"I was trying to remember all the deadly sins the other day," he said. "Greed, envy, gluttony, irony, pedantry...""I'm pretty sure irony isn't a deadly sin.""I'm pretty sure it is.""Lust," she said. "Lust is a deadly sin.""And spanking.""I think that falls under lust.""I think it should have its own category," said Jace. "Greed, envy, gluttony, irony, pedantry, lust, and spanking."Thank the angel. Some of the old magic is back. After book 4 fell into that dreaded "bridge" category, I was slightly nervous that City of Lost Souls would end up spinning its wheels, not really going anywhere. I was smiling with a redemptive satisfaction as I found out this wasn't the case.Even though the focus of Mortal Instruments has shifted away from an almost sole dedication to the adventures of Jace and Clary, I didn't feel that this book suffered for it. This might, in fact, be the most balanced point of the series to date. Both J & C got an ample amount of page time, while we still got to hang out a bit with Simon and Isabelle, Jordan and Maia, and everyone's favorites - Magnus and Alec (who has a stamina rune - we know what that means!). Everyone had their own personal crosses to bear this time around and no struggle seemed less important than anyone else's (excluding Jordan and Maia who really didn't have that much to do). I appreciated Jocelyn's role in this book more than I had previously because at least this time, it felt like she had something to do. The amount of action vs. love story was also well crafted. J & C were still completely batshit crazy for each other but I wouldn't want it any other way. When there's enough going on around the main characters, making it so every single scene isn't always completely tethered to love story, it just makes any brief interlude of tenderness that much sweeter.Jace's lack of charisma in the last book was reversed somewhat this time...the essence of his core came back with full force, even if circumstances had changed him. Picture charming yet wicked at the same time. Different...but still intriguing. I gotta also give the thumbs up for some nice sexual tension. Book 6 better bring it with THAT scene because some of the "almosts" have been pretty swoon worthy in and of themselves.Sebastian - otherwise known as "when evil takes a turn for the bizarre." I'm waiting to see at least one review or two that's going to touch on this. Someone's going to be freaked out by his behavior. I've read far more strange twists, so I just went with it and figured that this means we're in for an interesting final book.Who was the breakout star of this tale? *insert long drumroll* - Yes, I was surprised. Simon finally got promoted from random errand bitch kid who tags along with the cool kids to a co-lead status. Good for him! He was never one of my favorite characters to start but his nerdy shirts and unwavering loyalty finally snuck its way into my heart. I was glad to see him finally start to figure out where his place was in this crazy mixed up family. He was such the lovable character :Simon eyed him. "Have you been watching The Bodyguard? Because I am not going to fall in love with you and carry you around in my burly arms.He had been thinking about pulling her into his arms and kissing her gently, but "Simon Lewis, Molester of Passed-Out Women" wasn't really the epitaph by which he wanted to be remembered."He felt her stiffen and then relax. "Simon?""Yeah?""Can you tell me a story?""Okay. I've got a good one." Simon stroked Isabelle's hair, feeling her lashes flutter against his neck as she closed her eyes. "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...""Not yet," he thought back. "Is Azazel the cat from The Smurfs?"There was a long pause. "That's Azrael, Simon. And no more using the magic ring for Smurf questions."As with many books, there's often a few items to nitpick. I noticed that these kids "padded around" a lot. Not sure why that was the language of choice for "walking," but whatever. I also felt like for the first time, Ms. Clare tipped the scales too much in handing out abilities. Rings that allow you to send thought messages into other dimensions? Traveling houses? We already have about a gazillion races, powers, runes, spells, etc. etc. There has to be a point where some things might not be possible, even for fantasy. Otherwise it's like you can just wake up and imagine what you want to happen and it does. That doesn't really help anyone with their problem solving skills does it?All in all, this was a marked improvement over the last book. The magic is back. I'm happy and I'm out. Cya next book.