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The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

on April 3, 2014

Image  The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes is the second book in the six book Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. The sextet is actually comprised of two trilogies, the first consisting of City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass; and the second trilogy comprising of City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire, which comes out this May.

There is also a spin off trilogy called The Infernal Devices, consisting of The Clockwork Angel, The Clockwork Prince, and The Clockwork Princess, which came out earlier this year. There are also two more upcoming spin off trilogies: The Dark Artifices, consisting of Lady Midnight (which comes out in 2015), The Prince of Shadows, and The Queen of Air and Darkness, and, finally, The Last Hours series.

There are also three companion books: one of which is a companion guide to the Shadowhunter world: The Shadowhunter Codex, which came out in 2013. There is also Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Guide, which contains essays written by several other prominent YA authors, including Holly Black (one of the writers of the The Spiderwick Chronicles and the author the Modern Tales of Faerie series, which has been featured on this blog), Rachel Caine (author of The Morgansville Vampires series), and Kami Garcia (author of the Beautiful Creatures series).

Finally, there is a series of short stories available on ebook called The Bane Chronicles. This series stars one of the most popular character in the series, Magnus Bane. A printed collection of the stories will hit be available this November.


City of Bones ended with one of the weirdest plot twists I have ever read in YA fiction. If you haven’t read City of Bones (and I feel like you shouldn’t read a review of City of Ashes if you haven’t) please stop now because we are entering spoiler city.

At the end of the last book we learned that Jace and Clary, (the two main characters of the first book, and who seemed like the main romantic couple) are brother and sister. This was one of those I-need-to-put-the-book-down-and-walk-around-for-a-while-twists. Apparently, it actually turned a lot of people off the series, and it’s one of the reasons I consider The Mortal Instruments a guilty pleasure instead of a book I just really like.

But I digress: apparently Valentine Morgenstern, the big bad of the series, is assembling the three Mortal Instruments (title drop!), which are weapons he can use against the Shadowhunters (the demon hunter society Jace and friends are a part of). So far, he has the Mortal Cup, which allows him to have some control over demons.

This book begins with the mysterious killings of some Downworlder (non-human) children. Unfortunately, the blame gets pointed on Jace, as a higher up has decided that Jace is Valentine’s secret spy sent to bring down the Clave. So now, not only do our heroes need to figure out what Valentine is up to, they need to prove that Jace isn’t a spy for his crazy father.


I think the best part of book is the blink and you miss it moments between Alec Lightwood, a Shadowhunter struggling with his sexuality, and Magnus Bane, the Warlock who originally erased Clary’s memories in an attempt to shield her from the outside world. Their relationship was pretty much in the background, and was only mentioned a few times, but it’s a really interesting side plot that was refreshing to get back to after long periods of talking about the whole incest thing. It was also the main reason I kept reading the series back when it was new to me.

City of Ashes brought a bunch of new interesting elements and characters to the story, such Maia, a kind werewolf girl, and the idea that the parents of the main characters were part of this scary rebellion group that approved of the genocide of many people. The scenes between the adults and the teenagers are really interesting, as you can tell that their time with Valentine seriously affected their lives, and they clearly have regrets for what they did in the past. Which is probably for the best since otherwise our main characters would have been raised by the fantasy version of Neo-Nazis.

That being said, the incest thing can be uncomfortable at times. Most of the time, really. When I was reading it, there were times when I was just going to roll with it, and times when it just kind of weirded me out and I had to put the book down. Please keep in mind that if you decide to read this book, it is a major part of the story.


Rating: 7 out of 10.


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