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The Mystical and the Magical

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Khaled Hosseini
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City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare
Review of Stephen H.'s letter:

I'm not sure if you'll believe me if I said that I was crying because of this.

Yeah, sure, it's only 1,000+ characters. It's nothing new. It's nothing big. But Stephen Herondale must've been a great man, despite what he says in his letter. He's a man who's known his mistakes and repents for them. He's humble. He's honest.

And in this letter to Jace, we get to the see the face and personality of a man that we've never even met. But now that I've read this, I'm hurting because such a nice man was killed off. I'm sure if he'd been the one raising Jace, he would've made an amazing father.

"For there is only one thing I want from you, my son — one thing from you, and of you. I want you to be a better man than I was. Let no one else tell you who you are or should be. Love where you wish to. Believe as you wish to. Take freedom as your right."

Wow. Just ... wow. What a great man.

Review of Magnus's thoughts:

What Magnus said -- that was so heartfelt. It hurt my heart. :'(

‘Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.’

After reading and being so disappointed with City of Fallen Angels, I really didn’t actually have many high hopes for City of Lost Souls—but that had been before the release date, before the reviews started raving in, before I had encountered the page amount. I’ve learned a tendency with series, at best: with a series with large books that you enjoy, the page numbers count. If suddenly a sequel to the book is only half the amount of page numbers of the previous one, it’s like a foreboding sign that this book will, most positively (or negatively, I should say), suck. Or at least won’t live up to your expectations like the others’ had.

We didn’t encounter this in City of Lost Souls. But that might be because this book is basically the second longest book Clare had ever written (that have been published, at least.)

I did, however, have some few problems with it, just like I do with any other book; but as the second book in the secondary series of the Mortal Instruments, it certainly wowed me. It’s like I was back with my characters again. Anyway, I’ll start off with the things I didn’t like about it.

Things I Didn’t Like:

For most of the book, as we had with the jacket synopsis, Clary is off doing her own thing while Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, Simon, Maia, and Jordan are all out figuring out a way to disrupt the blood bond between Sebastian and Jace—and, like the synopsis also said, they have to do it without Clary. That wasn’t much of a problem at all to me; actually, I think Clary really proved herself to be a Shadowhunter and a heroine that finally, finally could earn the “girls-who-can-kick-my-ass” shelf. Well, more on that later. Moving on.

Anyway, the thing that really got most of my attention drifted off in different places was how Clare divided all her characters into different roles. Clary went on as, basically, a spy. Maia and Jordan were entrusted to go to the Praetor Lupus. Alec, Magnus, and Simon were, for the most part, there to try to raise a demon. And then Isabelle and Jocelyn were to go to the Iron Sisters. They’re adventures were chaotic; all over the place. It was kind of confusing, and I didn’t like how that was how everyone had to do things. I had to switch gears whenever Clare switched third person pov’s.


It just made everything confusing. A lot of things were going on at once—put ontop of the pile of the little fight with Camille from the last book (which, now, looking back on it, seemed like just something that needed for the 4th book; I think it would’ve proved some sort of purpose if Camille decided to side with Jonathon/Sebastian, but that wasn’t the case; she was just a normal, filler-type villain.)

Moving on.

Another thing.


Oh, Jace.

He made me want to do this when he was back as himself:



Listen, I love Jace. Or, more accurately—loved him to death. Really, I did—when he was his snarky sarcastic self. We basically lose that Jace as the series progresses; he was lost along the end of CoA. And normally, I’d tolerate it; I can stand it for a book, or maybe even two, but for three books? Hell, Clare, I want my sarcastic Jace back. He’s so mopey and depressing and self-deprecating and practically just loves to die. He has angel blood running through his veins but with the way he acts it's like he just found out he's a cat in disguise and can't have sex with Clary to make babies. He still thinks he doesn’t deserve Clary—after all that hell they’ve been through? Puh-lease. Stop this mopey, I-don’t-deserve-you act, Jace. Please. I’m begging you. I miss you.

At least we got more of his snarky comments in this novel more than the past three books, even if he wasn’t actually himself. Still, it kind-of counts. To tell you the truth, I like snarky Jace better than non-snarky Jace. And I will continue to unless he FOOKING STARTS ACTING LIKE HIS GODAMN AWESOME SELF. My case has been closed.

Things That I Liked:

Okay, so yesss, finally! Clary can kick some ass! Do you know how long I’ve waited for this? For her to do something like swing on poles (okay, that so sounded wrong, but I mean … well, like how they do it in action movies? Because of the momentum, they end up swinging around the pole and kicking the enemy straight in the face?), stomp on a demon’s stomach, run a circular pipe through their mouths and have it come out from the back of the head, punch people in their stomach, embed a glass shard into someone’s thigh?



I’ve waited centuries for this, my friends. Centuries. And I am not disappointed.


Okay, so despite the fact that I said that Clare switches character stories too much and has so much going on in her book, I admire (and am absolutely jealous) of the fact on how she manages to keep the characters simple yet complex, have them have their own personalities without mixing them up, and still keep up with their stories. Whenever I write a mini story (that’s all I write these days) with more than two characters (which means including the supporting characters), I always struggle to include them in the story’s events; it’s always easier to just keep track of two characters instead of four or five. I always get frustrated and end up abandoning the project.

But Clare.

Oh, gosh. This woman is so talented. Her writing is flawless (except that I saw so many grammar mistakes in this novel than all the others! :O Shocker!), and the diction she uses makes me want to eat the book up. Her characters, too—she builds into them and manages to keep track of them all, something I can’t do. Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Magnus, Maia, and Jordan—she manages to keep all their relationships and personalities in order. And those are just the main characters/supporting characters.

Thing That Broke My Heart:

Um, wow. I think everyone may have heard about Alec and Magnus breaking up—which is SO DOWNRIGHT SAD. I never was much of a fan of them—meaning, not that I dislike gay relationships, just that we hadn’t had much of Alec/Magnus interactions in the past. Their relationship basically wasn’t even official until the end of CoG, but by then there was happiness all around and the focus was on Jace and Clary and their un-related-bloodness. Even in CoFA, Magnus and Alec were traveling the world, basically gone from sight. Aside from their phone calls and text messages and pictures, I had no collection about how I felt about the couple—so I can’t necessarily say that I was a rooter for them, except that the Magnus and Alec in my head fit together. So it seemed fair to make Alec gay. I had no idea who to put him up with.

Anyway, reading CoLS with the absolute Alec/Magnus scenes were so amazing! I loved everything about them together, even if Alec did seem a bit too self-conscious for my taste. But I can’t necessarily judge him or blame him, since I … uh … have never been a relationship in my life either. Don’t look at me like that; I swear, I’ll kill you. I happen to like my fictional Valentine’s Day chocolates from my fictional boyfriends. So maybe Alec’s self-consciousness is part of being in a finally open and gay relationship after being practically shunned by your people. Or maybe it has something to do with immorality, which, let’s face it, none of us have ever tasted. And if you have, may I have some?

I don’t think I would’ve done anything special except the part where Alec dropped to his knees and scrambled to find his witchstone nearly unwound me. I have something very, very soft in my heart for boys who fall to their knees with shocked, wounded, hopeless expressions on their faces—it practically smashes my heart. And when tall, lean, Shadowhunter Alec did that—one who fights demons and has multiple run-ins with the person who wants to burn down the world—my heart didn’t just break: I was so overwhelmed I just sat there. I closed the book, lay on my bed, and thought. And thought and thought and thought. What Alec did was wrong—keeping something like that from Magnus—but no matter what, it wasn’t unforgivable. That was just—ahh, gosh. It was terrible. It twisted my heart and made me ache for Alec, because both boys loved each other.


Things That I Don’t Know What to Feel About:


He’s the type of villain you just can’t help feeling sorry for. All those twisted ideas Valentine planted into Sebastian’s mind, along with his demon blood—you just can’t help but think It really isn’t his fault. He would’ve been born just like any other Shadowhunter baby, but all his upbringing made him the sick monster he really is.

But then you think: Look at all the people he’s murdered. Look at how a war would’ve started.

Then you can’t help but hate him. But he does this because he hasn’t had a positive upbringing. He has thick, red, ugly slashes across his back as a reminder from his father; he lost the only person in the world he was attached to; he lost the one person who cared about him and who he cared about; he lost his “mother.” If that’s what happens, can you not feel sorry for him? Doesn’t it make you think that he’s actually a very lonely and torturous soul without redemption and salvation? It just seriously makes me hurt. He could’ve been someone different—maybe even the complete opposite of what he is now. But that isn’t his fault, not really. And I don’t even think all his actions are his fault, either. I think it’s just a reflective of his upbringing and nature. But I also think that the demon blood is so embedded into his brain that you can’t separate one from the other, and the only way to erase the evil is to kill all of it.

So I want him dead and I want him gone. But I also want him saved—and I don’t want him to be lonely. Because lonely villains are the worst of all. Their pasts are so sad. And Sebastian’s is.

Next: Maureen.

Okay, I still cannot comprehend that Camille is dead. Holy shit, I do not want to get near this girl. She’s fourteen and already managed to kill a thousand year old vampire. I mean, hell! Camille was alive all through Tessa’s time and even before that! She has gone places, seen the world! And a MONTH OLD VAMPIRE KILLED HER?

I’ll give this credit: Though it seems unbelievable, Clare knows how to make creepy villains. And insane, cackling children are the creepiest.

P.S.: I also have to add a bit of my nostalgic feelings here. For those of you who remember, Jace was talking to Clary about how he hated ducks, right? And he didn't know why? Well, that practically, also, smashed my heart w/ nostalgia. I mean, in 2012 Will is pretty much as good as dead (if he didn't become, uh, immortal, at least.) And also, when Jace opened A Tale of Two Cities, I nearly died when Clary read the signature: With hope at last, William Herondale. Shit, Clare, you know how to get my feels out of me. T______________T


My official review ends here. Up ahead are some random babbles about the Brother Zachariah being Will/Jem/Stephen theory.

Okay, I know that most people are leaning towards Brother Zach being Will, but I'm quite the opposite. Though the possibility of Zach being either Will/Jem/Stephen is pretty much all plausible, I'm leading towards him being either Jem or Stephen. I dunno; actually, Clare said that she gave 'misleading evidence' to the fact to, well, mislead us. And just thinking about it, doesn't making him Jem or Will make is also pretty straight-forward? And easy? The one thing I know about reading Clare's books is that she's a very meticulous writer and even the smallest detail changes the outcomes of things. She also likes to make her situations complex, and so I don't actually think Brother Zach may be either of the parabatai brothers.

Like here, from City of Fallen Angels:

"Zachariah’s fingers were slim, unlined - a young man’s fingers. She had never given much thought to the ages of the Silent Brothers before, assuming them to be all some species of wizened and old.

Jace, kneeling, gazed up at Brother Zachariah, who looked down at him with his blind, impassive expression. Clary could not help but think of the medieval paintings of saints on their knees, gazing upward, their faces suffused with shining golden light.

‘Would that I had been here,’ he said, his voice unexpectedly gentle, ‘when you were growing up. I would have seen the truth in your face, Jace Lightwood, and known who you were.’

Jace looked puzzled but didn’t move to pull away.

Zachariah turned to the others. ‘We cannot and should not harm the boy. Old ties exist between the Herondales and the Brothers. We owe him help.'"

The bolded part obviously favors Stephen, right? But then, there's another quote I found on The Herondale Boys ("The Silent Brother pushed his hood back from slightly from his face. Clary held back a start of surprise. He didn’t look like Brother Jeremiah had, with his hollowed eyes and stitched mouth. Brother Zachariah’s eyes were closed, his high cheekbones each marked with the scar of a single black rune. But his mouth wasn’t stitched shut, and she didn’t think his head was shaved either. It was hard to tell, with the hood up, whether she was seeing shadows or dark hair.") that pretty much gives us a "William Herondale" feeling (Will has high cheekbones and dark hair). But then again--isn't Stephen a descendant of the Herondale bloodline? Actually, since the gap between TID and TMI is ~130 years, there could be two generations fitted into that, couldn't? So maybe Will was Stephen's grandfather or even father. That would explain that Stephen caught Will's looks and genes, right?


Anyway. I think Brother Zachariah is Jace's father, Stephen Herondale. And I think this is my longest review ever. Your thoughts? Not like you read this whole shit. I love you if you did. ♥