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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels
(The Mortal Instruments, Bk 4)
By Cassandra Clare

Narrated by: 
Ed Westwick
Molly C. Quinn

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Viviana's Review: 
Usually I review the book first and then the narrators. However, there were a few things that came to mind within the first few chapters of listening that I wrote down immediately. Since those things were all revolving the narrators, let’s start with them.  I was excited to have seen that there were two narrators, one male and one female. Why excited? Based on other audio books that I've heard, I thought Ed would read the male characters and narration and Molly would read the female characters and narration. Sigh. That was a disappointing sigh…..  They narrated based on the point of view of the character: Ed for Simon’s POV and Molly for Clary’s POV.  If the division of POV was organized into parts (Simon – Part One and Clary – Part Two) I believe it would have worked out better. However, that’s not the case here.
Ed’s voice is smooth and he does a great job switching tones between characters and the narration. He starts off the book as its Simon’s POV. It’s always interesting to see the narrator’s interpretation of a character. He definitely nailed what I thought Simon would sound like. It was interesting to hear his interpretation of Jace.

This is the first time Molly narrates this series (she also narrates “City of Lost Souls”).  It was a bit rough when she began to narrate. She doesn't differentiate between the characters or the narration, which can make it hard to follow. Other female narrators go a few octaves lower for the male characters but unfortunately Molly does not. Excited? Sad? Narration? Angry? Unfortunately, all the same tone.  She does add an accent to the Seelie Queen. I will say that towards the end, her narration improves with regards to tone for Clary.

My issue with the way the narration was conducted is that each narrator had their own interpretation of the characters (which were significantly different) causing there to no cohesiveness between the POV of Simon and Clary. I really liked Ed’s narration which caused me to compare Molly’s narration and thought different can be good, not in this case. I’m hoping that Molly feels more comfortable with the characters and has gotten to know them better as she is narrating the next book all by herself.

Book Review: 
The story was a bit slow to start with but it pick up its pace after a few chapters. “City of Fallen Angels” is divided between Simon’s POV and Clary’s POV.  However, the majority of the book revolves around Simon. In fact, Simon’s part truly kept the story moving forward and made this installment of the series good.

There was significantly more “teenage angst” in this book than in any of the previous ones. Yes, I know it’s a YA (as it should be about teenagers) and I do remember what it’s like. Just had to roll my eyes a bit during some of the scenes between Jace and Clary. If I could have gone through the book and grabbed her by the shoulders and shaken her, I would have. It actually reminded me of a few friends I had in high school. I had to shake them too when it came to boys, their own self worth and about looking at the situation for what it is vs. making it about themselves (not pretty enough, not good enough, blah blah blah).  Clary and Jace are officially a couple and like any couple that just got together, they are still getting to know each other and how they now fit into this new role. Of course add vampires, a potential new war, your mother not liking your boyfriend (wait, that one isn't anything new or out of the ordinary, but still), someone trying to kill your best friend, well, you can see where this is a rocky start for them.

The Jace I knew and love is absent from this book. I know he has gone through a lot! Though I would have thought he had learned that he’s not alone in the world and that he has family and Clary that he can count on. However, he continues to keep things to himself and not let others in, causing greater harm and alienating those around him (even more in some cases) in the process. His absence is greatly felt in this book as it causes something to be missing and his personality was such a great driving force for the previous books.

Speaking of couples, LOVED Alec and Magnus! Interesting to see their dynamic, it was very cute and endearing. Curious to see where the events in this book lead to!

Over all I liked this book though it did feel like it dragged in a lot of places, and unfortunately it was usually the spots with Clary. This book also felt more like the first book in a series, creating the build up for the next book. This is sort of the case as well as “The Mortal Instruments” was supposed to be a trilogy but Cassandra Clare decided to continue to make it an ongoing series (currently there are 6 books scheduled for the series). If I looked at it as the first book in the series, then everything does make more sense as to the flow and lack of action (except for the end which is used more for a build up what’s to come in the next installment). This does make me look forward to “City of Lost Souls”.

Cassandra Clare has shared with her fan Jace's POV of the "Alleyway Scene". Click here to read it. I read it and if the book would have included Jace POV it would have been significantly better!!!

Rating: 3.5 Stars - I Really, Really Liked It!

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