I hesitated posting this last night so I compromised and put it up this morning. It's got some nondetailed spoilers.
I feel like Cassandra Clare jumped out, yelled "Surprise!" and then pushed me down the stairs. In a good way...which really shouldn't be possible but there you have the power of Cassandra Clare.
I actually took a little bit of time to think about this one after I read it. Usually I jump right over and blog about a book when I finish it. By the end of City of Lost Souls we've been given a lot to think about.
I'm giving my usual warning for SPOILERS beyond this point. I don't plan to discuss anything in great detail but, you know me.
In a way that only Cassandra Clare ever really manages to pull off, we have been given a massive amount to process. New power, power taken away, betrayal, revenge, menace, lust, guilt, love. This book has pretty much got it all. It's Cassandra Clare at her world destroying/saving badass best.
Here's the thing I have to expect the worst from Ms. Clare. Not writing wise, that's always stunning. I mean in terms of terrible heart-breaking fates for characters. While Lost Souls, didn't exactly hack anyone to pieces it set up so much potential heartbreak that my chest hurts just thinking about it. (I'm going to have chest pains for the next two years until Heavenly Fire, thanks for that).
In setting all of this up she's given us a a lot to think about. Sebonathan (as I shall call him to avoid confusion) for one, is all of his tacos short of a combination plate. He may even just be the plate. And Hell if he didn't up the stakes. The fated main character death we've heard about and who she's set it up to be (it could be a number of people). Vampires! The different strengths and weakness of characters. So much thinking...
Brother Zachariah...oh dear god... That's all I can say. I don't want to taint anyone with my frantic theories.
Characters, she did just a wonderful job with characters this round. She usually does but this was especially fantastic. Jace really grew as a character by the end in a remarkable way. It was awesome to see Clary get to be well and truly badass physically (apartment fight scene. Hell yes). I loved seeing more of the Lightwoods. I've always had a bit of a big soft spot for Alec and I loved the insight we got into him this one (the end!). Maia and Jordan are too cute but there are hints that it's not set in stone. The argument between Jocelyn and Clary was brutal but part of me had been waiting for someone to say it and I knew it wasn't going to be one of the younger characters. Also, Luke!
And I love Sebonathan. Not in a I-want-to-date-him sort of way. Remember, he's 64 box of crayons with only one crayon...and it's black. He is a seriously sinister and creeptastic character. So well written and developed. You hate him and are charmed by him and frightened of him. He is a near perfect villain.
I really loved the Clary and Jace dynamic in this one. Non-Jace was just enough Jace to remind Clary why she loved Jace but never quite really Jace. She has a fantastic inner struggle about why she'd saving him. And his brief return is heartbreaking. They're forceful but never rough with each other until Non-Jace enters the picture.
Also, I loved all of the Infernal Devices bits that are thrown in there. I girled. Seeing the Iron Sisters was also awesome. I love how they're the badass weapons makers instead of the men.
Clare always takes the story deeper and in a direction I never think of. There's always something that surprises me.
She's set up so much that I can't wait to read the next one. Realistically, I would have been impatient for it anyway. I'm hoping to do a more detailed post when some time has passed.
Unsurprising Rating: Beyond Epic
What did you all think? Love it?
I'm back to the reading list (for the most part) with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight but I'm slipping the A Flight of Angels graphic novel in there as well.