City of Fallen Angels

The fourth installment in the (now 6 book) Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments series focuses mostly on Simon. As a daylighter vampire with the Mark of Cain, Simon has become the most valuable asset for every type of downworlder. The first one to come knocking on his door is the ancient vampire Camille Belcourt (first introduced in Clockwork Angel the first book in Clare’s The Infernal Devices series) whom Raphael has previously mentioned is the true leader of the NYC vampires. She seeks Simon’s help in defeating Raphael and taking back her position which she claims Raphael usurped from her. All of which is a lot for Simon to take in, so he gets five days to make his decision to help her or not.

In those five days, a lot is going on. Jace is haunted by melodramatic dreams of him murdering Clary. Clary is annoyed that Jace is ignoring her. She’s also annoyed that Simon is simultaneously dating Isabelle and Maia and won’t tell either of them about the other. Jocelyn and Luke are preparing for their wedding (insert cliché scene involving trying on dresses). And Alec and Magnus are gallivanting around Europe, not giving a damn about what’s happening back in New York. But the real drama involves the mysterious deaths of Shadowhunters and babies that have begun popping up.

What’s refreshing about Fallen Angels is that, unlike the previous books, this one could really stand alone as it’s own novel (a nice break from the clear trilogy set up in the first three books). What’s even more refreshing is the book’s focus on Simon. He’s gone through a lot of changes in the last three novels, and now we finally see how he’s dealing with it. His stories usually got put on the backburner to focus on Clary’s storylines, but now we get a real sense of him as a character and see some of the personal choices he’ll have to make in the next two books as he finds a place in the world.

However, as my interest in Simon waxes, my interest in Clary and her relationship with Jace wanes. When they shared a forbidden incestuous love in the first three books, I loved every juicy moment between them. But, now that it is no longer forbidden, the obstacles between them feel tedious. They barely had a happy moment together after the Mortal War before more conflict is forced between them. Although Jace’s dreams are connected to the overall story of the book, they still feel entirely contrived. It’s almost as if Clare doesn’t know what to do with them as a couple, so she continues to through obstacles their way instead. And if Jace’s attitude at the end of the book is any indication, I fear their relationship will face equally unnecessary drama in the next book.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing what happens in the final two installments concerning nearly every character except Clary, Jace, and Maia (her relationship drama in the book felt forced as well). Clare’s world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders continues to intrigue me, so I’m eager to read her Infernal Devices series and I hope that the relationships in that aren’t as melodramatic as the ones she’s developed inMortal Instruments.

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