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Choppy, angsty relationship drama ...!
am 18. April 2011
When I finished this book it took me a while to decide on how to rate it. On one hand, it wasn't all bad. On the other, compared to the first three books (which I really liked) this one was a disappointment.
As a fourth book tacked on to a supposed trilogy, "City of Fallen Angels" was better than Stephenie Meyer's abysmally-bad "Breaking Dawn" (which remains the only book I disliked so much that I still wish I could "un-read" it --- just scratch it out of my mind completely!). And yet, I can't say that I really enjoyed reading it. For one, the characters felt flat and often behaved like spoilt and immature little children.
For another, nothing much happens in the book!!! I mean, seriously, more than 400 pages and there really isn't anything happening!!! Add to that the fact that several storylines that are started in the beginning of the story just sort of trickle away over the course of the book and that there are plot holes the size of Lake Michigan --- well, it all makes for a story that feels forced and a little bit like a first draft, not the final version of a book.
One of the plot lines in this book is the murder of several shadow hunters. But hey --- there's a wedding coming up so of course it's much more important to focus on finding the right dress than on finding the killer. Gotta have priorities, right?
There was some witty banter that was fun, but most of the dialogue felt wooden and contrived (and in some scenes even cringe-worthy ...). At times it felt like I was watching an episode of a badly-written soap opera.
Then there are the make-out scenes between Jace and Clary which actually had me laughing out loud in disbelief because they were so badly written. Remember how in the first books their scenes were sometimes steamy without them actually doing anything besides kissing (or even less than that)? You could almost feel the sexual tension between them leaping off the page. This time around the scenes are more graphic but they read like some really bad school girl fantasy.
Getting back to the characters ... I'll come right out and admit it --- I *loved* Jace in the first books. Yes, he could be arrogant and often eyeroll-inducing, but despite it all I really liked him. This time around, though, he grated on my nerves. In fact, he made me want to smack him over the head most of the time --- preferably with something heavy.
For example, Jace suffers from horrible nightmares in which he always ends up hurting/killing Clary. Now, what do you do when you have continued nightmares about the same thing? Talk to someone? Get help? Therapy, maybe? Or you could just behave completely jerk-ish (and I realize that's not really a word), not give any explanations, not talk to anyone and make yourself and everyone around you miserable. Jace went for the latter of those options. Why I have no idea.
Clary and Simon also have their moments of utter stupidity, and Alec's jealousy of all of Magnus's exes was ridiculous. I mean - the guy's immortal and has been around for a really long time ... Alec must have know before he started dating Magnus that the guy would probably have a string of exes.
What I would have liked to have seen:
- Jace and Clary as a happy couple. At least for a little while! I mean, after all the shit they went through in the first trilogy they deserved a break. But no, almost right from the beginning of the book Jace gives Clary the cold shoulder. Occasionally he thaws off enough to make out with her, and then it's back to avoiding her.
- Spunky Isabelle. But somehow it felt like she was only actually in this book to provide some comic relief occasionally.
- Magnus and Alec as a happy couple. But - kinda like Jace and Clary - from the moment they arrive on the scene they are continuously fighting.
- A strong and interesting plot. Something to grab me and make me count the days until the next one comes out. Sadly, the book ended up being the exact opposite.
To sum it up, "City of Fallen Angels" had good parts and bad parts. I didn't have to force myself to finish it or anything, but I don't feel compelled (or even tempted ...) to read the next book, either.