Monday, 14 May 2012

Review- City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)
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.

(Cover and description taken from Goodreads)

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In the second in the Mortal Instruments series, Clary is drawn deeper into the world of the Shadowhunters, the demonic underworld of modern-day New York, where faeries lurk in Central Park, vampires covens live in abandoned hotels, and warlocks throw wild attic parties. Trying to come to terms with her new identity as a Shadowhunter- one of the magical world’s secret police who answer to the Clave, fighting demons and maintaining peace with Downworlders- Clary also struggles to deal with the fact that her mother is in a coma. Jace, meanwhile, is reeling with the shock of the discovery of his parentage. He is then accused of being under the influence of his real father, Valentine, by his adoptive parents and by the Inquisitor, leader of the Clave. Believed to be dead for the past fifteen years, Valentine has returned to continue his quest to spark war between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders. Having stolen the Mortal Cup- a relic which enables one to create new Shadowhunters, at the potential cost of killing the person being transformed- he then breaks into the Silent City and murders the Silent Brothers, the most powerful members of the Clave, and steals the Mortal Sword, the second of the Mortal Instruments.


With the help of Magnus Bane, a warlock, the Shadowhunters realise that Valentine is murdering Downworlders for a reason: he intends to perform a ritual which will turn the Sword’s allegiance to him, and allow him command over demons. His plan, it seems, is to use them to force the Clave into submission and to kill all the Shadowhunters, whom he believes to be corrupted. But unless Clary and the others can convince the Clave of this, nothing can be done. The Inquisitor refuses to cooperate, believing Jace to be a spy for Valentine, and expecting him to side with his father against the Clave. As if there isn’t enough for her to worry about, Clary’s best friend Simon is turned into a vampire, giving the Downworlders another potential weapon to use against them. Clary blames herself for dragging him into this world, and for not being able to care about him in the same way he cares about her. Now unable to go out during the day without being burnt alive, Simon is in greater danger from Valentine, who is searching for young Downworlders to complete the ritual…


The second book in the Mortal Instruments sees the return of great characters, including Magnus Bane, a totally bonkers warlock who uses his supernatural powers to watch daytime TV without paying; fellow Shadowhunters Alec and Isabelle; and werewolf Luke. New characters include the cold and unforgiving Inquisitor, the cruel and manipulative Queen of Faerie, and stubborn young werewolf Maia. This is urban fantasy at its best, with brilliant world-building and some great fight scenes- and forbidden love that will break your heart. There are gruesome murders, underground cities, and all manner of vicious demons. At the same time, there’s plenty that teen readers will relate to, including unrequited love and identity crises. After learning that they were part of an ‘experiment’ by Valentine, Clary and Jace come to realise that they have powers other Shadowhunters do not. This sets us up for some shocking twists in the next book of the series- you have been warned…


Rating: *****

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