City of Ashes Book Review


Good evening guys! I actually have two book reviews to catch up on for books which I have recently finished, the first being the second book in The Mortal Instruments series which is called City of Ashes (2008) and it’s written by Cassandra Clare.

City of Ashes Cover
City of Ashes” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

What is the book about?

After being thrown into the world of Shadowhunters, werewolves and vampires that she never even imagined existed, Clary’s life is now a lot more complicated than it once was. Her mother is in hospital and has not yet woken up from the traumas of the first installments conclusion. Jace is hurt and lost, turning to rebellious action, following the loss of his father’s loyalty (which was short-lived) and the discovery about Clary. Family ties are tested as Jace is mistreated by The Inquisitor who believes he is conspiring with Valentine. More and more demons are gaining access to the mortal world and Valentine comes into possession of two of the mortal instruments. Along with the others, Clary must learn to use her new powers to quell Valentines power and control.

General thoughts

I enjoyed reading City of Bones (2007), the first book in this series, and I feel like Clare really wanted to take the storyline to the next level in this second book. City of Bones is very exciting because we are introduced to a new world. It is a magical world but it is also placed within a recognisable, non-magical setting. I love the dark, mysterious atmosphere surrounding the Shadowhunter world and I was really intrigued to see where we would go in the second book.


It did take me a while to get back into the whole world and the characters and everything, but I eventually did and the storyline gets very dynamic and exciting. It is action packed to say the least.


I really like how some of the more minor characters (minor at least when you compare them to the likes of Clary and Jace) become a lot more involved.

Simon’s storyline is probably my favourite thing about this book and he is also becoming one of my favourite characters. I love that he is no longer just “the mundane” as it kind of forces Jace to eat his words a little bit, which is quite amusing because he always acted like he was above Simon. His initial behaviour towards Simon is understandable because of the whole thing about keeping mundanes blind to their world. But, it is undeniable that Jace also didn’t take too kindly to Simon because of the awkward love triangle aspect of the storyline. So, I love how Simon’s new identity as a vampire gives him the chance to find his place within Clary’s new world.


There is a couple of moments in the book where you really think that Simon is dead. It is scary but very effective. The section where they all gather to bury Simon in the graveyard is extremely eerie and dark and I honestly think I would be doing exactly the same as what Clary did in that situation.

I also like how Magnus Bane and Maia are a much bigger part of the story in this book. Magnus is such a likable character, it kind of seems like he is rather amused by all the teenage drama and he just looks on with a relaxed grin. That’s the impression I get of him anyway, which I really like because it takes the harsh edge of the story sometimes.

I think Maia is quite a highly opinionated character. If I am right in my suspicions and she is to become a love interest for Simon, I think she will probably start teaching him things about this new world he has become a part of. Her initial reaction to Simon is interesting as it further reiterates the different relationship dynamics between certain types of people in their world. I am very excited to continue reading Simon and Maia’s storyline.

New Magical Elements

We are introduced to more than just Shadowhunters, vampires and werewolves in this book – oh, and warlocks. Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec and Isabelle visit the Queen of the Seelie Court. Just when you think the story world can’t become any richer than it is, Clare invents some additional magical elements which just hook you further to the storyline.

Full Moon

I love the description of the characters stepping into the reflection of the moon as well as the Faerie Realm itself and the characters. The scene where the characters feel compelled to join in with the dancing is very twisted and effective. We really get a sense that these character may appear pretty and harmless but they are truly some of the most dangerous.

Clary and Jace

I think their storyline is particularly emotional and upsetting because we know how they feel but we also know they can’t be together. I like how they discover their special powers, as Valentine’s children, in this book and I hope they find more powers as the series continues. As the core element of the storyline I think the story of Clary and Jace is strong and will easily carry across over several more books.


More magic to explore and a lot of character development.


I am going to give this book 3/5.


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