Review: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

1, 2, 3 ACTION! From the first page of Cassandra Clare’s thrilling YA series, The Mortal Instruments, the second book of the series, City of Ashes–readers can expect one thing…ACTION. So much happens in this book, while a lot happened in City of Bones, I felt like the first book in the series was more about foundation laying than this second book…in this book things happen at an alarming pace!

Clary and her shadowhunter friends embark on a dangerous adventure. Having narrowly escaped the clutches of the evil (and rogue shadowhunter), Valentine in Book I, the shadowhunters know it is only a matter of time before Valentine resurfaces.

Suddenly, an alarming number of downworlder ‘children’ are ending up dead….first a warlock, then a fairy, and then a werewolf. The shawdowhunters being to detect the subtle traces of Valentine’s signature all over these crimes.

Clary can’t help but wonder if her mother holds the key to the mystery….but there is one problem, her mother is in a magically educed coma.

Lost, alone, and confused there is only one person Clary knows who she can turn to at any moment…..her best friend Simon. But when Simon’s feelings for Clary change from friendship to love and passion, Clary is not entirely sure how she feels about the whole thing.

Though she is sure she loves Simon, she is not sure if she loves him as anything more than a friend….but there is one person she IS sure she loves as more than a friend….the fearless and cocky shadowhunter, Jace–but the relationship is a complicated one to say the least! She is horribly torn and conflicted about both boys. Then when she suddenly realizes she possesses a special power, she is more confused than ever about who she is….and the only person who might be able to help her is in a coma.

In the meantime, Valentine is trying to recover the three Mortal Instruments…a cup, a sword, and a mirror and use them to further his evil bidding….downworld genocide more or less….you know the usual weapons of mass destruction (insert evil laugh here!) :).

With the Soul Sword at his disposal, Valentine controls the demon world….he can raise, summons, and control the demons amplifying his powers. Not to mention, he is cunning, ruthless, charming, convincing, and entirely sociopathic. He is able to manipulate the shawdowhunters by speaking partial truths–truths that have a grain of salt so to speak–which are truths of the worst kind!!!

The shadowhunters are turned against each other…..forced to ask the hard questions: who do you trust and what do you believe? The shawdowhunters must also learn to trust other downworld children….shadowhunters have never trusted fairies, vampires, warlocks, or werewolves but now the time has come, if they ever hope to defeat Valentine and recover the Mortal Instruments, they must learn to work together. The time has come to pick sides….before its too late. Will the shadowhunters fight amongst themselves or unite together with the children of the other downworld clans to stop Valentine? You must read the book to find out!!

The over all pace of this book was MUCH quicker, you could really feel the pace pick up as you kept reading. So much happened in this book it was almost overwhelming but in a good way. Since the first book was all about establishing the foundations and the ‘back story’ so to speak, this book was more about action and adventure. A thrilling ride to say the least.

The only complaints or issues I had with this book (which I think has been nagging me all along in this series) is the relationship between Jace and Clary and Jace and Alec. As I said in my previous post about Book I of the Mortal Instruments (MI), I simply liked the Infernal Devices (ID) better! I have just had this nagging feeling that something was off for me in the MI series preventing me from LOVING IT. Maybe it’s because I read the ID first (the prequel to the MI) but I felt like the chemistry between the characters was stronger.

In this book, I felt like I got to know Magnus Bane and Luke MUCH better but the other principal characters remain a mystery in many ways. Clary for example, I don’t feel entirely as connected to her as I felt with Tessa in the ID. I would like to know more about Clary and feel more connected to her in the next few books. I felt like we were going to really see Clary shine in this book (hence the cover) but I felt like Jace stole her thunder as I felt more connected to Jace in this book than the previous one. But yet, I feel oddly more intimate with the characters….perhaps thats what happens when SO MUCH goes on in a single book, who knows :).

I think the other thing that bothers me is the relatioship between Jace and Alec. I know I know I shouldn’t try to compare ID and MI but since they are so closely connected I can’t help but compare the two! In ID, Will and Jem are parabatai (blood brothers and fighting partners) and in the MI series, Jace and Alec are parabatai. I simply can NOT buy it from Jace and Alec….the parabatai relationship is not homosexual in nature necessarily but it does invoke a certain intimacy and admiration that I am NOT feeling between Jace and Alec. I don’t sense the connection like Will and Jem had…though maybe that is the point??? I don’t know but it is really bothering me that Jace and Alec aren’t closer and we don’t really get to see the dynamics of their relationship….though I don’t think their relationship will have the same dynamic effect on the MI as Will and Jem do in the ID series.

At any rate, I did like the increased tension within the love triangle (Jace, Simon, and Clary). I think we have all been (at some time or another) where Clary is….two people you love for two very different reasons and suddenly realizing one can only ever be a friend and when you tell them you know you will lose them forever regardless of how gentle you make it seem…..hurt and love often go hand in hand. That for me was one of the big reasons why I haven’t written Clary off entirely…Clary could be any of us…..she is relatable and her story (minus the sci-fi/fantasy stuff) is timeless and classic at any age.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

  • Hardcover, 453 pages
  • Published March 25th 2008 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5 (great first book in the series, lots of adventure and action)

Genre: YA, sci-fi, fantasy, angel lit

Memorable lines/quotes:

Growing up happens when you start having things you look back on and wish you could change (209)

Love makes you a liar (247)
If you can’t tell the truth to the people you care about the most eventually you stop being able to tell the truth to yourself (445)

2 thoughts on “Review: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

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