City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2)
by Casssandra Clare
Published 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?
This book captured my attention more than the first one. The storyline and the writing seemed better refined and I started to appreciate the characters more. I found myself returning to the first book to clarify some points that I seemed to skim through because I wasn't entirely interested the first time around.
In the previous book, City of Bones, Clary finds out about her mother's past and the world of Shadowhunters. The only way to save Jocelyn (her mom) is to track down Valentine (her newly discovered and crazy evil father). Clary is a bit clueless, or like a fish out of water when it comes to this Shadowhunter business, but she tries so I give her credit for that.
Jace is under scrutiny by the Inquisitor, Imogen Herondale. She suspects him of being further involved with Valentine than he says, but she also holds her own personal vendetta against Valentine. What I liked about her appearance in this novel is that it provides a genealogical link to Will Herondale from the Clockwork Angel... I have my own suspicions, but I'll wait until reading the series to see if I'm right.
The real twist to this story is that Simon and Clary are attempting to date, but she is completely taken by Jace... her brother. Granted they didn't know they were siblings, but now they do and can't seem to stop pursuing each other. Weird. It's a little unnerving that they have such a strong attraction to one another... very strange.
Luke and Simon are characters I'm starting to appreciate in this book as well. I love Luke. I like his role in Clary's life and I hope he remains in it. Simon too. I don't like the dating theme between him and Clary, but I like all the other aspects of his character. Now that he's a vampire I hope stuff works out for him, I find him endearing (but not right for Clary).
All in all I liked this book much better than the first, it motivated me to read the series. But, I still find it difficult to navigate through the excessive language.