Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review - Cassandra Clare's City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments Book 5) by Cassandra Clare
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 535 Pages
Rating: ★
To Buy

Jace is now bound to Sebastian. He has unwittingly turned to the dark side and is the center of a world wide manhunt. Yet the Clave think it's a simple kidnapping, little do they know that the two are bound together. One cannot be harmed without the other getting the same wounds. Therefore, if found, Sebastian cannot be killed if Jace is to live. The two want Clary to come and join them, which she secretly does, but only because she feels that by going with her brother and her true love that she can find some way of separating them and saving Jace. Clary is unprepared for the depths her brother will sink, but luckily her friends are willing to sink to equal depths in order to save her and Jace. Team Good is on the job, raising demons and summoning angels all to find a way to save Jace. Yet even if the separation succeeds can they find out Sebastian's plans and stop him before it's too late?

One thing that is really big right now is to have everything interconnected. Now, I don't mean everything as in EVERYTHING, but it's becoming so that book and television series are no longer independent. You can't just read or watch one thing without having to read and watch all this other stuff as well, from online exclusives to ebooks. Now more then ever it is about the whole universe a story inhabits. The worst perpetrator of these crimes against consumers is Marvel. The Marvel Universe is so interconnected that you literally have to watch everything to know what's going on. You can't just watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., oh no, you have to also go see the new Captain America movie because apparently the whole first season was building to the reveal in the movie, which someone could have warned me about.

I mean seriously, I got so lost between two episodes because I didn't have the time to go see Captain American: The Winter Soldier and everything on S.H.I.E.L.D hinged on that movie that I almost swore off Marvel then and there. And yes, I know Marvel has always had this interconnected universe, but these days it's getting out of hand, being more about forcing the consumer to want it all then just letting them stick to what they like, and FYI, I like Captain America in WWII, not in modern times, so there.

For series I love, I do want it all, but with the caveat, they can be connected not dependent. Thor and S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America and The Avengers, they can have jokes and characters crossing over all they want as long as I can enjoy each one individually. They must be separate and enjoyable on their own. Cassandra Clare has fallen prey to this trend and it's making me want to throttle her more then usual. After the third book in the Mortal Instruments series she had her first Infernal Devices book come out, Clockwork Angel. This series is set in the same world but in the 1800s, and due to some of her characters being immortal, well, those characters carry through, most notably Magnus Bane.

Flash forward to present day and the Mortal Instruments and book four, City of Fallen Angels, and references to Clockwork Angel pepper the text, liberally. I was kind of ok with it... at first. By the time this book, City of Lost Souls, was released another book in the Infernal Devices series had been published and Clare doubled down on the references. Now not only is her book lacking in plot, believable characters, and continuity, it is now at the point where tons of references are going over my head because I didn't read two of her other books. The thought of having to read more of her writing makes me want to scream. The fact that this book has a whole new level of things to infuriate me makes me wonder how I will ever finish this series.

But here's the nail in the coffin for me and Clare, she doesn't care about her writing so why should I? You might be wondering how I reached this opinion, well, it's right there on every page of her books if you look. Her writing is lazy. And by lazy I mean the writing feels like it was just vomited onto the page without anyone ever going back and checking for overuse of words (seriously, don't use the same phrase two sentences in a row), not to mention continuity, where windows randomly appear in windowless rooms (a common occurrence) and futons have bedposts.

Yet for me the issue this all ties back to is her plagiarist tendencies. A good author will create a unique and wonderful world that has originality and won't make you think that the book is half Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix half Buffy the Vampire Slayer season two. But even if the world did feel like that, a good author could make it their own with character development and dialogue. Instead Clare just relies on the words of other writers versus coming up with her own. I actually lost count as to how many direct lifts there were from Buffy. I knew from the end of the previous book that City of Lost Souls was shaping up to be very much Angelus wreaking havoc on Sunnydale, but seriously, this is how it ended? THE EXACT SAME WAY AS BUFFY!?! Look to the screencap as proof because you don't need to take my word for it!

Does assembling real work by others into a vague plotless book make you an author? I don't think so. It makes you a lazy bitch who is just churning these books out as fast as you can to rake in the cash probably only stopping to call your lawyer to see if a sentence is changed just the right infinitesimal amount so that you can't be sued. And it looks like Clare is going to keep on doing this... it's people like her that make me worry about the future of writing; lazy ass people who feel entitled to do whatever they want, damn the consequences.


I stopped reading this series at the third book. I endured past the first one because everyone seemed to like it, but unfortunately it wasn't my cup of tea (big understatement here) and I am glad I am not the only one.

In all seriousness, I don't get what people see in these books. I am also glad I'm not the only one hating on them.

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