City of Ashes
March 25, 2008
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Reviewed: Gifted paperback (thanks Mom and Dad!)
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Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.
I am going to come right out and say it: I enjoyed City of Ashes at least as much as I enjoyed City of Bones. I'm not sure if that's on par with the rest of the world or not, but I really felt like this sequel brought it to the table. Whatever "it" is. I finished it in record time - 453 pages in 4 days...so about 113 pages a day? That's pretty darn fast for me. This long weekend has been good to me. I just did not want to put it down. It was so thrilling.
I'll admit it: I squealed. On multiple occasions.
I'm guessing the pattern of this series to be that in each book, Valentine attempts to take over the world using one of the Mortal Instruments and the Dream Team (i.e. Jace, Clary, Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus - and occasionally Simon) puts a stop to it. I'm crossing my fingers it won't be that predictable, but I'll just have to wait and see.
This time, Valentine's weapon of choice is the Soul-Sword. It has the power to summon a demon army. As scary as that is already, the most terrifying monster of them all was Agramon, hands down. What Agramon does is, in a way, combines your greatest fear with your greatest desire. It morphs into that thing, or person, and basically scares you to death. Next to no one can defeat Agramon - unless they're truly fearless. I do not think I could conquer this beast. First of all, how would you know it was Agramon and not the actual person you are afraid of? Like, if I was afraid my boyfriend would dump me, and Agramon took the shape of my boyfriend, I couldn't just go up to my boyfriend and stab him! I care about him too much. Which is why I admire ____ all the more for doing pretty much that.
We also got to meet the faeries in this book. They are not the fairies you grew up hearing tales about. I guess that's the thing about these books: everyone has a dark side. Look once, the faeries are dancing in a circle to beautiful music. Look twice, and they have branches for arms and dead black eyes. Not really the way I like to picture faeries, to be frank. The Seelie Queen reminded me infinitely of Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream, which I performed in about a year ago. More majestically cold than downright creepy. I liked seeing more of the other types of creatures in this book: faeries, werewolves, vampires, demons. The first book concentrated a lot more on learning about the Nephilim.
And, oh my goodness, the ships in this book. Simon and Clary, Clary and Jace, Alec and Magnus, Luke and Jocelyn, Simon and Maia. I can't handle the feeling of shipping someone with two people at once. (Oh...phrasing.) They were the major sources of my squeals and gasps. By the time I got to the epilogue, there was a continuous "Awww..." coming out of my mouth. I want more, and I want it now. Well, after I read the next couple books in my pile.
Read this series, guys. 1) Jace is hot. 2) Your emotions get all emotional. 3) Jace is hot.