City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare is the second novel in the Mortal Instruments series. I just finished re-reading this one. Be warned: there are some spoilers, but I will try not to ruin the ending. By the way, that’s Clary on the cover!
Clary and Simon start a brief period of dating, but Clary is still having feelings for her brother, Jace. Jace returns to the Institute, only to find that his adoptive mother distrusts him now (he is Valentine’s son, after all). She also throws Jace out of the house, making him seek counsel with Luke and Clary. He returns with Luke and Clary, willing to plead his innocence to the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor arrives and immediately shows her disgust with Jace. After being a smart alec (as usual), the Inquisitor throws him into the prisons under the Silent City for the night. Within the space of a few hours, Jace’s wrist is bloody and the Silent Brothers have been slaughtered. Valentine comes to try and convince Jace to come with him, which Jace refuses. Meanwhile, a distress call is made to the Institute from the Silent City. Clary, Alec, and Isabelle answer it and come rushing to the Silent City. They release Jace from his cell and find that almost every Shadowhunter in the city had come to the Silent City (they had been busy dealing with the murder of a fey child). Valentine had run off with the Soul Sword (the second Mortal Instrument) and he still has the Mortal Cup. Jace is placed under arrest at Magnus’ home.
At the request of the Seelie (faerie) Queen, Jace, Isabelle, Clary, and Simon pay a visit to her (Alec is with Magnus). The Queen tells Jace and Clary that they were experimented on by their father, which gives them special powers that they haven’t unlocked yet. Clary accidently drinks something while in the Court and cannot leave. She would be released on one condition: she must kiss the one she most desires. Simon automatically assumes that is himself. He is hurt to find that Clary wants her brother, Jace. She is free to go, but Simon runs off and gets himself turned into a vampire.
Luke and Maia are attacked by demons. After the attack is over and the injured are healing, Jace goes looking for his father. He finds Valentine and refuses to join Valentine’s side, even though he was offered to have all of his loved ones protected. The Inquisitor returns and puts Jace under house arrest. Jace escapes. Him, Clary, Luke, and Magnus go after Valentine. While they are busy doing that, the Inquisitor was trying to trade Jace for the Mortal Instruments. She was surprised to realize that Jace was telling the truth when he told her that Valentine would have watched Jace die in front of him rather than give up the Mortal Instruments. By then, Clary has discovered that she can create new runes and Jace has extra fighting capabilities.
They find the ship that Valentine is on. Clary is kidnapped by Valentine, who had already kidnapped Simon and Maia (he needs their blood for a special ritual). She finds that he killed Simon and was about to kill Maia. Maia escapes with her help, but Valentine decides to use Clary as a bargaining chip–a Shadowhunter’s life is more valuable than a lycanthrope’s (Valentine still needs Maia). He comes to the point of nearly killing Clary because she was refusing to join him, even with all of the mind games he was using on her. Jace comes to her rescue and gives Simon some of his blood to live. Clary uses a rune that dismantles the ship and makes it out of there alive with Jace. There’s a big surprise with Simon.
I felt bad for Clary and Jace because they can’t be together anymore. Well, not as a couple. Then, Jace is disowned by his adoptive family (the parents, not the siblings). I believe the Inquisitor is just cruel and is punishing Jace for what his father did. How does Clary know what all, or most, of the different runes are when she has only seen them once? What’s that rune that her mother put on her while she was dreaming? I’m kind of wondering how Jace figured out the Alec is gay (Alec made everyone swear not to tell him) and is dating Magnus Bane.
Valentine, if you haven’t figured this out already, is pure evil. Why does he play mind games with his children? What kind of experimentation did he do on his kids? (I already know the answer, but I won’t say it here.) Who’s this other person Valentine was mentioning just before Jace interrupted his encounter with Clary?
I love this series! Another very fast-paced novel. If you loved the first book, you will love this one too. There is a bit of a love triangle, but that is not the soul focus of the book.
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Stars (out of 5): *****