City of Ashes picks up right where City of Bones left off. Clary is reeling from recent revelations and we get a sense that her life is about to get even more complicated. This story fits so seemlessly into City of Bones that it’s difficult to remember where one left off and the other begins. In fact, I had intended to start reading Tender Morsels after the first book in The Mortal Instrument Series, but I felt like I had to dive in to the next one immediately to gain some resolution. Unfortunately, (in the best way) instead of quenching my thirst, it made my craving stronger!
In this book, Clary discovers her hidden talent that makes her unique from other shadowhunters. At first she seems reluctant to acknowledge that this skill sets her further apart from mundane humans, because if she does, it will throw her deeper down the rabbit hole. Can she still hold on to who she is amongst all this turmoil? Of course she can, she’s Clary Fray and if anything, she is determined, willful and a take charge kinda girl. Sort of an anti-damsel in distress. In the process of all this growing up, she is also trying to navigate that tricky minefield that is adolescent affection. Her relationship with Simon is blossoming in to something new and foreign, while her feelings for Jace remain raw and convoluted, hopefully to be explored in more depth in the following novels.
One of the most enthralling moments was when our gang of supernatural misfits had to venture in to the Faerie den, hidden in Central Park, to meet with the Queen. I loved getting a glimpse into their secrets, learning a little more about these fabled downworlders. Clare’s fairies are beautiful, yet dark, so you get a true sense of their rumored heritage: that they are the children of demons and angels.
I had to fight off my deepest instincts at the end of this book (as it again ends on a cliffhanger) not to jump immediately in to the next installment. The world Clare crafts is vibrant and addictive, even though there are dark things that lurk between the pages, I can’t stop myself from wanting to find out what happens next.