City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #1) by CASSANDRA CLARE
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation (goodreads).
After reading the first installment in this exciting series, I knew that I had to get my hands on the second novel and quickly! Sadly, this novel did not live up to the expectations that I had. Clare's world and characters are still enchanting but the plot did not impress me.
After the crazy events on of The Mortal Cup, Clary attempts to return to a normal life, or as normal as life can get with your mother in a coma and experiencing feelings for someone you really shouldn't. Clary's life is turned upside down when her best friend is attacked, her father attempts to lure her brother to the dark side, and a very persistent Inquisitor seems to have it out for Jace.
The second novel in The Mortal instruments series deals with Clary coming into her newfound shadowhunting skills as supernatural children are turning up dead, drained of all blood. Sounds interesting doesn't it? And it was for the first hundred or so pages. While the plot did not drag, I did not find it interesting in the least bit, well except maybe the epilogue. This novel takes a closer look at Clary's feelings for Jace and the awkward love triangle that she is thrown into. While I will get into the love stories later in my review, I can honestly say that the love triangle is what made me give the novel a lower rating: it felt really cheap. I also felt that the repeated appearances by Valentine's made him less menacing; he kept popping up everywhere and there was no mystery to what he had up his sleeves.
I wholeheartedly believe that the best things about these books are the characters. They are so much fun and so colorful and each have their own issues. While I loved Jace, Luke, newly added Maia, and the Lightwoods, Clary and Simon annoyed me. Cassandra Clare throws Simon and Clary into a very awkward situation in which neither character is being truthful with the other. The synposis states that the two are "becoming more than friends" but the situation is extremely forced on both parties and it also ends very awkwardly. Simon states that he wants truthfulness but goes right ahead and adopts a characteristic that he just chided Clary about. Hyp. O. Crit. I adored Alec in this story, especially his blossoming love story which I hope becomes evident in future novels.
The writing style reflected the first novel's very closely and I did not have any qualms. Clare writes her characters and introduces the audience to her world with such ease that City of Ashes becomes a fast page-turner despite the novel having almost 500 pages.
Despite my disappointment with the second installment, I will definitely be picking of City of Fallen Angels very soon, Clare's world and characters are too enticing to throw away just because of one mediocre book.
Recommended for those who loved the Mortal Cup and those who are looking for a more diverse urban fantasy read with unforgettable characters.