Title: City of Lost Souls
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Length: 534 pages
For me, what makes the writings of Cassandra Clare so captivating isn’t the fairy tale romance, the paranormal elements, or the bad ass fight sequences… at the heart of it all, it’s the way Clare manages to make a young adult fantasy saga an sequence of unexpected odes to her favorite pieces of literature.
“No man chooses evil because it is evil. He only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” – Mary Wollstonecraft
“Love is familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love.” – William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost
“I love you as one loves certain dark things.” – Pablo Neruda, “Sonnet XVII”
“All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.” – William Butler Yeats, “Easter, 1916”
If you recall my review of The Book of Secrets you should be well aware of how much I cherish this particular aspect of storytelling. I love peeping into the mind of the author and what they’ve read before – what work we may have both cherished. I love to see how others acknowledge how literature builds a soul. Even if that soul is an imagined character in another book.
A reviewer on Goodreads mentioned they thought it was silly that all these Shadowhunter kids were completely oblivious of what went on in the mundane world half the time – Jace completely misses references to Madonna or Dungeons & Dragons games – but are well versed in William Shakespeare and Dante.
As a classical book geek it makes perfect sense to me. I was raised on Charles Dickens and the Brontes, not the latest boy band or pop culture trends. Poetry is timeless. New Kids on the Block obviously not so much.
One doesn’t expect these odes and references in a paranormal teen romance. I suppose that’s what makes them so stunningly lovely.