Last Updated on December 11, 2013
I picked up City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare, the second book in The Mortal Instruments urban fantasy series right after I’ve finished reading and reviewing City of Bones. If I am able to, I like to read the books in order one after the other one without any breaks in between, which allows me to have everything still fresh in my head without losing any details.
When I was reading City of Bones, I had already watched The Mortal Instruments movie, so my mind kept making parallels between the book and the film (that’s why I usually like to read the books before watching the movie made from it). Luckily it wasn’t the same when reading the second book, I had an empty mind here, and I left myself open to any impressions from the book without them being tainted by having visually watched the actors perform.
And I have to say my enjoyment was so much better. I really loved this book and I can say that without any hesitation.
In this second book the action is even more so there than before, along with a stronger tension between characters (and an even stronger sexual tension between Clary and Jace). If you remember in the first novel their attraction to each other was undeniable, which made it quite uncomfortable for all involved, including Simon, who’s had a lifelong crush on Clary, crush that sadly is not returned in kind.
In fact one thing I’ve noticed (also happening in the third book. City of Ashes, which I”m reading just now), this sad theme of not-returned love is quite strong on these books. It seems that quite a lot of characters love someone who is in deep love with someone else. Oh the eternal and unsatisfied love!
Towards the end of the first book Clary and Jace learned of a terrible secret about their relationship (which I don’t want to spoil in case you haven’t read the first one yet), so in lieu of this new knowledge they have to restrain – and oh boy restrain they do. I guess that’s why all that tension between them is getting stronger and stronger day by day. And trust me, I’m almost halfway in book 3 by now, and that “issue” is still not 100% resolved (although we so much hope that the truth is something else…)
I’m focusing here on their relationship and character development as there is lots of it to go around in this book. However that doesn’t lessen the action, which we have enough of as well. And I think that’s one reason why I love this series – there are so many books out there that are full of action, but totally lacking in character development. It is as if the author believes that if you have one, you don’t need the other. Thankfully Cassandra Clare thought of both and left us fully satisfied after reading her books, with just enough time to relax and delve on the current book before tackling the next one.
So onto the action now. Well, remember Valentine, who has the same dreadful role as the ‘who shall not be named’ in Harry Potter…? Here we get to see more of him – in fact much more of him. He will turn things upside down, inside out and leaving everything shaken and broken in his wake. And speaking of broken, I had a grin on my face when I saw in action one of Clary’s new powers – talk about shaken and broken! That girl has powers that even she is not fully aware of…yet.
Going back to character development and interaction, I really love how things develop between Jace and Simon (who is now…well let’s not spoil it yet, shall we?). I never would have thought that two guys who are crazy about the same girl really find that new respect for each other and even save each other’s lives – more than once. Now this is one kind of interaction that I’ll be really looking forward to see in the next movie, which is hopefully coming out in 2014.
Finally, before ending my review, I think City of Ashes was better than City of Bones, for one because the first book was more like a beginning, the characters were not yet fully fleshed out and there was less action and interation than in the second novel, which has plenty of each. If I could, I’d give City of Ashes 5.5 stars.
Oh someone asked me what about my gag reflexes (if you’ve read the first book, you know exactly what I’m talking about). Well, I don’t have them, and the reason is because I’ve read a review on Goodreads that was better not to read (I didn’t realize it was a spoiler as it was not hidden as such), which left me feeling quite alright about somethings that will clear up the air hopefully in the third book I’m reading now, City of Glass. If I’d still be in the dark though, while I’m no prude or anything of the sort, I’m sure I’d find all that situation at the least weird…
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