Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Genre: YA, paranormal
Published on March 25, 2008
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 453
Read From: 9.25.14 - 10.1.14

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?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I love the shiny-ness of these covers, but am not a fan of the body shot. At least this one has a shirt on. . . . ;-)

Characters: Oh, where to start with the characters? For the most part, I am still indifferent to pretty much everyone. I neither hate them nor love them. But with certain situations, I began to form a more solid emotional opinion on some of them. Clary still isn't a bad protagonist, though I wish someone would just sit down and train her, rather than going on about how she can't do this and that and that she's not a proper Shadowhunter. I feel sorry for Alec; he's a really nice, shy guy. And Isabelle still somehow manages to have attitude without being annoying. But Jace. . . .I liked Jace in City of Bones. I didn't really think he was a jerk; just really sarcastic. Well, I don't like him anymore. Jace is all attitude and pouting and sulking and taking things personally. I can't stand that. Simon is sad and adorable; I do really like him. The more secondary characters - Luke, Magnus, et cetera - are still pretty cool. Valentine isn't the world's greatest villain. He's scary in the sense that what he's doing he 100% believes is the right thing. But he talks too much and is extremely cliche.

The Romance: So the love triangle is super awkward. Simon likes Clary, Clary is trying to convince herself that she can feel the same way for Simon. Meanwhile, she's also trying to deny her feelings for Jace, and Jace is pouting because he doesn't understand why they can't just ignore convention and be together. Never mind they're related. Yes, it's weird - even though I know "the twist" it takes later that makes it a little less so. It's still awkward and weird. There's also the fact that Clary has this to say about her feelings:

She wondered for a moment if he might actually spring at her, what it would be like if he struck her, knocked her down, grabbed her wrists even. Fighting to [Jace] was like sex to other people. The thought of him touching her like that brought the blood to her cheeks in a hot flood. (pg. 223)

So, Clary wants an abusive relationship. Abuse turns her on, does it? O-kay. Clary and Jace's relationship isn't the only awkward romance. There's also Alec and Magnus. For the most part, I'm actually not all that bothered with Alec being gay. It doesn't feel like it's being shoved down my throat. And Magnus is just a weird dude - I wouldn't be surprised if he was bisexual. However, the way Alec behaves around Magnus doesn't feel like a healthy relationship. He acts like someone who is being molested. He gets super quiet and confused and awkward, and avoids Magnus's touch. If I saw those two together, I would think that Magnus was molesting him.

Plot: It's the aftermath of City of Bones. Clary's mum is still in a coma, Valentine is still out there with the Mortal Cup, and everyone is in emotional upheaval. Especially Jace, who's just Mr. Moody and Grumpy now; who won't communicate to anyone what he's doing. And when Downworlder children start dying, of course Jace is blamed, and of course everyone starts saying that he's in league with Valentine because, y'know - like father, like son. So of course instead of cooperating and working to prove his innocence, Jace starts going off on his own, goes to suspicious locations, doesn't tell his friends anything about what he's doing. In short, kinda creates his own problems. The Inquisitor, I'll grant you, wouldn't listen anyway; she's made up her mind a long time ago. But Alec, Isabelle, Clary - talk to them!! Then the Soul-Sword goes missing, and that's super bad news. 'Cause now Valentine has both Mortal Instruments and can cause all sorts of havoc. As soon as he completes some complicated rituals. But he's a little too busy listening to his own voice to do that. Okay, enough sarcasm. I did like the plot. It was exciting, there was lots of action, there was more world building, I like the Author's twist on werewolf, vampire, and faerie mythology - it's awesome. There's just. . . .holes. Holes that could have been fixed just a bit more if characters had communicated more.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. Extremely movie-ish - especially toward the end, during the action sequences. The Author breaks off in the middle of intense moments to go follow another intense moment, then breaks off again to follow another and another. Very much like scenes in a movie.

Content: 2 g--damns. Lots of blood and gore. Awkward romance.

Conclusion: At least the characters don't think that Valentine is dead. It may be because I wasn't able to read the climax just straight through (I kept getting interrupted), but it felt way too drawn out. So much so that I actually started getting kinda bored. [Spoiler] And maybe we were supposed to be feel super bad for Clary when Jace declared they should just be friends, but that's when I started liking Jace again. [End spoiler] As a whole, I liked City of Ashes. It had some great twists and exciting moments. The romance is just not for me.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of paranormal.

Others in The Mortal Instruments Series:
1)City of Bones
2)City of Ashes
3)City of Glass
4)City of Fallen Angels
5)City of Lost Souls
6)City of Heavenly Fire


  1. I'd say don't worry about the romance,, see what you think in the next book.

    1. Oh, I know the romance gets worse and worse. I'm hoping that I can like some of the side characters (like Luke and Simon) enough that I can wade through it.


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