Second in Cassandra Clare's internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series about the Shadowhunters.
Discover more secrets about the Shadowhunters as they fight to protect the world from demons in the second book in the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Love and power are the deadliest temptations... Haunted by her past, Clary is dragged deeper into New York City's terrifying underworld of demons and Shadowhunters - but can she control her feelings for a boy who can never be hers? This edition contains a map and a new foreword by Cassandra Clare. Read all the sensational books in The Shadowhunter Chronicles: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, The Bane Chronicles, The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours and The Shadowhunter's Codex.
- ISBN10 1416914293
- ISBN13 9781416914297
- Publish Date 25 March 2008 (first published 1 March 2008)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Imprint Margaret K. McElderry Books
- Format Hardcover
- Pages 464
- Language English
"She was a Shadowhunter, and pain was something you lived with."
There's such a divide between my feelings towards the first and second half of City of Ashes
THE MESS OF A FIRST HALF
The main characters got on my nerves. Clary is a typical Mary-Sue YA protagonist who does lots of stupid things. Jace is an arrogant jerk and his tragic past does not excuse his terrible behaviour. Simon is so whiny and annoying. I just couldn't deal with them. The characters that I do like, Isabelle and Magnus, don't have enough page time or aren't developed enough.
The plot is slow, boring and snooze-worthy. There wasn't any urgency towards the events that were taking place.
WHY THE SECOND HALF IS SO MUCH BETTER
The main characters become more bearable and seem more developed, but they still aren't developed enough. Clary is still doing stupid things, but I'm excited about where her new-found abilities are going to take her. The fact that she can create extremely powerful runes elevates her to badass levels. Jace is still a jerk, but he becomes less walled-off and shows more vulnerability. Simon probably goes through the most in terms of his character arc in City of Ashes and I'm really interested to see what happens to him next. He becomes a vampire and then after drinking Jace's blood, he becomes a vampire who can walk in the sun.
The secondary characters also become more developed. The Inquisitor is quite cruel and patronising and her hate for everything and her I'm-always-right tendencies are unwarranted, but I could still understand where she was coming from. She also redeems herself in the end. Isabelle, my favourite Mortal Instruments Shadowhunter, shows just how awesome she is and her loyalty is unshakable.
The plot starts going somewhere and everything comes together and makes sense. Everything becomes so intense and towards the end of City of Ashes ,the battle on the ship, I was worried about the characters and anxious about what would happen to them (and I've read City of Ashes before, which means that I knew what was going to happen, so I had no reason to feel that way).
THE CHARACTERS THAT MAKE BOTH HALVES AWESOME
1) Maryse Lightwood. She's such a strong and fierce woman. I really like the fact that she might not be a warm person, but she's still an awesome mom.
2) Luke. He's an amazing father figure and a wonderful character. Also, the fact that he's been in love with Jocelyn for such a long time, but never told her or pushed her into a relationship... WHAT A GUY!
3) Maia. She's gone through so much and she's so tough.
3) Magnus Bane. He's a powerful warlock. He's sassy. He likes glitter.
THE ROMANCE STUFF THAT RUINED EVERYTHING
The love triangle which I honestly don't care for.
The whole forbidden love going on with Jace and Clary... I don't get it and I don't think I want to get it. Jace and Clary admit that they have feelings for each other and Jace even wants to have a secret incestuous relationship with his sister. SPOILER FOR CITY OF GLASS-->I know that Jace and Clary aren't really siblings, but they don't know that.
The first half of City of Ashes is really boring and the characters grated on my nerves, but the plot picks up in the second half and the characters grew on me. Some characters are awesome in both halves of City of Ashes. However, I am not a fan of the forbidden love angle and the love triangle.
The romance... oh, the romance. The frustration is overwhelming at times because what you want as a reader, you just can't have. The angst is unbelievable and it pulls you into the story, hoping page after page that you will get what you want! Jace and Clary are tormented and so is everyone around them!!
But more than the romance is the story itself. There are so many twists and turns as truths are uncovered and secrets revealed. Just as soon as you think you know where the story may be going, things change and everything is turned on edge again. The anticipation was wonderful.
One again, I am in love with the characters and the banter. I love that the cast is diverse because it makes for some fantastic interactions that are sometimes sad, sometimes serious, and sometimes hilarious. The banter is snarky, but intelligent and full of one-liners that I just want to find occasions to use!
Definately a must-read after City of Bones!
Clary was a bit of a mixed bag in this book. She's still pretty annoying and still jumping to conclusions and telling everyone else what to do. She whines about Simon, she whines at the Seelie Court, she whines about Isabelle being attractive and a badass. When she's not whining, she's crying. I felt like every page mentioned something about hot tears splashing down her face. Go ahead and check, I've got time. A few times she's treated as though she just gets in the way, and I really enjoyed those parts because I feel the same way. She's like a sea of Legos keeping you from a chocolate cake - annoying and painful to deal with. Of course she doesn't let anyone tell her what to do and often involves herself where she isn't wanted. When as a result she messes things up, she usually just sits down to have a good cry. Please grow up.
On the OTHER hand, Clary is actually a lot better than she was in City of Bones. She doesn't stand around whining ALL the time anymore, just most of the time! She takes initiative when everyone goes to break out Jace. She offers up intelligent ideas and fights demons in the climax. It's so refreshing to see her so actively involved!
Jace is still pretty much the best character. He's still rough around the edges, and you see more of that as he struggles with his feelings for Clary. His reaction to Simon and Clary dating comes across a little too strong (he obviously hates Simon), which made me think about the timeline of the first book. Why are him and Clary so desperately in love - hasn't it only been like 2 weeks since she found out she was a Shadowhunter? That got me thinking about how the author doesn't really lay out her timelines very well. I still don't know exactly how far out we are from day 1. Maybe we're supposed to think it's the brotherly affections kicking in. He is pretty protective and possessive of Clary. He often tells her what she can and cannot do, and where she must be and cannot go. This combined with his arrogance painted a darker picture of him than we see in the first book. He's not quite as dreamboat-y as he was before but...still.
Simon & Clary's relationship was ridiculous. First of all, the relationships was so forced. They kiss and then he starts calling her his girlfriend in front of people and this makes her SUPER uncomfortable, but does she do anything? Nope, she just lets him keep chugging along the train tracks to heartbreak. Granted, Simon needed to pump the brakes (he got uber annoying) but nobody was telling him that. As far as he knew, Clary was super into it. Clary also treats Simon like dirt, but only when Jace is around, and you better believe that doesn't escape Simon's notice. Simon gets fed up and Clary is left wondering what she ever did to make him mad. If I were Simon I would drop her like a bag of hot potatoes. But I guess letting go of unrequited love finally realized is easier said than done. Simon needs to go out there and find him some badass nerdy vamp girl, because Clary's heart lies with another.
Plot-wise it wasn't much better than the first book. It added more necessary background information, but this plot moves slower than a turtle with arthritis. Clary's mom is still nonexistent, there's still random demon attacks that pop-up when the plot gets stale. There's the brief encounters with the other species of Downworlders - this time the werewolves and the faeries. I think the author will finally be satisfied once there's every species of Downworlder represented in a main character. Last but not least, there's still the Jace hates his dad -> meets up with his dad for a chat -> he joins him/is going to join him -> he realizes that's a bad move and rejoins the good side. I've read City of Glass (the next book) before and I know that's repeated in there as well. Yay.
I have this overwhelming feeling of "been there, done that." This time around, I wasn't bored with Simon - I was annoyed with him, so that's a positive. Clary stops getting on everyone's nerves long enough to accomplish some things. Jace is in borderline abusive relationship territory. See you guys next for City of Glass.