Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Pages: 453
Read it in: 3 days

Summary: 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 breath-taking 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.

LC's Take:

Holy crap-- seriously guys-- you NEED to drop everything you're doing and GO READ this series like, pronto! No pressure or anything. I'm just saying. It is totally rocking my socks off-- I really enjoyed City of Bones, the first in The Mortal Instruments series, and City of Ashes has just sucked me in even more. From the world-building to the characters to the storyline, I am so hooked into these books!

One of the things I love most about this series so far is that it keeps you on the edge of your seat, not knowing what to expect next. In City of Bones, we were thrown an absolutely crazy plot twist towards the end, so I knew going into City of Ashes ANYTHING could happen. And Cassandra gives just enough info away that you're begging for more, but not quite enough that you ever stop guessing as to what will come next. For this reason, City of Ashes was definitely a page-turner!

So this second book continues the story of Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, and Simon warring against the evil Valentine, to save the powerful Mortal Instruments and make sure Valentine doesn't gain ultimate power to destroy all Downworlders-- vampires, werewolves, faeries and warlocks. Along the way, they team up with Magnus Bane again, Chief Warlock of NYC, the Queen of the Fairy Realm, and others to battle against the demons that Valentine has summoned to wipe out anyone he thinks is "impure" and ruin the Clave of Shadowhunters who live to keep a balance between everyone. In the last book, Valentine was after the Mortal Cup which gave him the power to turn humans into zombie-like Shadowhunters who would kill at his will. In this second book, Valentine is now after the Mortal Sword, which he can turn evil with the blood of 4 Downworlder children and then raise a demon army to follow his command.

I don't want to give too much away because it's really something you need to read and discover for yourself, but there were lots more surprises in store for the reader-- for example, the Faerie Queen makes mention that Valentine had used Clary and Jace as science experiments long ago. Now Clary is discovering that she can write out new and powerful runes that no one else even knows, and Jace can fly off buildings completely unharmed and fight off more demons than any other Shadowhunter. It's almost like Valentine tried to turn them into powerful weapons, and they are only now finding out what they are capable of...

I really love how Clary's character develops in this one, and the dynamics that play out between her and Simon, and her and Jace. Yes, it's a love triangle, but it's totally different than any other love triangle out there-- sometimes in disturbing ways, if you know what happened in the first book! But I am like 99% positive that Clary and Jace's "relationship" is going to turn out to be completely different than what it seems to be right now. (Otherwise, um... eeww. Haha.)

If I could change ONE thing about this book, it would be that more took place in the other worlds, like Idris. We hear about them all the time, and I am dying to actually GO there and see what these worlds are like! I do love the Institute but I think the story should move away from New York City for a change and go out into new places-- just a personal thought!

So I am all ready to get into City of Glass now, and can't wait to continue this crazy ride that Cassandra Clare has begun. If you love action and adventure and plot twists that keep you guessing, I would definitely recommend starting this series. Trust me, there is a reason they are so popular!

~Cover Talk~

I love this cover. I think I like it even more than the first-- the colors are just so awesome, I love how Clary's bright red hair stands out against the dark blue backdrop of the city sky, and I just love Clary's pose-- she looks like such a bad-ass Shadowhunter, and this is just the way I would picture her being-- really strong, defiant, and brave. So yes, really fantastic job on this cover!

LC's Rating:
Total awesomeness and totally entertaining. City of Ashes had everything that makes you want to keep reading a book-- action, adventure, crazy plot twists, characters you connect with and a romance you can't help but get caught up in!



  1. OMG Lea, going by your review, you will LOVE LOVE book 3. Like, read it NOW!! Eep. So happy you're reading these. Book 4 was a bit too much though. I feel it should have ended while she was ahead. I have a feeling she's going to take these too far for fame's sake.

    1. Ah, I so would be if the library had it when I stopped in to get it!! *whaa!* Oh well, I will get my hands on it as soon as possible, but sorry to hear the 4th one isn't as good. For some reason I did think there were only 3 books in this series, I didn't realize there was a 4th AND she was going to write more too! That gets really hard, because as a blogger I'm sure you know, we can't keep up with EVERY single series, so I try to stick with the ones that are on average only 3 books, unless they are absolutely incredible! Let's hope any future TMI books are amazing!!

  2. I totally agree with you! You should drop whatever book you are reading to read this book!I just finished reading City Of Ashes and now i can't wait to read the rest!
    I love your review!

    1. Awesome, I will have to check out your review for it as well to see what your thoughts were! :)

  3. Completely agree with Giselle! I almost wish I hadn't bothered with City of Lost Souls, and left the wonderful conclusion of City of Glass as my finale with this series.

    But if you loved City of Ashes this much, you're pretty much going to be left speechless after City of Glass! Your reviews are making me want to re-read this series :D

  4. Ah! OK, just visited her website, there's going to be a 6th?! Ugh, I don't know if I will continue past #3 if they really aren't worth reading, there are soooo many other series I want to catch up with! Oh well, maybe you should go back and read the first 3 so you can forget about how bad the last one was haha ;)

  5. This is such a great series!!! It's one of my favorites, though there are points as the series progresses that I feel like saying "can't they catch a break already?" especially after the end of this last one. I'll withhold final judgment until the last book.

    Look forward to reading your reviews of the rest!

  6. Great review Lea, totally captures your enthusiasm for this series!! I read all 3 of these in like 3 days they were SO good. In regards to your second-to-last're going to LOVE book 3!! I did like book 4, I didn't have as many problems with it as a lot of people seem to, so I reckon it's worth continuing on past City of Glass =]

    The Cait Files

  7. A co-worker has been telling me about these books. She says it's the best series she has read in a while. She read them on loan from another co-worker. I am definitely going to ask her if I can borrow them next!

  8. It actually took me a really long time to finally read this one because I could not STAND the ending of City of Bones, but I really ended up loving this series once I got through Ashes :) Great review!!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  9. I agree with Giselle, I think you'll love book three. It's got that change of scenery you really want. :) But I also agree that it should've stopped there. It was supposed to--the original printings say "The Mortal Instruments Trilogy." But she was so successful that I guess they decided it'd be a good idea to continue it.

  10. Hmm... it's interesting how some readers wish TMI had stopped at Book #3 and others love that it's gone further! I will have to read on to see... ;)

  11. Great review Lea! I am in doubts if I wanted to read this series but because you love it, I will try to pick up a copy of city of bones so I can see if I will love it too :)

  12. Oh boy. I love this series too. This cover is gorgeous, with that flaming hair!! And if you haven't read book three, you'll love it.

    I haven't read City of Fallen Angels yet because I've heard it has a MASSIVE cliffhanger at the end of it and while I can handle some cliffhangers, I've heard this one is almost too much to handle. So I'm waiting for book five so I can read them together. But seriously, you'll love the third book. Hope you're planning on reading it soon!!

    It's been so long since I've read it, reading your thoughts were like visiting an old friend. So fun. Thanks!

  13. Like I said before, this series is one of my all time favorites, and I am glad you are loving it too. City of Ashes was such an amazing story with just as much twists and action and City of Bones. I just know you will love City of Glass, Cassie Clare is such a genius, or should I say evil genius lol. I can't wait to read your review on CoG.

  14. this books are awesome, if you liked this your gonna love the third book city of glass that is the best book of the trilogy, and city of fallen angel it wasn't so good,but I love Cassandra claire and i want to read the clockworck prince.
    Team Jace *_*

  15. Don't hate me... but this is one series I didn't like much...


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