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City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare Book Review

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

City of Lost Souls

by Cassandra Clare

Published by Margaret K McElderry Books

Book 5 in the Mortal Instruments Series

What price is too high to pay, even for love?

When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.


Violence Young Adult Exciting

Some Steamy Scenes Supernatural



City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare is the fifth book in the Mortal Instruments series, and centers around Clary Fray, her boyfriend Jace Herondale (Lightwood), her friends Isabelle and Alex Lightwood, Simon Lewis, Magnus Bane, Maia Roberts, and Jordan Kyle. There is also her family, her mother Jocelyn Fray, her stepfather, Luke Garroway, and her estranged and demonic brother "Sebastian", otherwise known as Jonathon Morganstern. City of Lost Souls starts off weeks after the end of City of Fallen Angels, with Jace missing, and the shadowhunters hunting for Sebastian. When it is discovered that Lilith's ritual bound Jace to Sebastian, Clary is willing to do anything to save Jace, and take Sebastian down once and for all.

Now this is much better. After the last book, I wasn't sure if I could power through this series (reminder, this is a re-read for me, so I know what is going to happen), but City of Lost Souls is much more exciting, and darker, and ages a bit with its readers. Whereas the past 4 books felt very young adult, we have now headed into upper YA territory, with a little more sexually charged moments, and even experimentation with drugs. It made this book much easier to read, and I felt, compared to the last book, we got more actual plot than filler. There were some things I didn't like, such as, Clary's sudden talent at fighting. As someone who has had barely any proper training, it seems a bit implausible.

One of the best things of this book has going for it is the characters growth (something I mentioned they were all lacking in the last book). Clary still jumps into situations, but she at least has the foresight of telling someone her plans, unlike in the past. Jace's revelation after his "possession" about his life, and the good in it, is the best character arc. Dark and broody can only be enticing for so long before it becomes boring. Simon and Isabelle's tiptoeing around each other felt very realistic. Alec and Magnus's problems regarding mortality is a very understandable issue, and something not frequently addressed in other books to this extent. I could have done without Jordan and Maia's storyline, but it was nice to see what came of it.

City of Lost Souls is a big save for this series, which tends to drag a bit in some books. It's obviously setting up for a big conclusion.

Favorite Moments

  1. Jace coming for Clary


  3. Clary using the rings with Simon and asking if he wanted to see naked pictures of Jace

  4. Isabelle drinking, and talking about Simon with Jordan

  5. Simon staying the night with Isabelle, and when she asks for a story, he tells her the plot to Star Wars

  6. Clary infiltrating Sebastian and Jace

  7. Jace and Clary's date

  8. The club

  9. Alec explaining what it felt like to be an outted gay man

  10. Jace himself for a short time, and him and Clary about to do the deed

  11. Clary and Sebastian's fight

  12. Clary saving Jace

  13. Jace and Clary at the end <3

Where to Buy

Favorite Quotes

"Love is familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love." - Willian Shakespeare

Alec: "He'd burn the whole world down till he could dig you out of the ashes."

Simon: "Basia coquum. Or whatever their motto is."

Alec: "It's 'Descennsus Averno est.' 'The descent into hell is easy.' You just said "Kiss the Cook."

Simon: "Dammit. I knew Jace was screwing with me."

Magnus: "How was the Seelie Queen?"

Alec: "Same as usual."

Magnus: "Raging bitch, then?"

Alec: "Pretty much."

Magnus: "She wasn't very pleasant the last time I saw her. Of course that could be because I've got an eighteen-year-old boyfriend with a stamina rune amd she doesn't."

Alec sputtered

Alec: "As the person being objectified, I ... object to that description of me."

Simon: "His whole thing is about me being comfortable with what I am. Get in touch with your inner vampire, blah, blah."

Clary: "Is your inner vampire different from your ... outer vampire?"

Simon: "Definitely. He wants me to wear midriff-baring shirts and a fedora. I'm fighting it."

Jordan: "You know, what you said earlier - that when you ran away you would have liked to think someone was looking for you. I was looking for you. I never stopped."

Maia: "Well. You found me."

Jace: "You care if I die?"

Jocelyn: "I care about what it would do to my daughter. And the Law is hard - too hard. What has happened to you - maybe it can be undone."

Her eyes moved back to Sebastian

Jocelyn: "But for you - my Jonathan - it's much too late."

Clary: "Sebastian can't be the greatest company."

Magnus: "We don't know that. He could be absolutely fantastic at Scrabble."

Clary: "So what did he want from me? Why did he come to my room tonight?"

Brother Zachariah: He still loves you. You are the central point about which his world spins. That has not changed.

Clary: Now that I'm in your mind, want to see some naked mental pictures of Jace? Simon jumped

Simon: "I heard that! And, no.'

Simon: "No."

Clary: "SIMON."

Simon: " 'No' is a magical word. Here's how it goes. You say, 'Simon, I have an insane, suicidal plan. Would you like to help me carry it out?' And I say, 'Why, no.' "

Simon: "You'd actually do this. Without me - without any safety net."

Clary: "There isn't anything I wouldn't do for Jace."

Simon: "Don't say that."

Clary: "Wouldn't you do anything for the people you love?"

Simon: "I'd do almost anything for you. I'd die for you. You know that. But would I kill someone else, someone innocent? What about a lot of innocent lives? What about the whole world? Is it really love to tell someone that if it came down to picking between them and every other life on the planet, you'd pick them? Is that - I don't know, is that a moral sort of love at all?"

Clary: "Love isn't moral or immoral. It just is."

Simon: "I know. But the actions we take in the name of love, those are moral or immortal.

Simon: "Just remember, when your mother's gnawing my ankle like a furious mama bear separated from her cub, I did it for you."

Magnus: "Alex and I will portal with you there and wait for you to return, but we can't go with you all the way."

Isabelle: "I know. Because you're boys. Cooties."

Isabelle: "I think about him all the time. It's awful. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before."

Jordan: "You mean Simon?"

Isabelle: "Scrawny little mundane bastard."

Sebastian: "We'll tell her in a week. What difference does a week make?"

Jace gave him a look

Jace: "Two weeks ago you were dead."

Sebastian: "Well, I wasn't suggesting two weeks. That would be insane."

Clary: "So I can swoon watching you make a triple-word score? And spare me the jokes about scoring."

Jace: "Dammit, woman, you read my mind. Is there no filthy wordplay you can't foresee?"

Clary: "It's my special magical power. I an read your mind when you're thinking dirty thoughts."

Jace: "So, ninety-five percent of the time."

Simon: "I don't know who Azazel is. Isn't he the cat from The Smurfs?"

Simon: Clary?

Clary: What happened? Did my mom find out I'm gone?

Simon: Not yet. Is Azazel the cat from The smurfs?

There was a long pause

Clary: That's Azazel, Simon. And no more using the magic rings for Smurf questions.

Simon: "Oh, please. All I did was tell you the entire plot of Star Wars."

Isabelle: "I don't think I remember that."

Simon: "Oh, yeah? Who was Luke Skywalker's best childhood friend?"

Isabelle: "Biggs Darklighter."

Isabelle said immediately, and then hit the table with the flat of her hand.

Isabelle: "That is so cheating!"

Jace: "You know, I really missed you."

Clary: "You mean you haven't been going on romantic dates with Sebastian while you've been away from me?"

Jace: "I tried, but no matter how liquored up you get him, he just won't put out."

Magnus: "What have you done to my cat? You drank his blood, didn't you? You said you weren't hungry!"

Simon: "I did not drink his blood. He's fine!"

He poked the Chairman in the stomach. The cat yawned.

Simon: "Second, you asked me if I was hungry when you were ordering pizza, so I said no, because I can't pizza. I was being polite."

Magnus: "That does give you the right to eat my cat."

Jocelyn: "I wish I could go back in time. Fix everything. Marry the right guy."

Luke: "But then we wouldn't have Clary."

Isabelle: "All the boys are gay. In this truck, anyway. Well, not you, Simon."

Simon: "You noticed."

Magnus: "I think of myself as a freewheeling bisexual."

Alec: "Please never say those words in front of my parents."

Alec: "Once he asked me what I thought had turned me gay."

Isabelle: "Turned you gay? Alex, you didn't tell me that."

Simon: "I hope you told him you were bitten by a gay spider."

Magnus snorted; Isabelle look confused.

Alec: "I've read Magnus's stash of comics, so I actually know what you're talking about. So would that give me the proportional gayness of a spider?"

Magnus: "Only if it was a really gay spider."

Sebastian: "What's wrong, little sis? You look upset."

Clary: "Cracked polish slapping your ... worthless face. See?"

She showed him her finger - just one of them.

Magnus: "Speaking of hope, did you see the shot Alec got off with his bow? That's my boyfriend."

Clary: "You're the best friend anyone could ever have, you know that?"

Simon: "I did know that, but it's always nice to hear it again."

Simon: "Oh, no. I am a hipster. I am too cool for themed weddings."

Clary: "You play D and D. You're a geek."

Simon: "Geek is chic. Ladies love nerds."

Magnus: "Aku cinta kamu."

Alec: "What does that mean?"

Magnus: "It means I love you. Not that that changes anything."

Clary: "Were you ever in love? Before the Brotherhood? Was there ever anyone you would have died for?"

Brother Zachariah: Two people. There are memories that time does not erase, Clarissa. Ask your friend Magnus Bane, if you do not believe me. Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.

Clary: "I stabbed you. With a massive sword. You caught on fire."

Jace: "Okay. So maybe our problems aren't like other couples."

Jace: "How could I protect you if you wouldn't let me? That, by the way, is a rhetorical question."

Clary: "Good. Because I don't need protecting."

Jace: "I knew you'd say that. But the thing is, sometimes you do. And sometimes I do. We're meant to protect each other, but not from everything. Not from the truth. That's what it means to love someone but let them be themselves."

Jace: "I fell in love with you because you were one of the bravest people I'd ever known. So how could I ask you to stop being brave just because I loved you?"

Jace: "I am going to kill Sebastian. I am going to kill him for what he did to me, and what he did to you, and what he did to Max. I am going to kill him because of what he has done, and what he will do. The Clave wants him dead, and they will hunt him. But I want my hand to be the one that cuts him down."

Clary: "And what if I'm the one who kills him?"

Jace: "My heart is your heart. My hands are your hands."

Jace: "If I kiss you all day every day for the rest of my life, it won't be enough."

Clary: "No kissing?"

Jace: "Well, kissing, probably. But as for the rest of it ..."

Clary: "It's okay with me if it's okay with you?"

Jace: "Of course it's not okay with me. I'm a teenage boy. As far as I'm concerned, this is the worst thing that's happened since I found out why Magnus was banned from Peru."


Check out the rest of the Mortal Instruments Series

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