City of Ashes — Cassandra Clare

April 23, 2018

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

TITLE: City of Ashes
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
SERIES: The Mortal Instruments, #2
RELEASED: March 25th, 2008; Margaret Ferguson Books
GENRE: Fantasy
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.


I was originally going to give this installment 4 stars like I did with the first one, but after I thought about it for a while (er… the two freaking months it took me to get around to reviewing it, that is), I ultimately decided that I couldn’t really justify it, no matter how much I loved the ending. You see, my problem with Ashes is that, while the last 20% or so is fantastic, everything leading up to that point is booooring. That said, this review won’t be as in-depth as my Bones review was, so I apologize for skimming over things a bit more, but “meh” reviews are really tough for me to write! (Anyone else?)


“I don’t want to be a man,” said Jace. “I want to be an angst-ridden teenager who can’t confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people instead.”

The angst is real in this book, and I don’t mind teenage angst at all—in fact, I’m often quite the sucker for it—but it never felt legitimate in this series? Maybe I’m jaded because I came into the series so late. Maybe, had I read these books when they were brand new and I didn’t have a clue what was coming, I would be crying right alongside these characters and eating it up, but as it stands, I just kept kind of doing that “hurry up” gesture towards my book and rolling my eyes a bit.

“I’ve got a stele we can use. Who wants to do me?”
“A regrettable choice of words,” muttered Magnus.

We also spend a lot of time with a lot of new characters in this one, whether it’s the Lightwood parents, some vicious old Shadowhunters, Fae folk, more demons, or members of Luke’s pack. I enjoyed the introductions of the newbies, but sometimes, it felt like characters were being introduced for the sole purpose of acting as props, rather than actually being fleshed out fully. One character in particular that I’m hoping we see more three-dimensionality from in the future is Maia, because her sassy little self had my heart from the get-go and I wanted more time with her.

“Is standing by the window muttering about blood something he does all the time?” asked Simon.
“No,” Jace said. “Sometimes he sits on the couch and does it.”

Another thing that was a huge positive for this book is how much time we got to spend exploring the more magical “Downworld” side of things, whether it was meeting the Fae people under the lake, or seeing Magnus show off as the incredible warlock he is. Magnus Bane might actually be my favorite character so far—since he hangs out with the teens, it can be hard for me to keep in mind that he is this incredibly old, powerful being, so whenever he gets the chance to remind everyone, I’m so here for his fabulous bisexual self.

“I thought I’d lie on the floor and writhe in pain for a while,” he grunted. “It relaxes me.”

Of course, my favorite thing about this book is the same as what I enjoyed most in Bones—no matter what your thoughts on Cassie’s writing are, you have to admit that she writes really adorable, hilarious banter, and watching the characters interact with each other is so much fun. The one-liners and snarky remarks alone are enough to keep me coming back for more, and in case you hadn’t already guessed, I will most certainly be picking up the third book in the series as soon as I get the chance. A lot of people have told me the second book is their least favorite and that it’s all uphill from here, so I cannot wait to see what comes next.



More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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    1. Yea the second book was also my least favorite. I feel like it was so slow and the love triangle is just so annoying. Like ugh. I just wanted things to pick up. But I still enjoyed the other aspects.

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