Title: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Published: March 25, 2008
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
I started this book, honestly, with low hopes and even lower expectations. The first book, 'City of Bones', was just one of those books, where after reading it, you're not in too much of a hurry to get your hands on the sequel. At least, that was my experience. Overtime I began to forget about the series itself, until recently, when I braved the idea of buying the rest of the series and forcing myself to read it.
I regret nothing.. so far.
The beginning of 'City of Ashes' almost turned me off. The book begins with Clary settling back into a daily routine of watching T.v with Simon, thinking of her Mother and how desperately she wished the woman could just wake up, then thinking of her brother Jace, in ways that she shouldn't, chiding herself for thinking about her brother Jace in ways that she shouldn't. If the book had been written from just Clary's point of view, getting into the story would have proved some task, but fortunately we have what's going on in the Institute for redemption. On the shadowhunter side of things, Maryse exiles Jace from the Institute, and just when I was starting to like Jace, he throws his tantrum and goes to beat up have a dozen werewolves in Luke's bar.
Though this wasn't the best way to be re-introduced to Jace's character, it sure was a good source of entertainment.
Right about this time, was when my thoughts on the characters began forming. Let's take the obvious cases, of Jace and Clary. If you've read 'City of Bones' you'll know that these are our two protagonists, more or less, so it was kinda disappointing that after a few chapters of reading the book, I disliked both of them. And I mean really disliked. Clary wasn't too bad, other than the fact that she came off as rather childish and quite annoying. In fact, there was this one moment, when Clary was talking to Max Lightwood, and he said she looked fourteen as opposed to sixteen, her actual age. I couldn't help but think whether the author, Cassandra Clare did this purposely, for self-deprecation or something, but I remember absolutely loving it, and having to suppress laughter (because I read it on the bus and would've looked freaking weird had I laughed aloud).
Jace, was a whole other story. I'm not sure if Clare's interpretation is all that accurate, whether girls are actually drawn to the selfish, sarcastic, condescending, arrogant, and a million other nasty adjectives, type of guy, but for the better part of this book, it sure did look like it. Jace's personality, in my opinion, was really unappealing for the most part, which was a shame because I really wanted to like him.
Then, something magical happened. I was rewarded for sticking through all the not-so-enjoyable chapters, with awesome interpretations such as deadly faeries, genuinely funny moments like the one in Seelie Court, when they were all talking about kissing, creepy introductions to the Inquisitor and the Soul Sword. Out of nowhere, everything that I was inwardly complaining about, had been changed in some way, or developed, and turned the story around. Suddenly there were perfectly-written action sequences, and interesting plot reveals, and major character development.
As the story fleshed out, I started to like the characters more. Particularly, Clary. As I already said, she seemed really childish and overall not a very strong protagonist for the first part of the book, but that changed and I soon found myself really liking her. And I really have to commend Clare on that. Jace, still not so much though.
Alec, Simon, Magnus, and Isabelle were also characters I really enjoyed following!
The plot was perhaps my favourite part of the whole book. Once it picked up, every chapter was a new, very interesting adventure! I would never have guessed that Simon would have such a big, and awesome role in this book, and what happens to him near the end. Neither, was I expecting the reveal of Jace's and Clary's special abilities. The various plot additions made me want to tear through the book and find out what was in store fore them, and oh, was it big!
All in all, I'm so glad I picked this up, and can't wait to read on with the rest of the series!
If you've read it, how was City of Ashes for you? If not, and you're interested in YA fantasy, I would recommend this series!
Thanks for reading guys!