Wednesday, March 14, 2012

City of Magic and Conspiracy

Clary has never been more confused. The man who threatens all the Shadowhunters is actually her father, Valentine, the boy she couldn't stop thinking about is actually her brother, and there is a whole world her mother kept from her that is full of warlocks, vampires, demons, and werewolves, among other creepy beasties. Having been brought up as a mundane, Clary must find her way in the Shadowhunter world or quickly be devoured by it in City of Ashes: Mortal Instruments, Book Two by Cassandra Clare.

Clary doesn't know what to do about Jace now that they recently found out they share a father, and an evil father no less. She has trouble reconciling her feelings for Jace, but she knows her friend Simon, a simple mundane, is the less creepy option. Meanwhile, Jace has been thrown out of the only home he ever knew with the adoptive Lightwood family. Lost and alone, Jace is being punished for the sins of the father he never knew or had allegiance to. But now a war is brewing between Downworlders. A werewolf child and a warlock child were found dead, bled to death, and there is no one more logical to blame than the vampires. 

The vampires swear they had nothing to do with the deaths, but everyone suspects them. When Jace is investigated by the Clave and held prisoner in the Silent City, his father breaks in. He comes to see Jace and ask for Jace's help, but his own son was not his purpose for visiting the city and killing all the Silent Brothers. He was after the Mortal Sword. With or without Jace's help, Valentine plans to reverse the allegiance of the sword from good to bad so he can control the demons and finally fulfill his purpose- the extermination of the Downworlders who threaten the lives of humans and Shadowhunters alike. Even if the Clave doesn't believe in Jace's innocence, Clary and his adoptive siblings refuse to let him suffer for the evils Valentine has acted on. But will they make it in time to stop the conversion of the Mortal Sword?

These books sometimes seem overwhelming because they are quite large, but whenever I read one of Clare's books, I am immediately dragged right into it. I regret to admit I started this series almost 2 years ago and haven't kept up with it since. However, I have been keeping up with the Infernal Devices series, which renewed my interest in this series. Clare does a good job of giving you enough background that you can pick up a book even if you haven't read the one before it in a long while, and for that I was grateful (lately my ever-growing pile of books prevents me from much rereading). And after a few brief pages of catch-up, I was thrown right back into this story with a vengeance. The story was interesting and exciting, and as with all her books, she ends it with a satisfactory conclusion (no real huge cliffhangers) but still keeps you wanting more and leaves the end open for the next installment.

The stories are perfect for anyone who likes supernatural or paranormal stories. They are full of mysterious creatures, many of whom balance between their true evil nature and the life the Clave forces them into. There is a god deal of death and violence, but it is mostly of the supernatural type and isn't particularly gory. I love the excitement and in particular, the characters. Jace is that typical bad boy who really has a heart of gold despite his crusty, snarky exterior and you can't help but love him. My one icky-factor is the weirdness between him and Clary, who now appears to be his sister. So we have a Luke and Leia moment, but why is it continuing? And why aren't they grossed out now that they are brother and sister? I can only imagine this will resolve itself eventually and Clare won't have a Flowers in the Attic moment, but who knows where this plans to go... just please make them not be brother and sister because I am all in on team Jace!

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