Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: City of Ashes

Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: January 1st 2008

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. 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 coma-induced mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter, Valentine. To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children.

City of Ashes is the highly anticipated sequel of City of Bones. Did it live up to my expectations? Absolutely. The novel begins with a bang - a suspenseful and action-packed opening to immediately draw readers back into the supernatural world. We are given a small glimpse of the main plotline with Valentine before being taken back to the Institute, to the teen Shadowhunters. The mood is tense, as Clary has just discovered that the boy she cares deeply for is her brother. I couldn't help but feel disheartened the whole way through. It seemed as if every single scene between Clary and Jace was carefully manufactured to break our hearts. Two people who love each other can't be together, no matter what. Clary and Jace were both so confused, overwhelmed, and had no idea what to do with themselves. Free hugs, anyone?
The Queen's smile was wide and terrible. "What if I told you she could be freed by a kiss?"
"That hardly seems necessary," Simon said. "If a kiss is all..." He moved toward Clary, who was frozen in surprise.
"No," said the Queen, in a voice like tinkling crystal. "That is not what I want either. The kiss that will free the girl is the kiss that she most desires. Only that and nothing more."
"Why are you doing this?" Jace demanded.
Simon said, "That's ridiculous. They're brother and sister."
The Queen shrugged, a delicate twitch of her shoulders. "Desire is not always lessened by disgust. Nor can it be bestowed, like a favor, to those most deserving of it. And as my words bind my magic, so you can know the truth. If she doesn't desire his kiss, she won't be free."
- Hold-your-breath-until-it-ends excerpt
The plot of this book was fantastic. There were many random bits and pieces that all eventually just fit together. Everything is planned from the beginning and meshes beautifully together. After having a thousand questions, everything just suddenly makes sense. City of Ashes keeps you guessing the whole way through, which I loved. You never knew what a character was going to do, what demonic hurdle was going to surface, etc. Just wonderful!

Once again, Cassandra Clare manages to creep the bejesus out of us with her descriptive imagery. From the beautiful but deadly Seelie Court, to demon-infested waters, to evil Valentine himself, we are able to imagine everything perfectly. Like in every single one of Cassandra's books, she creates a very detailed, a very real world in which we can transport ourselves into.

City of Ashes ends on an utterly heartbreaking note, just as Clary makes a shocking revelation and decision. Words cannot even express how disappointing and sad it was to read. It's truly times like these that you wish you could shake the characters and tell them to set themselves straight. You wish you could change the story and make certain things happen quicker but alas, us non-writers sadly don't possess that handy power. This is a fantastic book that like the first, creates strong anticipation for the next!

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