Thursday, May 22, 2014

City of Ashes Discussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! I'm here with another summer reading challenge post! I'm now in the process of reading The Mortal Instruments series. The first four books of the series are re-reads for me, while the 5th and 6th books will be first-time reads. I'd read City of Ashes once before this read-through, and I was surprised at how much of the plot I'd forgotten.  As usual, I'll give a non-spoilery summary and overall thoughts/rating before jumping into a spoilery discussion and my favorite quotes.

Also, as a side note, you may have noticed that my normal series haven't come out as planned. Not to worry- I plan on getting a CDs On My Shelf post out in the next couple days, followed closely by a City of Glass Discussion.

Book Summary
[Reminder: don't read this section if you haven't read City of Bones. I have to spoil the events of City of Bones to discuss the plot of City of Ashes!]

Valentine has escaped with The Mortal Cup, but his presence is still clear. Downworlder children have been murdered, and the Shadowhunters suspect Valentine is behind it. To make everything infinitely worse, the Clave suspects that Jace is working with Valentine, another Mortal Instrument- the Soul-Sword- is stolen, and discord within the Clave is growing.

Overall Thoughts

Non-spoiler section!

I remember liking City of Bones A LOT more than City of Ashes the first time around, but upon a re-read, they're at least equal. I haven't yet decided if I like City of Ashes more than City of Bones. Also, as I'm writing this, I'm finding it extremely difficult to talk about it without spoiling anything, because I feel like everything worth talking about is a spoiler!

I certainly like Clary a lot more in this book. She actually figures out how to be useful! And the way that happens is extremely cool, in my opinion.

And of course I absolutely love Jace, as usual. I had totally forgotten about a certain moment with him and Simon near the end of the book, and when I re-read it, it reminded me why I love Jace so much. As I said in my last post, I wasn't sure I'd love Jace as much as Will Herondale or Jem Carstairs, but re-reading the books is just reminding me why I loved Jace so much in the first place. He's arrogant and sarcastic, but he's also an unbelievably wonderful character. Where would this series be without him?

Reading this also reminds me why I'm so glad that Cassandra Clare made this series 6 books rather than 3. By the end of Clockwork Prince, I felt like although we didn't have all of the information, we were nearing some sort of conclusion. In City of Ashes, however, it still feels like the tip of the iceberg. That could be because I've read past the original trilogy, but it just doesn't feel like the middle book in a trilogy.

I do think that the quality is better in City of Ashes than in City of Bones. The plotline is a lot more intricate in this one than in City of Bones. We get to see into the minds of more characters and see each character's struggles and confusion. It makes for a really solid book.

My big complaint for this book has to do with some relationship stuff. I can't say what exactly, since that would spoil City of Bones, but just... ew. After learning what we learned in the first book... WHY? In the long-run, I think it's great, but with the knowledge that these characters have at this point... NO.

So, rating. I think I'm going to go ahead and give this 4.5 stars out of 5. I may end up bumping it up to something like 4.6 or something, if I do decide that it's better than City of Bones, but for now, 4.5

Spoilery Discussion!

Starting out with the whole relationship thing. I'm sorry, but if I liked a guy and then found out that he was my brother, I would immediately say "well nevermind then!" and MOVE ON. The fact that Clary and Jace can't seem to keep their hands off each other, even though Valentine has informed them that they're siblings, is so gross and wrong on so many levels. Why, Cassandra Clare? Why?

Also, every time Clary and Simon were together, it just felt so cringe-y. I'm glad that was ended, because I don't think I could handle any more Clary-Simon action. Too awkward. Doesn't work.

Clary definitely becomes more pleasant in this book. She's acting more like a Shadowhunter than as a scared fifteen year old girl. And the power to create runes is seriously awesome. I do have to say though, that it does seem extremely similar to Tessa from the Infernal Devices and how she has a special talent no one else has.

Simon's plot is another of my favorites. I remember, the first time through, I got annoyed with myself because I didn't realize ahead of time that Simon would become a vampire, even though he bit one. But it was fairly subtly and cleverly done, and I really enjoy that. And it also gives Simon more of a purpose in the series. He's not just the mundane hanging around anymore. And I also love the twist with him being able to go into the sunlight. So great.

Which brings me to probably my favorite moment in the book- the moment when Jace lets Simon drink his blood. This is what reminded me why I love Jace so much. He cut his arm open and allowed Simon to drink from it, knowing fully well that Simon could easily kill him (whether purposefully, or accidentally). I don't care whether he did it for Clary, or if he did it purely to save Simon, but it's such a selfless act and shows that Jace isn't just that pretty, arrogant boy with no emotions.

I also love all of the questions left unanswered at the end of the book, particularly with Inquisitor Herondale and Jace. I obviously know the purpose, since I've read past this book, but I think it's really great to leave that hanging for the third (and originally, final) book of the series.

Favorite Quotes

Page 10: "I said mostly extint." [Jace]
Alec jabbed a finger toward him. "Mostly extinct," he said, his voice trembling with rage, "is NOT EXTINCT ENOUGH."
"I see," said Jace. "I'll just have them change the entry in the demonology textbook from 'almost extinct' to 'not extinct enough for Alec. He prefers his monsters really, really extinct.' Will that make you happy?" 

Page 123: "Yeah," Jace said, "he's terrified I'll tell everyone that he's always really wanted to be a ballerina."

Page 126: "Is he dead?" he [Magnus] inquired. "He looks dead."
"No," snapped Maryse. "He's not dead."
"Have you checked? I could kick him if you want." Magnus moved toward Jace

Page 137: "I was going to watch Project Runway," said Jace. "It's on next."
Project Runway is my favorite show, so that always makes me giggle.

Page 447: A pair of werewolves occupied another booth. They were eating raw shanks of lamb and arguing about who would win in a fight: Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books or Magnus Bane.
I always love a good Harry Potter reference!

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! I hope to get a couple more posts out before the end of the weekend: a CDs On My Shelf post, and my City of Glass discussion. Hopefully I finish it by then, because I really need to get going if I'm going to get done with The Mortal Instruments by the time that City of Heavenly Fire comes out. It's gonna be a doozy.

Thanks for reading this! If you like my posts, don't forget to subscribe/follow, since it lets me know that you're enjoying what I'm doing. See y'all tomorrow!

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