The follow up to City of Bones: Mortal Instruments book 1, City of Ashes improves in almost every single way possible. It still follows a very similar theme to what we saw in the first book, but pretty much everything that frustrated me in that first book is gone.
What I liked
The characters, although still a little hollow if they’re on the sidelines, are vastly improved. The major players all feel like they have some real personality now, and they’re no longer quite so sexually frustrated. The romance thing has been toned down, and there are far less cringe moments.
The book follows on from the first and does a good job expanding on what we’ve already seen. It’s pacing is good and the writing is very well done without too much hand holding once again.
City of Ashes borrows far less from other stories, and delivers its own thing this time which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story felt off at some points, but for the most part I really enjoyed what was happening, and the interaction between characters.
What I disliked
My biggest complaint is that the nothing really feels very urgent. We’ve got the big bad who is about to raise an army of demons, he’s then going to destroy the Shadowhunters, but no one apart from our main group really cares.
There are a few excuses for this, but in my opinion none of that holds any water which is frustrating.
Also, without too many spoilers, but what’s with this hidden romance? I reckon the big grand reveal I’m not meant to see coming is that Jace and Clary aren’t really related? Maybe, who knows?
My final thing that was a bit frustrating is that the side characters are really just there to be mentioned. Our core characters definitely got more time to shine, but anyone outside of the main group is really poorly fleshed out, especially Valentine!
This time around we got a new narrator, who does a very good job of picking up where the last left off, only this time the characters sound so much more individual.
In the last review I talked about everyone sounding sassy and petulant, but that doesn’t crop up this time. The narration shines throughout, and I really enjoyed listening to it and would highly recommend consuming this story in that format.
Although there didn’t seem to be as much happening in this book, I enjoyed it a lot more than the first. The characters were much better, and the story felt like it was its own thing without borrowing too much from other places.
If you liked the first book, then you’ll want to try the second one out as well. If you’ve not read either, then it’s worth while starting the series. I’m enjoying it a lot more now that I’ve finished the second!
Grab it on Audible