Book Review – City of Ashes

It’s been quite a while since I reviewed the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones. You can find my review here, which I did write shortly after reading it, even if the time between then and now is quite impressive!

I started reading City of Ashes during the Christmas period, and as soon as I picked it up, I remembered just how addictive I had found the first book. As I’m finding with all Shadowhunter books, this was just as action packed, and just as fast paced, with no time to catch your breath in between events.

Just a warning, while I won’t be going into a blow by blow account of the events of the book, because it’s a sequel, there will be an element of spoilers present.

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.

One of the things Cassandra Clare excels at is leaving open ended parts to the story while the plot continues, and in this second book of the series, she does it more than enough. You also learn pretty quickly with this author than nothing happens accidentally; no plot point is by chance. It leaves you almost wanting to take notes because of the amount of things you find you need to pay attention to and keep track of. It’s brilliant.

There’s four possible reading orders to these books, but no matter where you start, you will find yourself wrapped up in the emotionally conflicting situations that Clary is facing on almost every page of this book (and the books to come). Between her feelings for Jace, her attempt at feelings for Simon, her mother being in a coma, adjusting to being a Shadowhunter and having a murderer for a father… I think even without her age, there would be an element of teenage angst coming into play with all these layers to cope with!

This book throws up far more of the supernatural world, as you would expect, being the second book in the series. We see more of characters like the warlock Magnus Bane – who I have a soft spot for, I think he’s hilarious – and more of the werewolf pack that Luke is head of. Jace – being Jace – causes trouble and can’t help putting himself in precarious positions, especially after the way he is treated by those that are supposed to be taking on a parenting role for him. Meanwhile, his actual parent is stirring trouble at all possible points, and still trying to evoke enough emotion in Jace to get him on side. There are moments where you’re not sure whether the grounding roots he has had are going to be enough to keep him focused, and at times I found I was willing myself to read faster, desperate to find out what was coming next! All the signs of a great book.

I know that Ellie over at Read To Ramble and Fiona of Fi’s Bibliofiles have been working their way through the series together, and I’m hoping to catch up on the books I’m behind so I can join them. They both have posted about the books they’ve already read over on their blogs, so if you’re interested in seeing where things go beyond where I’ve read, do check them out!

Thanks for joining me for this step in the adventure. Tune in again soon for the next one.


  1. I just finished up The Mortal Instruments towards the end of last year. It was a pretty fun and enjoyable read overall. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series!

    That cover is beautiful as well! It may be my favorite design I’ve seen.


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