The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes Review

City of Ashes

City of Ashes is the next book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. While the first finds Clary thrown into a world that she didn’t even know exist (at least, she thought she didn’t), the second finds her continuing to explore that world and find her place within it.

Clary now knows the truth about who she is and what is really out there. While still waiting for her mother to wake up, Clary finds herself living with Luke and beginning to understand more of the world she has been thrust into. But it’s more than that; Clary is discovering the power within herself and precisely what she is capable of doing. She seems more powerful than her friends. Apart from Jace.

With their relationship as conflicted as ever, Clary is not the only one discovering more about herself. Jace battles between his feelings for his sister and how he should be reacting to his father. However, his struggle isn’t for him alone and when the powers-at-be are called in to determine whose side Jace is truly on, he finds himself in a whole load of trouble that even he can’t sweet talk his way out of. And on top of that… he’s beginning to realise he can physically do things that, even for a Shadowhunter, should not be possible.

But it’s not all demons and magic that has Clary’s world in a conflict. Her relationship with Jace is explosive at best, yet Clary finds herself taking things further than just friendship with Simon. He’s the reliable and sane one out of her men. Or so she thinks. She is not the only one struggling to find a place in this new world and after an accident befalls Simon, he is more involved than he could have ever imagined. Or wanted, yet there would be no way he could turn his back on this new world because that would mean turning his back on Clary.

As the teenagers come to terms with events surrounding them, Valentine is upping his game and calling the demons to him. He seems undefeatable, with weapons at his disposal the Shadowhunters prayed he never got his hands on. But with so much power behind him, is there any chance at all that anyone is going to be able to stop him? The best chance seems to lie with his own children, yet their belief in themselves causes issues for the task ahead.

Another thrilling book from Clare. Despite (again) the ease at which they were read, the plot was gripping and engaging, the characters believable. Despite the number of books out there about these sort of supernatural elements, Clare’s tale is original and refreshing; it’s not quite apparent where she is going to go next. A tale of love and betrayal, of magic and loyalty. It has everything you would want from this sort of novel and it is beautifully written. Certainly an impressive sequel that leaves the reader eagerly anticipating the next book.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Review

City of Bones

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series was brought to my attention by the recent film released based on the books. As usual, I decided to read the books first, not wanting to have them ruined by an adaptation.

City of Bones is the first in the series. Set in New York, Clary finds her life is far from what she thought – and far from ordinary – when a chance encounter reveals to her that she can see beings… beings that no one else knows exist. As the world she knows unravels around her when her mother goes missing, Clary soon comes to learn that there is a whole new world existing around hers – the world of demons and otherworld creatures that people believe to be nothing more than a story.

Finding new friends and enemies alike, Clary must come to understand her past and accept who she truly is if she is going to survive and stop those she cares about being lost to a power stronger than this world is used to seeing. While uncovering her past, Clary learns things are not always what they seem and matters of the heart can be more dangerous than any power that walks this world – or the demon world.

Clare knows how to draw her reader into a magical realistic world-  just enough of the norm to keep the reader grounded in the here and now, but enough mystical and magical elements present in order to keep them guessing what is going to happen next. Knowing that it was the first in a series, I knew the book wouldn’t necessarily come to a close at the end but instead open up new doors. However, it was still a page turner from beginning to end and I found that I couldn’t put it down.

There lie the problem.

For a five hundred page book, I managed to read it in less than a week. Considering there were other things going on in reality at the same time, I honestly can’t remember the last time that happened and it wasn’t entirely due to the strength of the plot. It could potentially be due to it being aimed at a younger audience, yet there are elements in it that wouldn’t be appropriate for those too much younger. It contains the strange dilemma of being gripping and yet easy to read, meaning that it was slightly disappointing. Having been recommended the series by more than one friend the same age as me, I was expecting something a little more challenging than what I got.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t continue the rest of the series. There is no doubt that Clare knows how to blend her worlds together and her use of magic and interweaving demons and other mythical creatures into our everyday life is handled with a masterful stroke of genius. Now I know what sort of genre I seem to be reading, I am looking forward to the next in the series despite knowing that it might not take me too long to read.