I've just finished reading City Of Ashes and it was really good! I've read this book before again and I didn't think it was very good last time but now I think differently. It had everything from fighting demons, to laugh out loud parts, to heartfelt moments.
The story starts from where City Of Bones finished so there will be minor spoilers below.
The characters continue developing in this second book. For example, Clary's best friend, Simon really takes on a new role as a vampire, as well as the other characters maturing too. This was good to see as it gave the story different levels that we haven't seen before. I especially enjoyed reading about Simon's transformations. There's a new character called Maia, who is a werewolf. There's some antagonism between Simon and her as in this series vampires and werewolves don't get on.
We meet Alec and Isabelle's parents here. Maryse, their mother is a strong character, who is angry at Jace for the majority of the book as he is Valentine's son, something which he can't control. Their father doesn't really feature, yet. Because Maryse is angry at Jace, she calls for the Inquisitor - a strict female member of the Clave. She's figured something out that the rest of the characters haven't by the end of the novel but just before she tells Jace, she dies in battle. Maryse and the Inquistor both are stern characters meant to rile the younger ones I think. Neither of them are particularly nice to any of the children. They're not evil, just harsh. They think they know what's best.
As for Clary, she continues learning about the Shadowhunter/downhunter world, through the characters who are already shadowhunters. We see her go to new settings, meet new people and battle her father along with Jace. I liked how at the end we were told the premise of the next book, how to save Clary's mother.
Lastly, Jace is more the tortured character of this book, I feel. Maryse, his mother figure turfs him out, meaning he has to go and stay with either Magnus, a warlock from the first book with a bit of an attitude problem or Luke, a werewolf who's known Clary all her life. The inquisitor wants to make him suffer by putting him in the prison of the City Of Bones at first but after Valentine, his evil father kills the Silent Brothers, the men who watch over the City Of Bones, she doesn't have a choice but to try to keep him at the Institute. Th is however does y work.
I really liked the pace of City Of Ashes. It wasn't too slow or too long
winded. The romances were stronger, which I enjoyed as well as the interaction between everyone. I felt like more could happen in this second book because of this. I have no complaints about City Of Ashes so I'm going to give it 5 stars.
I'm really looking forward to starting City Of Glass soon...