Once again I come with a review. I feel my blog might get a little monotonous if I only post my Shadowhunter Chronicles reviews so I will also think of different entries. Remember that I’m getting back on the blogging horse and adding to that a very demanding job, sometimes I just don’t have time to curate this blog in the way that I want to. However, I am trying to organize myself so I can dedicate time to this little project and make it grow 🙂
Anyway, if you read my rambles pre-review, you’re the sweetest and I really appreciate it. Now, onto the book!
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Pages: 512 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Overall Rating: 4/5 ★★★★
Synopsis: 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?
This is the second book in the six book series that is The Mortal Instruments. I quite liked it and, as I’ve mentioned before, absolutely love the Shadowhunter world and the mythology behind it that Cassie Clare has created. However, I still have some troubles with it, which is why I can’t say that I loved it.
Of course, given that City of Bones worked as an introduction to the world, this book was more action-packed and slightly faster-paced. However, I still believe the intense action takes too long to happen, leaving a lot of waiting around for something to happen. And then it all feels like a rush in the last chapters, which is both good and bad in my perspective. Good because it sets the mood for readers to remain hooked to the story and immediately dive into the next book in the series. Bad, because the pace changes drastically and sometimes it just feels like a jumble of incidents and events that could have been better developed if the writer had started to narrate them a few chapters back.
Writing style wise, I found I quite liked the change from all told in Clary’s POV to having more characters share their views. It made them more relatable and real, in a way, since all we knew before City of Ashes was one character’s take on the rest of them, making the perception slightly skewed and unreliable. What I did find annoying at times, and has happened since the first book, is the lack of development of some of the characters as well as the lack of “screen time” for a lack of a better word. Once again, there are many events that happen beyond the narration and while sometimes it’s okay because it is used as a driving force for the narrative, in others is just plain frustrating.
Take this (spoilery!!!!) example…
We have Simon truly upset (and with reasons to be) after the meeting with the Seelie Queen since Jace and Clary had to kiss for her to be freed and, of course, they didn’t just stop at a little peck on the lips. So, after they get out of the Seelie Court, he is understandably angry and hurt, which prompts him to just walk away without a word. That’s all good and nice but then, next thing you know, Raphael is on the Institute’s doorstep carrying an almost dead Simon explaining that the dude was freaking out thinking he was becoming a vampire and ended up in Hotel Dumort… Wait, what? Where was the foreshadowing for this?
Now, I know there were some veeeery light clues but I believe they were not handled properly because, even though I detected them (and I knew the outcome because of the TV show), it still felt like that plot twist came out of nowhere. Perhaps I’m alone in this and people disagree with me but I would’ve liked to see more clues to it instead of a little scene involving Dracula and Simon tensing because of it to several chapters down the road when he’s basically becoming an undead…
(end of spoiler)
These types of things are actually why I also really like the TV show, even though it has diverted greatly from the original source. They allow us to follow several characters at once and has a more general view of the situation, making you truly understand the characters actions. Of course that’s also because TV shows and movies allow for this type of exposure while the written word is much more limited to showing multiple storylines but still, what I’m trying to say is that I think both the original material and the adaptation complement each other pretty well and makes this reader appreciate both without judging to harshly the diverting storylines of one or the limitations of the other.
Another thing that bothered me was the descriptions. I don’t think Cassie Clare is the best writer in the world but I do like her style. Unfortunately, I think that sometimes she exaggerates with her descriptions, allowing some eye-rolling moments from me. Like her multiple descriptions of the Seelie Queen’s voice…
“Her voice was soft as a spider’s fur,” WHAT? How do you even know how a spider’s fur feels like???? (Also, I’m terrified of spiders so that was a big WTF moment with lots of shuddering). It’s like… dude, find some other way to describe it that doesn’t sound like you’re just randomly finding words and putting them together to form a description… Not everything has to be described so dramatically for readers to engage with the story or praise your writing skills. Less many times is more. I don’t know if this carries on in further books or if her style improves over time, but I guess I will find out eventually.
So now, I am moving onto Book 3, City of Glass and can’t wait to see where the story takes these lovely, complicated and simply real characters.
What do you guys think? Do you agree with me? What are your opinions on City of Ashes?
I’d love to hear (or rather, read) your thoughts!