CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS
(The Mortal Instruments #4)
Paranormal Young Adult
Simon & Schuster
Still recovering from the events surrounding Valentine's demise, Jace and Clary are very much looking forward to exploring their new relationship now that they are finally allowed to feel the way they do. But of course, relationships are never easy, and as Shadowhunters known to have been in Valentine's Circle start showing up dead, Jace begins to put inexplicable distance between them.
Jace and Clary aren't the only ones having relationship difficulties though as Simon finds himself dating two young women simultaneously. He's also dealing with the repercussions of his Mark, and it seems there are a lot of individual parties with a keen interest in him despite his status not being common knowledge.
Jace, Clary, and Simon all quickly get drawn into the mystery of the murdered Shadowhunters, and the more they discover, the more it becomes clear that all of their actions, but Clary's in particular, in the fight against Valentine have created a ripple effect of greater proportion than they could have ever imagined.
City of Fallen Angels is a book we fans of The Mortal Instruments series tear into with barely restrained glee, practically salivating in anticipation of a three book encore to a series we thought had seen the descent of the final curtain. In the back of our minds lurks a slight trepidation though–a minor worry the late decision to continue the series might result in events and character interactions feeling forced in the wake of our apparent happy ending in City of Glass. Not so surprising however, is the fact that we needn't worry at all. Ms. Clare picks up shortly after the events of book three left off, and we find ourselves once again swept up in a world of creativity and compelling characters who continue to endear themselves to us even when we thought we couldn't possibly love and respect them any more.
Jace, resident bad boy and connoisseur of the sarcastic retort, is a bit darker in this story than he has been previously, and this new intensity ratchets up his appeal even further. It's obvious to us at the beginning of this tale that the indelible emotional stain Valentine's words and actions left on Jace have been kept on the surface thanks to a relationship with Clary that has transformed from a source of torture and pain to one of happiness and pleasure. It doesn't take long, however, before that stain begins to seep into the skin, infecting Jace's incandescence with grim whispers that speak to him of his most intimate vulnerabilities. The light he usually radiates with his infectious charm and sharp wit begins to dim, exposing us to new layers of Jace, and though we do miss that spark we are also grateful for the opportunity to understand him on a far deeper level.
Clary, unsure of how to deal with the fact that her love for Jace is no longer a living nightmare, also struggles with the distance he creates when he withdraws into himself to answer the questioning darkness. Her inability to confront Jace about the changes in his demeanor is a bit frustrating throughout until finally, at the very end, she adamantly refuses to continue being someone through whom he filters his self-recrimination–his every action and verbal exchange with her something he uses as evidence of his unworthiness–and she forces him to acknowledge her feelings, thereby denying him the right to a say in how much she cares for him. Their relationship is so very fragile in this story, the cords that bind them together undeniably strong, but they are also frayed at the edges as a result of past events. We as readers sit in the comfort of our homes helplessly reading as the strands between them both wind together and then unwind again, wishing with every fiber of our being that we could reach through the pages and hold those delicate strings to prevent them from fraying another centimeter.
While the previous three books have been primarily Jace and Clary-centric, it is nice to have Simon's role in this story augmented given the enormity of the Mark of Cain and its bearing on his life. The Simon storyline is fraught with possibility, and his increasing prominence raises so many interesting questions for the future with regard to his immortality versus his friends' mortality. Clary and Jace's story is beautifully interwoven with Simon's, and we are given a rich and exciting tale where the characters all share possession of our hearts, and Ms. Clare has us standing at attention as we wait raptly for her to reveal everything about a world we love so much.