Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: City of Ashes

 Last month, I reviewed the first in the Immortal Instruments series, City of Bones. Today, I’m reviewing the second, called City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

Since this is a series, we’re back with the protagonist, Clary. She has some of the same cohorts, Simon, Jace, Luke, Magnus, plus some newer cohorts who play a bigger role than they did in the first book, Maia, Isabelle and Valentine.

Clary’s now a full-fledged demon-slayer. Her mother is in a magically-induced coma. Her father, Valentine, is intent on destroying the world, both the world you and I live in and the magical world. Clary’s in love with Jace, except she can’t be because he, it turns out, is her brother. Simon is in love with Clary, except, well, she’s not exactly human, except, well, there’s a big twist in the book, except, well, this is a paranormal/fantasy book so….

Anyway, everyone’s at war with someone. Valentine controls the demon world and will kill everyone, including family, if it means he gets his hands on the Immortal Instruments.

And there you go. City of Ashes has much more action than Book 1. It’s fast-moving with nary a dull moment. As with the first, it has a few too many characters to keep up with, but it was easier this time around since I knew the main players.

Clary has advanced in her skills as a Shadowhunter. I liked seeing her fight and stand toe-to-toe with the others. The alternate world that the faeries, vampires, werewolves, shadowhunters, and others live in is handled well in this book. I could see the differentiation and uniqueness of the various clans.

This book seemed to really focus on those main characters, instead of the “adults” in the two worlds.

The drawback for me was, as with Book 1, there’s so much going on that it’s a bit difficult to keep up. But then, I probably need to read more slowly. But that’s hard to do with the action is fast and often.

Barnes & Noble

I admit that I’m well-past the target age of this series, which is probably around 16, but I’m still giving City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare a rating of Hel-of-a-Story.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was loaned to me by an unknown girl who is a friend of my son who read all four books, but was not overly impressed, but then he’s not a teenage girl, so that’s logical. That, however, did not influence my review. I was influenced by the uptick in the action from the first book, and by Clary getting her armor on. She’s now a fighter and can get in the fray with the rest of her friends and hold her own. I like that in a female protagonist. Next time I find a tarantula in the garage, I’m gonna see if she’ll come get it and set it free in the woods.


  1. I get dizzy when there are too many players to keep track of/get to know, but I'm intrigued enough to try the first one. It's going on my TBR pile.
    P.S. What happens to the tarantula if she won't come get it?

  2. Helen, you just crack me up with your disclaimers.

  3. Sounds like a book with a lot at stake and non stop action--perfect for teens who seem to love a group of cohorts and find it easy to keep track of. My son has read a few that also make me a bit dizzy but he loves them.

    I'll let him know about this series.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  4. I think one of the reasons I have not enjoyed this genre is because of the many characters and the complicated story lines. I like my entertainment a little easier to follow.

  5. I enjoy action and complicated plots with a realistic twist. Impossible curveballs I can do without.

    I like this author, but haven't read this book yet.

  6. Always love your disclaimers. I enjoy a good teen fic read now and then, as long as it isn't dumbed down. This one sounds intriguing.

  7. Laura, in that case, I squeal, back up and, if available, get my husband. Same routine for centipedes.

  8. Hi Helen .. I quite like the sound of it .. a quick read - but there's obviously lots to take in .. I suppose if as a kid you read as a series .. and I remember how many books I used to pile through .. then the characters would slot into place each time.

    Thanks - Hilary

  9. Sounds like a complicated family.

  10. I liked this book--mostly because there was so much happening. :) I love complicated plots.

    Great review!

  11. Hilary, it is nice when, after a long wait between books, you get the next in a series and the characters slip right back into your head.

  12. My daughter keeps telling me I must read those books but I haven't yet.

  13. Love your disclaimer! You make me laugh. Sounds like an interesting read, especially if the action is fast paced.


  14. I shouldn't have read this before going to bed. Tarantulas . . . things nightmares are made of.

  15. This is on my to read list right now, too. I read the first one and enjoyed it. Clare has a way with fantasy and I can see why she's so popular in the YA genre. :)


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