City of Ashes is the second installment of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. This review will not have spoilers for this book, but it will have spoilers for the first one so make sure you have read that one first!
Clary is still reeling from coming face to face with her father and is desperately hoping to find a way to wake her mother up. Her life was left in chaos and she is ready for it to return to normal. But her shadowhunter blood is not going to let that happen. Not when she still has to figure out how to handle everything that is going on in her life. Simon and Jace. Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Valentine and Luke.
When children—downworlder children—start getting murdered, Clary is forced to put her life on hold once again and help her new friends find out exactly what is going on. Is Valentine behind these murders? And if so, why? Valentine already has the Mortal Cup, but when another mortal instrument goes missing, all eyes turn to him and Jace. Will Clary be able to stop her father or will her long-lost brother, Jace, betray her and those she loves?
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare really surprised me. There was a lot of stuff going on in this novel. Not only is Clary’s mother still in a coma, but now she has to face Valentine all over again. Members of the Clave finally shows up, but instead of being reasonable and responsible adults, they act even more immature than the teenagers and blame everything on Jace.
Clary was slightly less annoying in this book than she was in the first one, but she still got on my nerves. She seems to be growing up fast though. I think the entire book was only about a week or two long. There was quite a bit of character growth for her in that time.
As for Simon and Jace, I have no idea what is going on with those two and their relationships with Clary. I feel like the teenage emotions have taken over and destroyed any reasonable thought, which is pretty accurate. I am still in shock over the fact that Jace and Clary are siblings, but the progression of their relationship or lack-there-of in this novel was even more surprising.
There was quite a bit more world-building in this novel as well. With the Lightwoods back at the institute and the inquisitor in town, I finally got to learn more about the Clave and the laws that bind the shadow world. I still wanted more world-building though because there are so many pieces missing to the puzzle still.
I will say that I enjoyed the interaction between Clary and her friends and the downworlders in this novel. We got to see werewolves, vampires, faeries, and warlocks. Plus a large variety of demons. I think the creativity that Clare used when writing these different races was fun to experience.
As for the writing itself, there wasn’t anything that stood out to me. It is definitely written at a low YA level, but there is nothing wrong with that. I picked up theses novel knowing that and it does not bother me as much as I expected it to. Some of the dialogue was slightly unbelievable, but nothing that pulled me out of the story.
Overall, I gave this City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare 4 out of 5 stars. I definitely recommend this series to anyone who is looking for an urban fantasy series and does not mind the lower level writing.