Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: April 5, 2011
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.Unplanned sequels are always apprehension-inducing: What about the characters’ HEA? Will new conflicts break up favourite pairings? And, most importantly, will they live up to the originals? In the case of City of Fallen Angels, the answer to the last question is YES. Sort of.
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.
Fluid descriptive passages and witty dialogue ensure that Fallen Angels is a clever, addictive read. Simon’s misunderstood pop-culture references make for some particularly amusing scenes. However, the middle of the book is slow, perhaps as a result of the main villain’s anonymity and physical absence. The plot is also patchy in places, but I like how this present-day series is beginning to connect with the Victorian-era Infernal Devices books. Cassandra Clare has a way of sneaking her characters, with their banter and distinct idiosyncrasies – Simon’s t-shirt catchphrases, Magnus’ glitter, Isabel’s weapon-jewellery – into readers’ hearts, so regardless of the book’s pacing, I was hooked.
Clary is a strong and resourceful protagonist in the first three books; by her own admission, she seems less driven in Fallen Angels, as her focus is mainly on her relationship. The result is some great passionate moments with Jace – yay! – but also a fair bit of pining while they’re apart. Still tormented by his inner demons, Jace also lacks some of his usual bravado, and his actions add some (perhaps unnecessary) angst to his relationship with Clary.
Isabelle is just as much a whip-wielding, dress-wearing badass, but she also reveals more layers of her personality. Simon is a true hero in this book. He undergoes more personal struggles than the entire cast combined, and still maintains his endearing nerdy-ness. Perhaps my single "issue" with Simon is that he’s so unerringly good that even in his most conflicted moments there’s no sense of uncertainty: he will always do what is right, even when he doesn’t. This makes him an admirable and sympathetic character, but not quite as interesting as one might hope.
That being said, City of Fallen Angels is a worthy sequel, not as fast-paced as the original trilogy, but just as compulsively readable and full of so-real-they-jump-off-the-page characters