached via Twitter at @WhoDatRachel.