City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare Book Review

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

City of Ashes

by Cassandra Clare

Published by McElderry Books

Book 2 in the Mortal Instruments series

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.


Violence Young Adult Exciting



City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare is the second book in the Mortal Instruments series, and starts about a week after the ending of the first book. It centers around Clary Fray, and fellow shadowhunters Jace, Isabelle, and Alec, as well as her best friend Simon, and the man who is her father in every way that counts, Luke. We also get a bit more of our favorite warlock, Magnus Bane. City of Ashes primarily focuses on Valentines continued efforts to destroy the Clave, while Jace and Clary try to deal with their forbidden feelings for one another. We also get an introduction to the Lightwood parents, and a small taste of shadowhunter politics.

City of Ashes was a good continuation from City of Bones. We get all the elements that made the first book great, but just a little bit edgier. The emotions are more raw and angry. Forbidden. Relationships between characters are adapting to the storyline, and the feelings for each relationship are made clear without telling you outright how you should feel. The Valentine danger element is heightened in City of Ashes, so we get a lot of action as well. We get closer looks at the downworlders, and get a bit more information about the politics of the clave, which has been mentioned a lot, but not seen through our eyes so much.

While such a short amount of time has passed, our characters have grown up a bit. The world is a darker place, and they seem to accept that, while not succumbing to it. Angsty for sure (but show me a teenager that isn't), but not disgustingly so. I think the most growth has come from Simon, surprisingly, by what he did at the end of City of Ashes, despite his pain of doing so. Due to the obvious ... complications .... between Jace and Clary, City of Ashes really strengthened some of the bonds between other characters. Jace and the Lightwoods, Clary and Luke (Spoiler)--------> Luke admitting he is in love with Jocelyn was a very sweet conversation. <---------, Clary and Simon finding their new footing, lets say, and Alec with a certain warlock, who is obviously ------> having trouble with Alex being in the closet <----------. I liked that we got to take some time to focus on these other relationships, as they are important to the story as a whole as well. That's one of the great things about the Mortal Instruments, after all. There is so many people and elements, and the bonds between them are all unique.