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About The Book

What price is too high to pay, even for love? Plunge into fifth installment in the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly)—now with a gorgeous new cover, a map, a new foreword, and exclusive bonus content! City of Lost Souls is a Shadowhunters novel.

When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for:

City of Lost Souls
By Cassandra Clare

About This Book

Jace is gone. The Clave is worried about Sebastian: how he came back to life, where he went, and what he’ll do next. They are concerned about who is to blame for what happened, and how they can best protect the Shadowhunters and the rest of the world. But Clary is concerned about only one thing—Jace is gone. He is gone and she has to find him, for he is her life. It was her request of the angel Raziel that allowed Lilith to take control of Jace in the first place, so it’s up to her to find him and make him safe once again. When Jace shows up at Luke’s house with Sebastian, Clary is left with only one choice—to follow him. Sebastian and Jace are inextricably linked, and one cannot be killed without the other one dying. So Clary will pretend to join Jace and Sebastian in their dark plan while her friends search desperately for some way to sever the bond between the two boys. As she does her best to find out their plan, she has to keep reminding herself that the Jace she’s seeing now isn’t the same Jace she fell in love with. And everyone—Clary, Simon, Alec—has some hard lessons to learn about love and trust and commitment before this whole ordeal is over.

Discussion Questions

1. Why does the Clave deprioritize the search for Jace and Sebastian? Do you think that this is a fair decision? Do you think they would have made a different decision if they knew what Sebastian was planning?

2. The Shadowhunter motto is Descensus Averno facilis est or “The descent into hell is easy.” Why is this an appropriate motto for this group? Does it apply more to some characters than to others?

3. Would it have been better if Jocelyn had killed Sebastian in his crib, as Clary thinks in a flash of anger? How would this have changed Jocelyn as a person? Do you think Valentine would have stopped his experiments if Sebastian had been killed as an infant?

4. With Jace gone, Clary mentions feeling cold all the time . . . like there is ice in her veins and a layer of ice around her emotions. Why do you think that she associates cold with his absence? What does this icy feeling protect her from? What harm does it do her?

5. Now that Cassandra Clare is writing another series of Shadowhunter books, The Infernal Devices, she is able to reference other characters and items from the past Shadowhunter’s. Discuss some of these references, both in this book and in the City of Fallen Angels. What is the importance of these references? How do you think Clare might connect these two series?

6. The Seelie Queen warns Clary and her friends that Jace may be quite changed when they finally find him. Is she correct? How are his interactions with Sebastian different now than they were before he disappeared off the roof? What about his interactions with Clary? How does Clary react to these changes in Jace?

7. Why does Jocelyn make Clary leave Luke’s house after Jace and Sebastian attack it? Is she right about Morgenstern men not giving up? Do you think this is a trait that Jace got from Valentine, or does it have more to do with his personality and his relationship to Clary?

8. How is the “twinning” ritual that Lilith performed on Sebastian and Jace different from the parabatai ceremony? In what ways is it similar? Why does it make the task set before Clary and her friends more difficult?

9. Raphael believes a war is coming that will destroy Shadowhunter and angel alike, and he cautions, “And you had better pray, Daylighter, that you do not lose that Mark before the war comes. For if you do, there will be a line of enemies waiting their turn to kill you. And I will be at the head of it.” Is there anything besides the Mark of Cain that can protect Simon? Now that he no longer has the Mark, do you think Raphael will be proven right? Could Simon have avoided this situation by forming alliances with other vampires?

10. Do you agree with Clary when she asserts that there is no such thing as morality when it comes to love, and that you can do anything for the people you love? Or would you align yourself with Simon, who believes that while love is not moral or immoral, the actions we take in the name of love are? Do their actions match up with their beliefs? Do they stay true to their positions throughout the course of the story?

11. What do we learn about Izzy in this book? Is Jocelyn correct when she says that Izzy won’t be able to help but shine during dark and difficult times? Does Izzy deserve her reputation of making her few speeches count?

12. When she is trying to break through the hold that Sebastian has on Jace, Clary is reminded of some lines from a Leonard Cohen song: “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” Is there a way for the light to get into Jace? Should Clary keep trying?

13. Why does Simon feel like he can’t feed from Izzy? Why does she want him to? How does their relationship change once he does?

14. What is the significance of the Rudyard Kipling poem that Jordan has tacked up on his bedroom wall? Does it mean something different to him now than it used to?

15. Why does Maia ask Luke’s advice on some matters, even though she and Jordan had already discussed them? Are Clary, Izzy, Alec, Simon, and the rest of their group old enough to handle the situations that they are faced with? Does their experience give them any extra maturity or wisdom?

16. Why did Sebastian lie about the meaning of the Latin phrase, “Acheronta movebo,” on his bracelet? Why is this phrase so important to him? Did Clary understand the importance of this lie?

17. Why does Clary prevent Jace from turning himself and the new Mortal Cup into the Clave? Why does she come to regret this decision? How is making this decision different than making the decision to kill Jace on the battlefield?

18. What effect does stabbing Jace with Glorious have on him? Is this what Simon and the others expected when they raised the angel Raziel to ask for a weapon? Why do you think Jace is suffering these particular side effects?

19. How dangerous is Maureen? Why does she appear to be so powerful? What do you think she wants?


1. Shadowhunters use a lot of Latin phrases—their motto, engravings in the Silent City, the phrase on Sebastian’s bracelet. Make a list of common Latin phrases that we mundanes use regularly. Perhaps you can find a basic Latin primer, or someone who knows Latin, and you can learn something about this beautiful ancient language.

2. Imagine how these books would have been different if Sebastian had been killed as a baby. Write a scene that illustrates some of the changes you think would exist.

3. Clary visits a number of foreign cities while living in the apartment with Sebastian and Jace. Choose one of the cities that they visit, and research its history. See if you can find some photos of the things that Clary sees while she’s in that city.

4. The Shadowhunters have healing iratze runes, but we have to rely on medical training. Consider becoming certified in First Aid or CPR, so that you can help other people heal, even without a stele.

5. Clary steals two faerie-work rings from the Institute, which allow her to communicate with Simon. Draw a picture of what you think these faerie-work rings might look like.

6. When Magnus and the others summon the demon Azazel, they each have to give up a memory as payment for his help. What memory would you give up, if you had to? What memories would you never give up? Write a short essay describing these different memories.

Guide written by Cory Grimminck, Director of the Portland District Library in Michigan.

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

About The Author

Photo by Kelly Campbell copyright © Simon & Schuster, inc.

Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York TimesUSA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shadowhunter Chronicles. She is also the coauthor of the bestselling fantasy series Magisterium with Holly Black. The Shadowhunter Chronicles have been adapted as both a major motion picture and a television series. Her books have more than fifty million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and three fearsome cats. Visit her at Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at

About The Reader

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (May 8, 2012)
  • Runtime: 16 hours and 59 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781442349759
  • Grades: 9 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99

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Awards and Honors

  • ILA Young Adults' Choices
  • CBC Children's Choice Book Award Finalist
  • ALA/ YALSA Readers' Choice Nomination

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