Friday, January 3, 2014

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare {REVIEW}

Book Title: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date:  March 25th 2008
                             by Margaret K. McElderry Books

ISBN: 1416914293
Edition Language: English

(Book 1: City of Bones)


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.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

*Contains a lot of quotes, so if you haven't read the book yet and feel the quotes might spoil it for you, then you don't have to read the review if you don't want to :)

This one was better than the previous one in some aspects. I loved to see a new kind of Jace, and also felt deeply seeing his pain at not being able to be with Clary. Jace’s character is seen going through a continuous change. From book one to book two; Jace becomes a reckless broken hearted fellow from a badass guy. Though there were times I felt like saying ‘get over it already’ I really felt bad for him. He seemed so happy to have found his lost identity, his lost family in book one, only to find out the truth to be bitter than the ignorance.

I must say that at the end of book one, I was like ‘so they are ‘out of love’ already? Is it that easy?’ But this one shows that it isn’t. Neither Jace nor Clary seem to really get over the feeling they had once shared. Yet, both are going through the denial phase. Clary tries to have another chance at something with more than friendship with Simon and she keeps herself continuously convincing that she is in love with him, and she is actually happy, while anyone watching it from outside would know that the truth is far from that. Simon is her friend, more than friend actually, but that ‘more’ is always ‘less’ compared to what she had wanted with Jace. She loves Simon, of course, but clearly, she is not ‘in love’ with him (two seemingly same ideas, but very much different in respect of feelings)

This became clearer, when Simon had to suffer the consequences of his incident in the Hotel. Before he was raised again, Clary confesses that she loves him. Some of my other reader friends who had read this feel that at this point of crisis, Clary couldn’t have lied, just to make Simon happy. Maybe she actually did love him, or had loved him, if there was no Jace in the picture, ever. But I feel if that would have been the case, even if Jace hadn't been there, Simon and Clary couldn’t possibly have had a chance at love; at least not the one that gives you butterflies in your belly, the one that makes you feel like the center of everything in the world for someone, and in return, that makes your world revolve around that only one too. Yes, she definitely loves Simon, in fact, till the end (meaning till book 5) she loves him (does that count as a spoiler? ;)) But that love is more a result of the bonding and feeling of mutual caring they shared since childhood than of the whole butterfly-in-belly thing. She thought she had lost him. Simon, the only thing, the only person reminding of her of her previous life, the one link to the ordinary she had to leave behind…no one would want to lose that! That’s the last straw of sanity and normalcy she has…Simon’s the only person after her mom and Luke, who she can count as family. Even I won’t want to lose a person of such importance in my life, because I would love him to the point of risking my life to save his. So for me, no, Clary is not in love with him. Point proven. After that, Simon becomes one of the Children of the Night. For a moment, I thought it would turn into a Twilight Saga except for the fact that it didn’t, and I’m really happy about that. But Clary, nonetheless, seems confused as to how she has come in the middle of all these, still a confused soul. Really Clary, will you ever grow up? Apart from the fact that you’re given a talent, what more use you are of? No offense :p
“Somebody’s girlfriend,” She said. “Somebody’s sister, somebody’s daughter. All these things I never knew I was before, and I still don’t really know what I am.”
The one part I really liked that Jace hasn’t changed in terms of his sarcasm and irony throughout the book. The whole Clave-Valentine-Clary fiasco didn’t stop him from being what he is. Not when the Inquisitor was trying to make him freak out, or when Alec didn’t seem to act like he was actually his Parabatai, or when he was simply in terrific situations. And if you read the conversation with the Inquisitor at some places, you cannot help but fall more in love with the guy (even when you are supposed to feel sorry for Jace’s hardships)
But it was Valentine. I saw him…he came down to the cells and taunted me through the bars. It was like a bad movie, except he didn’t actually twirl his mustache.
“Yes,” Jace said, unable to help himself, “I was trained to be an evil mastermind from a young age. Pulling the wings off flies, poisoning the earth’s water supply- I was covering that stuff in kindergarten.”
“Enormous?” said Jace. “Did you just call me fat?”
“It was an analogy.”
“I am not fat.”
“that’s convenient,” said Jace. “I guess blessings are easier to come by than I thought. Maybe I should ask for blessings on my mission against all those who wear white after Labor Day.”
“I bet the Inquisitor thinks I did that, too,” said Jace. “My reign of terror continues.”
Some of the Alec-Jace parts were really sweet and uniquely funny.
I thought you came down right on the side of go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars. ‘The Law is the Law, Isabelle’

“Looks like a bite mark,” said Jace. “What were you doing out all night, anyway?”
”Nothing,”…”I went walking in the park. Tried to clear my head.”
“And ran into a vampire?”
“What? No! I fell.”
“On your neck?”
tbh I had to read it twice to finally understand what might have actually happened ;)

And what’s cute, is that though Jace haven’t gotten over Clary, he doesn’t seem to actually hate Simon. Well, he may not like him, but his behavior seems to have undergone slight change in book two, and once you have read the book and come to know what he actually does for Simon (even if it is for his promise to Clary), you can not not fall in love with Jace (and if you still don’t, you might consider visiting a therapist, hmph!)

“I wrenched it off the side of a telephone pole.”…”I guess you can do anything when your adrenaline is up.”
“Or when you have the unholy strength of the damned,” Jace said.
Valentine is still a distant character. And this book really doesn’t show me any light on the fact whether he actually cares for Jace or not. He seems so convincing and sometimes, fatherly, to Jace. Even I had felt like believing him at some points! And what more, I don’t even seem to agree with Jace here:

“They had something I needed.” “What? A sense of decency?”
No Jace, he is not indecent, just plain evil, right? So what if he faked his own death and kept you away from your real identity and lied to you and tortured everyone who loved him? He is still decent enough :p
Back to Simon, I liked him here, though I personally hated all of the mushy gushy scenes between Simon and Clary (I was like ‘Yikes! Not again!’) He seems more like the friend who you can call even one o’clock at night. He is a friend who can be with you without being judgmental even if your ‘changed’ states say you are supposed to be archenemies…the one who you can bash for eating pizzas :D
“I only had five slices,” Simon protested, leaning his chair backward so it balanced precariously on its two back legs.
“How many slices did you think were in a pizza, dork?”
”Less than five slices isn’t a meal. It’s a snack.” Simon looks apprehensively at Luke.
“Does this mean you’re going to wolf out and eat me?”
“Certainly not…You would be stringy and hard to digest.”
“But kosher,” Simon pointed out cheerfully.
But I got to see his other sides as well. And his ‘chemistry’ with Jace was a treat ;)
Jace raised his eyebrows. “I knew it,” he said. “You want to kiss me, don’t you?”
“Of course not. But if-“
“I guess it’s true what they say,” observed Jace. “There are no straight men in the trenches.”
“That’s atheists, jackass.”
Jace’s humor was never gone. Maybe that’s the main thing about his character I’ve always liked.

Apart from the main characters, newly introduced characters like Maia were also good. The book is good in one sense that it successfully carries out the story from book one. But bad in a sense that sometimes I felt as if characters like Jace had undergone unfair butchring. Jace doesn’t seem to be the Jace from City of Bones, which disappointed me at times The ending is interesting though. One thing I like about Clare’s writing is that she ends up each of the books in a way that it can be considered a standalone novel as well, while leaving a sense of continuity.

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