The City of Ashes

The City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

Reviewed by Clover Brooks

Amazon Rating: 4.6/5

WARNINGS: Swearing, Incest, Mentions of Blood and Alcohol

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?

Dear me… where do I even start…

Alright, let’s start with some of my complaints.

I had a very, very hard time with some of the character relations. I think we all know what I’m talking about if you’ve read the book already. At the end of book one, there is a VERY big spoiler that complicates the relationship between Clary and Jace. As much as I liked Clary in the first book, the second book really made me question what her priorities were. Jace, on the other hand, I was already struggling with, and this book really tipped me over the edge.

The plot also made me frustrated as a reader. Instead of fluctuating between low and high, it was a straight fall until the end. Everything that happened in the middle only made things more complicated and more confusing. As a reader, it affected me in my everyday life. I wanted to be done with it, I wanted to understand why certain plot points were there, and why certain characters kept rubbing me wrong, so I sped-read. When I would put down the book, the irritation for the characters and the frustrations in the plot bled into my emotions. My family consistently told me that I needed to put down the book and indulge in something happier.

However, ignoring all of my complaints, the character development was something I can’t be mad at. A lot changes in this book, and though I’m not a fan of change, I felt like it was needed. Simon’s character development was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed him, Maia, and a couple other characters. Valentine was a great villain – still is – and I honestly just want more of him, thanks to this book.

If any of you struggle when reading this book, just know that I have your back. A tip from my friend: get to the end of book 3. (Trust me on this, if you need to push yourself or indulge in some spoilers to help you finish, it’s okay. I had to do that exact thing.)

Overall, though there were numerous problems, it was a great sequel to the first book and opens the door for the third. A definite must read!

[Sidenote: I just finished book 3 (The City of Glass) so expect a book review of that coming soon!]

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