City of Ashes left off with the group of shawdowhunter warriors poised for a show down worthy of the OK Corral! Jace, Clary, Alec, Luke, Simon, Magnus, The Lightwoods….everyone was anxiously waiting for the day when Valentine would make his move and they could either fight and destroy him or submit to his demands. City of Ashes left readers tasting the looming battle…waiting for that day to come.
This book follows Clary’s journey to the shadownhunter ‘homeland’ of Idris. The whole Lightwood family, Jace, and Clary plan to attend a formal Clave meeting about what should be done about Valentine.
Just as Magnus opens the portal to send the Lightwoods and Jace though (without Clary), demons and forsaken attack them. Magnus throws the Lightwoods and Jace through the portal before anymore demons pass through and kill them….oddly enough Simon is there meeting with Jace about Clary and he too gets thrown threw the portal to Idris right along with them.
Downworlders are not welcome in Idris…..Jace and the Lightwoods have broken Clave law and the Accords by bringing the ‘vampire’ AKA Simon through the portal. An old shadowhunter family, the Penhallows, are in charge of ‘watching’ the Lightwoods and Jace while the Clave decides what to do about Simon.
Here they meet the Penhallow’s daughter Aline and cousin, Sebastian Verlac. Meanwhile back in NYC, Clary discovers Jace and the Lightwoods have already gone through the portal and she is NOT happy. The whole reason she wants to go to Idris is because of her mother. She knows that the only way to save her mother is by finding a certain warlock in Idris….only he can lift the spell that is on her mother. So needless to say she is not thrilled about being left behind.
Clary finally makes her way (quite literally) to Idris dragging Luke with her. Her reunion with Jace and the Lightwoods in Idris is far from a happy one….Jace insults her to the point of cruelty while Alec and Isabelle stand by and watch Jace destroy her with his insults.
The only one who shows her kindness is Sebastian. Sebastian takes a special interest in Clary and offers to show her around Idris while she is there and to help her find the warlock who is able to help her mother. While they are out together, Sebastian let’s it slip that Simon is at Idris and being help prisoner by the Inquisitor….and he is there because Jace brought him through the portal….Jace knew and never told her.
Clary struggles to understand why Jace is treating her in such a horrible way….lying to her, insulting her……hurting her.
In the meantime, Valentine grows stronger. He has two of the three mortal instruments and is within days of getting the third. But first he must break through the enchantments that hold protect the capitol city of Alicante. Think of Alicante as a city inside a snow globe…it is fortified by enchantments and protective spells…..the shawdowhunters own little safe bubble.
Valentine succeeds and a reign of terror threatens everything that the shadowhunters know to be ‘right’ and everything they cherish. The shadowhunters alone are powerless to stop Valentine….when Luke suggests that downworlders fight along side the shadowhunters to face and defeat Valentine….the Clave is stubbornly reluctant.
If the shadowhunters don’t unite and fight with the downworlders all is lost….will an alliance be made? Will Valentine finally raise the Angel and destroy the shawdowhunters? Could Clary and Jace really be brother and sister? The end is coming….the battle lines have been drawn. Which side are you on?
While I enjoyed the other two books, I think this one has been my favorite so far in the series. It did get a little confusing with all the genealogy type stuff and all the shawdowhunter families and their old beefs with each other but other than that….I liked that we got answers in this book.
In the previous books there was a lot of fighting and action but this one was more so for me….the ‘epic’ battle, the final battle was perfect and the build up to this final battle made the other battles from previous books seem like a preview to what was to finally come.
This book was also more about the inner personal journey of the characters which I liked. I finally felt like I got to know Clary a little better….I thought the rage she felt toward her mother was genuine and fitting. I also felt like Alec came into his own which…he grew up and became a man which really made me like him better. And of course Jace…I was like of lukewarm about Jace in the previous books but I really liked how his character changed and grew in this book so now I can wholeheartedly say I liked Jace as a character.
I also like how we got to know and ‘see’ Valentine….I felt like I understood him better as a character and not just as a villain….not that he wasn’t the villain but he was more of a justifiable tragedy for me than a simple purely evil villain….he was very much a human.
All the character development and answers aside I think the one thing that stood out head and shoulders above the rest was the way Clare created the alliance between downworlders. I have read a lot of fantasy fiction and often two groups that hate each other must learn to work together (example, vampires and werewolves). I don’t know much about other supernaturals such as fairies, angels, shapeshifters, and warlocks so sometimes it’s hard to know why all the supes can’t just get along!
But I think it’s even harder as a writer to figure out a plausible way to get them ALL to work together….what Clare does with this problem is a perfect solution and it worked beautifully. I was impressed and that was one of the things I will take away from this series so far….the alliance was completely believable.
- Hardcover, 541 pages
- Published March 24th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry
- ISBN 1416914307 (ISBN13: 9781416914303)
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
…When people tell you something unpleasant about themselves it’s usually true (129)
People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way but it’s the way you live your life that matters (296)