City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

“Fate is never fair. You are caught in a current much stronger than you are; struggle against it and you’ll drown not just yourself but those who try to save you. Swim with it. and you’ll survive”

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?

Personal Thoughts:

City Of Ashes is a pretty nice installment to the Mortal Instruments series. Just like its prequel (City Of Bones), it is jam-packed with adventure, standout characters and a solid plot. The writing is as good as the first book. The characters were all well written. There are definitely a lot of them but they are still memorable and easy to distinguish. The old characters from City of Bones are back and there are new characters introduced. There is the Inquisitor, Maryse, Robert, Maia and Seelie Queen. Clary is still a strong protagonist, she is now discovering more of her mysterious power. While Jace become more revealing in this book. He shows a lot of emotions while keeping his strong persona and sarcastic and funny humour at the same time. He also discover more of his abilities and power which the Seelie Queen called “Angel’s own gift”. The other characters are still visible and continue to add more colours to the story.

As for the story, City Of Ashes is much more relationship driven compare to the first book. There were a very good balance between the dangerous actions and the private lives of characters. It continue to emphasize the sibling dilemma between Clary and Jace; the family issue between the lightwoods and Jace; and the father-and-son conflict between Valentine and Jace. There is also Clary dealing with Jace and Simon, Simon dealing with his new life and Alec dealing with his own internal issues. More aspects of the Downworlders are also presented in this book; there are more faeries, werewolves, warlocks, vampires and demons. We also got a chance to see a part of the faerie world. All these and more add more depth and character to the unseen world that Cassandra Clare created.

The magic element of the book is still creatively used in the story. The fantasy magical world seems alive with all the detail and artistic description that Clare used. The fun magic system like the runes, stele and markings are really amazing. I appreciate the idea of giving names for the Seraph Blades even if it’s a bit confusing somehow.

As for the ending, it doesn’t provide much of the resolution. The sibling dilemma between Clary and Jace is not yet solve. But with a few hints given in this book I have the feeling that my theories are correct. Although I love the first book more than this one, I did enjoy it all the same. City Of Ashes is still a great book and a good sequel. It got everything expected from a paranormal series. It has danger, romance, actions, adventures, fantasies, magic and funny moments. With all this, I am excited to continue with City Of Glass to find out more.