Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes

Continuing after a successful read after the City of Bones, comes the #2 City of Ashes in The Mortal Instruments series (used to be a triology but now a series). Let us just first re-cap what we read in the first book - Clary Fray’s world is turned upside-down. She has never thought of herself as being anything other than ordinary, until she sees a group of teenagers kill a demon—and finds that no one else can see them. Soon after that, Clary’s mother mysteriously disappears, and she is plunged into a world in which vampires and werewolves are real. She discovers that she is a Shadowhunter—a race of demon-slayers. To top it all off, she finds herself caught in a nasty love triangle with Simon, her best friend, and Jace, an arrogant, handsome Shadowhunter. Just as she seems to be falling for Jace, she finds out that Valentine, the villainous man who kidnapped her mother* is her father, and Jace is her brother. *CRASH* that’s gonna hurt!!
The book begins with these 2 blurbs. ”A Gorgeous Fantasy that is so good, its dangerous” - Holly Black. ”The Mortal Instrument series is a story world that I love to live in. Beautiful” - Stephenie Meyer. And with a cover showcasing Clary we can guess what we’d find in the book.
The book opens up with Valentine summoning a demon to be at his beck and call and a murder. This demon plays against a person’s worst fears.  You would need a protection spell if you want to ward off the advances of that kind of demon. Should I name the demon……………should I??? Well it AGRAMON…….*SCARY*
Once again Valentine is up to no good – no surprise there.  At the end of the first book, Valentine gained control of the Mortal Cup, which can only mean trouble for….everyone.  What is the hell is he up to anyway?
Clary’s mother is still lying in the hospital in a coma, the Clave (the big guys are involved now) suspects that Jace is a spy for his father, and Clary is very much romantically confused. Valentine goes after the second Mortal Instrument, the Soul-Sword, and is more of a bastard than ever. Jace is an angry, angst-ridden teenager. Simon seems to be becoming more than a friend to Clary, but she’s still struggling with her feelings for Jace and MY……..Alec gets a boyfriend (in a certain rainbow clad Warlock). Ok i know I’m dropping a lot of spoilers for those who still need to read the first book…..*Sorry couldn’t control myself*

Clary is not the only one to go through personal upheaval.  Jace is devastated that he is not who he thought he was.  Nothing good can come out of being Valentine’s son which he learns when his “mother” returns home full of accusations. Soon he is cast out from the one place he can call home. The Inquisitor, a real peach of lady, holds Jace’s fate in her hands.  Believe me there is no love lost between his adoptive parents, his real father and her. Needless to say the meeting between them doesn’t go well and he is sentenced to prison in the Silent City.  Prison turns out to not be the safest place for Jace as dearest daddy pays him a visit there trying to get him to switch teams.
On top of all the aforementioned drama, Clary and Jace seem to be some discovering mysterious powers. But of course, there is still the lingering question of the century: are they really siblings?
The story is told in third person and mostly from the perspective of Clary, which for the most part works very well since it means that the reader can share Clary’s sense of bewilderment and wonder at the secret world that is revealed to her.  Her confusion over her relationship with her new found brother (the boy she wants but can’t have) and her feelings for Simon (her lifelong best friend who she wishes was her brother and not her boyfriend) make for compelling, if soap opera-ish reading.
Did I mention that Simon is now a vampire. 
City of Ashes shows its popular culture roots. Even the description of Simon crawling out of his shallow grave – “The grave was roiling like the surface of an unsteady ocean. Ripples appeared on its surface. Suddenly it burst apart, clods of dirt flying. A small mountain of dirt, like an anthill, heaved itself upward. At the center of the mountain was a hand, fingers splayed, clawing at the dirt.” – conjures an image that has seen countless times in nameless horror films as zombies, vampires and the evil undead arise to wreak havoc.
 I like the complexity and the diversity of the characters. Ultimately, City of Ashes adds up to more than the sum of its parts, so there is really no cause for complaint. A fast paced and engaging read, City of Ashes is well written and a much stronger novel than City of Bones.  Summing up, if you liked City of Bones, you will love City of Ashes.

Genre :      Fiction, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Publisher Margaret K. McElderry

Rate:              5/5 (It was amazing, I recommend it)


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