Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Published by Audio on 3/25/08
Also by this author: City of Glass, Clockwork Angel, City of Fallen Angels
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.
City of Ashes is the second book in the Mortal Instruments series, so there will be spoilers in this review for the first book, City of Bones. You’ve been warned. Also, this is kind of a “Throwback Thursday” type of review. Here on Tynga’s Reviews, we’ve already reviewed books #3, #4, #5, and #6; but not #2! Here we go…
(A quick aside on the cover: the focal point is Clary’s chest. Does that bother anyone else?)
City of Ashes opens with Jace being investigated and massive death and destruction in the City of Bones. A very harsh Inquisitor is investigating Jace because the Clave worries that Jace took the second Mortal Instrument, the Soul-Sword. Is Jace guilty? Did he help his father, Valentine, take the sword, which would still make him culpable? On top of the drama at the Institute, someone is killing NYC Downworlder children. Clary and Simon join up with the Shadowhunters to solve the mystery before any more Downworlder children die, and before Jace is locked up for a crime he may or may not have committed.
I was totally torn over this book. I loved most of the storyline, and I thought the pacing of the action was great. I listened to this book on CD, and even though it was much longer than some other books I’ve listened to recently it felt like it flew by. I also really liked how even though this is the second book in a six-book series, it didn’t feel like a “bridge.” It definitely had it’s own conflict which developed and was resolved (for the most part). It’s not a stand-alone; you’d want to have read City of Bones in order to understand how the characters fit together, but it didn’t leave me hanging at the end. I appreciate that.
There is so much action in City of Ashes! A werewolf fight in a nightclub to a meeting with fairies to prison escapes… The reader never gets to sit still and catch their breath. I will say that Cassandra Clare did a great job of squeezing in a few feelings in between all the action, so that we can see relationships blossom between characters. But we never linger on feelings. The only down side is that in order to squeeze in those feelings, Ms. Clare did more telling than showing. As in, the characters state out loud or in their thoughts how they feel, instead of demonstrating those feelings. Oh well. Can’t be perfect, and it’s not terrible.