Rachel Reviews: City of Ashes


Title: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Ebook

Completed: 17th June 2017

Goodreads rating: 3 stars


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?

For me City of Ashes suffered from the classic middle novel syndrome. Not severely, it’s still a pretty good book, but it wasn’t quite as ‘wow’ as City of Bones. That said, I still really enjoyed it, particularly the final quarter, which got me so excited for City of Glass.

What I Liked:

  • Magnus and Alec. These two have to come first because they’re pretty much my favourite characters ever. Magnus Bane is my actually favourite character, but I love Alec as well, and I loved how they developed in this book.
  • The action. Cassandra Clare writes action really well, and this was no different. They’re fast paced and exciting, and they make the book really easy to read.
  • The world building. I really enjoyed watching the Shadowhunter universe expand from the characters in City of Bones. I still had a few unanswered questions, but I suspect they were left deliberately unanswered to build suspense for City of Glass. 
  • Jace. I have a soft spot for the moody blondes, and Jace is no different. In this book however, we got to see Jace grow a little and become more three dimensional, which I really appreciated.
  • The lead up. At the end of the day City of Ashes is the middle book, and it did its job really well. It set up City of Glass perfectly, and I was SO excited for the third book once I finished City of Glass.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The bloody ‘love triangle’. I don’t actually mind love triangles, as long as they’re done well. But honestly, the ‘love triangle’ in City of Ashes just didn’t work for me. I found it both predictable and ridiculous, partially because I could already tell who Clary was going to end up with so it just didn’t have the tension it needed to.
  • The Inquisitor. Until the final pages, the Inquisitor just felt like a caricature, and nothing throws me out of my reading more than an obvious caricature. That said, in the end she had some pretty solid character development and became a lot more rounded.
  • Clary. This isn’t entirely fair. It’s not that I didn’t like Clary, she’s just far from my favourite. I don’t feel as invested in her as I do in Jace, or the Lightwoods, or even Simon. She is growing on me though, and I think part of the issue is that she’s supposed to be around 15 and I just can’t really connect with that anymore. Admittedly, in my head all the characters are a little older than they’re supposed to be, but still.

I can already tell you (because I’m now up to book 5 of the Mortal Instruments) that City of Ashes is definitely not my favourite book in the series. That said, at the end of the day I still really enjoyed it, still read it super quickly, and it only made me more excited for the rest of the series. So it must have done something right.

3.5/5 stars.


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