Monday, April 23, 2012

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

All right people... I thought I could stop afterCity of Bones, but quite obviously you see that I could not. After finishing City of Bones for the second time, I figured I might as well read the rest of the books in the series, as City of Lost Souls comes out in roughly a week. I got through City of Ashes much faster thanCity of Bones and so hopefully my quick reading streak continues and I can finish City of Glass and City of Angels before May 8th. Now, I'm going to write this as spoiler free as humanly possible, so feel safe in reading my review if you are new to The Mortal Instruments series!
City of Ashes takes off right whereCity of Bones leaves us... some big stuff happens... people change...there's fighting? How can I even begin to describe this book without any spoilers? Well, here goes! Valentine is still bad, very bad. Clary and Jace try to deal with and fight with their big heritage issue... think Starwars. Simon and Alec discover whole new lifestyles, and it's definitely not what you think. In this second installment, Clary and the gang must work even harder to overcome not only the bumps that Valentine put in the road, but they must also overcome a few personal obstacles before they can hope to defeat him.

In book two, Clare introduces us to her brand of writing where everyone has a part. We've got vampires, werewolves, some man on man love, warlocks, demons, Shadowhunters, Faeries and more. It seems that Cassandra Clare's invisible world is a world just like our own. One full of not only prejudiced people, but all kinds of people. It's not often we see young adult fiction featuring homosexuality, especially in a book series as widely popular as The Mortal Instruments. This is a huge reason for my love of Clare's books: she writes for everyone. Instead of devastatingly beautiful princesses falling in love with dashingly charming princes living happily ever after, Clare's characters are ordinary. Ordinary you ask? Didn't your list above include supernatural demon hunters descended from Angels? Her characters are ordinary in that they have real problems. Simon is in love with his best friend who won't return his love. Clary, while pretty in her own right, is described as an awkward ginger who is short and gangly. We have Shadowhunters finding out how to express to their friends and family that they are gay, in a world where being a warrior and being gay never go hand in hand. The characters go through their own struggles while still saving the day and that is a huge reason why these books are such a must read.

The book as a whole sets a different mood from the first book. In City of Bones, we find ourselves dying for as much information as we can, learning about the invisible world in Clare's writing. In this book, we dive further and further into their world with Clary as she discovers more about herself in the mundane world and the Shadowhunter world. She becomes ever stronger as she learns of unrequited love, forbidden love and the love and bonds of a family. Clary grows up fast in these books and unlike many other stories, her growing pains are pains indeed. She comes to realize that life isn't easy, it's the difficult choies that you make that make you an adult, not the fact that you're glowingly happy all the time. Clary is definitely one of my favorites. Dare I say a close second to Hermione Granger... yep I said it.

While there is still a lot of character development in this book, we find more in the plot department as well. We learn more of Valentine and his plans and also about the fate of the Clave and the Shadowhunter world. The action in this book is simply awesome too.  Sword fighting, giant venom spitting Demons, explosions, it's great.  While these books do have a fair amount of blood and guts, it's not in excess and even the most squeamish reader will find themselves devouring page after page, yearning for more.

What can I say? Each book gets  better and better! If you'd like more information about Cassandra Clare's upcoming releases, what she's currently writing and the City of Bones movie, check out my review of City of Bones and scroll to the bottom for news :)

Happy Reading!

8 out of 10


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