Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 25th, 2008
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy
If you haven’t read City of Bones, don’t read this review, as it contains some spoilers.
As the second instalment of The Mortal Instruments series begins, Clary just wants to have a normal life. A few weeks ago, that is exactly what she had. Now Clary knows that she is a Shadowhunter, and has the blood of angel and human. Shadowhunters protect humans from demons and keep peace among the Downworlders. However, even for a Shadowhunter Clary is unusual. She has just learned that the evil Valentine is her father, and her mother is in a coma after being kidnapped by him. She has also just found out that the handsome Jace is actually her brother. Clary had romantic feelings for Jace before she knew they were related, but now things are different. Simon, her best friend for ten years, is interested in her, and Clary decides to pursue a relationship with him. Meanwhile, Jace’s adoptive mother, Maryse, is suspicious about Jace, and believes he is helping Valentine. Someone is killing Downworlder teenagers, and Valentine seems to be at blame. When Valentine steals the Soul-Sword, the second Mortal Instrument, things become even worst for Jace. What is Valentine up to, and what will that mean for Clary and Jace?
I read City of Bones a few months ago, and I thought it was all right. I couldn’t put it down at times and liked the fast paced story line, but there were some flaws that bothered me. It felt like Clare was trying too hard to surprise you with twists, such as Hodge’s betrayal and Jace and Clary being siblings (which weirded me out.) Overall, I wasn’t that impressed, but a few people have told me to keep reading the series, as it gets better. After reading City of Ashes, I agree. Although I liked it overall, I had difficulty getting into this book at first. When Maryse was expressing her doubts about Jace not knowing that Valentine was his father, I agreed with a lot of what she was saying. The whole thing was too farfetched- how did everyone (including the Lightwoods) go all this time without figuring out that the father Jace described wasn’t Michael Wayland? By about page 50, things picked up and I was able to suspend my disbelief. Like the previous book, City of Ashes is fast paced; it actually felt like even more happened than in City of Bones. Although this book is 453 pages, it felt a lot shorter. The fantasy world that Clare has created is fascinating, and it’s one of the things that draws you into City of Ashes.
Some of the characters were great, including Isabelle, Alex, Magnus, Maia and Simon. Simon is probably my favourite character, and I really respected him by the end of the book. He also had some of the best lines. I didn’t like or dislike Clary, and I’m hoping her character will develop more throughout the series. I’m not a big fan of Jace, but I can see his potential to grow to be a character I’ll like. He’s charming, brave and clever but also rude and arrogant. However, I can still see why Clary likes him. I would bet my breakfast that they are not actually siblings, and it feels like the author is just trying to create a forbidden romance to add some drama. And after some angst and yearning, Clary and Jace will learn the truth and be together. What’s supposed to be a plot twist just feels predictable and contrived to me. Of course, I could be completely wrong. I’ll have to wait for the next book to find out.
City of Ashes is a page-turner that makes you want to keep reading until the last page. Fast paced, exciting and full of quick and clever dialogue, this is a sequel that’s better than the original.
"If you really love something, you never try to keep it the way it is forever. You have to let it be free to change."