Book Reviews

Review: City of Ashes By Cassandra Clare


Published: March 24th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books 

Series: The Mortal Instruments #2

Format: Paperback

Source: Local Library

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis: 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? Clary would love to spend more time with her best friend, Simon. But the Shadowhunters won’t 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. When the second of the Mortal Instruments is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor suspects Jace. Could Jace really be willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

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Read review for City of Bones here.

Spoiler Free Review:

So I didn’t actually plan on continuing on with this series. but after a friend of mine read and loved the series and I happened to find it at the library, I decided to continue onto the second book. Did the series get better? Not in the least. I found this sequel to be even worse than the first book. The constant and unnecessary drama did not sit well with me and I really don’t like the main characters. Nonetheless, there were some redeemable qualities to this book, and I found to be an okay read.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous review, there’s really nothing wrong with the writing style. However, I noticed a lot of the dialogue is extremely cheesy and cringe worthy. Not as bad as the Shadowhunters T.V. show, I’ll admit but still pretty bad. “He would keep Valentine from hurting her if it was the last thing he did.” Obviously, the book was published when the cheesy lines weren’t as prominent and annoying as they are now. I also didn’t particularly enjoy Jace and Clary POVS, but clearly that is due to their personalities, not the writing.

Plotwise, it was pretty predictable, but not terrible. The villain is the typical, annoying one that everyone despises. I do give credit to Cassandra Clare for being able to keep the story engaging. I didn’t feel bored at all and I was entertained and that was enough for me to have very little problems with the plot. However, I don’t think the whole Clary, Jace brother and sister concept was done well. I mean, come on, can’t these kids get a DNA test? Of course, that’s too mundane for Jace. The whole brother, sister thing is being stretched out for far too long and it was so unnecessary. Highlight for spoiler: I’m sure everyone is aware that the two fools, Clary and Jace are not siblings. But it blows my mind that when this book came out, were fans not disgusted by the supposed incest? I’m not sure how I’ll endure it in the next book. I will say the whole brother and sister relationship was not handled well because of the characters, especially Jace.

As for characters, there were some I wanted to toss of a cliff (Jace Wayland), others I wanted to slap some common sense into(Clary Fray), and the ones that I really loved(Magnus Bane and Luke). Starting with our two beloved main characters, Jace and Clary. Clary hasn’t really changed much, she is a little less annoying though. Jace was a complete jerk. Clearly he’s angry about everything, which is understandable. But, he loves to take it out on other people. “I want to be an angst-ridden teenager who can’t confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people.” Great job at describing yourself Jace. On top of that, there was Jace and Clary’s relationship, which was twice as bad. Unnecessary drama, long descriptions of the two staring at each other, fights, you get the point. I honestly don’t see what these two see in each other, but I guess that’s why they’re perfect for each other.  Highlight for spoiler: In addition, I think Jace treated Clary horribly. “You are not taking Clary to the Seelie Court without me and that is final!” Okay, does this not sound problematic? This is the foundation of a problematic relationship. Jace does not own Clary and he cannot order her around like that. It’s not like she doesn’t have a guardian, Luke is there as a parental figure. Plus, Luke does not treat Clary like that. What’s even worse is that Clary doesn’t even defend herself. Jace does apologize at the end for his crappy behavior, so I guess I should cut him some slack, but I still wish Clary had stood up for herself and proved him wrong. 

As for the characters I liked, I really enjoyed Magnus, Luke, and even Alec. Magnus Bane is still his wonderful, flamboyant and charming self. Still my favorite character. I also came to appreciate Alec. I’m also glad that Luke is still there. I hate the trope where the parental figure always dies or disappears. Clary and even Jace needed Luke and he’s a great character. I’m still not sure on how I feel about Isabelle and Simon. I like Isabelle most of the time, but she can also be pretty immature. Simon was pretty irrelevant for most of this book and I felt like the dude was just there. His fights with Jace were also pointless and both of them were idiots. Hopefully, there will be more of him in the future books.

Overall, I didn’t really like most of this book. Like I said about City of Bones, there are some redeemable qualities and my main problems are about the two main characters and the pointless drama. Nevertheless, these books are extremely entertaining and I fly through them. Since I do want to get to Cassandra Clare’s other books (I’m more interested in her other series), I will be continuing on with the series. UPDATE: I WILL NOT CONTINUE WITH THE SERIES.

Rating: 2.25/5



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