Here goes nothing! This will be my first book review and it is an excellent book to start with. City of Ashes is the second installment in the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. It is your typical Coming of Age Paranormal Adventure where a normal all American teenager, in this case, girl finds out the world is not what it seems and her family has been hiding a deep dark secret. What makes this story different is Clares ability to surprise me with with plot turns and curves that seem like you are going over the edge of a cliff! Personally, I normally see surprises in the story from a mile away but Clare gives subtle clues within her writing that when it hits, I want to smack myself for not seeing it coming. Very few authors can do that to me these days.
The story as a whole is well thought out and intriguing to an "Alternate Reality" lover like my self. Even though the story takes place in modern surroundings, the sub worlds she creates for the paranormal characters draws you in and doesn't want to let go. One thing I wish she would develop more is the Shadowhunter's world. Take the story out of the world the readers are comfortable in and let us explore more of the world we hear many of the main characters pine for. I am hoping this is what happens in the third book of the series.
The characters are simplistic, which I feel they should be since this is a Young Adult novel, which can rub a reader the wrong way. For those adults who are reading the series, I just want to remind you of how you acted when you were sixteen. I still want to hit myself now for some of the stupid things I did or believed during High School and well, lets be honest, college. Clare was aiming for a age group that tends to be superficial and have lowered self-esteem thanks to media and society in general. The characters have been developed to exactly as teenage characters should be, in my opinion.
The only issue I have with City of Ashes or with Clares story telling in general, is the lack of impacting death. This is a number of small civilizations at war and no one of importance seems to be affected. The were deaths in this book of course. You couldn't have everyone live during the big battle scene at the end, but the most dangerous wound seemed to be getting sprayed by toxic goo. At no moment did I think that we were going to lose a supporting character. Majority of those who did die were so minor that I almost missed them being mentioned on previous pages. The stories being produced today have darkness surrounding them. I honestly don't think many people expect or even want the happy ever after ending for every person who has been mentioned on more then twenty pages.
Overall, I am really enjoying this series. It will be difficult to hold off for a bit before I read the next installment, City of Glass, to find out how the "love triangle / what are they thinking?!" works out and where the story leads Jace, Clary and the gang to next. I have my own theories of course, but I will keep them to myself at this moment!