Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Previous Book: City of Bones
Next Book: City of Glass
Source: Personal purchase
Description from Goodreads:
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?
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.
After reading City of Bones, I liked The Mortal Instruments series, but I didn’t love it, and I didn’t feel an intense need to go straight into the sequel; I figured I’d get around to it at some point. However, after seeing the movie version of City of Bones, it hinted at some things to come in the future that weren’t in the first book. One thing specifically (which I won’t mention, so as not to spoil the movie) got me really excited and made me want to jump right in to City of Ashes to see if I was correct in my assumption.
My biggest problem with the Mortal Instruments series thus far is the Jace-Clary-Simon triangle. I really liked the relationship between Jace and Clary in City of Bones, and unfortunately, the big revelation at the end really put a damper on that. For that reason, I found almost every interaction between the two of them really awkward and frustrating for me as a reader. And Simon? Ugh. He just seems so whiny and annoying to me, and there is nothing appealing about a Clary/Simon romance to me.
However, outside of that frustrating relationship, I really enjoyed City of Ashes. I felt like the stakes were higher and much more intense. Valentine is back and scarier than before, and I felt like his first real introduction to the story definitely kicked things off with a bang. There was a lot of action, and I like that. There were lots of twists, turns, and surprises along the way.
There are some new characters in City of Ashes, and I felt like they really added a lot to the story. Maia was an interesting addition, and though it was heartbreaking at times, it was great to see the dynamic between Jace and the senior Lightwoods. Then there’s the Inquisitor. Ugh, she is almost the Dolores Umbridge of City of Ashes (If you don’t know who Dolores Umbridge is, stop slacking and read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). She was the almost-villain that I loved to hate throughout this book! But the character I think I loved the most in this book was easily Magnus Bane. He came across as really scary and intimidating in the first book, and he still is both those things at times, but there’s just something about him that I love. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters of all time!
The ending was absolutely intense and made me very eager to get to the next book! I can’t even say much about it without spoiling it, so I’m just going to say that it was great. Overall, I thought that City of Ashes was a great follow-up to City of Bones and even better than the first. I feel like the series took a bit to get into, but is definitely moving in the right direction, and I would recommend it.