Friday, September 26, 2008

Book Review: City of Ashes

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments Series, Book 2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Urban Paranormal Series
My Rating: A-

Abbreviated Summary From the Book Jacket): Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go--especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil--and also her father. 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?

Review: This book was equally as good as City of Bones; however, Clare doesn't give an over-abundance of back-story (the way that some authors do in sequels), so I would recommend reading City of Bones first... that will help you in reading this and picking up on the complexity of the interpersonal relationships.

I thought the storyline of the Soul-Sword (and needing the blood of the Downworlder children) was convincing--it helped to propel the underlying tale of unity and acceptance. Clare is teaching readers a lesson (rather deftly without being too heavy-handed) that it's not what is on the outside that matters, all humans share the same blood.

Clare does continue to struggle slightly with her pacing--awkwardly switching from high-tension scenes to more expository diaglogue-intense scenes. I think that she might be attempting to pace her novels like that purposefully; however, it creates seemingly "slow" periods of the story that sometimes make it easy to put the book down (a dreaded scenario for action writers). The expository scenes are necessary, they create the backdrop that adds the tension to the action scenes because they force you to care about the relationships of the characters; however, the weaving between the scenes needs to be done a little more seamlessly, in my opinion.

In regard to the relationships, some are written incredibly well, while others don't get the attention they deserve. I honestly felt the tension between the siblings (the scene about whether their feelings were "sickening" was fraught with emotion), and I'm a little sad to say that I was looking forward to the third leg of that triangle dying (on more than one occasion) but did like how Clare put a bow on that story line. However, the blossoming relationship between Alec and Magnus was really going somewhere and never got there--I thought we'd at least get that pushed forward a little further in the Epilogue, but to no avail. I speculate that Clare is creating some storylines that will be resolved in the final installment of this series, City of Glass, which is due out in March 2009. I'll be looking forward to having resolution (I don't require it to necessarily be happy, but I expect some degree of finality) to the relationships between the siblings, Alec and Magnus, Luke and Jocelyn, and Valentine and the rest of the world.

Check out today's Quote of the Day over at "What Was I Watching?" with a little bit of info on all the great movies that premiere today.


Cassie said...

Thanks for the review!

— Cassie

The Reader's Quill said...

You read the second one! That's great! It's good, no? Yeah, I'm holding off on my review until right before City of Glass. :)

mari said...

I need to get these books one of these days.

Heather said...

Are you kidding me... Cassandra Clare read this write-up?!? That's like the coolest thing ever... she's such a boss author (caring about her fans and what-not).

Mari, definitely pick the books up, you'll love them.

E.B., I'll be looking forward to it... although I'm positive yours will be more thorough and will have great artwork and music to augment the write-up.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?