Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: March 25th, 2008
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?
The second installment in Cassandra Clare's famed Mortal Instruments series, City of Ashes further delves into the life of Clary Fray. Still dealing with the coma of her mother, her new life as a Shadowhunter, and the grueling revelation about her relationship with Jace. Then there's her relationship with her best friend, Simon, which is slowly blossoming into something more. With that much on her plate, Clary hardly has time to breathe- it doesn't help that Valentine, the man determined to obliterate demons and Shadowhunters alike who also happens to be her father, is resurfacing, and back with a vengeance more heated than before.
Just like its prequel, City of Ashes is jam-packed with adventure, kick-butt scenes, and standout characters. It builds on the foundation set by City of Bones and further enriches the reader's knowledge on the Shadowhunter world. It maintains the same caliber of exquisiteness as the first novel, an indication of Clare's talent, as City of Bones is a hard book to live up to.
The relationships in this novel are more complicated than they are in the first book. Clare takes the love triangle to a whole new level; the characters' pain, confusion and longing just resonate all the way through the book's 400 or so pages. Some parts are so gripping and emotional, I found that I was drained after reading some of the scenes. This isn't bad at all, though- it only displays the brilliance of the author in creating such remarkable, relatable characters.
On the whole, City of Ashes is an excellent second installment. It builds on the first novel, but leaves enough out to build a bridge to the third novel. It did not make as big an impact on me the same way the first book did in some areas, but the emotional depth more than compensates for that. A riveting follow-up to a mind-blowing book, City of Ashes satisfies readers' cravings for the series, but leaves room for them to want more and read the next installment.