What would you do if the worst person in the world was your parent? Valentine Morgenstern is bent on destroying the Clave–the Shadowhunter’s arm of the Law–and ridding the world of the demons that Shadowhunters are mandated to hunt and the Downworlders the Clave holds as uneasy allies. Valentine already has The Mortal Cup. Will stealing The Soul Sword bring Valentine closer to his goal? Sure, some innocent people might get in the way, but what’s a little collateral damage when you want to remake the world in your own vision?
Clary and Jace are not bad people. Yes, they might be in love. Even if they are sister and brother. But that doesn’t mean they’re destined to follow in their father’s footsteps, does it?
Clary wishes she could turn her back on the secret world of the Shadowhunters and return to a normal life with her best friend. But nothing is normal for Clary, not while her mother lies in the hospital in a coma.
Jace meanwhile tries to drown out his troubles by hunting and alienating the people he cares about. The only problem is, the alienation part isn’t that hard when no one he cares about seems to trust him anymore. Instead of seeing the Jace they knew, it seems like everyone sees Valentine’s son lying in wait to betray them.
Will Jace be able to prove he isn’t his father’s son? Will Clary’s mother wake up? And what about the Downworlder children being murdered throughout New York City? Find out in City of Ashes (2008) by Cassandra Clare.
City of Ashes picks up soon after the first book in The Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones). Clare goes over the key past events without excessive rehashing. It is likely that this book would even stand on its own although readers will miss out on a lot of the fun if they skip the first book.
This book offers more introspection for all of the characters. Clare shifts viewpoints between several principal characters offering a wider view of events and the world Clare has built. Readers also get a wider view of the characters themselves. Jace in particular is fleshed out a lot in this book.
Then, of course, there is the star-crossed romance aspect as Clary and Jace struggle to move past their impossible feelings for each other as they try to understand what it really means to just be brother and sister. It might seem like a strange situation to add to a story, but Clare handles it tastefully and well enough that it’s easy to bear with her for the length of the book (and the rest of the series) to see where things will lead.
City of Ashes is as action-packed as its predecessor but with more character and world development. Clare has created another gripping, enjoyable read sure to dazzle.
The Mortal Instruments saga continues in City of Glass.
Possible Pairings: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer, White Cat by Holly Black, War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, The Inferno by Dante, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, Paradise Lost by John Milton, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan