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City of Fallen Angels Cover Picture

City of Fallen Angels

Cassandra Clare

Published 2011         424 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

Clary is back in New York and life is good: she’s in training to be a shadowhunter and is finally able to call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price. When Jace inexplicably begins to pull away from her, Clary is forced to acknowledge that she herself has set in motion a chain if events that could lead to the loss of everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever…

The Review

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth novel in the popular Mortal Instruments young adult urban fantasy series by Cassandra Clare. This is a fairly complex fantasy series so it’s really necessary to have read the previous books in the series before starting this one.

The Mortal Instruments books follow the adventures of Clary a teenaged girl from New York who discovers that a supernatural world exists and she is a part of it. Along the way it is revealed that her mother is a shadowhunter, her to-be step-father a werewolf and her best friend Simon (a nice normal Jewish boy) gets turned into a vampire. Clary met Jace and fell instantly in love with him, only he turned out to be her long-lost brother – and then he wasn’t – so it all turned out okay in the end! It’s safe to say there has been no shortage of excitement or drama in the series so far. 

The storyline in City of Fallen Angels take place a few weeks after the events in book three, City of Glass. City of Glass had a grand finale. All secrets were finally revealed. The bad guys were slain. The world was saved. That book felt like the end of the series and I liked it. There were some questions left about Simon, such as how would he cope with being a vampire in the long term but for the most part everything was fairly well wrapped up.

So what ground is left to cover City of Fallen Angels? Well, sadly, nothing new. Instead of focusing on a new plot line and maybe a new romance for secondary characters, the author drags out more of the same tired issues that readers saw resolved in City of Glass. Clary and Jace are together but the happy couple aren’t happy. Jace is withdrawn and Clary is anguished. Oh no, they can’t be together even though they love each other soooooo much. In the previous books this plotline worked because Clary and Jace’s forbidden love (they thought they were brother and sister) gave a huge amount of soap-opera style drama to the story. In City of Fallen Angels it feels like the author decided that Clary and Jace’s relationship angst worked so well for the first three books that it would serve as the plotline for this book too – but unfortunately she forgot to supply a real, solid, reason for them not to be happy. She also lazily recycled the previously vanquished (dead) villain – why couldn’t we have a new bad guy?

To me the problem with City of Fallen Angles was that the Mortal Instruments series was originally planned to be a trilogy – a story of three parts – but like all popular fantasy books that sell well the author was soon contracted for further instalments. I love the Mortal Instruments world, its characters and its stories – so this should be a cause for celebration but (as with a lot of the fantasy series that I have enjoyed over the years… Laurell K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan etc.) I’m fast coming to the conclusion that you can have too much of a good thing. If an author has nothing new to add to the story then maybe they should decline the offer to write more.

City of Fallen Angels is one of the most tedious books I’ve read in a long while. No real drama. Tired recycled plotlines and villains. Frankly this book is just dull – disappointingly so when you consider how much better the author can usually write. At times I could have easily given up on finishing City of Fallen Angels altogether but I stuck with it for Simon. Somehow I’m sure that there is a fascinating story in here somewhere about a sweet and nerdy vegetarian Jewish boy who got unexpectedly turned into a vampire, then cursed with the freaky power to literally bring the wrath of God down upon those who would harm him. To my way of thinking this would make a much better story than “Clary and Jace love each other but can’t be together, part 2.”

In summing-up, City of Fallen Angels is for completists only… who will probably read it with fingers crossed that this series gets better next instalment.

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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