All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

on August 30, 2017

City Of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
Cassandra Clare
Walker Books
2008, 411p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

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. 

Even though this book is old, here’s a ****SPOILER ALERT***** for key plot points from the previous book, City Of Bones.

I remember that about 5 or 6 years ago, I bought the first 3-4 books in this series for an event with Cassandra Clare in Melbourne. I ended up missing that event because my oldest child was sick. I read the first book so I’d know what was happening and I started the second one but didn’t get very far before I abandoned it for something else. Not because I really disliked it but I think at the time I was just a bit annoyed by the “cliffhanger/reveal” at the end of the first book. So when I saw the “Respawn” side challenge for #TheReadingQuest, I looked at my shelf and saw this book. The Respawn challenge is to read a book you previously DNF’d. And so I figured I might as well attempt this again.

It’s been 5 years, so I did read my review of the first novel just to refresh my memory but mostly what I remember was the reveal about Jace and Clary which so obviously seems a red herring. So in this book they’re all angsty because they’ve just found out they’re supposedly brother and sister, even though they were basically falling in love. Awkward. They are kind of tiptoeing around each other, not sure how to act. How do you act, upon discovering you have a surprise sibling….the kicker being that sibling is your crush.

Reading this, I noticed just how much the ‘love triangle’ takes up. Obviously Clary and Jace as a couple are out for now. So the focus switches in a way, to Clary’s friend Simon, who seems to decide to step up and make some decisions etc. Clary just kind of sits back and is like ‘alright’ when Simon kisses her or declares her his girlfriend and part of me gets it. She’s had a big shock, she can’t feel that way about Jace anymore and perhaps it’s just easier to go with the flow for a while. But on the other hand I was rolling my eyes. Like this is something you should be a part of. She loves Simon, but she’s not in love with him. But I guess her feelings are pretty confused, her mother is still in a coma, she doesn’t seem to have any female friends to hash this out with. Clary is pretty passive when it comes to her own feelings.

There’s some bad stuff going on,  the rebel Shadowhunter Valentine is raising demons (or getting someone else to raise them) as he has some cup thing that I’ve forgotten about from book #1 that allows him to command them. His aim is to steal a second Mortal Instrument in this book and he also plans to destroy the Clave. Because Jace is his son, the Inquisitor doesn’t trust him at all – she keeps imprisoning him thinking that he’s Valentine’s spy, despite the fact that Jace keeps swearing that he isn’t. So Alec, Isabelle, Clary and also Simon in a way, spend a lot of time running around either attempting to free Jace or hiding Jace so that he can’t be imprisoned again.

I was not sure I’d like this – I had already DNF’d it once but perhaps the time was enough for me not to be so annoyed about the deliberate ways to keep Jace and Clary apart because I actually found myself quite entertained. So much so that I dug my copies of the 3rd and 4th books in the series out of an overflowing bookcase in order to add them to my pile of books to read in the next month or two. I’m way behind, I honestly don’t even know how many books are in this series and it’s various spin off series’ now.

This series has attracted a lot of controversy, most notably arguments that Clare has “borrowed” elements from a lot of other series’ and she’s also been sued by an author who claimed that this series was too similar to her own. I haven’t actually read pretty much any of the works that Clare is said to have borrowed from. I’ve never read Harry Potter and Clare got her “beginning” in Harry Potter fanfiction. I’ve never read the series of the author that filed suit against Clare either. Her past in fanfiction appears very dubious for sure.

Overall – this was okay. I enjoyed it enough to finish it and I kind of want to see where the series goes. I’m not sure how long the whole Jace and Clary are brother and sister thing is going to drag out but hopefully not for too much longer. To be honest I kind of like Magnus and Alec the most I think. That’s an interesting dynamic and I wouldn’t mind reading more about them.

7/10

Book #146 of 2017

City Of Ashes was read as part of my participation in #TheReadingQuest Challenge, created and hosted by Aentee at Read At Midnight. The awesome artwork is by CW at Read, Think, Ponder. This ticks off the side challenge: Respawn. Read a book you have previously DNF’d.

Time to update my character card:

Another 10 experience points for completing a book and another 41 health points gained for the pages read.


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