Review - City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)Title: City of Ashes
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication: March 24th 2009, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 453 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Pan Macmillan for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review!
Rating: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
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? Clary would love to spend more time with her best friend, Simon. But the Shadowhunters won't 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. When the second of the Mortal Instruments os stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor suspects Jace. Could Jace really be willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
To read the spoilers for City of Ashes, highlight with your mouse the white space between the two "spoilers" words.

When I read City of Bones I was completely  blown away by the ending's twist ...but then unfortunately I saw spoilers, lots of them, for basically the whole series and I almost didn't want to continue reading because I now knew what happened. However, when my friend was here, who is obsessed to the max with TMI, she persuaded me to begin reading City of Ashes, and I did. And I loved it!

City of Ashes was (if possible) even slightly better than City of Bones. The amount of action and the frequent twists, a few which completely broke my heart if you want to know, the continuation of how things ended in City of Bones and the few new characters we were introduced to, provided even more to the complex story

In City of Ashes, I feel like everyone is trying to piece their lives back together and continue living normally, as if nothing happened at all. There's Clary, who is still adjusting to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders and coming to terms that she's one, herself.  She's trying to live a normal life but unfortunately it's not easy to do that when she's constantly having danger thrown at her well as having to attack terrifying demons and trying to love Simon the way she loves Jace and try to love Jace the way she reallt loves Simon. 

Jace, who is still reeling from the shock that him and Clary are related and struggling to contain his feelings for her. 

Simon is enjoying it that he can finally be with Clary, yet he still feels a crushing feeling of despair when he sees her look at Jace the way he yearns for her to look at him. 

However, they all have to place their personal feelings aside when a devastating event happens that rocks the Shadowhunter world. The second Mortal Instruments has been stolen, as well as a brutal attack on the Invisible World's most powerful, feared Shadowhunters. The vicious Inquisitor suspects Jace of being tangled in this web of murder, lies and betrayal. The Lightwoods, as well as Clary, try to prove Jace's innocence. However, when Jace is approached with the choice to destroy the Clave in exchange for the ultimate safety of those he cares about, surely he wouldn't go through with it? But then again, love makes a person do all kinds of preposterous things.

I honestly didn't think any of the books would be better than the first book, City of Bones, but I was proved wrong. Cassandra Clare did it again, she created a riveting masterpiece with more shocking moments and more stunning words strung together to create yet another complex story. I loved City of Ashes, it was utterly fantastic! I got to see more developing relationships between the characters and more action than in the previous book. You have to prepare yourself, there will be moments that will leave you completely dumbfounded and possibly not able to read for a moment or so in order for new, astounding revelations to sink in. This book is perfect in every way. 

In the first book, we were introduced to the Shadowhunter world. Introduced to the inhabitants of the Institute as well as the abundance of mythical creatures lurking in seemingly mundane places. We were acquainted with the characters' stories from their past, well, most of it, and I, the reader, was finding my foothold in this new world. In City of Ashes the author provided us with development of the characters and blossoming romances. 

I liked that in this book we were able to learn more about other characters and it wasn't mainly focused on Clary and Jace, not that I would mind that either. We really begun to see how all the characters felt and I found it extremely interesting to gain entrance into the characters' heads that I hadn't been able to in City of Bones.

I liked Clary even more in this book. She was as feisty as ever yet we begun to see a more vulnerable side to her. A side that is struggling to claim the normality of her old life, the one she lived before she was suddenly shoved into the Shadowhunter world. I loved learning about Clary's new powers *spoiler* I thought it was extremely cool that she could create new runes by simply thinking of words then drawing the runes *spoiler* and the way she referred to seeing things as an artist and the way she completely gets lost in her own world when she draws. As I can relate to that, loving drawing myself.

Jace...I love him. In City of Bones I had this notion that he was this bad boy that didn't think his actions through and often ended up damaging a person's feelings in the process. My thoughts of him were dramatically changed in City of Ashes. I loved seeing his sensitive, caring side slowly seep through the cracks in his armour, the emotions brought on by Clary and the negligence from his family. I saw that all he wanted in his life was to be held by the girl he loved, to love her freely...but he can't because that girl, is Clary, his newly-found sister. You could feel the pain rolling off him and the invisible manacles keeping him from being with her. Jace, the independent, arrogant boy displaying such tenderness and wounded despair will surprise you...he will make you fall utterly in love with him all over again.

Simon goes through some drastic changes, ones that left me in tears, comfort eating and not being able to continue reading for a good couple of minutes. *spoiler* The fact that he became a vampire shocked me to say the least. I had a feeling he was going to become something different, but I didn't ever consider a vampire.*spoiler* It really saddened me to see him have to have his whole self altered like that, but it definitely was a surprise that shocked me. I miss the old, geeky Simon, this new super-human one just doesn't feel like him.
Valentine, Clary and Jace's supposed father. I never truly understood how powerful, nor how evil Valentine was until this book. How he was willing to sacrifice the lives of anyone in order to get where he wanted to be, as well as killing innocent Downworlders in order to turn the angel-charged sword into a demonic one. I truly saw how blind he was to the wrong things he was doing and he had this twisted misconception that it was for the right purpose.
I really connected with the secondary characters. I started to accept the beginning of a relationship between Magnus and Alec. I begun to see Alec in a different light and not as harsh as I viewed him to be in City of Bones. Isabelle grew on me too. I at first thought she was an airhead that couldn't care much for others beside herself but she truly surprised me. I saw the strength of the sibling bond between her, Alec, Max and Jace and it was heart-warming to watch. To see that they would lay their lives down for the other and scorn those who turned against those that they loved, brought tears to my eyes.

We are also introduced to Maia, whom I immediately liked. A fifteen year old girl who had been turned into a werewolf by her violent ex-boyfriend, a girl who believes that the dangerous boys lurk beneath the most handsome faces. Whilst reading I could see the spark between her and Simon yet I was still quite surprised when he *spoiler*ended things with Clary*spoiler*.

The plot was once again mind-blowing. There were a couple of severe happenings, ones that had me in shocked disbelief. 

Cassandara Clare really is an unbelievably talented author, with every book in the series we familiarise ourselves with the characters a little more, dive deeper into their heads and see the workings of their brains. I love how this series is the key to a magical, enchanting but simultaneously dangerous world where you can meet the characters that you've read about in story tales. Acquainting yourself with the real sides of them, not the sugar-coated version that were provided for us when we were younger. I love how this book takes place in seemingly normal 21st Century Manhattan, but when you look close enough you begin to see the tell-tale signs of a whole new world. City of Ashes was filled to the brim with action, snarky humour and a forbidden love.
The writing was once again stunning. Cassandra Clare has a true gift. I could picture everything so perfectly and it was just flawless. I wish every book was written with as much description as in Cassandra's books.
City of Ashes was an extraordinary sequel to the bestselling City of Bones. With more action, more laughs, more tears, more demon-slaying and more chemistry between two certain characters, City of Ashes won't leave you disappointed, just slightly in tears from all the awesomeness you have just experienced. We learn more of the characters and their individual powers, more of the complicated story between Clary and Jace, as well as witnessing some devastating transformations of characters. I highly recommend this series to everyone. It's flawless.
I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!