Apr 20, 2012

Review: City of Ashes

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.


Without a doubt, Cassandra Clare knows how to weave a twisted fairy tale into something you just want to wrap around yourself and curl up with for hours. I'm usually a character driven reader, but in this unique and rare case for me, I think I'd have to say the story creates the characters. There are so many unexpected elements, tragedies, emotional spikes, and battles that as soon as you get used to the way you think the story is going, it changes on you and presents a completely different perspective. The storyline is creative, original, and completely open to anything both possible and impossible.

I'd love to take a stroll through Clare's magic-filled mind. Her descriptions always leave me wondering, "how'd she come up with that?" Her imagination seems childlike, but it also adds that tinge of horror that makes what we are reading believable - in that fairytale way, of course. The demons she comes up with are, strangely, one of my favorite aspects. Some of them made me gag - no, really - which they are inevitably supposed to do with their evil intentions and overall nastiness. Disgusting demons aside, the other creatures she depicts, such as the fairies of Seelie Court and the hybrid Downworlders, draw you to this 'other' world, making it seem more real than the 'mundane' world Clary always thought was reality before she discovered the Shadowhunters.

The one and only problem I had with the book was Clary. She's not the most unlikable heroine I've ever come across, but her suffering maturity level and unfailing ability to ignorantly force her way into grave situations - on the premise that she wants to 'help' when really she just freezes, screams, and waits for someone to save her - really grated my nerves. However, I do understand that this world is still new to her and that she severely lacks the training that the others possess. I hope her 'helpless female syndrome' subsides as she learns more about herself and her heritage.
Now although I did say that I think the storyline steals the show in this book, as a character driven reader, I couldn't help but be entranced by the complexity of the relationship between Jace and Clary. All I'm gunna say is that I don't think Jace is who he thinks he is, and the angst they are causing each other is going to, has to, subside eventually.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

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