Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 24th 2009 (originally March 25th 2008)
Publisher: McElderry Books
Series: The Mortal Instruments
Spoiler free review, so no summary. Click here to view on goodreads.
I read City of Bones, the first in The Mortal Instruments last December and I can't quite say that I loved it. I did enjoy it but some aspects were slightly off putting and I wasn't as overwhelmed as I expected to be. Though saying that the story did have enough appeal to urge me to continue with the series, and the fact that I already owned the first three books definitely also helped.
I'd heard that though City of Ashes continues where City of Bones left off the story improves, and for people like me who didn't quite understand the appeal of the first it was definitely worth the time. I can happily admit that what I heard was correct. City of Ashes raises the bar on the series so far and I loved where Cassandra Clare took the story. I would say that this is slightly darker than the first with some unexpected twist and turns, or at least I didn't expect them, but I didn't anticipate anything bright and rosy, especially after where City of Bones left off.
I enjoyed the character development, especially Clary's. I love how her character grew into her role, and instead of being unneeded and a constantly protected bystander, we found that she could hold her own and provide an important resource to the team.
Jace is still as strong minded and wilful as ever with slight frustrating and infuriating side effects, but I guess that's what makes me love him even more. The fact that he's so misunderstood, but still full of mystery which makes you unable to want to peel away his layers. The only downside was due to his stubborn nature. I didn't get any answers to the questions I didn't even know I wanted answering. Something would be introduced to the plot and Jace would disregard the character and I would be left hanging.
I am also still struggling with the relationship between Clary and Jace, and finding it difficult to accept the nature of their affection. I guess this is where the author intended to take her characters, but I cannot read their emotions without feeling slightly ill and wrong. If you haven't read City of Bones I don't want to spoil anything by stating it here, but if you have read it then I'm 100% sure that you know what I'm talking about.
I'm hoping that in the third book we find out that their relationship is not what it seems and I can learn to love them once again. Here's hoping.
Other than that I found the plot utterly intriguing. I loved all the characters, even the bad guys, and Cassandra Clare's world building skills are incredible. I wouldn't say it was a world that I would love to live in, because if I'm honest I think I would be permanently terrified, but I've got to say bravo! The writing style is brilliant and I love how it's written from no particular perspective so we get to experience the story from so many different angles. Not a usual quality in YA, but one that is executed so perfectly.
Overall City of Ashes is a great continuation of The Mortal Instruments Series and I cannot wait to find out where the story goes from here. There are too many great moments to mention, but if like me you didn't think City of Bones was anything special, then give City of Ashes a go... I dare you!