Kate: So this is exciting, because it’s the first time you and I have been able to talk about City of Fallen Angels.
Katie: Yes, and I nearly died waiting on you to finish it yesterday. Stupid work and having commitments outside of reading our favorite books!
Kate: I know. Being a lawyer is a ridiculous time suck and sometimes I want to quit just because it interferes with my reading. And at times like this, when City of Fallen Angels is FINALLY in my hands? Boohiss.
Katie: I’ve only waited for this FOREVER! I know everyone takes comfort in The Infernal Devices in between The Mortal Instruments, but I think we all know I’m clearly the TMI fanatic and nothing else will ever suffice for me. So now that I’ve got it, and read it, and you’ve read it, I’m about to explode with the need to talk about it. Therefore I’m about to SPOIL the hell out of this book everybody, so don’t ready any farther if you haven’t finished it!
Kate: Because she’s not kidding. There will be SPOILERS galore in this review. Because neither have us has gotten to talk to the other about the SPOILERS.
Katie: Alright, they’ve been warned. Now OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK SO HARD!
Kate: ME TOO!
Katie: I think it’s the best thing Cassandra Clare has done to date. Her writing was tighter, the story lines were so closely intertwined and the character growth seemed so subtle but was astronomical when you think about it.
Kate: My reaction last night was pretty much just akljdshfksdfksafhs. And now that I’ve slept on it, I agree with that. It was definitely her strongest book yet. Possibly her best. But you know how I feel about Clockwork Angel.
Katie: Clockwork Schmockwork. Everyone knows TMI is where it’s at. ( I kid, I love everything CC does, but I am blindly in love and ferociously loyal to TMI).
Kate: The thing that impressed me the most was Clary. I was so proud of her in this book. Her growth was what really took City of Fallen Angels to another level for me.
Katie: Well we all know Jace doesn’t handle subjugation well, especially when he’s got such a compelling reason to live and escape. While that cliff hanger was EVIL, I predict that Jace won’t be tied to him long in City of Lost Souls. Between Clary having the Faerie bell, Jace’s own nature, and the weird implications by both the Silent Brothers and the Seelie Queen about the Herondales, I think something will happen that will tie that up quickly.
Kate: So do I. And all of that means that the next book is going to be freaking amazing.
Katie: I was stunned by how she handled things, thought it through and didn’t run off half baked or throwing temper-tantrums. The fact that she didn’t just assume the worst about Jace pulling away and alternatively that when he made stupid excuses she didn’t blindly accept them. She challenged him on it in the way that she should. Her faith in herself, in her Shadowhunter blood, and more importantly her relationship with Jace was phenomenal. I will say there were a few times I thought she acted rashly or less mature, but I felt that those were done for plot conveniences, and were slightly out of character. But we can get into that when we discuss the end.
Kate: I think you picked up on the right sentiment. Because we both know that Jace is the diva in that relationship, and temper tantrums are kind of his thing (and he threw some in this book, for sure). But Clary deals with them so well. He has all of the physical strength in their relationship, but I think she has all the emotional strength. Jocelyn described Jace as vulnerable in this book, and I think that’s right. But Clary? She’s so strong and sure and I love that about her.
Katie: And what’s even cooler is that when she does feel vulnerable, like when the Seelie Queen questions her on whether Jace desires her, or if love is enough, instead of giving into that, even though it echoes her fears, she tells her to shut her face. I love that and I adore the confidence that both Clary and Jace have in the love for one another. Even when he doesn’t think he deserves her, he knows she loves him and he her. It’s like when he was pulling away from her and Simon calls him on it, and Jace gets pissed and says, “Why is everyone god damn asking me if I’m breaking up with her?!” as if it was the stupidest question in the world. It’s such a given that neither one of them will ever want to not be together.
Kate: That’s why, plot insanity included, I feel like these books are going to be a good addition to TMI. I was a little worried because, honestly, Clary and Jace being together was such a driving force in TMI and I just KNEW they were going to get screwed. And maybe they did. But not in a way where I think they’ll ever stop loving each other.
Katie: Exactly. There was like this one eternal truth throughout the book, and while it was sweet I also think it will be a big plot point in resolving stuff, but that was their love. Jace swears on it because it is his one truth. They both define themselves by that love. And everyone around them sees it, like the line about how their love is the kind that could bring cities to ruin or build a whole new world. I’ve never seen a more palpable love between two characters in any book I’ve ever read.
Kate: Growing that love when they were finally allowed to feel it was something so wonderful about COFA. But equally as wonderful and very surprising was the way the relationship between Jace and Simon started to evolve.
Katie: It definitely was fantastic in COFA, and one of the main reasons I don’t mind whatever comes next, no matter how much it might suck for Jace. The results it will have in their relationship will be amazing. And as you said, one of those effects is decidedly the bromance going on between Jace and Simon. Yes it will always be based around their mutual if different types of love for Clary, but I think they’re slowly starting to like and/or respect each other on their own basis.
Kate: I liked Simon in this book a lot. I liked how funny he was, and I liked how different that funny was from Jace. But I also liked that it was maybe a slightly darker funny that we’ve seen and come to expect from Simon. But then again, a lot of this book was darker than we’ve come to expect. The aftermath of Idris left a mark (actual and emotional haha) on every single character. I think Simon bore a lot of the brunt of that. And Jace too. They spent the whole book being stupid and trying to shut everyone else out but their mutual self-loathing and misery tied them together really well.
Katie: And in light of that I think this book was more about Simon and Jace, than Simon and Clary like Cassandra Clare implied. The plot revolved around the struggles these two were facing, and while that all did ante-up to their love of Clary and what that would force them to do, it was also distinctly unique and personal to them. That said, perhaps I should stop talking about how much I love the characters and get on to how much I loved the plot, eh?
Kate: Because…holy hell the plot! I for one really enjoyed it. I thought it was smart and engaging. More importantly, even though there was a cliffhanger of DOOM at the end, we got enough resolution to this villain to make it all ok.
Katie: I just have to say the Mark of Cain is like the coolest ever. And yes, thirteen years of Catholic school does make me partial to Biblical/ Dante’s Inferno/Paradise Lost-esque plots, because I’m a nerd and had to learn all this stuff. But the way it’s so intelligently wound throughout the book and central to the plot was AWESOME. Every time Simon’s Mark laid the sevenfold fury of God onto someone I cheered. It was great plot element and character growth, because a vampire who cannot even say the name of God is also acting as I believe Jace quoted, “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” It lets a seemingly damned creature become an arm of God, and how his faith is tested will be incredibly to see. I also loved that at the end of City of Glass, he was persona non grata among the Downworlders, and now every one is chiming to get a piece of him. All the sudden this nerdy boy is being courted by the mother of all demons and he had the power to kill her. All I can say is DAMN!
Kate: I KNOW! And dude. What she wanted him to DO with that power!?
Katie: Seriously! Bringing the demon spawn back? Yikes! I will admit that I’m a bit hesitant to revive old villains, especially because Lilith is the coolest and totally unhinged and I loved having a female big bad. Especially when she’s sparring with Jace and comments that she doesn’t have a male ego, and can’t be roused to fight mano a mano. Her motivations were so different from a male antagonist and I’m going miss that now that psycho D-Bag Sebastian/Jonathan is back.
Kate: But what makes him such a compelling villain is the way he plays off of Jace. Their obvious foiliness is what drove the end of City of Glass. Jace’s fundamental fear is that he’s like Sebastian deep down and now? Watching that go down is going to be epic.
Katie: Well duh. I think we saw a ton of foreshadowing in this one. All those references to Jace and Clary’s love being this tangible thing, and the strange references and how the Morgenstern ring keeps being a big part of things, and a few mentions of permanent binding runes? I think the Clary/Jace relationship is going to be a huge plot element in the next few books, and not just them getting to make out or not be together but that it might help save the world.
Kate: I agree. And I think that sums up everything pretty well. But…I would feel traitorous not to mention how much I need Clockwork Prince after reading this book because…because…Will!
Katie: Psh. You’re such a traitor for worrying about Will at a time like this! Jace is in peril! I’m going to have to worry about him constantly for the next YEAR! I have no idea how I’ll survive.
Kate: Me either. And also…HE IS WILL! Jace has Clary who can love him and snuggle him and believe in him. Will has no one. Even Jem doesn’t know his secret. I can only hope Magnus proves as good a friend in Clockwork Prince as he was a boyfriend in City of Fallen Angels (had to get a Magnus reference in there somewhere. Though he’s been in our review about as much as he was in the book sobsobsob).
Katie: Yeah yeah yeah. At least you have Will to tide you over in your wait this next year. Now before I start going on about all the other characters I didn’t get to talk about, let’s end this here, and discuss this further in a secret surprise for our readers.
Kate: Oh, yes. I love secrets. So long as I am in the know. Not like, say, Will’s secret. I hate that one.
Katie: Fortunately you and I are in the know, and our readers will just have to wait and find out! In the meantime though, they can comment below and indulge us in an ongoing discussion about the intricacies and awesomeness of City of Fallen Angels to tide them over! And for those lucky enough to get the Special Edition, tell us what you thought about the letter- because it might have been the sweetest thing I’ve ever read!