Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Posted September 25, 2012 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra ClareCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 25th, 2008
Genres: Angels & Demons, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Young Adult
Pages: 453
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

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.

2 Stars

*sigh* – that’s the only appropriate way to start this review. Now I gave City of Bones 3.5 oranges, and was even sort of debating giving it an extra orange, and now I’m thinking that even 3.5 was too many. I’ve reached a few conclusions about why that is: first off, I’ve definitely reached my YA bullshit quota for the month, and need a break from that. And secondly, I’ve realized that The Mortal Instruments are guilty pleasure books. Except this time I felt none of the pleasure in it. By this term I mean to say that these books are fine if your read them really quickly and don’t ever stop to question anything. But halfway through the book, my patience was wearing thing, and I started paying attention to the flaws. And there were a bunch of them.

The only thing that really caused me full enjoyment in this book were the romantic scenes. I guess I’m a sucker, but boy Cassandra Clare knows how to describe two people kissing. And the rest of the book was just a bit bland, also filled with plot elements I just don’t agree with. Sadly those kissing scenes were few and far between and wrapped with this melodrama that just asdfjkl; Let me be clear, I didn’t mind the incest *that* much. I managed to get myself over that part. But especially the epilogue just killed everything for me. Simon greets her with hey baby and then says he wants to break up. And Jace is holding her hand and then says he will just be a brother to her and she “feels a pang in her chest” and oh geez. Just. Ugh.

Simon turning into a vampire is one example of a plot element I really hated. How stupidly lame. So now there’s not a single mundane person in their group. I really liked that element. I understand that people mixed up in this world eventually become a part of it and everything, but in the SECOND BOOK? Also a VAMPIRE jesus, why. This just comes back to remind me that paranormal romance SO ISN’T MY THING.

The switching of points of view really bothered me. I don’t know, I told myself it shouldn’t bother me because we get a whole view of the story, know everything that’s going on, and that’s a good thing! But it still bothered me. I think what it was is that they switched points of view too often and each view point was too short (I’m especially referring to the middle bit, where there were something like four different viewpoints). It was just really jarring. Especially when some view points are really action packed and then others are really boring (*cough*SimonandMaia*cough*).

I’m going to take a hater moment and lay it on Maia. I really dislike her as a character. Where the hell did she come from, and all of a sudden I’m supposed to feel sympathy for her? And her stupid crush on Simon, WHAT? Where did THAT come from? Seriously, you spoke to him for like two seconds? I’m calling bullshit. She’s only there to resolve the stupid love triangle and give Simon someone else, well you know what, the Romeo and Juliet vampire x werewolf love drama is really not appealing nor interesting to me. Just, NO.

In terms of worldbuilding, the book is seriously lacking. Seriously, you make this beautiful world of magic and demons and you take NO time to build it up. Which leaves me with all these questions. The world has potential but doesn’t use any of it. Like, for example, the seraph blades? Seriously, they have such a “mighty” kind of name, you’d think they’re pretty rare, but Jace produces like 1384957346209 of them and tosses them away like they’re nothing. What is up with that? And the runes. Okay, putting aside how lame it is that Clary can make her own runes – these ancient magic spells, how do they work? Seriously, no thought is put into them. Even just an image of the different runes they use would be a nice addition. It just feels like, at any time CC can invent a new trick, spell, weapon, whatever and just NO EXPLANATION. Well you know what?

I’m growing impervious to your bullshit.

Summing Up:

To be honest, it’s not the worst series in the world. It’s definitely better than Twilight. But it’s hard for me to really like it. Reading this book, I really had to force myself to keep reading, to not give up. And in the end there were still many unanswered questions that kind of make me want to continue with the series, but to think that I’d have to sit through so much bullshit again… I don’t know if I want to. So I’m not putting it on my dropped series bookshelf yet. I’ll put City of Glass on my to-read list, but it’s not high on that list. And I have an excuse for that, seeing as the next three months are filled with new releases I’ve been dying for.

Recommended To:

Huge fans of City of Bones.

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