Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Publication Date: March 28, 2008
 
Synopsis:

Clary Fray just wants to go back to having a normal life with her best friend, Simon, who might be more than a friend. But she can’t escape the Shadowhunter world that easily, nor can she escape the mess of her family.

To make things more complicated, someone is killing Downworlders. No one knows who is responsible for the murders, and everyone wants answers.

When the Soul-Sword goes missing, Clary has to track down her father and protect her mother and brother before things get even worse.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Thoughts:
Picking up this book, picking up the series really, still comes down to my wanting to watch Shadowhunters on Netflix. I know that most people say it takes the first two books to get into the series, but part of me is beginning to question if I’ll enjoy the series when I continue with the rest of it. I’m sure that those of you who love the series and have completed it will say that it gets better and that I’ll start getting into it, so I hope you’re right.

Something that threw me off when I started this was the description of Jace’s relationship to the Lightwoods. There was a discrepancy between this book and City of Bones which caught my attention. Now, I don’t really know even now, after finishing this book, what the actual arrangement is with Jace and the Lightwoods and how they’re supposed to work in a family situation, but I know that this book called the Lightwoods Jace’s stepfamily, which would be incorrect. I’m not sure if this was just due to lack of plotting, but it served to confuse me more about how the heck everyone is the series appears to be related.

There were also a couple of cases in which grammatical editing needed to be done, which I would have assumed that an editor should have done. I don’t know how a couple of small things slipped by, but they did.

At times, I did think that there were too many small conflicts clouding the main conflict point in the story, which made it seem less important and pose less of a threat. While I appreciate there being other storylines that contain conflict within everything that’s already going on, I did think that there was too much focus on them at certain points and they simply made Valentine seem less ominous.

Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm at this point for the series is because I’ve been spoiled on some pretty major things. And not just for this series, I’ve also been spoiled for the ending of The Infernal Devices, though I will likely still end up reading that trilogy too. The spoilers kind of dampen the experience of reading this series, but I’m still kind of holding out hope that the series will still manage to live up to the hype for me. I want to be optimistic about it, but I’m not going to expect a lot, just in case.

That being said, I did like this better than the first book. I found the plot and the characters to be more likable and at one point, I actually found myself being surprised. I think that might have been the epilogue, so some applause to Cassandra Clare for being able to do that. Like I’ve already said, I’ll be continuing on with the series. My reading pace will likely pick up after City of Glass, which I hear is the best out of the first three books and the one that will make me want to continue with the series as a whole. So let’s look forward to that.

Character(s):

Clary is less annoying in this book. While I can’t say that I hate reading from her perspective, I also don’t love it. There’s just something about her personality and her as a character that doesn’t let me like her. I’ve heard some people say that she’s one of the most infuriating MCs ever and that this remains true for the rest of the books. I just hope she improves slightly.

I still don’t really understand why Jace is known to be such a swoon-worthy character. Yeah, he’s got the whole bad boy thing going on and he looks like an angel, but I’m not impressed. I don’t like how arrogant he is and I don’t care if he’s damaged goods, that’s not an excuse to be a jerk.

I’m a little conflicted about Simon in this book. Part of me understands where he’s coming from, but the other part of me doesn’t. I do still really like him and prefer him to Jace, but I’m not entirely sure how this book made me feel about him.

Isabelle remains as our lovable, flirtatious, humorous girl. I wish I got to see more of her in this book. There’s just something about her that draws me in and I find myself wanting to see her play a bigger part in the rest of the series.

While we did get to see Alec more in this book, I feel like we also kind of neglected him. Yeah, he was always there and played a bigger part in the storyline (we even got to see from his perspective), but I couldn’t help feeling like there was some kind of disconnect between him and the other characters, as well as the story. It’s like when someone is there, but isn’t. Which is weird, considering how big his role is in this book.

I’m finally starting to understand the role that Luke plays in the story. I like it. I mean, someone has to be the reasonable adult voice around here.

 

Overall:
3.5 stars. Would recommend picking this up if you’ve only read the first book. If you’re iffy about picking up the series, I’d say to go ahead and give it a shot. They’re fairly quick reads and you can fly through them even if you’re not heavily invested in the plot.

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