Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 453
Genre: YA, fantasy
Series? Yes, #2 in The Mortal Instruments
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (2008)
Rating: 4.5/6 – I nearly loved this book

Synopsis from cover: 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? Clary would love to spend more time with her best friend, Simon. But the Shadowhunters won’t 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. When the second of the Mortal Instruments is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor suspects Jace. Could Jace really be willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read City of Bones – sorry folks. I loved City of Bones, but I can’t say I love City of Ashes as much. It’s half a step down – nothing serious, but it had a few problems that bothered me too much to be ignored. And, sorry again, I don’t feel like censoring myself today, so Spoilers Ahead.

What did I think about the characters? MALEC. MY SHIP HAS SAILED. 

Seriously. I shipped Magnus and Alec so hard in City of Bones that I literally squeed when it finally happened. asdjkflj;dsaklf *helpless flailing*

Clary still bugs me a bit, but she’s matured slightly in this book. Still a little bit helpless, as far as battle goes, but at least she knows how to use a stele and angel blade now. Plus, her newfound power is actually really cool. I wish she wasn’t so angsty about Simon and Jace, but it was far less than I had expected, so I was cool with it.

Which brings me to Jace. I love this boy so much. Seriously, just kill me now. He’s a lot more vulnerable in this book, but still has that snark that I love about him. I’m still not sure what his special power is (was that a legit plot point or just Valentine being a lying bastard again?), unless super Shadowhunter abilities counts. Which is totally hot. Seriously.

Emma BabiesPoor Simon though. Turning him into a vampire? That’s cold Clare. Real cold. Although it kind of did get rid of the whole love triangle thing, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise? But what’s with the sunwalking abilities? There’s a bit too much deux ex machina going on there for me to really be upset about his transformation now.

And the concept and plot? Well, we all know I love the concept. Angels, man. Angels. That’s all I have to say. 

As far as the plot, I think this is where it lost the .5 of a point for me. There was just so much going on that by the time I settled into the new developments, more were on their way. It was like being hit by a freight train over and over, especially in Chapter 14 when they’re all at Luke’s house. Some of it worked for me, and if there had been less going on, I think it would have worked all the way.

I really had one major question though: why was Jace punished so much for being Valentine’s son, but Clary wasn’t even mentioned as a problem even though she was Valentine’s daughter? I mean, I know Clary hasn’t been trained as a Shadowhunter much, but the Inquisitor was counting by blood relation, so Clary should have been just as guilty in her eyes. It bothered me through the whole book!

Oh, and one more thing: At the beginning of the book, everyone was saying how dangerous it would be for Clary to get marked with Runes without more training, but then ten pages later it’s like HEY ALL IT’S FREE MARK CLARY DAY GET YOUR STELES OUT AND PICK YOUR FAVORITE RUNE BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO TOWN. Like, really? Plus, she’s mysteriously suddenly good with a blade – where was her training?

What about the writing style? This one, instead of being fully Clary’s POV, was split between some of the characters. It was still mostly Clary, but I did enjoy the perspective of some of the other characters.

Alas, it was a bit angsty in this book for me. Even Jace wallowed in his pity-party a bit too long at times, but at least he wasn’t the worst offender.

Anything else you’d like to add? I know this is really informal today and kind of all over the place. I have no regrets!

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