Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

* This review may contain spoilers for the previous book, City of Bones.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
By Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: With Valentine very much alive and in possession of the Mortal Cup, the Shadowhunters must race to stop him from acquiring all of the Mortal Instruments. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary are still trying to deal with the shocking revelation of their connection to Valentine—and to each other. Jace also falls under suspicion from the Clave because of his family ties, and he must prove to the Clave’s merciless High Inquisitor that his loyalty still lies with the Nephilim.

Review: I have to say, I really enjoyed this reread of City of Ashes. I still had some of the same issues with it that I did with City of Bones, but overall City of Ashes was a very good (re)read.

I might as well cover the stuff I wasn’t so thrilled about first. Clary may be able to draw powerful runes straight out of her head, but I find her rather blah otherwise. I don’t think she’s a kickass heroine, and she’s probably my least favorite TMI character to read about. That must sound strange considering how much I like the book and The Mortal Instruments series as a whole. Clary just comes across as wimpy to me, despite what she can do with a stele.

I could reread the series ten more times and still not buy into 1) Simon and Clary as a couple and 2) Jace and Clary as anything BUT a couple. (If you’ve read TMI, then you know what I mean; I’m trying not to be too spoiler-y here.) As much as I like Simon, I can’t picture him besting a character like Jace for Clary’s heart, and Simon and Clary’s half-hearted go at moving past the best friend stage didn’t interest me much as a reader. I also had to wince at the Jace/Clary bombshell from City of Bones, which is front and center for most of City of Ashes. Sure, that twist made for one hell of an ending to the first book, but beyond the shock value, I can’t wrap my head around the story going there. Plus, I never, not even for a microsecond, found that plotline plausible my first read through this book.

I realize that I’ve griped quite a bit, and now I’m going to explain why City of Ashes gets four stars from me. The world is just so cool. The Shadowhunters are just so cool—their history, their angelic lineage, their unwavering dedication to ridding the world of demons. And the Angel help me, but I love Jace, even when his sarcasm crosses the line and he’s being a grade A ass.

I’d forgotten how purely evil Valentine was. That sounds so stupid, I know, since he’s the bad guy and all. Seriously, though, his utter disregard for anyone who stands in his way didn’t fully sink in until now. He’s also completely convinced that he’s right and the Clave is wrong—it’s freaking scary.

It’s time to wrap up this review before I go on forever. Before I do, though, I have to mention how much I loved Magnus in this one. Of course he’s awesome in every Shadowhunter novel he graces with his presence, but he was extra amazing in City of Ashes. It also wouldn’t be a TMI book without an epic battle, and the climactic one in this installment doesn’t disappoint. The action in these books gets pretty intense, and I never grow bored of reading about the Shadowhunters taking down demons with their seraph blades.

All in All: The overall badass-ness of the Shadowhunters and Jace’s snark more than make up for that Jace and Clary thing that I try not to think about, even when I have to be repeatedly reminded about it for 400 pages.


  1. I have a friend from Germany who also really dislikes Clary as a character. I don't mind her however, I much prefer Tessa Gray *from the infernal devices* as a main protagonist.

    Great review :D

    1. I like Tessa much better, too. Clary just always seems to run into danger without thinking, and I can only take so much of that, lol.

  2. Well, we both know we agree on Clary at this point so I'll just go ahead and second everything you said about her and then move on LOL As for the rest YES I agree 100% about your thoughts on Jace, the world of TMI AND of course Magnus ♥ I don't think I quite remember all of Valentine's terribleness looking back, so a re-read might be in order for me too >.< Wonderful review Lee ^^

    1. I read the first four books about 3 years ago already, and I've forgotten SO much! I definitely needed the refresher before starting the last book. Valentine is like the worst fictional father ever and just ruthless and, of course, insane. I didn't take note of the fact that he'll sacrifice anyone, even his family, to get what he wants so much last time I read this, but I totally noticed it this read!

  3. I'm rereading this one right now in preparation for reading City of Heavenly Fire! I agree, I'm not a huge Clary fan but I still enjoy reading about her most of the time. And, of course, Jace will always have my heart. He's one of my all time favorite characters in all the books I've read.

    1. Jace's snark is the highlight of the series for me. I can't imagine the books without it. Even in the worst situations, he always seems to manage to fire off a witty line!

  4. I remember when I started this series and felt icky because of Clary and Jace's attraction to each other and at this point they might be siblings right? I think that set it up for me, I've never grown to love them. I enjoy the secondary characters more than Clary and Jace although Jace as an individual is a cool dude but as half of a relationship, he's blah. Sorry! I know you love them!

    1. Yep, we've officially reached the icky part, lol. It still makes me shake my head, and the angst between Jace and Clary is sometimes too much. I've never actually been really invested in them getting an HEA; as long as Jace doesn't die or anything, I'm OK. :D


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