Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library.
First line: The formidable glass-and-steel structure rose from its position on Front Street like a glittering needle threading the sky.
City of Ashes is the second book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. This review won’t contain spoilers for City of Ashes, but will assume you have read the first book in the series, City of Bones. If you haven’t, click away so you don’t have anything spoiled.
City of Ashes picks up directly after the action at the end of the first book. Clary now knows the truth of her history – she is a Shadowhunter, a human/angel race destined to fight Downworlders and demons. Clary is fighting her feelings for fellow Shadowhunter Jace, since she has discovered he is her brother. Her mother is still in the hospital in a coma, suffering the affects of her father Valentine’s attack. Clary is staying with her mother’s friend, the werewolf Luke, and embarking on a relationship with Simon, who has been her best friend since they were kids. She is trying to have as normal a life as possible, under the circumstances.
When Jace is asked to leave the Institute, however, because his adopted mother believes that he is being used by Valentine to work against the Clave, Clary and Luke and Simon are pulled into even more paranormal intrigue. Valentine isn’t finished with his quest to rid the world of Downworlders once and for all, and has a sinister plot that is leaving dead bodies littered throughout the city. Clary and Jace and Luke are determined to fight Valentine until their last breath. Little does Clary know that this new world of hers is about to steal something precious from Simon.
These books are like potato chips – you can’t read just one. I knew after finishing book one that I would finish the series, but didn’t feel compelled to pick up book two right away. That is not the case with City of Ashes – if I had book three, City of Glass in my possession, I would start right away, because I am dying to know what happens next to Jace and Clary and Simon. I am pretty sure I know what the big reveal in book three will be, and I want to hurry up and get to it!
Unlike some of the YA books I have read, the male characters in this series are all fully-rounded characters. Jace may come off as the bad boy, but there is so much more to him than his attitude, as he tries to unravel the tangled threads of his abusive childhood at the hands of Valentine. Simon has some of the best dialogue – and his love for Clary, and what it cost him, broke my heart. And Luke, well, Luke is the male character closest to my own age, and the one I am having the most fun with as I decide who should play him in the movie version.
If you like urban fantasy, you really should read this series! Only four people in front of me on the hold list for City of Glass. Waiting, waiting, waiting…