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City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Part of a Series?:
The second in the Mortal Instruments Series
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.
My City of Ashes Experience:
The minute that I had finished City of Bones, I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on City of Ashes. I think it was really late at night though, 2, maybe 3 am so of course that wasn’t an option. I hadn’t bought an e-reader yet so I couldn’t just download the next book the way I did when I finished Divergent at 3 am and needed Insurgent immediately. I waited until the next day and went as soon as I could down to Borders (agh, I miss that store) and bought it, and immediately went home and dove into the story.
See, the way Cassandra Clare left off in City of Bones? I couldn’t just handle that. I had fallen madly in love with Jace Wayland, and was shipping him with Clary SO hard. When I found out they were brother and sister, I just couldn’t handle it. It couldn’t be true. There was no way! It was some sort of sick and cruel joke and I had to find out what was going on.
When I read through City of Ashes, I was blown away, and I immediately liked it even more than I had liked City of Bones. Cassie had taken the story she had already created and blown it up even bigger and even better. Everyone had something to worry about it, and it was all wrapped up in the ever looming drama and fear of Valentine. Jace and Clary were in love, but siblings. Simon was in love with Clary, not fitting into this new world that she was a part of. Alec continues to struggle with his sexuality and the lies he continues to tell. Its not only this story of fantasy and all that, but there are real human stories, real human emotions and I think that really comes clear in City of Ashes.
I love the turning point for Clary in this book. Clary is becoming more part of the Shadowhunter world, and I love that. In City of Bones, she is struggling to fit into a world that she was technically born for, but hidden from her entire life and that is incredibly difficult, especially when your dad-figure is suddenly a werewolf, your mom is unconscious and can’t even tell you about this world and your best friend is a mundane, not part of it at all. So in City of Ashes, when she starts to become a bigger part in the world, I found myself following her into that. I love that we see her connect with the fae for the first time, because they are a Downworlder species that we hadn’t really met before.
I also really loved that we get to see the magic that is Clary starting in this book. When she uses the open rune to get into Jace’s cell in the City of Bones, and when she destroys the ship and when she creates the Fearless rune. Those are magical moments for me, because not only is she a Shadowhunter but she’s also a special one, a powerful one. She may not be able to fight but she’s smart and powerful and that’s what makes her so incredibly strong. I got the fearless rune tattooed on my shoulder, partly because of my obsession with the ideas of fear and fearlessness and bravery but also to connect myself with Clary as a character.
The relationship between Jace and Valentine really make it a great book as well. I think its easy for the reader to know that Valentine is a bad guy but I liked that Cassie made sure that Jace struggled with it. It has to be so hard for him. Valentine, no matter who he is, was Jace’s father, and raised him. Even though he was not the best parent, he was the only person Jace knew as family until the Lightwoods, and the only affection he ever knew. He loves him, despite everything, and its such a struggle for him to fight against him and I loved the realness and the rawness of that relationship.
The Last Word
They say the middle book of a series is the one that leaves you with no hope, and City of Ashes does that. Its the one where you attempt to take down the bad guy and the bad guy wins for a bit. Think Star Wars and other trilogies where this happens. It just has to happen that way and I think Cassie does an amazing job. She really leaves us off in City of Ashes feeling absolutely hopeless. Valentine has escaped, with the Cup and the Sword. Jocelyn is still not awake. Simon is freakin vampire. Jace has just told Clary that he’ll be her brother from now. It literally leaves you feeling so let down, but its beautiful that way because you immediately want to read City of Glass and fix it all!
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Share in the comments! What do you love about City of Ashes? What are some things that you maybe didn’t like? Have you re-read it recently? What are some of the reasons you love it! Can’t wait to hear from you!