City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series, and the first book of the second trilogy set. While the story still revolves mostly around Clary and Jace, Simon features quite prominently in this volume.
It’s been six weeks since the events in Idris at the end of City of Glass. Everything seems to be returning to a relatively normal pace, even if everything isn’t exactly normal for our little group of protagonist. Clary has decided to stop attending her mundane high school and begin her Shadowhunter education, all while she helps her mother Jocelyn prepare to marry werewolf pack leader and former Shadowhunter Luke. Jace has taken to calling himself Lightwood in honor of his adoptive family while struggling to reconcile himself with his real family, the Herondales. Alec is largely absent for the first 2/3 of the book as he is on an extended trip with Magnus.
Meanwhile Simon is attempting to live a normal life as a teenager – except that he’s still a vampire who can walk in daylight and now bears the Mark of Cain. He is troubled that he doesn’t know how the Mark of Cain will affect him (it hasn’t so far), as well as the fact that he is especially dating two women at the same time – Isabelle Lightwood and werewolf Maia. Neither of whom know about the other, by the way.
Then, things start to slowly change. Simon has a meeting with Lady Camille Belcourt who has a proposition for him; soon after he is being followed by tracksuit wearing strangers, who try to kill him and activate the Mark of Cain. A stranger known as Kyle offers Simon a place to stay when circumstances at home force Simon to leave. And suddenly Jace is wanting to protect Simon while trying to avoid Clary for some inexplicable reason. Everything culminates to one person, the one individual everyone thought was out of their lives forever – Sebastian.
I am a bit torn on my thoughts of City of Fallen Angels. While I really liked reading the book largely from Simon’s perspective, and I really like how Clary is starting to grow up and come into her own light as a Shadowhunter (and be less annoying to me), I found myself disliking Jace even more than I did before. I realize that Jace’s way of thinking about love and life is a bit twisted thanks to his nearly decade long upbringing by Valentine. But I just found his methodology for avoiding Clary and helping Simon to be whiny, angsty, and just wrong. Perhaps I can’t relate because I never was and never will be a sixteen year old teenaged boy in love, but I just couldn’t stand it. Luckily, we don’t linger too long on Jace in this volume.
Because it is largely from Simon’s perspective and I do find myself liking Clary a bit more (saving grace since there was a lack of Magnus), I still give this volume my typical Mortal Instruments ranking of 4 out of 5 stars. I’m both hopeful for and dreading the next volume. I really hope Clary keeps with this “growing up” phase and not revert back to the character I previously didn’t like, but with the events of the ending and the summary for the next book, I’m a bit wary.
My rating: 4/5