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City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)

Title: City of Ashes (#2 The Mortal Instruments)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: 25th of March 2008 – Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover – 453 pages

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” – City of Ashes

Hello Hello! How are you?

It’s Saturday, and that means it’s time for the second instalment of Shadowhunter Saturday that Fiona and I have created. We are endeavouring to read the entire Shadowhunter collection by Cassandra Clare, and today I’m back with my mini-review of City of Ashes, and the spoilery discussion with Fiona’s answers! Just like last time, keep reading for my mini-review and Fiona’s thoughts on this book, and don’t forget to head over to Fiona’s blog to read her own mini-review along with my thoughts!

The first part of this post is a non-spoilery review of the second book in The Mortal Instruments series, and the second part contains many spoilers, plot points and all of Fiona’s point on them.


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?


City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare is the second book in The Mortal Instruments series, a young adult paranormal series. If you haven’t read the first book yet, you can read my mini-review of it here (but watch out for the spoilers at the end of the post).

In this second book, we follow Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Luke and more characters after the events of City of Bones. My first impression of this book was that it was different to the first one. Now that we already know what Shadowhunters are, we know all about Valentine, it felt a lot more real in a way and I was able to just jump into it and be engrossed by the story again. There wasn’t the same kind of building up, so anything that did happen in this book felt more shocking and surprising to me as I already knew all about most of the characters and the world.

Again, it’s really hard to put all my thoughts in order after having just finished it and writing all my thoughts on the various plotlines, but I did enjoy this one more than the previous one, that’s for sure. I’m growing to like Clary more, Jace is still insufferable, Simon is constantly getting shit thrown at him, Alec is still weird in my opinion, but Magnus I’m loving! I find Magnus quite funny, snarky, and a really great character, I still didn’t think we got that much from him in this book, and I really hope that in next books there will be more of him, because I’m loving him so far.

I don’t want to give too much away as it’s the second book in the series, but I was shocked multiple times. The yucky plot-line is still ongoing to some extent, and I hope that this is the end of it because I’m struggling to understand why it is being pushed as much as it is, but I will say that Clare definitely gives us the shock factor. Again, most of the shocking, omg, what the heck moments happened at the end of this book and it kept me reading. I’m really enjoying this mission Fiona and I have taken on, and I think that each book will get better, I’m still however unsure about the immense amount of hype. I get these books, I understand how addictive they are, but I’m still not getting amazing-ness from them.


Book 2 of the Shadowhunter mission was much better than book 1. There wasn’t a long build-up and I wasn’t bored at the start of it. I found some things a bit underwhelming and others quite frustrating (as you will see in Fiona’s post), but overall, I am quite enjoying this series so far.

I gave this book 3.5 stars, again, just like the first one, I enjoyed it but am not getting the hype, it’s a great book, but there are still a few things that annoy me, and I think that as the story goes on and we learn more things, it will get better. If you haven’t read this series yet, I would recommend, but maybe keep in mind that it has some yucky elements. I was definitely frustrated when it ended with so much left unsaid and new things only just revealed, so I can’t wait to jump into City of Glass to see what happens next!

3.5-star rating

Now I’m going to pass the reigns over to Fiona so we can hear all her thoughts on the plot elements and spoilery events of this book! We have both answered the same questions, if you have not read these books and do want to read them, I would advise you against continuing reading this post as there are SPOILERS!!

Here are Fiona’s answers for the more generic questions about the book!

What was your favourite moment?

“For me, it’s all the shit that happened to Simon. I feel so sorry for him. He isn’t even my favourite character but this book just keeps slapping him in the face. His second(?) death really did shock me. I don’t think I was really completely invested until that happened. I would have even said I was somewhat bored till that point so Simon’s plot was the saving grace of this book.”

What do you think is going to happen next?

“Honestly, its anyone’s guess. We know that more than likely we will wake Jocelyn up than is probably a given and then reunite Jocelyn with Jace, how she feels about Clary being part of the Shadowhunter world. We have to explore Clary and Jace’s powers. We have hopefully put the whole incest thing behind us now? Also, we haven’t really solved the whole Valentine thing.

I really do want more of Magnus and Alec! Also, I am hoping we see more of Luke too. Then there is Simon and how he fits in with the other vampires now that he can go out in the day. We need to know why he can do that? Ahhhh no wonder there are 6 books in this series!”

Have your thoughts about the series changed?

“I definitely enjoyed this one more than the first. Again mostly due to the last quarter of the book. I still think there are a lot of eye-roll moments and I don’t think I will ever be ranting and raving about this being a favourite but I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. I am finding myself getting drawn in and I am ok with that.

I agree with you Ellie, about the whole Jace/Clary plotline it just seems a bit heavy-handed. It was fun for the shock moment, the fact it continued as a romantic plotline with so many asides about how they felt about each other was just a bit too icky. I am beginning to think that there is a lot more to it than we are being told. Surely there would be a lot more omg incest on the blogging community which makes me suspect that maybe we are being misled in this case and that it will turn out that they are not related.”

And now for more spoilery, in-depth discussions about some of the plotlines!!

Jace falling out with Maryse:

“For me, while I expected some kind of consequence from the Lightwoods about the events of City of Bones. But as the adult in the situation I expected more from Maryse. I get that she was ultimately doing it all to protect Jace (most likely from the Inquisitor) but launching straight to ruffling Jace’s feathers when she is essentially his adopted mother and knows how hot-headed he is she should have dealt with it a lot better. But then again we wouldn’t have a book if the Adults acted like adults.”

The Inquisitor arresting Jace:

“Again this was the adults acting irresponsibly. This just seemed so extreme. Especially with how much the Silent City was sold as a terrible fate in the first book. Also why treat a child like that. They keep insisting he is a child but then they are punishing him for finding out his father isn’t who they thought he was? Honestly some of the adults in this series *eye roll*.”

The death of the Silent Brothers:

“This was the first moment where I was like “Oh Clare isn’t pulling her punches”. She had spent so long setting up the lore behind the silent city in City of Bones then she just burnt it all down. It was really unexpected. I like it when authors are not afraid to topple the dominos. I really thought the descriptions of how they died were really dark and that really set the tone a lot better than the first book. This book was definitely a lot less cheerful.”

Kissing at the Fairy court:

“Honestly, the whole brother/sister attraction thing is a huge WTF plotline for me. Like I don’t get it. I am still like WTF why are we pushing this so hard? Why does Clare want to focus so much time to an incest plotline!?!?!? I am beginning to wonder? Also, this is another poor Simon moment but also a little bit of a disappointment too. Simon had started to grow a backbone in the beginning of this book, and finally just putting Jace in his place. But instead of calling out the ickiness that was Jace and Clary kissing, he just had a bit of a sulk instead. And I was like “No Simon!””

Simon is a Vampire:

“Poor Simon, he keeps getting the shit thrown at him. The whole death/resurrection scene was really kinda emotional. I like that Clare isn’t afraid to go a little dark. I also wish we could have followed a little more of him coming to terms with it. He seems to just accept it. He doesn’t really have a big WHAT THE HELL moment. So while I was having a “what the hell just happened to Simon” moment he didn’t and the story just moved passed it with like an “oh yeah Simon’s a vampire now” kind of attitude which is why I think I reeled from the reveal a little.”

Jace visits Valentine/arrested again:

I am still confused by Valentine’s motivations really. I get the whole take over the world part, it’s more the playing with Jace’s emotions I don’t get. Why is he suddenly so interested in Jace joining him? Why is he not as interested in Clary? I kept wondering if Jace was going to double-cross one or the other. I understand Jace’s motivation to seek out Valentine. To think your father is dead and then to find out he wasn’t who you thought he was, I can see why Jace would want to seek out answers. I just don’t know why Valentine was entertaining him so much.”

Clary and Jace have special powers:

“This was really out of the blue. It’s really intriguing to find out why they are so different from the other too and what exactly Valentine did to them. Did he know what powers he was handing them? Or was he just experimenting? I am sure once Jocelyn wakes up we will get more about this. I suspect this will most likely be the major plot of book 3. It will be interesting to see how much they can do. Is Jace’s powers just physical strength and Clary’s more artistic? Or is that just because that’s how they express themselves (that might be too deep thinking for these novels)?”

Simon captured by Valentine:

“I half expected Simon to be the vampire that Valentine went after, it was too convenient that we happened to have a 15-year-old werewolf and a newly turned 16-year-old Vampire with links to Valentine just waiting in the wings so I saw the kidnap coming. What I didn’t see coming is Valentine killing Simon. I audibly gasped. That just leaving us hanging for chapters about Simon’s fate was what really made me sit up and pay attention to this book. The pace was kinda slow till Simon became a Vampire then it picked up but once we hit this point the pace just escalated and I could no longer put the book down.”

The fight against Valentine:

“This was a mixed bag. I was kind of sad we didn’t get more description of Magnus and Luke’s involvement. Magnus just seems like such an awesome character. I really want more of him ( and his cat). I really like Luke too. Also, we didn’t really get to see much of the fully-fledged grown-up Shadowhunters fight. The focus being all on Jace made this a little boring as we know what Jace can do. We have seen him fight demons before. I did like the stand-off between Clary and Valentine. I really liked the explosion of her power. It also leaves Valentine at large and it’s interesting to see if he will surface in the next book.”

Simon and the sun:

“Its like you said Ellie “By this point, Simon had died, become a Vampire, got kidnapped by Valentine, been drained of his blood and sort of died again (or died more should I say), and then was revived by Jace’s blood”, So what the hell is in Jace’s Blood. Like I said before I am kind of sad we didn’t get more of Simon’s experience of becoming a Vampire as now he is this strange Day walking Vampire. It’s another poor Simon moment as now he doesn’t really fit anywhere. The boy has just been through so much he kind of needed a break.”

Epilogue – break up/ Jace+Clary/ Jocelyn:

“Oh this Epilogue. Why did Clare save half the plot points for the Epilogue? Simon and Clary breaking up, Simon liking Maia, Luke and Jocelyn’s back story, Clary deciding to be like “ you may be my brother but I think your hot”, Jace deciding to be like “I like you as a sister”, Maryse being all like “Jace, I have always loved you as a son just was a bit secret about it” but that suddenly repairs their relationship. And the whole mic drop of “oh Clary, your mum put herself in this coma and I have known this whole freaking time!!!” honestly it was exhausting! Almost like Clare has a third book to sell. I will say the last sections of the book really did grip my attention and this did too.”

I love these posts!! And I love Fiona’s answers. I’ve had so much fun reading this series with her so far, and reacting to everything, chatting about the various plotlines and how yucky Jace and Clary are together aha!

I definitely enjoyed City of Ashes more than City of Bones, and I’m expecting each book to get a little better as they go on, I still think there is a lot to know about Valentine, and I’m excited to start City of Glass. Don’t forget to head over to Fiona’s post for her review and my thoughts on these elements!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon USWaterstonesBarnes and NobleAudible UKScrib’dKobo

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