Sunday, March 8, 2015

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

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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.

Excerpt taken from
Rating: 4.5 Stars



Clary Fray/ Morgenstern- the main character, a teenager who's just found out she is a Shadowhunter, is an extremelyt good artist, has special powers, attracted to her brother Jace

Jocelyn Fray/ Morgenstern- Clary's mother. Kept secrets from Clary about their past. Was rescued last book and lays in a coma throughout the entire book
Jace/ Jonathon Wayland-/ Morgenstern- a Shadowhunter trained by his father Valentine. Is extremely talented and has special powers, attracted to his sister Clary. Is parabatai with Alec. 
Isabella Lightwood- also a Shadowhunter teen, tall and beautiful
Alec Lightwood- a Shadowhunter teen who is homosexual, in a relationship with Magnus. Is parabatai with Jace.
Brother Jeremiah- A Silent Brother who was once a Shadowhunter named Hodge Starkweather. The Silent Brothers are archivists and medics for the Nephilim. 
Maryse & Robert Lightwood- parents to Isabella, Alec, and Max. Previously had been in the Circle with Valentine, Jocelyn, and Luke. Replacement heads of the NYC Institute. 
Max Lightwood- Younger brother (age 9) to Isabella and Alec
Madeleine Bellefluer- Unknown connections with Jocelyn
Valentine Morgenstern- A powerful Shadowhunter thought to have been dead. Has the Mortal Cup and is looking to overthrow the Clave by bringing out demons
The Inquisitor/ Imogen Herondale: The one in charge of the Clave and giving out punishments. She has a vendetta against Valentine and therefore against Jace for being his living son

Luke Garroway/ Lucian Greymark- close family friend to Jocelyn and Clary, almost a father figure to Clary.  Previously a Shadowhunter and close to Valentine, currently head lycanthrope of the local pack in NYC. Privately in love with Jocelyn. Was also previously Valentine's parabatai.
Maia Roberts- in Luke's pack, is a werewolf. 
Magnus Bane- High warlock, flamboyantly gay, in a romantic relationship with Alec
Raphael Santiago- head vampire of the Night Children
Seelie Queen- Queen of the Seelie court and the Fair Folk
Meliorn- the Queen's personal  knight and confidant. Has  unknown affiliation with Lightwoods

Simon Lewis- Clary's boy friend, he turns into a vampire  

Agramon- A Greater Demon, Demon of Fear. Prays on people by showing them their worst fear. Literally scares people to death. Summoned by a young warlock and then controlled by Valentine by the Mortal Cup.  

I think Clary is still annoying, actually more so this book than the last, and her character doesn't really develop much in this book. Yes, her powers develop, but her mentality is immature and lacking for the majority of the book. I guess my feelings for her haven't changed. I really don't know what role she has to play yet, it seems like there is a climax that I am not anticipating but now want and hope is super great. An example of a super bothersome thing she did was ask the name of the blade she was given right before she left to find Luke. Who the hell wastes time when someone is abducted like this? And then she screams the blades name (Nakir) while fighting... Really? This just seems forced to me and completely out of character! If there had been a specific explanation for this, I could understand, but it served no purpose.

Simon's character had by far the biggest character development of all. When I started feeling something was going to happen to him, I predicted he would change into say a werewolf. I was close and I'll leave it at that.  

Alec's character also went through at first a temporary boost of confidence that changed to his true change by the end of the book.  

My Ideas

I think it is interesting that no one in this world realized that the deaths would have to do with Valentine after he just returned. I liked this book much better as a whole than I did the first one. The prologue is interesting because we meet the antagonist immediately doing antagonistic things. I completely forgot about this prologue for a while until later when it made sense. Then we are placed back with revisiting some places from the last book, the Institute and the hospital where Clary and Jace's mother is. The events that get the ball rolling are a series of murders that pins the Downworlder races against each other. For instance, the fey believe that the vampires are to blame because blood was taken. Then a whole group of people is murdered... I won't say which group but I will say that I was very bothered by this (and I can't tell if it's because of the actual event or because I don't like killing off huge groups as a writer lol). 

Jace takes the brunt of a lot of people's anger because he is Valentine's son. Maryse is mad at him as well as the Inquisitor who seems to have a personal vendetta against him. Jace gains powers and apparently Valentine created them to have. Add to that his dad wants him to join sides with him and you have a very confused young man. 

Last book we heard about them, but this book we finally meet the Fare Folk. The Fare Folk seem to be pitted against the Vampires because of these murders and invite our main characters down for an interview. The Seelie Queen tells Jace and Clary that Valentine gave them special powers and played several fickle jokes on them. I mean fickle from a fey's perspective and not from a humans.

We also see Clary gets some really cool powers in this book that we can stemming from how her mother hid the Mortal Cup. Alas, she is not my favorite character so I will move on. 

The Inquisitor is a very good antagonist. I am going to make several Harry Potter references. She reminds me of Dolores Umbridge for her unethical dealings with children. I had said in my notes as I read that I hope that she gets punished for this and it seems that her back story was extremely punishing as well as her fate in this novel. However, I think sh does eventually have a redemption of sorts. 

More Harry Potter connections, it seems like Cassandra went with the Tom Riddle- Harry Potter relationship with Jace and Valentine but just made it a father/son relationship. That is if they are even related. Some of her writing seems a bit obvious to me. 
Also, what would have happened if Harry had an older sibling and he wasn't an orphan?

I think that there was a nice unity of groups at the end during the battle with Valentine. I really feel that Clary should have been more freaked out about kissing her brother, not so it would be to much complaining, but more so that we knew she did not think it was ok. This part felt weak and I think I now why Cassandra didn't make it stronger. 

Overall, I enjoyed this one much better than the last one. The ending was great, enough closure for the events of this book, yet one tiny little hit that this story will continue and that Clary's mother needs to still be helped. I hope the next one is better!

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