Note: This review contains spoilers for the previous book in the series, City of Bones.
Clarissa Fray is now no longer your everyday teenager. After discovering she actually has Shadowhunter blood, she has been thrusted into the world of the Shadowhunters, facing demons, Inquisitors and other mystical things.
Her mother is still in a coma, and no matter what they do, they can’t wake her up. And what’s worse is Valentine, the evil man who is apparently Clary’s long lost father, has the Mortal Cup and will inevitably use it to wreak more havoc, especially since rumours are circulating that he is out to steal the second Mortal Instrument, the Mortal Sword.
Amidst all these worries, there lies an even greater problem for Clary: how can she continue to be madly in love with Jace, and him with her, if they are brother and sister?
City of Ashes did not let me down. After reading the first instalment, I expected nothing less than an equally thrilling story with a fascinating plot and strong characters. This is exactly what I received.
The plot was different, in a good way. I loved how all the subplots worked to form the big plot. It twisted and turned but remained the focus of the story. There was clear direction throughout the novel; there were no useless chapters, written just to fill pages. Humour was expertly juxtaposed with underlying pressures and drama throughout the novel. It was impossible to put the book down as the plot was that gripping.
The characters were very similar to City of Bones, but also very different. Clary was still a very strong protagonist. Jace was quite different to how he was in the previous instalment; he appeared a lot more reserved in this novel than the last. I personally find their brother-sister romance to be utterly disgusting. How can you still have feelings for each other despite being brother and sister? Wouldn’t your repulsion outweigh your attraction?
Simon was a more important character in this book, and I found it to be a step in the right direction as I think he’s quite an interesting character. He undergoes some major changes in this novel and I’m sure he’ll only grow as a character as time goes on. Isabelle had a less important role in this book, compared to the last, whilst her brother Alec, who is gay, had a bigger role. I found the way he acted with Magnus Bane, the mystical warlock, to be interesting and it added some spice to the book. It was great to see him stepping up.
Overall, this was a wonderful read. The plot was nothing less than stunning, and the characters were strong and well developed. Clare’s writing style is unique and loveable, and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.