Thursday, July 5, 2012

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare


Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon and Schuster)
Pages: 464
Series or Stand Alone: Book 2 in the Mortal Instruments series
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 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’m speeding through reading the rest of the Mortal Instruments again in preparation for City of Lost Souls!
So...Jace and Clary were revealed to be siblings. How awkward. Anyway, Ma and Pa Lightwood have returned to the Institute, and former Circle member Maryse is pissed at Jace for being Valentine’s son. The Clave Inquisitor is gunning for Jace in some sort of misplaced vengeance against Valentine. Clary is still dealing with her mother’s magical coma and her newly blooming relationship with best friend Simon, who ends up having quite the problem. Meanwhile, evil villain Valentine is after the Soul Sword, number two of the three Mortal Instruments, along with the blood of murdered Downworlder children in order to work some dark magic on the angelic instrument. So yeah. The heroes of our tale have some stuff to deal with.
I find that sometimes the sequels in a series can be just as good, if not better--in a world as complicated as the Shadowhunters’, it’s nice to have the background out of the way so the “FOOT-STOMPING, HEART-POUNDING ACTION ACTION ACTION” (credit to the early 90’s Nickelodeon show Roundhouse to that quote) can begin. This book introduced a host of new conflicts in addition to the old ones. Clary has to figure out where she fits in amongst Shadowhunters since she was raised as a Mundane. She and Jace must try to reconcile as siblings rather than love interests (ick, right? How sucktastic). Jace has to cope with his adoptive mother’s distrust. The Shadowhunters (along with Luke, Magnus Bane, and Simon) as a whole must stop Valentine from getting full use of another Mortal Instrument for his nefarious purposes. I love all the conflicts and the complicated relationships that exist in these books!
More demons = more demon-y action scenes! Clare can write action scenes that are very intense but aren’t so chaotic that I can’t figure out what’s going on. I can usually picture them quite well and I appreciate it.
Bonus: more Magnus Bane! He’s introduced in the first book, but he gains more backstory and involvement in this one. I especially love the slightly complicated relationship that he and Alec share. Fantastic character all around.
City of Ashes is the even more action-packed sequel to Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones. With the characters established, Clare was able to concentrate even more on the plot and the fight between the Nephilim and Valentine. Great installment to the series!

Rating: 4.5 - awesome!

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