Clary’s mother is still in a coma and father is presumably up to no good somewhere. Jace is under suspicion from the clave, who suspect that he’s loyal to Valentine. In the city of New York, underworld children are going missing and Valentine seems to be the culprit. On top of this, Clary still needs to sort out her feelings towards Simon, now her boyfriend, and Jace, now off-limits.
City of Ashes starts off a bit slow but quickly speeds up. Valentine wants the second mortal instrument and of course Clary and Jace get in the way once again. One of my favourite parts of this book was the werewolf group. I loved Luke in the first book and Maia, a werewolf teenager, is an interesting addition to the cast. I had a major plot point spoiled for me before I read City of Ashes, but the spoiler was wrong! The essence of it was right, but the details wrong, so all the way through I was expecting something to change and it didn’t, which was amusing.
Truthfully, I enjoyed City of Ashes, especially the scenes between Clary and Jace, which were every tense. I liked it, but it wasn’t wonderful. It felt like City of Ashes was written so that Cassandra Clare can get to City of Glass, which I fully expect to be great. There was nothing wrong with City of Ashes, it just didn’t completely wow me. I get the necessity of it – Valentine goes after one of the three mortal instruments in each book, he’s confronted at the end of each, but he can’t really lose everything until the third book.
City of Ashes wasn’t bad, it was better than average, I just felt that it missed the spark that City of Bones had. On the other hand, there were lots of interesting developments and it could be argued that the plot was better structure in Ashes than it was in Bones. I just felt the limitations of the book in being the second part of a (somewhat formulaic) trilogy – there are a lot of things that can’t happen until book three, which took some tension out of the writing. However, I felt exactly the same about the second Lord of the Rings film and anyone who likes them will appreciate just how good The Two Towers is and understand that I’m probably just being picky. I’d recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed City of Bones and I’m sure the plot is vital to understand City of Glass, which releases on the 24th March (US hardback).