Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)Goodreads Synopsis

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.


There may be spoilers for City of Bones ahead. You have been warned.

City of Ashes picks up almost immediately where City of Bones ended.  Clary has almost gotten used to the fact that she is a Shadowhunter, that’s she’s been thrust into the world of the supernatural and whether she likes it or not, the fight isn’t over yet. In fact, it’s barely begun. Valentine is still running around causing havock and now added to the mix, Downworlder children are being killed.

I read this book a few years ago and I think this was possibly my favourite in the series for a long time because back then I was a big supporter of Climon. Things are different now of course and I can’t even remember why I liked the two of them together so much.

In City of Ashes, Jocelyn, Clary’s mom, is still unconscious and no one knows how to wake her up. Clary is still trying to fight her feelings for Jace, whom as we know, was revealed to be her brother. Jace is being the arrogant a-hole, so that hasn’t changed. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if Clary finding out the truth started a chain reaction.

I can only really talk about my feelings for this book because I feel like there’s too much that can be easily spoiled.

The first thing that I noticed was Isabelle’s character. I know her to be this BAMF, take no-nonsense woman, and in this book she is that but I forget that she’s roughly Clary’s age here. There’s so much about her that still screams ‘child’ and then I’m reminded that most of the characters in these books are still children. Looking back at this book and knowing how Isabelle ends up in the end…that’s beautiful character development. All the applause for that!

I’ve already mentioned in my City of Bones review that I could ignore Clary’s annoying characteristics because I was more focused on what else was going on. In this book, I didn’t find her that annoying. She asked a lot of questions yes, but that’s good because I feel that was a great way for us as readers to learn more about this world without there being endless paragraphs of unnecessary descriptions. She’s starting to grow as a character and I’m actually very excited to see that, since I’ll be paying more attention to that now.

In this book, we see a bit more of the Clave and what they stand for. Everything hasn’t been explained yet but there’s a bit of an outline. I don’t think we can take Valentine’s word on anything really but he doesn’t always lie.

Another thing I noticed: every time someone talks about how Jace is exactly like his father, it’s always about his character and personality and not about his looks, which I think is great foreshadowing for what’s about to happen.

One thing I do like about Clary though, she wasn’t raised a Shadowhunter, so she doesn’t think like one. Sometimes her ideas and questions are so innocent you can’t help but go: oh honey. But then you see what her questions and ideas are doing and you can’t help but smile. She helped Alec, she’s helping Jace. She knocked some sense into Luke. Sometimes the means she goes about achieving this are sketchy but I think she’s one of the best things to happen to this book world. That might be overstepping it a bit but changes started happening once Clary came along, and I’m not ashamed of my opinion.

Have I spoken about how much I hate Valentine yet? I probably have but I hate that guy. Valentine’s issue is that he really believes in what he’s doing and that’s the problem. He believes that the world he desires is the world that was supposed to be there from the beginning and he’ll break heaven and hell to achieve this. There’s something he said in this book: “But isn’t that what love is, Clarissa? Ownership? ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,’ as the Song of Songs goes.”

He’s so far removed from humanity and its emotions, sometimes I wonder if he’s even human. His ideals are not ‘normal’ and he seeks destruction claiming that it’s enlightenment. I don’t think I’ll ever really understand him and his is not a head I want to get into.

I don’t remember too much from my first time reading this book but I do know that I loved this second read so much more. New characters were introduced, knowledge was expanded and even though it’s still small, the story’s starting to evolve.

I like the action that Cassie Clare puts in each book. It’s like: if that wasn’t the final battle, what will the actual battle look like? She spares no detail and every climax is as big as the previous, if not bigger.

I don’t mind taking so long to finish these books because it gives me time to reflect and process everything. I’d even go as far as to say that it felt like I was reading this book for the first time and I’m so happy about that.

I know that there’s a lot that awaits us in City of Glass and my bags for this feels trip are already packed.

Read: 25 May 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 7 July 2008
Publisher: Walker Childrens Paperbacks
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Cassandra Clare

  • My review for City of Bones here.
  • My reviews for other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles here.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

  1. Pingback: My Week and Happenings (#17) | Diminishing Thoughts

  2. Pingback: Wrap Up: May 2017 (and June TBR) | Diminishing Thoughts

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