Book Reviews

[review] City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare

Release Date: March 25, 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

A murderer is loose in New York City…

…and the victims are Downworlder children. Clary Fray and her fellow Shadowhunters have a strong suspicion that Valentine, Clary’s father, may be behind the killings. But if he is the murderer, then what’s his true motive? To make matters worse, the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, has been stolen and the mysterious Inquisitor has arrived to investigate, with his eyes vigilantly trained on Clary’s brother Jace.

Clary will need to face some terrifying demons and even more terrifying family decisions. No one said that the life of a Shadowhunter would be easy.

Discovery: On the heels of City of Bones (which I reviewed here), I’m continuing the Mortal Instruments series, albeit a little less willingly than before.

+     Maia and other supporting characters. I mentioned how much I liked the supporting characters in my review of City of Bones and that still holds true. In fact, Maia, Simon, Alec and Isabelle may be the saving grace of this novel. I do wish that Maia had had more page time, because her story is mysterious enough to whet my appetite.

–     Jace and Clary. I read Forbidden this week. It was one of the most compelling stories I’ve read in a very long time, and it was about a brother and sister who fall in love with each other. I will say straight out that there is no comparison between that book and City of Ashes. For one, Forbidden‘s Maya and Lochan were caught in circumstances far beyond their own control. That doesn’t make what they did right, but knowing their background would certainly help in understanding how they felt and why they thought they belonged together. That story did not end happily. Whether you think that was divine retribution or whatnot, that’s dependent on personal opinion.

This is not true of Jace and Clary. I find their so-called starcrossed romance foolish and unnecessary. I was especially bothered by the scene with the Seelie Queen. I don’t see any reason why she would ask them to do what they did, or why it was necessary for the story to develop further, and so I come to the conclusion that that scene was there to try to stir up some much-needed shock/excitement. I was more squicked out by that scene than I was during the sex scenes in Forbidden. It’s difficult to emphatise with characters who make reckless decision after reckless decision without giving thought to what the consequences could be. Jace was an especially unlikeable character in this novel–I found myself rolling my eyes at his not-so-subtle insults towards Simon more than once. He might be jealous because he loves Clary, but right now, Clary is his SISTER. There’s no excuse to be jealous.

–     Plot. There were some unexpected twists in this novel, but overall, I was actually bored. Valentine isn’t a threatening villain at all and the Inquisitor just annoyed me. I realize that isn’t the most professional opinion ever, but I had a hard time feeling motivated to finish this book. I understand that a demonic takeover of the world is a bad thing and that Jace, Clary and everyone else were doing their best to deal with it, but unlike City of Bones, I felt no urgency while reading. Maybe it’s knowing that there is a third and fourth book after this one, maybe it’s just plain disinterest. Either way, I know I won’t be hurrying through to find out what happens next.

Recommendations: As sequels go, it’s a poor answer. This particular book isn’t for me, but Jace/Clary fans will enjoy the unresolved tension between the siblings.

Rating: Poor.

Go check out Cassandra Clare’s website and follow her on Twitter @cassieclare.

You can check out City of Ashes on Goodreads and order it over at Amazon and Book Depository.

Next review:  Juliet Immortal, Stacey Jay


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