Sunday, February 7, 2016

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare | Book Review

The Mortal Instruments #2
First Published: 2008
Young Adult, Fantasy
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? Clary would love to spend more time with her best friend, Simon. But the Shadowhunters won't 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. When the second of the Mortal Instruments is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor suspects Jace. Could Jace really be willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
City of Ashes and I started off rocky. If you read my review of City of Bones you know that I read that book twice (because I couldn't remember anything). What you don't know is that the first time I read it, I proceeded to open City of Ashes immediately. I read the prologue. I closed the book. It stayed closed for about... oh, I dunno... two years, maybe?..

I can't even explain what went wrong and why this happened. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for it. But whatever it was, I kept recalling that I did in fact do that every time I considered reading the book, and so I became too afraid to actually read it.

So afraid, that I had to limit myself on a vacation by taking City of Ashes only to make myself read it. If you're like me, who take 3 physical books and a full kindle everywhere, you must understand how dire the situation truly was.

I ended up being completely baffled by my initial reaction. City of Ashes, for me, was a much superior book to City of Bones.

Firstly, I got to like Clary better in this book. I never hated her, but I was never sure I liked her, either. Does that make any sense? Anyways, in this book Clary discovers a power that finally makes her useful. She is no longer helpless. And that makes her much more interesting, to me.

Though, I will say - I was gritting my teeth so bad at how she behaved with Simon! That is NOT okay.

As for Jace, the first book I was surprised to like this character, who is named a jerk (though usually affectionately) by many people. In this book I was once again surprised that I liked him - this time, because I strangely enjoyed his mopey and sullen attitude. It added a much needed vulnerability to his character, making him that much more relate-able.

A character that I lost some respect towards (thought I still love him) is actually Simon. Why would you go into a lair of vampires? That is such a stupid thing to do. The end of the book with him was interesting, for sure, though I don't quite understand how it was possible. Hopefully, Clare explains this in the next book (side note: did Clare explain? I can't seem to remember o-o)

My possibly favorite part of the book was listening to Simon recite Sh'ma Israel. It was very accurate, because that is the prayer a Jewish person would use (I should know lol), and I wasn't actually expecting it.

Simon also gets a possible future love interest in this book, called Maia. I hated her. She is just such a useless character, so unnecessary to the plot. Hopefully, Clare won't negate Simon to an actual relationship with her.

Two side characters I feel deserve the extra mention are Luke and fan favorite (and my favorite) Magnus Bane.

I love Luke for the fatherly feeling he gives off, and Magnus for the sparkly feeling he gives off. Both of them create a large contrast between how you (and the Shadowhunters) expect a character like themselves to be and how they really are, Luke because he is the farthest thing away from the cruel, vicious werewolf and Magnus because he is not the typical wise, bearded Mage but a colorful collection of traits that create this persona that is so much fun to be around!

I hope to see more of both these characters in the following books (with emphasis on Magnus's relationship with Alec).
"Every time you almost die, I almost die myself".
As for the romance - I was kind of on the middle with it. Sometimes I loved it, like when Jace said the quote above. At that moment? I shipped it hard. 

But then sometimes I hated it. Like when Jace started blowing up over things Clary hadn't even said, based on his wrapped interpretation on them-- and Clary wouldn't even contradict his weird assumptions, instead continuing on with the conversation as if he is right. Like, major wtf.

I think this reading experience was so much better than in City of Bones because, above all else, I got used to the writing. But I'll be honest, I still don't like it.


  1. Great review! Too bad you don't totally like it but we can all have our opinions, of course! To be honest, I don't remember much about it because I read the book even before I joined Goodreads (which was 2011). lol

    1. Unfortunately I didn't totally like any of the books in this series :P Wish I would, but that's just how it is and I'm okay with it hahaha
      Haha, that's around the time I read these books, too! However, because of my reviews, I remember them partly. That's what I love most about writing reviews - I go back to read them years later and they jog my memory like nothing else! :)

  2. Lovely review. I felt it was hard to like Clary in the first book too. Magnus is my favourite but I think that's unanimous!

    1. Yes, I think the only thing *everyone* can agree on when it comes to these books is that Magnus is life lol

  3. So happy this one was better for you. Make me kind of want to try out the second book now. Wow, 2 years though? Crazy.

    1. Oh, you've never read the second book in the series? :O
      I actually never continued past the first trilogy (didn't like it enough to do that haha) but I think the second was my fav of the bunch. I just generally liked everyone I was supposed to in it lol
      YES! It took me so long to read this one. And then another year to read the third one *shakes head at myself*