Book Review: City of Ashes

City of Ashes
 (The Mortal Instruments #2)
By:  Cassandra Clare
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Page Count:464
Source:  Purchased by Reviewer
  Audience:  Young Adult - Fantasy
 As always, prior to the release of the latest book, I love returning to this world by rereading the previous installments to put me right back where I need to be with the newest book. So in that light, let's look at City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare's second installment of The Mortal Instruments series.

The following will contain some spoilers related to City of Bones... so be forewarned!

City of Ashes picks up very shortly after the events of City of Bones -- with Valentine's quest to possess another of the Mortal Instruments to carry out his diabolical plan to bring down the Clave (who he believes is irrevocably corrupt) as well as rid the world of demons and downworlders once and for all. His plan would also result in the Shadowhunters having new leadership -- HIS leadership. On the surface, his plan doesn't sound diabolical at all, but Valentine's evilness and self-serving ways are illustrated by the means in which he accomplishes his goals.

The other story arc continues with Clary and Jace dealing with the realization that they are sister and brother, and trying to deny their romantic feelings and carry on like normal siblings. Not surprisingly, they are left frustrated and confused with how they SHOULD BE around each other. This also leads to a lot of mixed-up feelings between Clary and Simon, her best friend who hopes for something more with her. This is a unique love triangle in that the 'forbidden' aspect is that our star-crossed lovers have been told they are siblings (a seemingly impossible situation to overcome) as well as the potential romantic relationship between the best friends faces its own challenges as well.

I still admire Clary's determination in seeing things through and not giving up, keeping in mind, that in a short time, her world has basically been turned upside down. Muddying her troubles in love is also dealing with the other realization that Valentine, the man everyone despises and is terrified of, is her biological father. And she also has to deal with the fact that her mother is in some sort of enchanted sleep that she is not waking up from.

What can be said about Jace other than he is still the arrogant and sarcastic shadowhunter that he was before, and still somewhat of a troubled and broken character. But his growth is illustrated through his increasing vulnerability where Clary is concerned and how he deals with every unique and difficult situation he comes across.

Unfortunately for Jace, his sarcasm ends up catching the ire of new character, The Inquisitor. After the realization that Valentine is indeed alive, and for many years posed as Michael Wayland raising Jace, The Inquisitor, among others, questions Jace's loyalty to the Clave versus his loyalty to his father.

In this installment, we also get to know Maryse and Robert Lightwood, along with their son Max, when they return to the Institute and are left to deal with the repercussions following the last battle with Valentine in their absence.

And then there's Simon. At first, I was not at all happy with the direction that Simon's character had taken. But as the story continues to unfold, I've come to accept this and really love him and his devotion to Clary and his will to always do what is right. He really shines in this story.

There is lots of tender moments -- not just between Clary and Jace -- but between the other characters as well. I also loved getting to know Luke's back-story and his history with both Valentine and Jocelyn and its significance to present events.

There was never a dull moment and the story continued to go in directions I did not anticipate -- making it a 'couldn't put down' read!
 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, new found 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?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.


  1. I've just reviewed this too! I have to say, I am loving Magnus right now. He's just as witty and funny as Jace which I really love about them both.

    Here's my review ->

  2. This was definitely a great story and I so love Cassie Clare fo giving us the shadowhunters. What's so great about City of Ashes is how much darker the story is and also how much action there is. We also really get to know the secondary characters a lot more and it is awesome that Clare makes everyone seem important and have their own voice even if we only see them for a short time. If you think this was great, just wait til you continue with City of Glass.

    1. That is all true Caitlin! This series is beyond awesome... including the latest release... City of Lost Souls!

  3. Hazal, I agree -- Magnus is a favourite of mine too... and I love that he spans ALL of Cassie's books!

    I couldn't check out your review because your address just took me to the City of Ashes page.

    Thanks for stopping in! :D


Post a Comment

We love your comments!