REVIEW: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

I’m going to start this review with a pretty bold statement: City of Ashes was so much better than City of Bones. Whether that’s because I knew the plotline of CoB like the back of my hand, or if Cassandra Clare’s writing somehow improved, or if the story was genuinely much better. No matter what was different, I can say without a doubt that I adored this book.

We learn more about downworlders, demons and our much-loved main characters from the first novel. Valentine was especially evil in this book, and though I still hate him, I have to admit he makes an excellent villain and for that I love him. I think some relationships developed beautifully between some characters in this book – in particular, Magnus and Alec (their on-going relationship is just finding it’s feet and I can’t wait to read about their future) and Luke and Clary. As Jocelyn is still in the coma, it is up to Luke to be Clary’s guardian. Their relationship is so rare and precious, and I’m really glad we got to see it develop a lot more in this book.

Warning – spoilers below!

I really don’t want to draw much attention to the weird and confusing situation that was Clary and Jace vs. Clary and Simon. I can’t decide what makes more uncomfortable – the fact that Jace and Clary still kissed (the time they weren’t made to by the Fairie Queen) despite knowing they were related, or that Clary suddenly switched from loving Jace to loving Simon, her life-long, often-referred-to-as-‘like a brother’ best friend. It was just not a good situation all round, so I’m pretending none of it even happened.

Saying that, there were some beautifully described scenes in this book! My absolute favourite was when Jace was in the Silent City. I thought the image of the Silent Brothers screaming was especially powerful. The entire scene was so dark and haunting, and yet made so magical and wonderful when Clary drew the rune to help Jace escape.

Favourite scenes:

  • Valentine summoning Agramon
  • Jace in the Silent City
  • Simon’s ‘rebirth’
  • Luke, Clary and Simon having breakfast
  • Alec testing the Fearless rune
  • Valentine’s boat and the surrounding demons
  • Alec and Isabelle fighting together
  • Simon feeding on Jace (such a huge moment for their relationship!)
  • Every time Clary used her rune power – I would definitely want her power if I was part of the Shadow World

My final thoughts from the novel were 1) God I hope they catch Valentine, 2) what was the Inquisitor going to tell Jace before she was killed?! and 3) yay we might finally get to see Jocelyn awake again! Bring on City of Glass!

Author: Cassandra Clare
Title: City of Ashes
Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Published: March 2008

Star Rating: ★★★★★

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