Literary Friday: City of Ashes

Synopsis according to GoodReads:
"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?

I loved City of Bones so much, I had to pick up the sequel, City of Ashes. And it did not disappoint my expectations! Once again, Cassandra Clare has woven a thrill-ride of a mystery, with twists and turns and suspense and characters you want to be/know/date/etc. Well, maybe not date. They are complicated.

This is not the kind of sequel where everything stays like it was in the first book, and we just re-visit it. A couple of the characters take more of a backseat to the story and other characters in this book, and we're introduced to a few new characters. The over-arcing problems are still there, and are developed and delved into a bit more. 

To be honest, I found the villain more creepy and real in City of Ashes than in the first book. It takes a lot for me to believe a villain is a real threat to the characters that I love, and Cassandra Clare pulls no punches in this respect. She also developed the characters more (which contributed to the constant tension in the story) and has once again left them with places to go and things to do. 

I want to note that this series, thus far, relies heavily on teamwork to get the quest done. And ever since seeing this TedTalk, I've started paying attention to that (rare) trope, as I agree about it encouraging our youth in the right direction. 
That's part of what appeals to me about it- Clary isn't out there being kick-butt by her lonesome: sometimes she's cowering in the corner in fear. And that's OK. It's understandable. It's believable. And it makes me feel like I could be the heroine, too.

I recommend this book for fans of City of Bones, those who enjoy a strong female character, romantic tension, love triangles, well-developed characters, the struggle between right actions and law/establishment, and those who enjoy fantasy. But read the first book before you read this one.

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