Bibliomantic Book Club: “City of Fallen Angels” by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Release Date
: April 5, 2011
Genre: Urban fantasy, young adult fiction, romance & angst

Summary: Love is in the streets of New York City – Jace and Clary are finally dating, Luke and Jocelyn are planning their wedding, and Simon has not one but TWO girlfriends. Life sounds pretty sweet for our favorite Shadowhunters, but this is Cassandra Clare we’re talking about. Bliss is short lived as the past starts to intrude upon the present. Former members of Valentine’s clan are being murdered, rekindling the tensions between Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Simon soon finds that  juggling two girlfriends while trying to come to terms with being a vampire is far from idyllic. And Jace and Clary’s love may prove to be too dangerous for everyone around them. In the city that never sleeps, political intrigue, twisted love affairs, and sinister plots will keep you up all night reading. 

As Cassie-wa exclaims in her The Mortal Instruments post, if you haven’t read this series, you should. Right now! City of Fallen Angels picks up several weeks after the end of City of Glass. Relationships change, some regress, new characters are introduced, and we get a new baddie. The badass Shadowhunters we’ve come to love are back – with more angst, more snark, and more…leiderhosen?

STEPHANIE’S THOUGHTS

So I like The Mortal Instrument series. Definitely.  Initially I wanted to be Team Simon, but Jace soon won me over with his snarkitude. I was all about Clary/Jace even when we thought it was incestuous. I was still for it, haha.

But during City of Fallen Angels…man, whatever spark between them that had initially interested me just fell flat. I did not want to hear Clary whining or Jace angsting or them talking about their everlasting love that is better than anyone else’s love, blah blah blah. Too much with the love conquering the world thing. You are just two people. Kick ass people who fight demons and maybe you have some angel blood or whatever, but come on. While it turned out that Jace WAS having an actual problem, not just being all whiny and annoying on purpose….it was still whining and annoying to read.

Mostly I was interested in Simon again! His whole deal with Camille and the vampire clan was definitely the most interesting part of the story. I also really like Isabelle – she’s probably my favorite character (after Magnus, of course). I wasn’t into her whole “Wahhh, my dad cheated on my mom so I don’t trust men” nonsense, but I’m so into her being a bad ass. I’m also into her actually *really* liking Simon because I think it’s as unexpected for us as it is for her. I love that she just does whatever the hell she wants all the time, but maybe, just maybe, this time she wants to do something normal. And have a nice boyfriend. Except he’s still a vampire and might have to give into his more animalistic tendencies…. Drama! Love it! So much more interesting than Clary and Jace who are just boring now that they are together lol.

Oh…except they’re not. Can’t say I’m shocked by the ending. Although – Lilith?? Really?? And she had hellhounds. Perfect. I love when all the things I like use the same biblical characters!! I laughed when it was Lilith up there (please note – Supernatural reference for the uninitiated ^^) After the battle – where Simon kicked ass! – and once Clary walked off the roof, I was expecting her and the Shadowhunters to get back up there and Jace and Sebastian would just be gone. But instead they’re all demon united now. Or something. Eh, I don’t know. I’m not very emotionally invested in these stories. I certainly enjoy them and I will look forward to seeing what happens next, but I’m not as upset as all the screaming, crying girls on Twitter seem to be. We shall see.

Obviously – the best part of the book was when Jace wanted to show Simon a picture of Magnus wearing leiderhosen. Yes and yes. Team Magnus Bane!

Magnus and Alec’s little storyline was a bit baffling to me. I hadn’t realized that we were supposed to think Magnus was THAT in love with Alec. Or for that matter that Alec was THAT in love with Magnus. Like they are both the be-all-end-all of love for each other. I didn’t really get that from the previous books. Just that they were boyfriend-boyfriend and really liked each other and it was cute. But whatever, I’ll roll with it because Magnus is so awesome and whatever he says goes. I’m obsessed that he has banged every possible type and sex of person too. Amazing. Love. Glitter.

Those are my main thoughts on the story. This book flew by for me – a super easy read and nothing too heavy to think about it. I’m always into teens fighting demons so I love the series for that. Hoping in the next book they’ll be a bit less annoying crying from Jocelyn, Isabelle will keep being a bad ass despite her possibly falling for Simon, and that Magnus will be more prominently featured as he deserves to be!

KELLY’S THOUGHTS

Cassie-wa introduced me this series, and I absolutely loved it. The snarky humor, the demon-fighting teenage badasses covered in swirling tattoos, the forbidden love – all set against familiar city streets. It was exciting and enjoyable and so much FUN to read. So of course I was thrilled when Cassie Clare decided to continue the story. After finishing CoFA, I remain happy the series will continue, but I had some conflicting thoughts.

I loved a lot of this book, but my favorite passages are Simon’s. It’s finally hitting him that he is a VAMPIRE. Before, he was so busy running after Clary as she tried to stop Valentine that he didn’t have to think about his day-to-day existence. And what would happen in 50 years when he looks 17 and everyone he loves is aging rapidly. Once he is back in NYC and trying to settle into a normal existence, it becomes clear there are costs to being a vampire. And the whole mark of Cain craziness makes him an extremely desirable ally, which puts pressure on him from several sides. Oh yeah – he is now dating Isabelle AND Maia, and they don’t know about the other. And I just love Simon in general. He is geeky and has a crappy band and a dry sense of humor. This combined with all the excellent plot surrounding Simon, he carries the weight of the novel. I can’t wait to see where his story goes, especially the relationship with Isabelle.

Magnus Bane. What can I say about you that can properly express my love and deep admiration? Seriously though, I love how Cassie Clare uses him as a sounding board for being comfortable with yourself and your past. And for wearing ridiculous outfits whilst touring Europe with your hot and broody boyfriend. *le swoon*

Now – the conflicted part. Clary and Jace were SO good in the first 3 books. Inexplicably drawn to each other, then the brother-sister discovery. Denying the attraction, losing the fight, then finding out it was all a big mistake. Cue hot and heavy make-out scenes without any incest factor. But happy relationships aren’t fun to read about, so Cassie Clare obviously had to throw a wrench into the works. The wrench this time wasn’t nearly as interesting as the last one. So I wasn’t as welcoming of their constant angsting for and about each other. It honestly feels a bit recycled. But I am optimistic that with the cliffhanger ending, the plot will be conducive to some new developments in their relationship.

Alternative solution – they can just have sex. I might be cranky and angsty if I had the biggest blue balls on the planet, as Jace and Clary must.

CASSIE-LA’S THOUGHTS

Unlike my fellow Bibliomantics, I read The Mortal Instruments series after I read the first book in The Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Angel. Possibly because of this, but probably more because I prefer period pieces, I found myself favouring the prequel series to the original series, of which City of Fallen Angels is the 4th book. This seems to be completely contradictory to everyone else, who seem to prefer TMI. So it came as a surprise to me when I liked CoFA almost as much as I liked CA. I think a great deal of this has to do with the way that Cassandra Clare’s writing has evolved from novel to novel. After her third book she definitely hit her stride.

One reason I preferred this book to the other in the series was the definite shift in focus from mostly Clary and Jace (the two star crossed lovers/ex brother sister combo who annoyed me from day one) to other characters like Simon, Magnus, and Isabelle. I have always been more a fan of comedy than teen angst/romance and it was this move away from 95% teen smut and 5% action that excited me most. Not to mention the inclusion of a believable relationship between Isabelle and Simon. Witty humour is where Clare really pulls me in, and the focus on Simon and Magnus and the integration of a bromance between Jace and Jordan (the new dark brooding male character in the series, because there aren’t enough of them already) kept me reading. Plus, Dichotomous Lemur = best band name of all time.

As mentioned above, I am not a giant romance fan, especially when it comes to teens. I have never been much of a “team person” unless it’s for characters that generally don’t have teams (i.e. Team Magnus Bane, Team Cinna, Team Snape, Team Norrington) or characters in Jane Austen novels (ie. Team Darcy, Team Colonel Brandon). So it was difficult for me to pick a team in this series, especially because all the relationships are full of so much aaaaangst. I know teenagers are full of raging hormones, but come on. The constant bickering and emotions are tiring. Rein it in a little, break up, or bone each other already!

WHAT WE LIKED MOST:
– We loved the progression of Simon’s character as he struggles with his vampiric nature. Also, the unexpected relationship with Isabelle is refreshing and interesting
– references to IRL New York (Trash and Vaudeville, Love Saves the Day are both great stores!)
– book in series finally not endorsed by Stephenie Meyer! Maybe it was too sexy for her. Or not enough marriage and thinly veiled Mormonism.
– Magnus Bane, Magnus Bane, Magnus Bane.

WHAT WE LIKED LEAST:
– After three books of really interesting and forbidden romance between Clary/Jace… it seems to have fizzled a little. With a new series, we wanted more from the relationship than a rehash of old problems. Hopefully the next book will bring back some of the excitement.
– Werewolves and angels are lame; demons and vampires ftw!
– Not enough Magnus Bane.

Join us next month when we review our May Bibliomantic Book Club Book: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

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