Clary's life is everything but simple. Her mother lays in coma, combining the identities of an original teenager and a Shadowhunter is difficult, Downworlders are fighting with each other and many of her relationships have changed. When someone begins to murder young Downworlders and another of the Mortal Instruments is stolen, danger reminds of itself again. Is Valentine behind all this? If he is, what will it do to the already fragile balance between mundane world and supernatural?
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The first book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of bones, was slightly problematic read for me, which is why I wasn't sure what to expect from this sequel. I'm glad to say that I had no reason to worry. City of ashes gave me many good moments and I really enjoyed it even though it's not a flawless novel.
Clary is trying to deal with major issues practically alone. Luke is now the only close adult in her life, and he's fighting against the ghosts from his own past. Even though they share the concern of Clary's mother, their relationship suffers under everything what's happening. Things with Jade are also hard, both because of Jace's cynical, backward personality and the information they have recently received. And when the adult Shadowhunters suggest that he could be helping Valentine, he chooses hide inside his own mind. The ignorance and coldness of those who should be supporting him and the emotions they provoke in him are described in a powerful way. I felt really bad for Jace. It's so unfair. And when it comes to Simon, the situation is changed too. Simon may be closer to Clary than ever, but he doesn't belong into the world of Shadowhunters and doesn't share the oblications that now define her life. Everyone who's important to Clary can support her only partially, which highlights the instability of her world. Clare describes this change in the social environment with depth I wasn't expecting. There we times I has to but the book down and just think for while, take in the emotions and thoughts. I got a feeling that the author is no longer afraid to give emotions the room they need, and that's a huge step forward.
The plot is well constructed. It's fast paced, but not too fast. It's interesting and exciting, and the characters really react to the events. Only with one character (I'm being mysterious, I know) there's this problem of how to deal with the remarkable change in the character's life. It feels like Clare doesn't know which way to go and then goes both of them. If you have read the book, you may know what I mean. I also like the details the story gives to reader. Information about Shadowhunters and their magic, about Clary's gift and about the paranormal beings: fairies, werewolfs and vampires.
The only major issue I had with this book is the vague descriptions of New York. I really want to get a feel of the places the characters live in. I want to know why they love New York, what their home means to them and what makes the city the way it is. For Shadowhunters, that is. There are many scenes that would feel more real if there was the feeling of place. Or more of the feeling of place.
City of Ashes is good sequel that makes you want to read the rest of the series. I'm happy about the direction the story is going, and hope to see more of the development I saw in this book.
Rating: 4 stars
Have you read this one? What did you think?