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City of Ashes.
8:59 PM
Saturday, December 03, 2011
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Rating: 3 stars





As promised, I gave it another chance and went on to the second book of the Mortal Instruments series, even though the first book, City of Bones, literally traumatized me with that bizarr-o twist at the end. I figured I would give it another shot 'cos this series is so well-loved and popular. There must be something that I'm missing. This would be an honest review of this book, so I am by no mean trying to bash Cassandra Clare's writing 'cos I absolutely LOVE the Infernal Devices series written by her. I must say that compared to the first book, which I absolutely hated, City of Ashes is a great step up and a huge improvement. Maybe it's 'cos I got used to the characters and the whole brother-sister thing, but in general I felt that this one had much more action.



The book picks up where City of Bones ended with Valentine taking possession of the Mortal Cup and entire Clave being in utter chaos, trying to track him down. Jace and Clary were still trying to sort out their feelings, while Simon tried to take his relationship with Clary to the next level by confessing to her. Meanwhile, Clary's Mom lies unconscious in a hospital and Luke is trying his best to stay by her side at all times, while still looking out for Clary. The Inquisitor of the Clave was certain that Valentine was using Jace as his weapon and spy against the Shadowhunters and threw him in jail. Things get heavy when there was a huge break-in at the City of Bones and the Soul-Sword (another Mortal Instrument under the Silent Brother's protection) was stolen by Valentine, whilst Jace was in the very same location. This brought lots of doubt to Jace's loyalty. Turns out Valentine was trying to carry out a ritual with the Sword that requires the young blood of each Downworlder. Obviously, they have to stop him before he gets more powerful than he already is and use the Mortal Instruments to take over the Clave and destroy all Downworlders.


Writing-wise and plot-wise, this book is pretty good. I felt that the pacing was great and there was never a stagnant lull in terms of action and revelations. Lots of things were usually happening all at once, which gets a thumbs up for me. ALSO, I am glad that there was more focus on Valentine and what he is plotting rather than Clary's conflicted emotions and relationship issues. This is a huge plus. I liked that we got to see the other side and see what Valentine was doing as well. I do have a few issues in the way the writer writes some things. Like she uses 'unprintable words' as euphemism for 'fuck', but 'bastard', 'bitch' and 'asshole' is perfectly fine? Feels abit inconsistent. Also, I feel that if the story can feature a romantic subplot between a 300-year-old male warlock and a 16-year-old boy, I think it's safe to assume that the readers are mature enough to handle afew swear words. But those are just nitty-gritty issues. The overall writing is quite enjoyable!

Character-wise, I still don't like Clary. Although I tried really hard to. Granted that she is far less useless than she was in the previous book. She finally discovered her talents and her powers as a Shadowhunter (and maybe something more), and she isn't just screaming in one corner everytime danger comes along. I really do think her power is pretty cool. However, I just don't like her. I don't like the way she is just dragging Simon along while she secretly pines for Jace. I don't like her back and forth emotions and how she handles things. I think it was obnoxious of her to ask for Simon to just sit there and wait. For instance, when Simon tried to move on Clary said, "But you don't love her-". Simon replied, "Maybe I could someday." "Maybe I could love YOU someday." was her reply.

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WHUUTT??! OH NO SHE DIDN'T. My heart WRENCHED for Simon. It was like a slap in the face. She basically is implying that 'I don't love you, eventhough I know you love me. But y'know maybe in the future I will, so stick around. You may never know". SO OBNOXIOUS. But Simon still said he'd wait. And I got SO MAD. I just felt like Clary didn't deserve Simon. =(


Jace was much better in this book. Much less cheesy one-liners. Though I don't think he is as swoon-worthy as everyone else seems to. He's still arrogant but he also showed his vulnerability here and his bravery as well. My only pet-peeve is how he always seemed to think that everything was his fault and that he was the center of everything. But I guess that could be accounted to his innate arrogance. I really admired Jace's dedication to Clary, but I didn't like how he kept pushing and pulling her like some sort of yo-yo. He partly attributed to Clary's indecisive feelings. SIMON was AMAZING in this book. GOSH, I am so happy that Cassandra Clare got him more involved in the plot. Tons of things happened to Simon (which I shall not say), but he just gets more awesome in my eyes. Also, I really admire his devotion for Clary, although I do find it extremely blind and one-sided. I really liked the ending and how Simon dealt with the situation in such a mature manner. He's easily my favourite character AGAIN.


Along with Luke, who is just the best person in this entire book. He is caring, mature and so reliable. To me, he can do no wrong. And I feel so bad that he had to go through so much crap in his life for the sake of those he loved. Yet he faces each challenge without a word of complaint. Seriously amazing guy. I really like the Inquisitor as well. She reminded me alot of Umbridge from Harry Potter, in the sense that you just LOVE TO HATE HER. She was mean, irrational, wretched and hard as nails. She seemed completely heartless. But after some revelations, I think her character had a lot of depth and I really understood her plight and position. Also, I respected Magnus Bane alot for helping out the Shadowhunters (mostly Alec), eventhough it was very hard for him. I felt that more gratitude should've been showed. They just kinda use him whenever they feel like it.


I think the fact that I had some time to sort of let the whole brother-sister thing sink in and sort of try to see it from their perspective, the story got alot more enjoyable. And I can see why Clary and Jace are so torn up. I still don't approve of how no one seemed to notice and those who do don't find it the least bit disturbing (like Valentine). I was hoping that it somehow wasn't true. But we shall see things wrap up in the third book.


Overall, the best point about this book are all the revelations and all the action that took place. Especially at the end, it almost felt like I was in some sort of game where we had to slash demons for points. I enjoyed this book MUCH more than the first one, and I am relieved at that. But I still don't find it as amazing as everyone says. It wasn't un-put-downable, even at some action parts. However, it is still quite exciting and easy to pick up again. So I will continue with the next one, hoping that the trend will continue and that the series will only get better.



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