Monday, September 29, 2008

“City of Ashes” by Cassandra Clare

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
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? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. 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? 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.
City of Ashes resumes shortly after the events of City of Bones [2007]. As the book blurb shows there is no lessening of the action. All of the character relationships become more tangled. Now that Clary and Jace realize they are brother and sister they are struggling to come to terms with their mutual feelings for each other. Simon professes his long-standing love to Clary further complicating their difficult triangle. Jace is devastated by the new mistrust from his adoptive parents now that they know he is Valentine’s son. Alex begins a not so secret relationship with Magnus the Warlock. A new teenage werewolf called Maia is introduced to complicate Simon’s life.

The action this time around is much darker, the pace more relentless. Simon’s biting of the vampire while a rat in the last book turns out to have severe consequences. As if it is not enough that Jace’s evil father wants to bring him over to the darks side, the Shadowhunter Inquisitor also arrives to interrogate Jace with a personal agenda that may endanger them all.

Clary continues to learn more about the Runes of power and her own unique ability to create previously unknown runes. Using her new found skills she uses to them to their advantage in several crucial moments. The heroic band together struggle to solve the mystery of the murdered children and to locate Valentine and retrieve the Mortal Instruments before his power becomes too great.

Clare’s inventive imagination constantly surprises with graphic depictions of the various breeds of Valentine’s demons and delightful ideas such as the flying vampire motorcycles powered by demon energies. Action scenes are intense and detailed, especially the climactic battle on Valentine’s ship.

Despite all of the intensity there are moments of normality. In particular, I found a quiet interlude between Simon and Clary watching and discussing anime to be one of the funniest descriptions of the absurdity of the art form I have seen.
“Rule number one of anime,” Simon said “Never screw with a blind monk.”
“I know,” Clary said. “For some reason they ‘re always way better fighters than monks who can see.” She peered at the screen. “Are those guys dancing?”
“That’s not dancing. They’re trying to kill each other. This is the guy who’s the mortal enemy of the other guy, remember? He killed his dad. Why would they be dancing?”
“The guy with the hat,” she said. “He was the evil guy?”
“No, the hat guy was the dad. He was the magical emperor, and that was his hat of power. The evil guy was the one with the mechanical hand that talks.”
“More chibis,” said Simon gloomily. “I’m tired of this anime. I can’t tell what the plot is and no one ever has sex.”
“Of course they don’t,” Clary said. “Anime is wholesome family entertainment.”
City of Ashes propels the story arc to new heights setting the stage for what I am sure will be a rousing conclusion in the final volume of the trilogy, City of Glass, due for release in March 2009. Read and enjoy the first two books until then. Recommended.

Read the first chapter.

And here is a deleted scene cut from the ARC.

Listen to the SimonSays Podcast interviewing author Cassandra Clare about the book..

SciFiGuy review of City of Bones here.

4 comments:

  1. Wish I had time to read these two books by Clare because I am loving those covers.

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  2. Okay I've officially added this to my wishlist.

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  3. It's awesome but read city of bones first because it's better and it won't make much sense till u read the first one

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  4. Hi Anonymous,. You are right they need to be read in order. I actually did read and review the first book. Both a good reads.

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