YA Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments)Title:  City of Ashes (second book in the Mortal Instruments series)
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Ages: 14 & up
453 pages
Personal Collection - Purchased at Target

Synopsis:  In the second book of the Mortal Instruments series, Clary is back with all of her demon-fighting friends.  Her mother remains in a coma in the hospital.  She's working on a relationship with her good friend Simon, despite the fact that she still longs for Jace, the boy she discovered was her brother.  Her father, the naughty Shadowhunter Valentine, is back to cause more trouble as he rounds up the Mortal Instruments in his quest to take over the world.  Faeries, werewolves, vampires, demons, and warlocks all make an appearance in this second novel.

Review:  This book was a slow starter for me.  I found the same issue with the first book, but once I got into the action, I couldn't put it down.  Clare is a very descriptive writer, which in some ways I love because I get a super-clear picture of what she wants me to see, but them sometimes it can slow things down a little bit and I'm begging the book to get straight to the action.  I would say it took about the first 1/3 of the book before the action kicked in and I was hooked.

Another issue I had was that I read the first book in the series maybe 6 months ago and I didn't feel like the beginning gave me enough reminders of the previous story.  I struggled to remember what occurred at the end of the last book.  I almost broke down and reread the end of book 1, but just tried to suck it up and plow through.

I think she does a great job with her characters, there are definitely a lot of them.  However, they are quite memorable, so it's easy to keep them all straight.  Her writing is beautiful and sometimes at odds with the modern setting, but that didn't bother me much.

I did appreciate the plot, although it was clear that this was the middle book, very little that we started with (Valentine, mom in coma, relationship with Jace) was cleared up in the book.  We do have the situation with Clary and Simon solved, which we were given some obvious cues to in the beginning.  Also quite obvious, what Clare intends to occur in book 3 between Jace and Clary.  For sake of spoilers, I won't mention my theories.  I haven't read the 3rd book yet, but I have a feeling I'm right about it just for all the clues Clare leaves us in book 2.

Overall, I thought this was a very entertaining read as long as you have the patience to get through the first 100 pages or so.

I give City of Ashes 4 Stars.


  1. City of Ashes, for me, is one of Clare's weaker books. City of Bones and City of Glass stuck out more to me in the series. I tend to forget what happens in City of Ashes minus the super big things, the memorable ones, where I can remember the small and big things in City of Bones and City of Glass. Good luck with book 3 and I'm curious to know what you'll think will happen. It gave me a shock, but, then again, maybe I didn't pay as much attention in City of Ashes as you did to see the clues you speak of. :]

  2. I did think the action was pretty exciting too! I forgot to mention that. I may feel the same after I read the third. I'll buy that on my Kindle after I finish reading the next book I'm currently in the middle of.

  3. Hey Karly, this has nothing to do with the review - but you're book cover for 'into the shadows' is amazing.

  4. Thanks James! I credit cover artist Carl Graves with that one...


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