Saturday, May 29, 2010

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry Books
Hardcover, 453 pages
Date Published: March 25, 2008

Description (Taken 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.
Clary Fray was thrust headfirst into the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Now that she has evaded the clutches of her evil father Valentine, Clary hopes for a semi-normal life. It’s too bad that semi-normal is hard to come by when her mother is still in a magically-induced coma, her crush-turned-newfound brother, Jace, is a Shadowhunter nearing a breaking point, and Luke, the only father she has ever known, is a full-fledged werewolf. Clary’s life is anything but normal and now that Valentine is out in the open and ready to acquire the last two Mortal Instruments, she must prepare for the life that she never knew she belonged to. With nice, normal, possibly boyfriend Simon in tow, Clary must face off again in this action packed sequel.

City of Ashes picks up right where City of Bones left off and it never lets up. There seemed to be absolutely no dull spots and I had trouble putting the book down. There were a few nights where I fell asleep with the book in my lap. It wasn’t from boredom or a slow pace either; I needed the sleep. Staying up until 4AM reading will do that to you.

There are so many new characters in this installment, most prominent being Mrs. Lightwood, Alec and Isabelle’s mother. Maryse Lightwood has been the only mother that Jace has ever known, but the revelation that he is Valentine’s son leads to mistrust and Mayrse orders Jace out of her home. This hurts Jace more than he would like to admit and even though he continues to remain snarky and somewhat rude, he is hurting.
“I don’t want to be a man,” said Jace. “I want to be an angst-ridden teenager who can’t confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people instead.” ~ pg. 45
All of this leads up to quite an emotional story. On the surface, City of Ashes is about stopping the evil Valentine from bringing on a war with the Shadowhunters. Deep down though, it is an emotional journey for Jace, for Clary, for Alec even. Each character goes through some sort of emotional turmoil. Jace is plagued with his feelings of isolation, while Alec has to deal with his feelings for Magnus. Clary is faced with the possibility that her mother won’t wake up and has to battle her feeling for Jace, while trying to reconcile her feelings for Simon. 
“When you love someone, you don’t have a choice…Love takes your choices away.” ~ pg. 211 
Jace and Clary also have to come to terms with their feelings for one another and how the discovery that they are siblings must put an end to all of it. City of Ashes isn’t your typical epic adventure, it is so much more than that.

Magnus, Alec, and Isabelle all get their fair share of dialogue this time around. Simon also plays a more prominent role. I have to say that my love for Simon has only grown with City of Ashes. I may even adore him more than Jace, though Jace still has that charm that is undeniably attractive. The introduction of more werewolves and faeries was a wonderful addition here.

Once again, Cassandra Clare has weaved a magical, mythical world right inside our very own New York City. The plot was solid with many twists and turns that made it even more exciting. I never knew just what to expect. The suspense is ratcheted up a notch and builds and builds until it culminates in this momentous realization that has both Clary and Jace discovering some abilities that they never knew they had. We also get some confusing and dubious information that leads me to question Jaces’s true lineage and a true transformation for one character. City of Ashes has so much to offer and I enjoyed even more than the first in the series. City of Glass is next in line and I cannot wait to read it.

Opening line: The formidable glass-and-steel structure rose from its position on Front Street like a glittering needle threading the sky. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: Maybe it was true what the Seelie Queen had said, after all: Love made you a liar. ~ pg. 247

You know what the worst thing I can imagine is? Simon had said. Not trusting someone I love. ~ pg. 289
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


elizabeth said...

Great review! Can't wait to hear what you have to say about the next book.

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I love, love, LOVE these books. I can't wait for the fourth one (or for Cassandra Clare's new series that comes out in August). Glad to hear you enjoyed them as well! :)

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