We are back for another Shadowhunter Saturday! Where Ellie (Read to Ramble) and I are discussing our journey through the world of the Shadowhunters! If you missed our announcement you can find all the details about this collaboration Here or if you are interested in our thoughts on City of Bones
The first section is my spoiler free mini review of what I thought of the book followed by my interview of Ellie and her Thoughts. If you would like to see my answers to the interview questions and Ellie’s mini review you can find it one her blog Here.
Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
From 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?
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.
I must admit I enjoyed this one so much more than the first. Again it is not the best written book. Its still filled with eye-roll moments and cheesy dialogue, but damn does it just pull you in.The pacing of this book was a little slow in the first half. I don’t think I was fully invested in the story until the last third of the plot where the pace just skyrockets. My biggest fault with this one is the age old gripe of YA. That is the behaviour of the Adults. Very few of the adults step up in this one. They either act just as immature as the teenagers or utterly fail to reign the teenager characters in and instead follow them blindly in there escapades. Its just such a common troupe.
There were also a number of plot points I would have loved to seen expanded but were just left hanging in the air with very little information. It were a lot of Oh, so we are just not going to address that moments. Which is a shame as they were mostly around areas of world building I would have liked to explore more. The last section of the book does have some great twists and cliffhangers that keep the pages turning. But we fly through elements of the plot here that could have used a bit more of a steady pace so the book seems very disjointed.
Just like the last one I think a lot of my overall enjoyment was from the buddy read as when there were plot twists I found myself rushing to DM Ellie to go “omg did you read chapter 17” etc. I did enjoy this, I did gasp where I was supposed to and was keen to find out what happens next and that’s what a solid read should do.
SPOILER ALERT! – The next section is full of Spoilers where I ask Ellie about what she thought of the book. We discuss key plot points and give away lots of detail so if you don’t want to read spoilers.
I ASKED ELLIE SOME QUESTIONS
Fi: What was your favourite moment?
Ellie: Oh my gosh, I have no idea. I talked about this later on, but even though I was surprised about Simon turning into a Vampire and being really surprised about it and not being able to wrap my head around it, I loved it! I love Vampires, and for Simon to turn into one I was just weirdly happy about it (don’t ask me why, I’m weird like that). Other than that, I also really liked when Clary exploded the boat with her rune because I’m really enjoying how powerful she is getting and I like the fact that she seems to be finally believing in herself and thinks that she is special.
Fi: What do you think is going to happen next?
Ellie: At this point, I have absolutely no idea because this series is ALL OVER THE PLACE. But, in theory, I think that Madeleine will be able to wake Jocelyn up and there will be explanations and presentations and revelations maybe. Then, I think something might happen between Jace and Clary or Clary and Simon again. I would really like to see more of a relationship between Magnus and Alec because Magnus is really growing on me now. And I’m sure Valentine is going to pop up again. However, now having read two Cassandra Clare books, I think its fair to say there will be a lot more happening, and definitely a lot more “what the heck” moments to come.
Fi: What Has your thoughts about the series changed?
Ellie: Uhm, I wouldn’t say changed, because I’m still wondering why people rave about these books as much. Like, I understand they are cool and shocking and addictive, but I’m not 100% won over yet, I think mainly because I’m finding the incest plotline really yucky and just fairly unecessary, I don’t know why it is being pushed as much as it is, and I know that it’s a spoiler so obviously people don’t talk about it, BUT, I am surprised that no one that I’ve seen/heard has talked about this, maybe because they aren’t actually siblings? No idea lol, I’m just making up conspiracy theories now. So, I’m basically still unsure about the absolute LOVE and raving over this series, I am enjoying the series more now, the second book was better than the first, but still not OMG WOW AMAZING worthy for me personally. I think I might just be being picky and wanting it to be astonishing right from the start. I do now think that there is a lot more to this series and I’m looking forward to City of Glass.
What ELLIE Thought About the Plot
Jace falling out with Maryse
Ellie: I was actually expecting something like this to happen if I’m honest. Jace is really hot-headed and impulsive and I don’t think I’ve ever really appreciated Maryse, especially when she turned up and immediately started acting weird, pushing Jace away and blaming everything on him – so I could definitely see something like that happening between the two, but I still found the execution of this a bit strange? Or maybe the outcome, I’m not sure aha.
The Inquisitor arresting Jace
Ellie: This was quite surprising, for once, I didn’t think the Inquisitor was a sort of character that I expected to be bad or do something like arrest Jace. I was more surprised by everyone standing by and letting him be taken to the Silent City, I was surprised by Maryse’s attitude, she has known Jace for the past 7 years and suddenly now she only sees Valentine in him. I did think the Inquisitor had an ulterior motive or was blinded by something though.
The death of the silent Brothers
Ellie: No way did I expect this. The whole time Jace was being arrested, taken to the Silent City and locked in a cell, I was really surprised, and then when the Silent Brothers started dropping and Valentine turned up I was really shocked. I was afraid they would say it was Jace’s fault and at this point, I was starting to wonder if Cassandra Clare was going to turn the whole thing around and kill all the characters off. The Silent Brothers seemed immortal and un-killeable to me, so I was not expecting them to just basically drop dead, and when you find out they died of fear, I was even more surprised because as mind manipulator type people, I was expecting them to be able to face fear down or something, lol, I read too many books where things turn out good at the end I think.
The Clary/Jace Kissing At the Fairy court
Ellie: This was another WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING moment. A) I was really annoyed for Simon and I would have stormed off like he did too. B) I know Clary and Jace had to kiss to get out of the Seelie court, but seriously, I think they both enjoyed it a bit too much, and I’m still fairly shocked about the whole brother-sister situation. Even though Cassandra Clare writes some really yucky plot twists, I did think “wow, what is going to happen next”, she does have a bit of a shock factor, but it keeps you reading!
Simon is a Vampire
Ellie: This was one of the most unbelievable things I’ve read in a book, not that I didn’t believe it was true, but more like wondering how on earth it actually happened and where it all suddenly came from. You know how when you read books and something bad happens and you shrug it off and think it will all turn out fine, well, that was not one of these moments, I was expecting someone to say “lol, only joking” and for Simon to be human again, but the fact that he wasn’t and was now suddenly a vampire I found really strange, but also really great, even though I kept thinking “poor Simon”. My thoughts don’t make sense, but this has been whirling around in my head for the past week and I’m still not over it aha!
Jace visits Valentine/arrested again
Ellie: We have to admit that when you tell a character not to do something, they’re going to go and do it. I knew Jace was going to go back to Valentine, but I was surprised that afterwards, he didn’t take his deal. I think that after Jace nearly went through the Portal to Idris with Valentine in City of Bones, I always expected him to inevitably betray Clary, Isabelle and Alec and go back with Valentine, but I was pleasantly surprised that he stood up to him – even though he shouldn’t have gone to visit him in the first place.
Clary and Jace have special powers
Ellie: Cool plot twist! I hadn’t really thought about any of the things that happened and that Clary and Jace accomplished – and this makes me think that there are still things about them that we don’t know or that Valentine is hiding. Obviously, there will be something about HOW Valentine gave them special powers, and I think that just before the Inquisitor got killed on the boat, she said something to Jace which is going to resurface either in City of Glass or a future book, and I’m really intrigued to know what, apparently it’s something to do with a scar on Jace’s shoulder. I wonder when/if Clary’s mother is going to wake up, if she will be aware of what Valentine did to them, and if she did why she didn’t say something before? I think there is still potentially a lot to come out of this.
Simon captured by Valentine
Ellie: I completely forgot that Valentine had to go after a Vampire for the Ritual to change the Soul-Sword, so when he broke into Simon’s house and kidnapped him, I was quite surprised. I was expecting Simon to fight back a bit, you know “super strength” and everything else about Vampires, I think the whole kidnapping thing happened a bit too seamlessly, but I thought Valentine had already got what he needed so I was surprised that he captured Simon. It feels like everything he does is to go against Clary and Jace and to bring them to him, so it would make sense, but I didn’t think about it at all.
The fight against Valentine
Ellie: I’ve read so many battles in fantasy books, and I actually found this one a bit underwhelming. I was expecting more casualties, or more OMG reactions from myself while I was reading, but it was almost like everything was happening in slow-motion, either because I was reading ridiculously slow for once, or because it was all a bit uneventful. I still haven’t really grasped the whole amazing hype behind these books yet, I do get it, they are addictive and the plot twists are really surprising, but I don’t think that the battles have been all that amazing YET (I hope it will get more deadly and end-of-the-world-esque in future books). It is only the second book out of 20 in the same world, so it’s not surprising it’s still fairly docile and it actually might just be a case of me and my high expectations anyway. But, long story short, I was more surprised by how it ended, I sort of knew Valentine was going to get away as I feel like there is more to him and what he has done to Clary and Jace, but I didn’t expect Clary to explode the whole boat to pieces.
Simon and the sun
Ellie: By this point, Simon had died, become a Vampire, got kidnapped by Valentine, been drained of his blood and sort of died again (or died more should I say), and then was revived by Jace’s blood, so by this point I thought “Is this it?” I was starting to panic because Clare had gone through all that and Simon surviving multiple times and for him to just died from the sun would have been like ARGH – I was very frustrated by this point, but!!!!! Then I wasn’t expecting him to be okay, and even in the epilogue I was like “What???”. Valentine said something about Jace and how he shouldn’t have given Simon his blood so I was a bit sceptical and frankly lost at this point. I could have been super angry if Clare had just killed Simon with the sun after he went through all that, so I’m glad he didn’t actually get burned right there in the truck-bed, on the river after the battle and the boat exploding and everyone being okay aha!!
Epilogue – break up/ Jace+Clary/ Jocelyn
Ellie: I did not expect this! I didn’t think that Simon and Clary were still actually together after all the events of the book, and then he was like “baby” and 3 seconds later he is breaking up with her? Gah, this book has given us so many plot twists in such few chapters that I was just screaming inside my head at this point. Have you ever seen that picture of that girl screaming her head off? That’s what it was like inside my head.
Then, Clary was off to see Jace and to tell him she loved him and wanted to be with him (I suspect this is what she was going to see him for) and frankly, I’m getting annoyed at how hard Clare is pushing this incest thing. Valentine did a long monologue where he was explaining how mundanes and Shadowhunters/Downworlders are all different, and that their laws and customs are different, how mundanes will create enemies just for the sake of it and that Shadowhunters don’t see things in the same way, but I still don’t think all that explains why we need to have these two sibling teenagers fall in love and be together, like, that’s just yuck, not amused by this! So, I am sort of glad that Jace completely pushed her away, BUT, I know this won’t be the last of their relationship we see, so I expect there will be more yucky moments to come.
And FINALLY, Jocelyn! Again, I thought that they ALL forgot about Clary and Jace’s mum being in hospital and in a coma, they went to see her and talked about her at the start but then they all went off to fight Valentine, so I thought that she was just forgotten about. I dropped the book at one point and opened it to that page and saw the last sentence (I got very annoyed at myself at that point), so I knew what was coming, but when it happened and Madeleine said that Jocelyn did it to herself and only she could reverse it, I was surprised. I feel like this book is all shock factor and plot twists that can’t be anything else than surprising, but this was one plot twist where I thought “ooooooooh!!”.
If you want to read my answers to the questions and read Ellie’s mini review you can find them all on Ellie’s Blog Read To Ramble
We also would love to know what you thought. If you have read City of bones let us know your answers to the questions! and come discuss the world of the shadow hunters in the comments!