City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare is the fifth in the Mortal Instruments series and the middle book of the second trilogy. It continues the plot points set up in City of Fallen Angels. We follow several plotlines; Clary’s attempt to infiltrate Sebastian’s and Jace’s fortress, Simon and the Lightwoods’ McGuffin hunt in an attempt to find a way to separate Jace’s soul from Sebastian’s and the furtherance of Sebastian’s dastardly plan.
Clare also explores some of the relationships in depth, notably Alec and Magnus Bane and also Simon’s relationship with Izzy. Given the work put into them, I am rather nervous for these couples for City of Heavenly Fire.
What I liked
Pacing. One of my complaints about the previous book was that the pacing was not great. This was considerably improved in City of Lost Souls. Having set up the plot threads earlier, Clare was able to run with them and keep the narrative flowing.
Relationship development. I really loved how the relationships developed in this book. I became invested in Simon/Izzy, Maia/Jordan, Magnus/Alec. Their actions and how it impacted their relationships came across as very believable. I was particularly touched by Izzy’s backstory and how it affects her relationships. I am very concerned for their welfare in book six though – being the final book all bets are off…
Narrative tension. Naturally, with this being the penultimate book in a six book series, with characters the reader has grown to love, Clare doesn’t have to work too hard to create narrative tension. Even so, the situation set up for the final book does not look good for our protagonists. I really look forward to seeing what will happen in City of Heavenly Fire.
What I didn’t like
Clary. I have to admit Clary really annoys me. I know she is a fan favourite, but she has a bad habit of being overruled by her emotions – not a good thing when the fate of the world is at stake. Did she seriously think she could remain objective enough around Jace to help Team Good?
I really enjoyed City of Lost Souls and believe it sets up some great hooks for book six, City of Heavenly Fire. I gave it four and a half stars out of five.