City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #4)
The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
By now, I've read seven of Cassandra Clare's books, and I have no doubt in her talents as an author. City of Fallen Angels doesn't do those talents justice. All the things that made her other books so good were there, but there was a lot I didn't like about City of Fallen Angels, too.
One of the best things about Clare's books is her world-building. The world of Shadowhunters, Downworlders, mundanes, and demons Clare has created is intricately detailed and fascinating. No part of it is sloppy, and it draws on just enough reality to allow readers to believe. Clare is also extremely talented at writing action scenes and villains. Her monsters are frightening and usually not just one-sided. So when Clare leads the Shadowhunters into battle, it's thrilling. City of Fallen Angels was missing a lot of that action, though. A few exciting scenes were scattered here and there, but the plot didn't really get going until the last 150 pages or so. Those last hundred pages were action-packed and suspenseful, but the entire book was over 400 pages long.
The majority of the book was taken up with either Simon's story or romance scenes. I actually really liked Simon's parts and was glad he played such a central role. The romance scenes weren't nearly as interesting, and there were a lot of them. I admit, I ship Malec and Clary/Jace as much as the next fangirl - but reading about their constant makeout sessions and deep, romantic conversations got a little tedious after a while. If the romance scenes weren't filled with so many cliches, it might have been a little more bearable, but there's still the issue of how much description Clare used for those scenes. Some of the more lovey-dovey scenes between Clary and Jace read more like smutty fanfiction than an actual novel.
I wasn't exactly disappointed by City of Fallen Angels as much as frustrated by it. This book definitely isn't Clare's best. I'm still dying to know what happens next, and I won't be abandoning the series anytime soon, but I'm hoping the next one will be better.
Ex Libris, Veritas
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