Genre: YA urban fantasy
Pages: 424 (hardcover)
Published: April 2011 by Margaret K Elderry
SPOILER ALERT: Any spoilers are from the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series only.
City of Fallen Angels honestly needs no introduction, nor does it really need another review (there are about 1,500 on Goodreads alone) stating what the millions of people who pre-ordered the book and waited on pins and needles for it and read it in four hours like it was the last Harry Potter all over again have already found out: it's good, it's pretty much fantastic. But not as fantastic as the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series. There's my review in two sentences; if you want to know the reason and method behind my madness, read on.
Why CoFA is great (and not so great):
--CoFA is great because we get to spend more time with the cast of the Mortal Instruments. Nerdy and lovable Simon, sexy if emo Jace, bad-ass-with-a-whip and freak'in awesome Isabelle (my favorite character)... not to mention all the other token, beloved characters like Magnus, Alec, Clary, Luke, and Maia.
This is not so great because I think a couple of the characters were so drastically, annoyingly different from the Shadowhunters/warlocks we know and love. They've definitely all changed throughout the course of the last three epic books, there's no doubt about that. But while reading some of the characters made me feel like I was coming home (if ya know what I mean), I couldn't help but be extremely frustrated with Jace. Jace is kinda whiny, we all know that, but in the past he has made up for it by A-- actually having valid reasons to be whiny, and B-- making us all snicker with his bluntness and sarcasm. In this fourth book, I couldn't help but be annoyed with Jace, simply because I feel like he wasn't balancing the sarcasm and the crazy recklessness with the whining and morbid thoughts. It was just way too much of the latter, and that made the book a lot less fun than I was expecting it to be. Magnus Bane also disappointed me because, even though he didn't have a very big part in this one, he barely made me smile even once. Magnus is one of my all-time favorite zany characters, but in CoFA I was really missing his snarky remarks and general Magnus-ness. All that said, it was great to be reacquainted with Izzy and Simon (whose POV I really enjoyed) and Clary.
-- You know that happily ever after? The one at the end of City of Glass, which had me going around in a blissful euphoria for days, smiling like a lunatic while I did the dishes? Of course, good books are built on good catastrophes, so I knew a fourth book would rip all that to pieces. I don't mind that-- anything for more Mortal Instruments books. But maybe I was super-naive in hoping that Clary and Jace would be, you know, together forever now. After all the crap they've been through to be together,wouldn't it be okay if they could just be in love and kicking major demon a$$ together now (like the sneak peek chapter led us to believe, right)? But no. Without letting a single spoiler-jam-packed rant slip from my tongue (er, fingers), let me just say that Cassandra Clare is cutting Clary and Jace no breaks.
Climbing down from my soapbox, I will say that the writing was up to par with Cassie Clare's other books completely, though the plot didn't capture my attention as fully as those of the first three books in the series. There were a few crazy-cool surprises and twists, including one giant cliffhanger which I'm just dying to blurt out. The book is worth reading for those last few pages alone, because I'm so excited now for what's to come in City of Lost Souls. So all in all, I loved it... but I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped I would. But such huge expectations are hard to live up to.
Plot: 4/5Overall Rating: 4/5