City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★

“But Heaven will not help you; you know that as well as I. That is why men summon demons and not angels, is it not?”

Yeah, this is easily my favorite book in The Mortal Instruments, so far. I think one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed City of Lost Souls so much was because it is told through so many of the side character’s point of view, some of which we have never seen before. Also, a vast majority is told through Simon’s perspective which is all I truly want anyways.

I also actually thought this book had good twists and turns, too. I was impressed so many times while reading, and I truly never wanted to put this 500+ page book down, which says something all on its own. Like, I see some reviews saying that this book was slow, but I didn’t feel like that at all. And like… did these people read the mess that is City of Fallen Angels? Lord, help me.

Okay, my review is going to touch on a couple key things that happened in this book and things that have happened in previous books, so please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and its predecessors! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book.

Jace – I still very much dislike Jace, but he was a bit more bearable in this book. Probably because he was barely in it, and when he was he was being halfway possessed or whatever.

Clary – Clary was actually the one to annoy me in this book. Especially after reading about Tessa; Clary is just not that great of a character. And so many of the choices she made in this book were beyond questionable. I get that she loves Jace, but the world is a lot bigger than Jace Herondale, Lightwood, Morgenstern, Voldemort, what the fuck ever he wants to be called.

Simon – Simon is my second favorite character in all things Shadowhunters, I think. I know he messed up big in City of Fallen Angels, and I will call him out for it all day long, but he really had a pure and sweet redemption arc in this, that I think was handled very healthily and very realistically. And my otp are living their best lives. Bless.

“Okay. I’ve got a good one.” Simon stroked Isabelle’s hair, feeling her lashes flutter against his neck as she closed her eyes. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”

Isabelle – Here is the real tea: I think Izzy is my favorite character in this entire universe. Like, every book I fall more and more in love with her. And in City of Lost Souls, seeing her learn what it means to be vulnerable and that it is okay… friends, I have a lot of feelings. And seeing her finally take down her walls and give her heart away to someone who she deems as worthy? More beautiful than words.

Magnus – I love this character so much. Him realizing his worth and value at the end of this book? It meant everything to me. I feel like Alec has constantly been treating him like shit, honestly. But he went way too far in this one, and I’m so happy that Magnus realized he didn’t deserve that kind of abuse. Even though I know they are totally going to get back together, let’s be real. But this time it will be on more equal ground. Oh, and I want to know everything about his father immediately!

Alec – This is actually the first book that I didn’t hate or borderline hate Alec, which is funny because he almost did a hella bad thing in this book. But I think it’s because Cassie opened up the storylines and allowed us to see behind the eyes of some of the side characters in this book. And I think that very much benefitted Alec.

Luke – I always and forever will love Luke and his unconditional love towards so many characters in this world. But…

Jocelyn – Jocelyn was highkey annoying as hell in this book. Like, I get she’s upset that she birthed a demon or whatever, but hearing her talk about wishing to kill her baby in the crib and stuff really wasn’t enjoyable to read. And like, she always tries to be so strict, after just being so lenient. I don’t know, I just really didn’t like her in this book.

Aline – I said in my review for City of Glass, “Is this a new queer and Asian character” because your girl was hyped. And then she comes into this book in a f/f relationship? The blessing. Wow. How perfect.

Maia & Jordan – I will talk more about them below, but they were one of the things I disliked most about this book. Miss me with abuse apologist storylines forever, please.

“Of course, not thinking about the ex-boyfriend who had broken your heart and turned you into a werewolf was a lot easier when he wasn’t standing right in front of you, wearing a green shirt that hugged his leanly muscled body in all the right places and brought out the hazel color of his eyes.”

Seelie Queen – Still one of my favorites, but Clary still playing with fire. I need so much more from her and her court.

“The Fair Folk are an old people; we do not make hasty decisions but first wait to see in what direction the wind blows.”

Camille – I don’t believe it for a second.

Maureen – But if true; damn, girl!

Sebastian – Like, I honestly did like him as a character until he got all unnecessarily incestuous! But I love his motive, I love him coming back from the dead, and I loved this magical, moving apartment. Again, I think he’s a really strong villain who made me really think about his motives, until the end when shit just got gross.

“You know he doesn’t remember any of it, right? Did he show you a good time, at least? Because I would have.” She tasted bile in her throat. “You’re my brother.” “Those words don’t mean anything where we’re concerned. We aren’t human.”

Okay, I really didn’t want to write this paragraph, but I feel like I have to. The one thing that really bothered me about this book is Cassie Clare’s constant use of incest as a threat and/or just as a storyline. I thought finally, after City of Glass, we were past this, but now with Sebastian coming back, she just doubled-down on the incest. Even in Clockwork Prince I felt like the Tessa going undercover to trick Nate and pretend to be his lover and was gross and unnecessary. But City of Lost Souls is the worst use of incest “angst” yet. And I still feel really gross about the things that Clary did with Jace while Sebastian was in control or whatever. I mean, on top of the fact that he actually attempts to rape her, too. Friends, it’s a hot mess. A really gross, skeezy, uncomfortable hot mess.

“There are worse things than dying,” he said. “And I will do them all to you, little sister, once you’ve drunk from the Cup. And you will like it.”

The only other thing that really bothered me was actually the main reason I one starred City of Fallen Angels; Maia and Jordan are a romance I will never get behind. And in City of Lost Souls their relationship is really magnified. Abuse apologists’ storylines need to be canceled, and they are never okay; not in 2018 and not back in 2010. I’m not here for a Jordan redemption arc and I never will be. And this book really put the band-aid on everything Maia was forced to go through, but Jordan is “so hot” and looks “so good in tight shirts” how could she resist all that good sex from the hands of her abuser? And I felt like he even forced her into a relationship, since he refused to be her friend ONLY something more. Brb, throwing up forever.

“You won’t be my friend.” “I won’t be just your friend. I love you, Maia. I’m in love with you. I always have been. I always will be. Just being your friend would kill me.”

Overall (and besides those two things), I really enjoyed this book and I found it actually difficult to put down. I also believe that this is Cassandra Clare’s best written work yet. The style just felt so much more cohesive and the story felt so much more compelling. This was also the first book that felt like it had a lot of plot and intricate things happening constantly. And there were so many small nods at Clockwork Prince that warmed my heart so very much. Friends, this was really fun book to read, but I can’t wait to (probably, based on all your reactions) get my heart shattered with Clockwork Princess


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Content and trigger warnings for sexual content, incestuous storylines, assault, attempted rape, abandonment, abuse, parental abuse, murder, death, violence, gore, blood depiction, self-harm, and war themes.

16 thoughts on “City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

      1. Oh man…I’m so glad you told me that and wrote this review! It gives me hope for this series! Would you recommend reading them in release order or in the chronological order? I know there are some prequels now and some side stories now, so I haven’t decided how I want to go about it yet…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Honestly? However you want is fine, imo, as long as you read Clockwork Princess BEFORE Heavenly Fire (because holy moly major spoilers!) But I read them chronological, I think? Haha I pretty much alternated them, but just because that’s why my best friend told me to do! 💗xx

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve never read past City of Bones in The Mortal Instruments, but this review has almost convinced me to pick up the last three books. Compared to the Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices, Jace and Clary are just terrible. Also, I don’t like the whole incest threat, ether. But I really, really want to read about Izzy, because she seems like the BEST character, ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Izzy is the BEST! I swear it! Out of TMI and TID, Izzy the BEST! Hahaha! I know, I feel so bad telling people to just read the last three, but it is honestly the truth! I hope you are having happy reading regardless, Elizabeth love! 🧡xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I have mixed feelings about this series, and I haven’t read past book two. But who knows? Maybe I’ll pick it up again (;

    Liked by 1 person

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