Thursday, May 29, 2014

City of Fallen Angels Discussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! I'm here with another summer reading challenge post! I'm now in the process of reading The Mortal Instruments series. The first four books of the series are re-reads for me, while the 5th and 6th books will be first-time reads, so City of Fallen Angels is the last of the series that is a re-read for me. As usual, I'll give a non-spoilery summary and overall thoughts/rating before jumping into a spoilery discussion and my favorite quotes.

Also, I mentioned this in my last post, but as you might be able to tell, I'm a bit behind on my reading, since this is going up the day City of Heavenly Fire comes out. AKA I have another book to get through before I can even think of getting to City of Heavenly Fire. I fully intend to have the books finished by the end of the month, but at this point, I'm fairly certain that the last couple posts will not be out by the end of the month. But I'll keep you updated. At this point, I'm putting a halt on my other series so that I can finish up this. Once I get all of these reading posts out for May, I'll get those started up again.

I do hope to have my City of Lost Souls post up on either Friday or Saturday, but my City of Heavenly Fire post will definitely be up in June. After that, I'll have my series discussion and my May wrap-up. Then my other series and my June reading posts will start up.

Book Summary
[Reminder: don't read this section if you haven't read all 3 of the previous books. I have to talk about what's happened up to this point to discuss the plot of City of Fallen Angels!]

Clary, Jace, and the rest of our main characters have gone back home to New York. Clary has begun Shadowhunter training, while Simon struggles to hide his secret identity from his family as well as juggling two girlfriends. Jocelyn and Luke are engrossed in wedding plans. However, things soon begin to go wrong. Jace begins acting distant with no explanation, Shadowhunters are turning up dead, and someone is out to kill Simon. The Shadowhunters need figure out who is puppeteering all of the chaos- and why- before it's too late

Overall Thoughts

Non-spoiler section!

I'm very much of the opinion that you can think a book is good, but not particularly like it. That's kinda how I feel about City of Fallen Angels. I don't dislike it. I would probably even say that I like it. But in comparison to the other Mortal Instruments books... I just don't like it as much. I understand why much of the plot was necessary, but I simply didn't like some of the things that were in there. I think that some of this dislike is due solely to my personal taste, while some of it was due to the quality of the book.

For example, the relationship drama. The relationship drama was so over the top in this book. It was just too much. Every relationship had drama! I could see how some of it was merited and at least had an actual impact on the plot, but so much of it seemed like filler and it just wasn't important to the plot at all. Honestly, now that I think back... almost all of this book is relationship drama! We have little bits of important plot tossed in here and there as little teasers, but until sometime in Chapter 15, the majority of the book had been devoted to relationship drama.

I feel like City of Fallen Angels was a sort of "re-pilot" where Cassie Clare wanted to continue on, but give the series a fresh start. For example, several things we already knew were subtly re-explained, as if we didn't know what they were talking about. In City of Bones, when something action-packed and exciting wasn't going on, she spent time introducing us to characters and developing said characters, giving us more information about the Shadowhunter world... and adding a dash of romance. In City of Fallen Angels, however, we already know the characters and the world, so all she really had to fall back upon was the romance. And I know I've said this way too many times, but that's the downfall of this book.

Relationship drama aside, I liked the plot. It got good in the middle of chapter 15... AKA when the relationship drama finally took the backseat. The choices the characters faced were all extremely difficult and well-crafted and the manipulation of some of the characters was brilliant. The whole scheme was actually pretty intricate and secretive, and I think that part of the book was really well-done and interesting. I just wish there had been more of it.

So, rating. At this point, I'm giving it 4 stars out of 5. I thought that the parts relating to the actual plot were really great. If not for all of the relationship drama, this might have been able to stand up to some of the other books. 

Spoilery Discussion!

I hate to keep on going with the relationship drama, but let's be honest, that was the worst part of this book. So, we had Jace being emo and avoiding Clary rather than talking to her, Simon dating both Isabelle and Maia, and Alec being jealous of literally every person Magnus talked to. I can kinda see how the Jace/Clary drama was important. Obviously, the dreams he was having were very important. But even before anything bad happened, he was avoiding Clary for no reason, and just didn't talk to her. And of course, Clary constantly believed that Jace didn't love her, which she should have known wasn't the case. This drama might have been somewhat excusable if not for the fact that every other relationship was suffering from unnecessary drama.

The Magnus and Alec drama seemed almost completely unnecessary, except to talk about Will Herondale (which I'm never opposed to, I just didn't think it was necessary. That was much better handled with the Silent Brothers). I can understand Alec getting jealous or being upset to a certain extent, but it went a bit too far. Magnus clearly cares about Alec a lot, but Alec seems oblivious.

The Isabelle/Maia/Simon triangle was probably the least necessary of all of the relationship drama. Once the triangle ended, it was mostly left alone and disregarded. It didn't advance the plot, or even resolve the "who will Simon end up with?" question. Jordan resolved that question... or he seemingly did. Maybe Isabelle and Simon won't end up together. Who knows? (Duh, Kristen: People who have finished the series!)

OK, moving on from the relationship drama (finally). Up until Jace kidnaps Clary, the book was pretty meh. Sure, there were interesting little moments within the book, but nothing too interesting. After that though, it was really exciting, and I really enjoyed it. The idea of balance having to be restored after bringing Jace back from the dead is really interesting, and I think it's a really clever way to bring Sebastian/Jonathan back. I'm not sure I especially enjoyed the fact that he and Jace are now kinda bound to each other, but I think it works, regardless of how much I personally enjoy it.

I'm also kinda curious as to when Cassie Clare decided to make it a 6 book series rather than a trilogy. I was under the impression that she finished the trilogy and then went back and decided to add on, but it almost seems like she made the decision to continue on before the original trilogy ended. Even though this book was a bit of a "re-pilot," some of the plot points from City of Glass proved to be vital to City of Fallen Angels. For example, Simon's mark of Cain was vital to his survival, and therefore to the plot. However, the one element which did seem like an afterthought was Sebastian. He was killed off in City of Glass and then when the series continued, Cassie needed a villain and thought the best thing to do was to somehow bring Sebastian back from the dead. I don't know, it just kinda seems like an afterthought to say "oops, let's bring him back from the dead." Although he did disappear at the end of City of Glass, so it could not be an afterthought after all. I don't know.

Favorite Quotes

Page 8: She [Isabelle] made an impatient noise. "By the Angel, you don't know anything about your kind, do you? Do you even really know how vampires are made?"
"Well, when a mommy vampire and a daddy vampire love each other very much..."

Page 77: "You're just worried they'll hire a male instructor and he'll be hotter than you."
Jace's eyebrows went up. "Hotter than me?"
"It could happen," Clary said. "You know, theoretically."
"Theoretically the planet could suddenly crack in half, leaving me on one side and you on the other side, forever and tragically parted, but I'm not worried about that either. Some things," Jace said, with his customary crooked smile, "are just too unlikely to dwell upon."

Page 133: Jace rolled his eyes. "It's fascinating," he said. "You know all these words, and they're all English, but when you string them together into sentences, they just don't make any sense."

Page 141: "No," said Jace. "I think I'm better than everyone else. An opinion that has been backed up with ample evidence." Kyle looked at Simon.
"Does he always talk like this?"
"Does anything shut him up? Other than getting the crap beaten out of him, of course." 
Jace moved away from the window. "I would love to see you try."

Page 145: "I thought it was keep your friends close so you have someone to drive the car when you sneak over to your enemy's house at night and throw up in his mailbox."

Page 259: He saw a boy with black hair and blue eyes like Alec's, heard violin music like silver water. Saw a girl with long brown curls and a serious face. In a world where everything went away from him eventually, she was one of the few remaining constants.

Page 307: Since Alec was ignoring him, Magnus decided to amuse himself by changing the colors of the champagne in the glasses on the table. He made one blue, the next pink, and was working on green when Alec reached across the table and hit him on the wrist.

Page 366: "Alex-Alec. If I gave you the impression I had accepted the idea of your death I can only apologize. I tried to, I thought I had- and yet still I pictured having you for fifty, sixty more years. I thought I might be ready then to let you go. But it's you, and I realize now that I won't be any more ready to lose you then than I am right now." He put his hands gently to either side of Alec's face. "Which is not at all."

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! I hope to get a couple more posts out soon, since it's getting close to the end of May, but we'll see!

Thanks for reading this! If you like my posts, don't forget to subscribe/follow, since it lets me know that you're enjoying what I'm doing. See y'all tomorrow!

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