City of Ashes brings us back into the Shadowhunter world and things have gotten worse from last time.
Clary, Jace, and the whole Shadowhunter crew are on the hunt for Valentine. His radical ideas for bringing down the clave are slowly becoming a reality. With Downworlder children dying left and right, the gang believes that Valentine may be behind it. But how do you catch a man that doesn’t want to be found?
I found City of Ashes to be more entertaining than City of Bones. The pacing was really good here, better than the turtle speed of its predecessor. I like that there was more detail about the Downworld side, and there’s so much to learn! Even though it started off a bit slow, the plot was action-packed and kept me on my toes towards the end. Also, Cassandra Clare writes good banter for teenagers. I found myself chuckling along with Simon’s one-liners and Magnus’s retorts.
The only downfall of this book was Clary and Jace, yet again. I found Clary to be annoying and whiny. She always put herself in situations that were above her experience level. And that irks me. Jace was still arrogant and equally annoying. However, by the end of the book, he was slowly, very slowly, growing on me. And I think this was only because Cassandra inputs some eyebrow-raisers throughout the book concerning Jace. We don’t know what those concerns are just yet and my curiosity is peaking. Clary and Jace’s relationship is straight up weird. I guess I should be used to it since I’ve read and watched Game of Thrones – I mean there are some serious Cersei/Jaime vibes going on. I did spoil it for myself though, so I know the truth. But still, it’s disturbing.
This series is one where I enjoy the secondary characters way more than the primary ones. I adored the relationship blossoming between Alec and Magnus, who is definitely my favorite warlock. Simon’s arc took a 180 turn that I was not expecting but was pleasantly surprised by (and I’m happy that Cassandra cut the romance between him and Clary, I seriously did not like it one bit). The introduction of the new characters: Maia, Imogen the Inquisitor, and the Lightwood parents are a welcome changeup. Though I wished they were more fleshed out, I can overlook that as there are more books ahead and more chances for their characters to be expanded.
Valentine, as a villain, is nothing I haven’t seen before. He’s isn’t special honestly. He’s just another demented guy who wants to wipe out all downworlders, no matter if they’re good or bad.
While reading this book, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish it. The thing that kept me going was Simon’s arc and the newfound information about Jace and Clary. I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds for the rest of the series. All in all, City of Ashes was a decent sequel and a good set up for City of Glass. I was about to quit The Mortal Instruments series altogether, but the last 20% of this second installment changed my mind. I intrigued to see how City of Glass turns out.