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City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments) Hardcover – March 25, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—In this sequel to City of Bones (S & S, 2007), the nonstop action continues. The Shadowhunters are battling a world of demons that few people can see. Guided by the laws of the Clave, these hunters balance fighting with the other more mundane aspects of life—love, betrayal, and confusion. Jace, the fiercest teenage Shadowhunter, seems determined to make everyone around him angry, and is looked upon with suspicion because his father, Valentine, is out to rule the world. Meanwhile, love triangles abound, vampires are reborn, and general teenage angst blossoms among a group of friends and siblings. Set in an alternative present-day Manhattan, the story comes complete with Britney Spears references and even, ironically, refers to the scientific CSI. Well written in both style and language, it compares favorably to others in this genre. The human characters are well developed and quite believable. The whole book is like watching a particularly good vampire/werewolf movie, and it leaves readers waiting for the next in the series. Watch this one fly off the shelves.—Jennifer-Lynn Draper, Children's Literature Consultant, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
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"A gorgeous fantasty that's so good, it's dangerous." -- Holly Black
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As much as I loved the first book, you can see a marked improvement in Cassie’s writing even by this second book. There is a particular scene in which the setting is described so vividly that you can easily imagine the location building around you in your mind. Immersive world building is always very important to me in books, especially fantasy series, so I cannot recommend this series enough. Although it is the earliest of her writing, you cannot miss out on all of the details she provides about the world. You go on the journey with Clary as you both learn about Downworlders, the Clave, and demons.
City of Ashes further develops the relationships and connections between the characters. You can feel how much they care for one another and it’s really authentic. Although I’ve read this series before it has been a while since I delved into the series that started it all. I am being reintroduced to favourite characters and realizing just how much they’ve grown over the course of the numerous novels that Cassie has written. As I re-read interactions and laugh at witty lines, I fall in love with the characters all over again. I remember what it is that made me care for them in the first place, not just their strengths but their vulnerabilities.
There’s not much else I can say without discussing plot points or spoiling things from this or the first book, so I would just end it with – please, if you’re hesitant, give this series a chance. I would highly recommend it and in my opinion, it definitely needs to be read prior to reading Cassie’s newest series, the Dark Artifices. As incredible as the world building is in that series, it’s adding to the lore that has been built and evolved over the course of ten novels. It won’t be as impactful if you don’t have the foundational knowledge before you read the Dark Artifices.
The High Inquisitor, meantime has arrived to find out where the loyalties of the New York Conclave lie, and Jace is used as a tool or revenge and retribution. Clare does an amazing job of interveaving character view points and motivations so you aren't sure who to root for, or exactly where their loyalties lie.
At the heart of the novel is the forbidden love between Jace and Clary. I have my suspicions that the "children" of Valentine may not be quite as he declares them to be. And it's heartbreaking as well as rendering to watch them fight the feelings they have for one another. In almost any other circumstance you know you should be revolted by the idea of them together, but Clare once again, burrows you so deeply in her characters that you feel as helpless and anxious to see them come together.
Anticipating to see what City of Glass brings to light.
I am over the brother and sister romance. I know it may come out that they are not even siblings (do not tell me), but I just think it is weird and I do not care to see how much they lust for one another.
I really liked the ending on this one though! Again, it sets you up to want to grab the next book. I heard book 3 is amazing and I may actually read the physical copy. I definitely plan to continue with the series.
However, I gave Mortal Instruments a shot at the suggestion of my sister. The second installment of the series, City of Ashes, deals with the aftermath of the events of the first novel. It focuses on two main plots (1) Clary and Jace dealing with the revelation that they are siblings and (2) attempting to prevent Valentine from getting the Mortal Instruments.
I enjoyed the second book about as much as the first. It was just as good - a fast-paced easy read. Parts of it are admittedly predictable. However, overall it's a great second-installment to the series.