I noted in a post that I had reservations about the next installment of the Mortal Instruments series – the City of Fallen Angels. And, unfortunately, my reservations didn’t turn out meritless. And now, I don’t know whether I should look forward to how many ever City of… books come next. You can see why by reading my review. I try not to let simply not liking the ending of a book influence my review and turn it into a bad review. After all, I am not the author, and just because I think there would be a better way to end or a better way to move the plot along doesn’t mean a book should get a bad review if it is written well. It is especially hard when an ending stirs emotion and makes me angry or agitated because in a love story there is some sort of twisted thing that will cause a problem between the two love birds. But, here it was more then me just hating the ending.
This is an example of why I don’t like it when an author takes a series which is set to be a certain number of books and then changes that number. To get the story arc to work, it usually leads to all sorts of contortionism. And that felt like it was the case here. In some ways, it would have been better, in my opinion, to have had something totally unrelated to the whole Sebastian/Valentine/Circle/War thing as the driver of how many ever books are coming next. It was also a little disappointing to see so little action. We hear that Clary is training and learning, but we get the scene with the Hydra demon and the end (and the end was not all that great) where she basically hides in the bushes the whole time. What about seeing her do some damage. How about seeing her use her skill creating runes?
It was comforting to see some characters that I had been so attached to back again. And it was easy to fall back into the world that has been created. However, Shadowhunters and downworlders and the Accords – it was so nicely tied up at the end of the last book that it felt like the first act of contortion to see them twisted and falling apart. The second act of contortion was when Jace and Clary – which was going so well – all of a sudden fell apart. Jace wasn’t breaking up with Clary but he behaved that way and for a while we don’t know why. Him wanting to protect Simon so that he could feel closer to Clary was a crazy kind of logic, especially since he hadn’t broken up with Clary. Bringing Sebastian back was the final, and largest, act of contortion, it was the one that bothered me most.
There was no additional world building, since it wasn’t necessary. The world was finely built in the first three installments. the characters were very well developed but Jace’s sudden insecurities and him feeling like he doesn’t know who he is felt forced. Like it was a way to create conflict, when it wasn’t necessary and the plot could have been much more believable. Jace being so insecure was so not in line with the character that the author had built up until now. Now, Alec’s insecurities, given his history with Jace, made much more sense. But I wish we had seen more of him.
The only thing that didn’t feel nearly as forced was the way the Clave wasn’t involved. Had the been more involved, we wouldn’t really have had much of a story. We wouldn’t have had the little bit of action that we had.
All things considered, we didn’t get enough action, we just got a lot of teenage drama. But, I guess given this is a YA book, that shouldn’t have been so unexpected. I think my expectations were higher given how much I liked the other books and how much the other books did not feel like just a bunch of teen drama. So, this installment was ok. Nothing too wonderful but not bad enough to take away from my eagerness regarding the second Infernal Devices (and in some ways, I am more eager since I know we might get some of Magnus!)