TITLE: City of Ashes
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
SERIES? Book 2/6 “The Mortal Instruments”
GENRE/ AGE RANGE: Fantasy, YA
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Death, loss of a sibling, abuse, sibling abuse, neglectful parents
TAGS: Gay side-character, violence, injury, egotistical & brooding fuck boys
PUBLICATION DATE: May 25th, 2008
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?
Character Guide ⇩
►Clary Fray → Main character, Shadowhunter, torn between shadowhunter/mundane world
►Simon Lewis → Clary’s best friend
►Jace Wayland → Shadowhunter, still a dick but a tiny bit better in this one.
►Alec Lightwood → Shadowhunter, ya boi is gay af [closeted]
►Izzy (Isabelle) Lightwood → Shadowhunter, still cute and powerful
►Max Lightwood → Shadowhunter, youngest Lightwood sibling, cute, likes manga
►Magnus Bane → High Warlock of Brooklyn, Bisexual (I assume, he could be pan), powerful, very chill
►Luke Garroway → Wolf, A good dad
►Maia → biracial, wolf, ptsd, scar along her neck
► Jordan → wolf, a dick
► The Inquisitor → A bitch
Okay, so I’ll address this in a later post at some point probably but I have a pretty rocky past with Cassandra Clare. I’ve read The Mortal Instruments before and wasn’t a big fan but finished the series because peer pressure is real. I didn’t enjoy most of the characters or the plots and it pretty quickly became a big thing to hate on CC so I semi-jumped on that bandwagon. Hence, the name my friends and I adopted for her, “Casserole Clam”.
Anyway, lately, I’ve realised that my views of CC were unfair and that I needed to take a serious look at how I view her and her books, so I decided to re-read her books and see where I go from there. So here we are, City of Ashes!
City of Bones | ★★★☆☆ | review
“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
First up, I just want to say that I enjoyed some aspects of this sequel much more than I did the first book in the series! I liked the character more, especially Jace, who I couldn’t stand in the first book. But, overall this feels a lot more like a slow, waiting for things to happen kind of book – you can tell that the next book is meant to be a finale because really nothing happened in this until the end of this one.
That being said! We were introduced to a new character and I love her with my whole heart and soul! Her name is Maia and she’s a wolf with a seriously bad past. Like, cruelly bad. I have no idea how much of a part she’s going to play in the rest of the story/series but I think she’s a really refreshing change of pace and a really interesting perspective amongst all of the kinda (definitely) racist Shadowhunters so, I really hope we get to see more of her.
↣ On that note, major trigger warnings for past child abuse from a sibling & also TW for neglectful parents. *Spoilers* Maia was abused by her brother when she was really young (under 10) – he did things like swap out her shampoo with bleach and other messed up shit.
↣ Also, TW for toxic romantic relationships. *Spoilers* Maia was dating a nice guy who got turned into a wolf (which she didn’t know at the time), he got possessive of her, hit her and so she dumped his ass and then he turned her into a wolf and was all like “you’re mine now”. To which I say, “bitch wtf???“
[context – Jace starts a fight in a Wolf pub and the victim goes to defend himself but is told not to by an elder wolf]
Bat twisted in Pete’s grasp. “Take a walk? Did you hear -“
“I heard.” Pete’s voice was low. “He’s a Shadowhunter. Walk if off, cub.”
Anywayyy, new topic! I vaguely mentioned this before but Shadowhunters are unsurprisingly very racist towards Downworlders and that is shown off a lot in this book! (For context, it’s a very Purebloods/Mudboods kind of situation)
There’s a massive power imbalance between Downworlders and Nephilim (Shadowhunters). Downworlders can’t attack or even defend themselves against Nephilim but a Shadowhunter can pretty much hurt whoever they want or do whatever they want without fearing any consequences because they’re basically the police.
At one point, Jace even says “…you all blend together to me” which is absolutely awful and had me gasping out loud when I read the words. Basically, be prepared for some racism and be prepared to easily compare it to events happening today.
“Not everything Jace did was insane and suicidal she reminded herself, it just seemed that way.”
We get a lot more of the other races in this book which I really enjoyed – there was a bigger focus on Maia and Luke’s circles which I found particularly interesting. We also get to see some more of the vampires.
Another thing I loved which was pretty out of the blue but, like I’m living for it anyway was the relationship between Luke and Jace. Jace just randomly cares about Luke so much??? I’m not complaining but it’s so random. I think it would be interesting to see this relationship throughout the series. I also really enjoyed their scenes together because they reminded me that Jace is still only a teenager, I think he’s meant to be around 16/17 because he’s younger than Alec who is 18.
I think I’ve also figured out that what I like the most about these books is the friendship dynamics. I really like Jace and Luke and I’m quickly warming up to Jace and Simon hopefully developing as characters and becoming friends. I’d also totally be down for Alec and Clary becoming friends but I don’t want to push my luck here.
I also really wanna see Clary or Simon take Max to Forbidden Planet but I know it will never happen because it wouldn’t be plot-relevant.
“Alec looked at her and shook his head. “How do you manage never to get mud on your clothes?”
Isabelle shrugged philosophically. “I’m pure at heart. It repels the dirt.”
This book is literally just 50 shades of Simon angst and it got old pretty quick.
I don’t necessarily hate the blatant racism because I do think it’s realistic and something we can easily relate to the real world right now. But, that being said, if it’s never brought up again and if the characters are never challenged on it, I will definitely be bringing it up in later reviews and I will definitely be a lot angrier when I do!
Mama Lightwood Molly Weasley-Goblet of Fires Jace pretty hard in this book and I was not a fan.
I hate that they have to say the names of the blades before using them. It’s completely on par with the dumb-ass spells in Carry On, but at the same time, I kind of love it because honestly, it’s just stupid.
I feel like so much of this stuff happens “behind the camera” like how Simon got turned at the hotel and no one else even knew he was going there until Raphael brought him to the institute.
If I hear Valentine’s voice being described as “cool” &/or “cultured” one more time I don’t know what I’m gonna do but it won’t be good.
MY MAIN GRIPE BECAUSE EW IT’S GROSS WHY IS THIS A THING?
Just in general, the love triangle is awful and I hate it. Also, I think we all know who the endgame love interest is and it’s Gross with a capital G.
*BIG SPOILER TIME*
Okay, so that scene in the Seelie Court?? You know that one I mean.
They had to kiss??? While they think they’re related??? CC tried to make this better by getting Iz to say they she’d kiss Alec under the same circumstances which had me screaming but, honestly, these are very different circumstances and the fact that the author felt the need to do that is disgusting to me. There was nothing platonic about that kiss and I’m uncomfortable just thinking about it.
Jace kept trying to get Clary to admit that she likes him as more than a brother and I AM DISGUSTED. At one point he’s even like, “we could keep it a secret”. UM EW NO
Honestly, there’s a lot more but I’m tired and this is a big topic that I know I couldn’t do justice so I’m just going to leave this here for some food for thought. To the people who read these books as they were released and not after the fact, why on Earth did you continue? CC never indicated in this book that Clary and Jace are anything other than siblings so why would you put yourself throughout all of this without having any reason to think that they aren’t related???
Basically, my point: The main romance is creepy and very un-romantic
You can find my review of City of Bones here.