Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mortal Instruments: Book Two - City of Ashes

Mortal Instruments: Book Two - City of Ashes

Cassandra Clare
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-1416914297

Clary's life has been turned completely upside down in the last few weeks. She has found out that she is a Shadowhunter, and that she has a father who is a terrifyingly powerful and ruthless man, Valentine. Her mother has fallen into a coma and shows no sign of recovering. As if these things are not enough, Clary has learned that the boy she is in love with, Jace, is her long lost brother.

Everyone is worried because Clary and Jace's father now has the powerful Mortal Cup. What will he do next? They all soon find out when the rogue Shadowhunter steals another of the Mortal Instruments. This time he takes the Soul-Sword. Soon after the theft, someone begins murdering Downworlder children. A teenage warlock, a faerie child, and then a young werewolf are attacked, killed, and drained of their blood. Clary, Jace, and their friends realize that Valentine plans to use the blood of these Downworlders to conduct a dreadful ritual harnessing demon power to the stolen sword. Once the ritual is completed, Valentine will be able to use the Soul-Sword to summon demons to him whenever he chooses.

Somehow Valentine has to be stopped but the young people's efforts are thwarted by the Inquisitor, a powerful member of the Clave who is determined to have her revenge on Valentine. She is so eager to achieve this that she is willing to use Jace to get what she wants. Convinced that Jace is in league with Valentine, she imprisons the young man. Then she offers to make a deal with Valentine believing that Valentine will be willing to give her what she wants in exchange for Jace. She is horribly wrong.

This thrilling, utterly captivating story gets better and better. Picking up where City of Bones left off, City of Ashes builds up the suspense and adds new dimensions to the characters and their dilemmas. In addition to her battle with evil forces Clary struggles with the forbidden feelings that she has for Jace, and her friend Simon confesses that he has always loved her. These convoluted but somehow utterly believable relationships lend a realism to the story which young people will immediately be able to identify with. A love that cannot be, a love that is not returned - these are things that are a part of our world. Add the demons, warlocks, vampires, and other creatures to the pot and you get a highly entertaining and very addictive tale.