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Book Two: The Mortal Intstruments Series

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? (Source:

It must be said, the second instalment of Cassandra Claire’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, City of Ashes, is in so many ways better than the first. The characters are more fleshed out, the story line running along more smoother in its complexity and it’s more of a story of its own. What I mean by that is, in the first novel, City of Bones, it felt like some subtle story elements were borrowed from other books, movies, etc. In City of Ashes the story finally takes to its own feet and begins a whole new journey on its own (even though those fairies are borrowed from Holly Black).

It’s always a good thing when you can’t decide who your favourite character is. Characters, like Magnus for example, thankfully have a bigger a role, with the story line not just following Clary. This for me is definitely a good thing. For me Clary unfortunately still seems very ignorant and slightly annoying. She’s a bit slow and somewhat melodramatic (refer to scene where Simon can not be covered from the sun after the big battle on the ship). Everyone around her is more level-headed.

I love Magnus and his philosophies in life, they have a bitter sweet truth about them that touches me. I also envy the boundless love Alec has for the people he cares about.

The strange love triangle does disturb me a little between Jace, Clary and Simon. It seems that the end of this novel leads to an impasse with this issue. Jace and Clary is still forbidden and tormenting while Simon and Clary were forced and now near impossible with his current situation. What to do? Who can I cheer for? In a way, it’s a good thing, I can focus more on the Daddy-Baddie, Valentine. Move over Luke and Darth Vader, Valentine’s is such a cruel evil thing that I can’t help but love to hate him. It’s a strange fascination, I know, my only wish is that there was more of him and he was slightly wittier. I imagine him pretty… don’t you?

The story and its characters are more clearly carving their own way through the novels rather than author clearly making her presence know. This has always been something I appreciate, when you barely think of the author until the end, at which point you sit for a moment and wonder at how brilliant they were to write so amazingly. Cassandra Claire for me has finally pulled this off.