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THE BOOK -City Of Ashes
by Cassandra Clare
Bk. #2 of The Mortal Instruments
First published in 2008 by Margaret K. McElderry
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Hardcover, 453 pages
Published in 2008 by Margaret K. McElderry
My Rating: 5/5 stars
THE PLOT -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?
When it comes to character development, Cassandra Clare is a literary genius. She has absolutely no qualms about throwing giant hurdles in the way of her characters' happiness, and I found my heart breaking on multiple occasions. I didn't think it could get much worse than the feeling I had after we discovered that Clary and Jace are siblings, but I was wrong. The struggle that these characters have to deal with is soul destroying and I found myself completely invested in their story. I'm still holding out hope that Clare will somehow rectify this tragedy, but I guess I'll just have to dive into the third installment to see what she comes up with next.
Clary has done a major one-eighty from the naive "mundane" she was when we met her in City Of Bones, turning into a brave young woman who will do most anything for the people she loves, even if it means risking her own life. Unfortunately, I don't think Clary has a strong future as a Shadowhunter. She feels everything on a very personal level - something I, personally, can definitely relate to - she does let it cloud her judgment more often than not. With a little training, she'd kick ass, that's for sure, but until she can keep her emotions in check, she won't survive long in the Shadowhunter world. Despite loving her relationship with Jace, and getting emotionally invested in their struggles, there's a tiny little part of me that is glad they can't be together. In a lot of ways, Clary is no good for Jace. She's too fragile, and there's a part of me that still thinks Jace would get bored - after all, he's not one to wear his emotions on his sleeve. After they visited the Seelie Queen, however, I started wondering whether that was true. The vulnerability we saw from Jace in this novel was unexpected and it made me question everything I thought I knew about him.
A force to be reckoned with, Jace Morgenstern is a prime example of the fantastic cast of characters Cassandra Clare has created for this series. Witty, sharp, and a total badass, Jace had me falling head over heels for him in City Of Bones. This novel, however, brought out such a vulnerable side of him that I found myself wanting nothing more than too see him get his happy ending. From the lies his father told him as a child, to finding out the girl he loves is his sister, Jace has not had an easy life. It's easy to see that he uses humor as a defense mechanism, but his walls definitely started crumbling in this book. Fingers crossed that he catches a break in the next book!
Cassandra Clare has a very unique style when it comes to the mythology she incorporates into her stories, taking bits and pieces from most every myth and adding her own twists. Angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, fairies... there's something in these books that will appeal to most every fantasy fan. Clare's writing flows beautifully and I found myself completely hooked from start to finish.
Despite not liking Simon very much, I was gobsmacked and unbelievably happy that he had a bigger part in this novel. After his... experience, I started to understand a little more about him and realized that, while I still found him pretty annoying, he wasn't a bad character. I sense a lot of plot twists for this guy, the one at the end of this novel being the start of the snowball.
I found the story itself to be extremely interesting and I love Valentine as a villain. His blood connection to the main characters means that there's a deeper level of feelings when it comes to hating him. It's pretty devastating (and brilliantly thought out) how these characters are connected, but I definitely hope Jace and Clary are Valentine's downfall.
Overall, City Of Ashes is a fantastic second installment of this series, and I'm definitely going to get stuck into the third as soon as possible. I can't wait to see what happens next, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Cassandra Clare starts giving her characters an easier time of it. They definitely deserve it.