Saturday, 17 January 2015

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments, #2) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

"I am at your service, my Lord...?"

The sentence ended politely, on a question.

The man smiled. "You may call me Valentine."

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 411
Chapters: 19 (Plus a prologue and an epilogue.)
Publisher: Walker Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


City of Ashes meets my expectations head on, and raises them. It is a thrilling tale that almost equals its predecessor. Ms Clare's sharp writing and knack for conveying a magical world are on point, and the story is paced well. I am eagerly invested in this series and its mythology, and City of Ashes answers enough questions to keep me satisfied, while still asking plenty more to keep me enthralled. But it's our main character that darkens the book for me. Clary - and more so her relationship with Jace - doesn't match up to the character we meet in City of Bones.


Clary Fray is still reeling from the revelations she's been through; with the existence of vampires, werewolves, shadowhunters still a little too hard to believe.
More so is the fact the man she loves is really her brother.
Intent on a little space, Clary is trying to work on her issues.
Too bad her father, the evil and enigmatic Valentine, has returned to cause a stir.
One of massive proportions.
Pulled back into the world of the supernatural, Clary will have to put aside her conflicted feelings, and stop her biological father from ending the world...

I'll cut straight to the point with the plot. City of Ashes picks up a few days after City of Bones finished, and like I said, it flows along nicely, much like the previous entry, with well-placed scenes of action and intrigue to keep you glued. I really love how The Mortal Instruments' world is shaping up, and how interesting and clever Ms Clare is setting out the mythology for it. I'm a sucker for Fantasy novels - I'm a sucker for mostly any genre, but still - but I'm even more hooked when everything sounds and falls into place perfectly.

Where Clary was instantly my favourite character from City of Bones, Jace takes over the reins for her in this novel. His development is spot on, with his hard shell cracking and the true man revealing himself; not only as a warrior, but a simple man as well. Clary disappoints a little. Not much went on with her, and where I felt her passion in the first novel, it's missing in City of Ashes. There are plenty of conversations within the book where I thought she would shine - as she does in the first book - but instead she hits back with a simple "Shut up" or "Stop", and in comparison with her older self, it feels regressive.

Everyone else, though, is fantastic. Their distinct voices, mannerisms and personalities are all nicely brought from the first book; and I feel we get more from them in City of Ashes, with the point of view changing smoothly throughout the novel.

My biggest cringe from the book is Clary and Jace's relationship, both their - SPOILER - brother and sister one, and their, um, more sexual one. I kind of have a feeling that Jace isn't really related to Clary, and I've felt that from when we found out in City of Bones. But, for now, we don't know otherwise, and we have to view them from the story's perspective: A brother and sister with more than just familial love. It can be a little unsettling at times, and it isn't really for me.

On the flip side, I'm still heavily invested on reaching answers; still desperate to be able to melt back into the Shadowhunter world.

So, yes, it is onto the next book!

Previous Instalment: City of Bones
Next Instalment: City of Glass

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