Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Review: Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go – especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil – and also her father. To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings – and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
City of Ashes is the second book of The Mortal Instruments series written by Cassandra Clare, taking place after the event that happened in City of Bones. When I started in City of Ashes I found out that City of Bones has been made into a major motion picture and will be in theatres come August 2013. It is always hard to review a series since you are prone to have to reveal something of the plotline but I will do my best not to reveal too much.
In the previous review of City of Bones I mentioned that the story could go either way. There was no cliff-hanger moment and having been introduced into a rich New York, everything was possible. City of Ashes takes off pretty interesting and not with a totally random event but rather with an event that shaped the book very neatly from start to finish. The world that was created in The Mortal Instruments is a present day New York where there are also vampires, werewolves, fairies (the Fair Folk) and the “Law”, Shadowhunters. Having dedicated a great amount of pages to building this world fully paid off in City of Ashes, I still had a world picture in the back of my mind and Cassandra Clare managed to utilize this to the fullest, continuing with telling an enchanted story, that is both dark and humorous on occasions.
The characters in City of Ashes are more or less the same as in its prequel. The main protagonists are still Clary and Jace. Clary’s introduction in City of Ashes was for me somewhat strange. In the first book she was thrown in the league of Shadowhunters, she has some power for herself as well. But what I expected was that she would now also be prepped to join the ranks of her fellow Shadowhunters, this was not the case. Instead she is somewhat back trying to lead a normal life with her friend Simon, and with her mother in the hospital, she is just as caring as she was in City of Bones. She undergoes a small personality change really for the better, she becomes more confident which was good to see, because she really is destined to do some great things in the book to follow ( I hope). As for Jace, when I first encountered him in the series, he was just – and I do not know how to put it nicely – an asshole. And my opinion of his character is not changing at all. I actually grew to resent him even more. I really do not know what his problem is with people who have authority over him and that he just goes blindly against everything. Especially with the paragraphs of the Inquisitor, clearly respect your elders and peers does not count for him. He remains a cocky one-man-show-know-it-all. There was only one event that changed my opinion of him but even that did not hold. Although his character did not totally ruin the reading experience for me, I do think that if this continues along the way it just might for me.
Some of the secondary characters that you see reappearing are the other Shadowhunters and friends of Clary: Isabelle and Alec also Luke the werewolf, the Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus, and Clary’s mundane friend Simon make a reappearance. As for Isabelle she stays more or less in the background and has some input where necessary. There is a great revealing between Alec and Magnus, that was for me a bit too much. And Luke, being like a father for Clary makes a solid reappearance and plays a key part just like in City of Bones. Simon undergoes a great change in City of Ashes that makes his sort of nerdy personality change completely and now his is not that mundane anymore, but this also shows a tension on between him and Clary. In the end I must say that besides Jace I was very pleased with how the characters interacted and did what they were good at.
The plotline of City of Ashes takes off better than its prequel, probably owing to the already designed world. In City of Bones, Valentine, the villain of the story, had stolen one of the Mortal Instruments from the Shadowhunters. This is where it ended. Now in City of Ashes there was no slack in picking up the storyline and enlarging it by introducing another of the sacred Mortal Instruments relics. Valentine also makes a stronger than ever reappearance and shows his full intentions to Jace. In the way that Valentine acts in City of Ashes feels very natural but very evil, he is very persuasive, maybe a bit too much in getting people to do his bidding. The ending of the plotline read away very fast. In this you do see the more confident Clary facing of against Valentine. The action that finally led up to the confrontation between the two, the fighting of the Shadowhunters against a horde of demons, was described in full colours but this caused the final confrontation between Clary and Valentine to be a bit less spectacular for me, Clary does manages to pull of some neat stuff however!
City of Ashes is a great sequel and addition to the The Mortal Instruments series where Cassandra Clare manages to use the previously created world to the fullest. For me there was not a slack moment in the whole storyline, some chapters read away easier than others. As for the characters, they do continue to develop and as the plot moves, the destinies of both Jace and Clary are slowly revealed – what are they truly and how did they come to be special? But more over, City of Ashes ends with a very cool cliff-hanger, of which I am eager to find out what will happen in City of Glass…
Buy it here:
Also see: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare