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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once you start, you won't be able to put it down!
After loving The Year of the Great Seventh, an amazing fantasy novel free of vampires and werewolves, I had promised to myself that I was going to stay clear of any bloodsucking creatures. But when I came across The Mortal Instruments (Book 2) City of Ashes, I could not resist the temptation.

I was a big fun of City of Bones as I thought it was a very original...
Published 18 months ago by Berty

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51 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less derivative, although the fanfic roots still show
Less derivative than CITY OF BONES, this sequel suffers from the same purple prose problems, characterisation is sometimes patchy and the internal logic creaks.

Clare works harder to make the material here her own. Valentine is less cliched as a villain, with Clare doing a decent job at showing someone so utterly convinced that he is right that he can't even...
Published on May 3, 2008 by I Read, Therefore I Blog


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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once you start, you won't be able to put it down!, August 9, 2013
After loving The Year of the Great Seventh, an amazing fantasy novel free of vampires and werewolves, I had promised to myself that I was going to stay clear of any bloodsucking creatures. But when I came across The Mortal Instruments (Book 2) City of Ashes, I could not resist the temptation.

I was a big fun of City of Bones as I thought it was a very original story. However, I wasn't sure how much more Clary and Jace have left to give. Putting my reservations to one side, I decided to go for it.

City of Ashes revolves around the mysterious murder of Downworlder children in New York City. Clary and Jace are still obviously attracted to each other, but now that they know they are actually siblings, they are trying to repress their feelings for each other.

When the Soul-Sword, the second Mortal Instrument, goes missing, the frightening Inquisitor thinks that Jace had something to do with the disappearance. Clary suspects that Valentine, Clary and Jace's father, is behind the Mortal Instruemnt theft, and possibly, behind the Downworlder children murder.

There is nonstop action through the entire novel. The Shadowhunters continue to fight the demons that almost no one can see. Clary, her best friend Simon, and her now Shadowhunter brother, Jace are tangled in a complicated love triangle. Plus it is easy to relate to the characters even though some of them are half-human.

If you want a captivating read packed with mythology creatures, romance and adventure, you'll love this one.

I am glad I broke my "no more bloodsuckers/werewolves" promise. Ms. Clare: five glittering stars!
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111 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, despite flaws, April 16, 2009
This review is from: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2) (Paperback)
The fantasy genre is well known for taking rich, varied, and well known mythology and twisting it up in new ways. Or at least, attempting to twist it up in new ways. Because let's face it, the vampire has already been invented. Now it's all about what you do with him.

So first, the really good- Cassandra Clare does a mighty fine job of taking rich and varied and well known mythologies and giving them a brand new spark of life that has not been written into the ground already. I enjoy that she picks bits of mythology from all over and uses it to create a world full of truths and half-truths and the people who have to deal with it all. This isn't just another fantasy novel. It reminds me of The Dresden Files for young adults.

The other really good thing about this book, is that the characters are a lot less cliched and stereotypical than most books in this genre. The main male character, Jace, might be pretty and the love interest (more on that in a moment) but he is also haughty, cocky, unlikeable and reactionary. She writes him so well that I sometimes find myself irritated with him- a beautiful and well drafted flaw. Who says our heroes need to be perfect anyway? This is also somewhat of a problem for her though too, because she tries so hard not to write predictable characters that they tend to fall out the other side of the extreme.

I'm also delighted by her fight scenes, which are clear and well written but not long and drawn out. Fight scenes have a tendency to be repetitive. She knows when to get on with it.

The bad- some of the prose is a little watered down. Contrite but clearly written with pleasure. Clare has never met a metaphor she didn't like. Still, the book was a page turner- I ferreted away in an empty cubicle at work to devour it during my breaks, flowery language or not.

The weird (and ugly)- The romance is bizarre. It's not even thinly veiled incestuous desire...it's right in your face and deals with it in a way that is going to make a lot of people uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable. I was at first horrified by her choice. Why would an author do this? But I am a little impressed with her ballsy choices for romances- a very homosexual blooming romance and a heartbreaking passion between two people who only recently found out their brother and sister. That's gutsy, and I can't say I haven't been craving some gutsy romances lately. But like I said, the incestuous romance is so weird it's not good. It reminds me a lot of the incestuous romance in The Royal Tennenbaums. I'm pretty sure we'll find out they aren't brother and sister, but honestly, the damage has been done.

Finally- I like Clary. She's weak and flawed and easily scared and up until the end of the second book, she's sort of a liability in every dangerous situation she's been in. And that makes sense, up until a very short while ago, she was a normal girl getting dressed up to dance at a goth club. It does surprise me though that no one offers to help her become less of a liability, until her powers manifest over night to make her super uber awesome. This is tragic. I'd rather have a main character who is just ok but brave and smart than one who can bring the world to its knees with no apparent explanation and no hard work.

But in the end, I was still captivated and still enthralled and I devoured it in a couple of days, to the neglect of everything else. In the end, that's what matters most to me.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Left me flipping its pages 'til the end, June 20, 2012
This review is from: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2) (Paperback)
Without a doubt, the second novel in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series is just as nerve-wracking as its prequel. With the return of some of my favorite Shadowhunters, I couldn't help smiling as characters fell in love, pondering as new discoveries were made, and gasping at every turn.

I've always loved the world Cassie Clare had created. A world of nephilim, vampires, werewolves, faeries, and warlocks-each species being a combination of either angel, demon, or human-fascinates me. And the plot in this book! I was engrossed in this one even more than I was in City of Bones (I think I have a thing with murders in books; they just grab at my attention).

Cassie's characters also majorly improved. With this installment in the series, Clary became less of a Mary Sue in my mind. Her newly discovered talent with runes still didn't qualify her as kick-butt, but my opinion of her rose rapidly. And Jace-Jace became even more complex, even more of a character whose emotions dominated him.

The romantic tension between Clary and Jace grew even more in this novel-which of course made me pleased. (Totally Team Jace here.) Even though they still had that pesky little hurdle of (spoiler if you haven't read City of Bones) incest, they couldn't help falling in love with each other, no matter how hard they tried to push their feelings away.

I adored this book. With even more plot twists and major improvements in character development, this book left me flipping its pages 'til the very end. Readers are going to want to get their hands on City of Glass the very minute-no, the very second-they read the last word in this novel.

Source: copy borrowed from library
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51 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less derivative, although the fanfic roots still show, May 3, 2008
Less derivative than CITY OF BONES, this sequel suffers from the same purple prose problems, characterisation is sometimes patchy and the internal logic creaks.

Clare works harder to make the material here her own. Valentine is less cliched as a villain, with Clare doing a decent job at showing someone so utterly convinced that he is right that he can't even begin to think that he might be wrong and I could just buy into his being willing to use demons to further those ends. Unfortunately the Inquisitor feels like a rehash of `old' Valentine, a single-minded Shadowhunter who holds Jace responsible for the sins of his father and refuses to listen to any views different to her own.

Jace will appeal to teenagers - moody, handsome and with hints at special powers. His dialogue sometimes doesn't fit his age, but his scenes are confidently handled. I wish I could say the same for Clary. She remains passive and reactive and her own special powers take her too close to Mary-Sue territory. The incestuous feelings between Clary and Jace are the main theme in the book but the subject's handled in a shallow manner as neither character seems interested in the consequences or emotional implications of their feelings and Clare drops anvils as to its resolution, which robs the love triangle between Clary, Jace and Simon of tension.

Simon suffers a great deal in this book and it's a shame that Clare does not set out the scene where he's forced into a terrifying transformation. There have been hints of this since the first book but the main catalyst here happens off page and without any real build-up, which is frustrating as it robs the book of some real drama and shock-value. The dilemma that this transformation causes for Simon is resolved by the end of the book in a way that's too pat and I think it's a missed opportunity.

The prose is purple and repetitive at times and sometimes stunts the action. There are some inner-story logic problems, notably where Jace visits Valentine, finding him easily even though he's managed to evade all of the other Shadowhunters. Best scenes in the book are a dream sequence between Clary and her mother and Valentine's attack on the Silent Brothers. The cliffhanger ending is a cheap device but will leave fans panting for the concluding volume.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad author! Bad! Go to your corner!, December 24, 2009
By 
Tigerflower (Washington State) - See all my reviews
This review is from: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2) (Paperback)
Is what you'll want to say if you were expecting a well written urban fantasy. Busy teen readers deserve quality reads instead of a book this poorly slapped together. I struggled through this volume only because I purchased the boxed set. Book 2 notches up the pace a bit over the first installment and it's shorter length is an improvement that earned it the 2nd star.

The whole shadowhunter concept is still so thinly fleshed out that when Clary and Jace begin to manifest new powers the reader is left wondering if this is finally an attempt at world building or a plot twist. Magic is tossed in willy nilly whenever cliched drama needs an explanation. In one scene Clary is talking to Simon on her phone when he hears someone smashing in his door. She rushes over to his house a page later and calmly unlocks the door that has just been smashed in. We're told it must be magic. Shadowhunter magic? Demon magic? Bewitched reruns?

A large portion of this book takes place on a ship. However no attempt seems to have been made to research ships. The term is used interchangeably with boat, and terms for parts of the ship such as bulkheads and ladders don't appear until the last hundred pages.(Finally get around to using the library?)

The action scenes are exciting mainly because Ms Clare seems completely unable to visualize them. Two men are backed into a niche fighting the demons in front of them. One of the demons spits poison at them. Does the poison hit the bulkhead behind them when they duck? NO! This is boomerang spit I guess because it goes right over the top of their heads and hits another demon! Amazing.

Isabelle climbs over the rail to leave the ship just before Alex slips in the gore on the deck and slides over the EDGE of the ship. To get over the rail of a ship you either have to climb or be helped which is why when a sailor goes missing on a calm day in the middle of a harbour authorities tend to get a tad excited. Maybe this is Alex manifesting a new edge sliding magic ability?

Clary is knocked to her feet by water pouring through a hole in the ship. A few paragraphs later she is sucked OUT of the ship through the hole with water pouring IN it. Is it possible this author is the only person left in the world who has NOT seen a movie about the Titantic?

I could go on but you get the idea. If you're already a reader of quality fantasy don't waste your money. Click some Amazon links and you're bound to find something better. If you're already a fanbois or fangurl of the series, enjoy, then find a teacher or friend to recommend a really great title. Good books are out there. This just isn't one of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2), June 7, 2013
By 
Lauren Johnson (Santa Clara, CA USA) - See all my reviews
The second installment of the Mortal Instrument series continues on with the journey of Clary. Now that her mom is in a coma, Simon is a rat, and Valentine is on the loose everything is one step away from horrible.

Everything is quite expected, there were no twists and turns in the plot whatsoever. Just as in the first book I found the writing to be exceedingly immature and hard to get through. In this installment the overabundant use of stereotypes really got to me for some reason. If I don't like the characters I just can't like the book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I skimmed a lot.., August 22, 2009
This review is from: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2) (Paperback)
I don't have a good track record with this series. I read the first one when it was first released and absolutely HATED the twist at the end. It ruined the book for me and hence I never prgressed with the series.

However, one of my friends has been bugging me to finish the series for ages, so I finally got my act together and started them again.

I find Clare's writing to be a little too flowery for my tastes. There is just so much unnecessary description - towards the end I was just reading the dialogue and skimming all the description in between. It doesn't really add to the story at all. Actually I skimmed probably 1/4 of this book, that was mainly just so I could finish it instead of reading a couple of pages from time to time.
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38 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow and appropriate for children?, May 6, 2008
By 
Lasha (Planet Earth) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I checked out City of Ashes from my local library. Unlike City of Bones, which I bought to see if I could use it in my classroom (I couldn't), I was just reading City of Ashes for my own pleasure.

There are a few good things about City of Ashes and many bad things about it. I will discuss the positive aspects first. (Be forewarned I am going to be discussing major plot points of this novel (i.e. SPOILERS), if you have not read City of Ashes, then I suggest you SKIP my review).

I must say that in this book, Ms. Clare's characterizations are somewhat better. Not a whole lot better, but improved, at least most of the Star Wars references are gone. For example, I really enjoyed the characters of Alec and Magnus. In fact, they are the only reason I gave this book 2 stars instead of one. Their love story is bold, interesting and different. I hope Ms. Clare will expand on their relationship in the third book. For me, Alec and Magnus were my favorite part of City of Ashes.

Now onto the negative aspects of the book. First, the book starts out with a bang with Valentine showing up. Then, we get 6 chapters of BORING, slow-paced nonsense. Unfortunately Ms. Clare doesn't seem to know how to write a fast-paced sequel that can keep the reader awake with drama and action. The end picks up, but by then the casual reader may have just discarded the novel.

Another negative aspect is that once again Ms. Clare is drawing from other source material for her characters (i.e. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer). In chapter one, when Clary and Simon are watching the movie Dracula, I figured out that by the end of the book Simon would turn into a vampire - and guess what he did! There was no surprise to this revelation. Now I know the book is being targeted to 14+, but that plot point was so obvious a 6 year old could have seen it coming.

Lastly, what is up with the promotion of an incestuous relationship between Clary and Jace? I understood that in book one, the two did not know they were brother and sister and had feelings for one another, but in this book they clearly know they are related and yet continue to kiss and discuss their romantic feelings ad nauseum. (At one point, Jace states he wants to be with Clary, no matter if they are related or not, Clary nixes that idea, but by the end of the book, she is okay with it?) I am not getting it. This book is geared towards young readers, so why is the author pushing an incestuous relationship onto her audience? I have my own ideas about why this is happening and will see if they play out in book 3, but for now that plot is just morally wrong. Brothers and sisters should not be thinking of making out or having sex with one another.

Overall, I cannot say I liked this book. On my hand it had some great aspects (Alec and Magnus), and then it had some downright awful things (incestuous plotline, slow pace). So, what I am recommending is that if you liked the first book, but are unsure of wanting to buy this book, then check it out of the library. Save yourself $[...].
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only becomes boring when the traditional YA love triangle comes into it. Otherwise, top notch fun., December 3, 2014
This review is from: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2) (Paperback)
I read City of Bones last Christmas, and decided after purchasing the entire Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices trilogy that I really should get those read after a year of collecting dust.

City of Ashes is a bit difficult to get into if you can't remember what happened at the end of the first book, or if your only memories are of the film (trust me, don't watch the film and think you can start of this second book. You'll be lost.)

It has some surprises, of course, but where it sags, just like the film, is when attention is paid to the love interest between Jace and Clary. It's not because they potentially are brother and sister - they clearly aren't if there are six books and they've been allowed to exist, otherwise society would have an uproar over depictions of incest - it's simply because Clary/Jace aren't an interesting couple, and their relationship is more interesting as brother and sister. Once it gets into Clary's wishes to be with Jace it just becomes another boring YA novel. Other than that, it's a fun ride through the supernatural underworld of New York.

The structure I think leaves a lot to be desired, there's a lot of not much going on, in retrospect. I hope writers and amplify things a bit in the forthcoming television series. It has the same elements of the first, even down to the characters in the climax (yeah a few new people are introduced and participate, but the climax and the aftermath are the same as in City of Bones).

It's enjoyable and that's why I'm reading Cassandra Clare's books. She's not setting out to change the world with her books. And I like losing the pretence of just writing a fun book. And this is fun, despite its flaws. I'll be working through the rest of the saga over Christmas. Looking forward to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars, August 8, 2014
Despite The Mortal Instruments being a favorite series of mine, I have only read each book once—until now. I’m actually surprised that this series hasn’t gotten a re-read from me sooner, but until starting my From the Ashes and Upon Further Review features, I felt guilty for re-reading because re-reads didn’t benefit my blog any. Well now they do, and I think it is way past time for me to re-read this entire series. Here’s my review of City of Bones in case you’re interested in checking that out.

One thing that hit me while reading City of Ashes was truly how much of the details of this story I’d forgotten. While I remember the most major plot-points, I’d forgotten almost ALL of the little details. Usually with my favorite series, I know them backwards and forwards. But since I haven’t re-read this series until now and my original read through was somewhere close to 5ish years ago, I just don’t have this series ingrained as much as I’d like. I guess I actually forgot some big things too because I totally forgot that we meet Maia and Jordan in City of Ashes. I also forgot that Valentine had white hair. I mean I knew Sebastian had white hair, but I totally forgot about Valentine having white hair too. And while Jace’s sarcasm and wit is one of the things that stood out to me upon first reading, this time through, I was reminded how funny Simon actually is too.

One of the best things about City of Ashes my first read-through was wondering whether Jace and Clary would turn out to truly be brother and sister or not. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t finished the series though. I remember being slightly sick to my stomach while reading City of Ashes for the first time because IF, just IF, they really did turn out to be brother and sister then that would be kind of gross. I was praying that they weren’t, because I didn’t think I’d want to read the series if they actually turned out to be brother and sister. And this was made even more awkward and uncomfortable the first read-through with how adamant Jace was that he didn’t care if they were brother and sister or not. Jace even tells Clary that they can be together anyway. And Clary bless her heart still obviously cares about Jace in a way that isn’t sisterly, but she can’t go there with him. She can’t disregard something so major just to indulge her desires. The whole thing is super awkward and the real driving force for me behind the first three books in the series.

Speaking of super awkward, Simon…bless him! Simon saw Clary’s feelings for Jace beginning to develop in City of Bones, but when it was revealed that Clary and Jace are brother and sister, he decides that it’s now or never to jump on the feelings that he’s always had for Clary. Obviously, Clary can’t be with her brother. So why not take this opportunity to step up and show her how he feels. While I won’t say that Clary was encouraging exactly, she definitely wasn’t discouraging to him either. She kind of let Simon take the reigns despite feeling a bit apathetic to the changes he’s bringing to their friendship all while knowing that the heat just isn’t there the way it was is with Jace.

One of the bigger things I forgot was the desperation that Jace feels. He’s so alone. He’s found out that his father is still alive, and he’s also a maniac set on destruction. He’s lost the possibility of being with the one person for which he’s developed the strongest feelings he's ever felt. While Clary can still be in his life, she can’t be with him the way he wants. And he’s lost his adoptive family as well. Although Isabel and Alec still have his back, Maryse has been cold to him since the revelation of him being Valentine’s son. Even Jocelyn who is supposed to be his real mother that he never knew he had is in a comma, and he finds that he just can’t connect to her. He feels like he’s lost and floundering. And I forgot how young he feels in this book. Jace even reaches out to Luke because Luke is essentially the only person left. His last option.

There were a couple of moments when I feel like having read City of Heavenly Fire things didn’t add up. Magnus makes a comment in City of Ashes about how he’s never seen one of the Night Children rise, but in City of Heavenly Fire we’re told that Magnus is the one who was there when Raphael dug his way out of his grave and offered him some donor blood to drink. Also, this one can probably be explained away, but the attack on the Silent City in City of Ashes doesn’t really explain how Brother Zachariah survived—apparently along with some other Silent Brothers—despite the statement being made that all the Silent Brothers were murdered by Valentine in this attack. That one was minor, but these are the kinds of things that bug me.

The scene at the Seelie Court is one of my all-time favorite scenes in the series. And if you have already read City of Ashes but haven’t read that scene from Jace’s POV on Cassandra Clare’s website then go read that as soon as you’re finished reading this review. I have no idea why that scene from his POV didn't make the final cut.

I find Cassandra Clare to be one of the most quotable authors that I’ve read over the last 5 years or so. So please bear with me while I share some of my favorites:
-"I don’t want to be a man," said Jace. "I want to be an angst-ridden teenager who can't confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people instead."

-"That’s sweet," said Maia. "That he loves his sister like that." "Yeah," Simon said. "It’s precious."

-"And you don’t think we’re smart enough to know the difference?" asked Simon. "I don’t think you’re smart enough not to get turned into a rat by accident."

-“That you freed a possible criminal by trading away your brother to a warlock who looks like a gay Sonic the Hedgehog and dresses like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?”

-"I knew it," he said."You want to kiss me, don’t you?” (Jace to Simon)

-“You can close your eyes and think of England if you like.”

-“You shouldn’t have kissed me like that.” He had been leaning against the door frame; now he stood up straight. “How should I have kissed you? Is there another way you like it?”

-"You heard what the Queen said. She thought she was doing me a favor." ... "She wasn’t wrong."

-"It doesn't matter how many times you say it. It'll still be true." "And it doesn’t matter what you won’t let me say, that'll still be true too."

-"I remember you saying that growing up happens when you start having things you look back on and wish you could change. I guess that means I've grown up now."

-"Clary, I'm telling you he made his own decisions. What you're blaming yourself for is being what you are. And that's no one's fault and nothing you can change. You told him the truth and he made up his own mind what he wanted to do about that. Everyone has choices to make; no one has the right to take those choices away from us. Not even out of love.” "But that’s just it," Clary said. "When you love someone, you don’t have a choice."

-“Any uncle of yours is an uncle of mine darling sister...” –this one fittingly reminds me of Jamie and Cersie from A Song of Ice and Fire

-“I wish I could hate you.”

Like Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, there is so much that I want to discuss that falls into the category of spoilers. I don’t want to ruin anything for any readers that haven’t finished this series, so I’ll just say that I want to say so much more than I already have.

I feel like I’d be remiss without saying that I could do without the Magnus and Alec relationship. I’ve discussed how I feel about that before. I love each of the characters individually—especially Magnus—but the relationship doesn’t work for me.

City of Ashes is full of angst but the good kind. There’s emotion, forbidden and otherwise. I love the characters. I love the world building. And I even love the conflict, despite how awkward and uncomfortable it can be. City of Ashes gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read City of Ashes? What did you think? Let me know!

For more book reviews, check out Somewhere Only We Know - http://sandyfarmer.blogspot.com.
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City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2)
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2) by Cassandra Clare (Paperback - March 24, 2009)
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