The second book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series brings quite a bit to the series that I though it severely lacking in with the first book. Her use of descriptive language has increased (as did her vocabulary apparently) and her characters have taken on much more of a “real” feeling, that is, they’ve become more three dimensional. She creates a background story in this book, and her concern with expanding on the important elements of the book that make it unique has risen considerably.
In the first mortal instruments book Clary Fray discovers that everything she knows about the world she lives in is false, well ok that’s not exactly true, she just can’t remember anything about the world she sees. A warlock named Magnus Bane was commissioned by Clary’s mother Jocelyn Fray to force clary to forget everything she sees involving the magical world. Well when Clary’s mother goes missing and Clary is absent for a “refreshing” of the forgetful spell, she begins to regain her sight, and with this comes the knowledge of her heritage as a Niphilim, or a shadowhunter, a race of humans said to have originated from the angels themselves. Clary’s life would never be the same when she finds out that her father (Valentine) is a bigoted mastermind bent on destroying the government of the Niphilim and anybody who gets in his way.
City of Ashes begins precisely where City of Bones left off, in the second book of the series Clary and her new friends Isabelle, Jace, Alec, and Magnus Bane continue their fight against Valentine, and in this book things get a lot more climactic than in City of Bones.
One of the things I was disappointed in when it came to the first book was Clare’s almost complete lack of a back story or any expanding on one of the most original things about the book: The Marks. In this sequel to City of Bones it seems Clare is more concerned with the background role that the marks played. One of the things I love about magic related books, is hearing about HOW the magic works, I love reading about the development of the practices and the applications it can be used for. In short, I love having background information about an idea in a book, it just makes a story seem so much more real and alive, and while it is still a little lacking in my opinion Cassandra Clare seems to do a much better job of elaborating on an element of her book that I simply adore.
Because of the interesting nature of the magic element of Clare’s book, her plot takes a lot of twists and turns and actually turns out to be extremely entertaining (again I managed to read this book in one day, it was that good). Plot twists are one of the things that I look for in a good book, and City of Ashes while a little on the mild side, has some excellent turnouts that make the book that much more enjoyable to read.
For those of you who haven’t read City of Bones I highly recommend this series, and for those of you who have read City of Bones, you will find that Clare’s second book is nothing if not an improvement on her first, you’ll definitely enjoy it.