Cassandra Clare, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2008, 453 pages.
Synopsis: (from Goodreads):
As readers of series starter City of Bones already know, teenager Clary Fray is a Shadowhunter, a demon slayer who has the gift (?) of spotting Downworlder werewolves, vampires, and faeries. She is also an adolescent in an abnormally dysfunctional family: Her mom is in a magically induced coma and her father is probably insane and undoubtedly evil. All of which places Clary in situations that would challenge even the most talented average American girl.
This is the second in The Mortal Instruments series, in which Clary, who has recently discovered a whole world of Shadowhunters, demons, vampires and werewolves, hiding in the real world. I love the idea of a whole world hiding in plain sight, as it were. In this book, Clary and the Shadowhunters are trying to stop Valentine, her father, from using demons to take over the world.
The story is exciting and there is lots of action. However, I still did not like this book as much as the first one, City of Bones. I felt as if this was a transition book, with everyone running around and reacting to things rather than a strong overall story. I know there is the plot of stopping Valentine, but everyone just keeps reacting.
I was also a little disappointed that Clary was not stronger. After the first book, I was hoping that she would become a more take charge, competent character. I felt like she spent running around after others and when she did do something, it was by accident. However, she is still young and this book did only take place days after the first one, so I still hold out hope for her.
This novel, like the first, does have some interesting twists and foreshadows even more - which definitely keeps the reader reading and waiting for the next book. I don't want to say too much about this, but I am hoping for some big shake ups in the third book.
Jace, the young, good looking jerk from the first book, does soften a bit in this one, which is nice. I am not sure about the relationship between Clary and Jace though. I don't want to give away any of the plot (if you have not read City of Bones, you may want to stop reading now), but I don't like the story line of them being brother and sister, but still having a romantic attraction. I can also see the foreshadowing that they are not actually brother and sister, but they think that they are and I find the whole scenario a bit much and kind of creepy.
I found some of the other characters in this book to be the most interesting, for example, Simon, Mangus, Alec and Isabelle. They are really good, interesting supporting characters with a lot of personality and are not as caught up in feeling so morose (except for maybe Alec).
I did enjoy reading City of Ashes - it is a fun summer read, and will certainly read the next in the series. I can really see teenage girls liking this book, as well as those who like urban fantasy.