"To draw something is to try to capture it forever," Jocelyn had said, sitting on the floor with a paintbrush dripping cadmium blue onto her jeans. "If you really love something, you never try to keep it the way it is forever. You have to let it be free to change."
[Click here to read my review of book 1: City of Bones]
I ordered City of Ashes almost immediately after finishing its predecessor. I really enjoyed the first book and was eager to find out what would happen in the sophomore addition to the series.
Since Clary and Jace found out that they are actually siblings, things have been tense between the two of them. Both are doing their best to deny their feelings for each other and that means they're doing their best to shy away from even the smallest contact.
Simon, on the other hand, is becoming both more bold and more withdrawn. Venturing into Clary's world means finding himself in a place where he is virtually powerless and, more often than not, a liability. But Clary's his best friend, and if he wants a part in her new life he has to find a way to fit himself inside of that, even if that means throwing himself headfirst into danger.
As things heat up between these three, as well as the rest of the Shadowhunter world, Valentine returns to New York City in order to pick up where he left off with his two children. He's not done with them and he'll do anything to draw them to his side of the battle, even that means showing them why he's not the kind of person they want as their enemy.
I really wanted to like City of Ashes. I tried to defend it against the people who had already read it and told me to stop while I was ahead. I tried to defend it against myself, saying this was just a little step back--the next chapter will be better. I just couldn't do it.
As much as the action and Cassandra Clare's lovely writing style had me hooked, I just could not bring myself to really enjoy this book. A lot of that can be attributed to Jace and Clary's I-can't-love-you-because-you're-my-sibling angst. I just cannot sympathize and the longer it goes on, the more uncomfortable it makes me feel.
Beyond that, it seems like this book really just brings the romance aspect of the Jace-Clary-Simon love triangle into focus and pushes the Shadowhunter war to the back burner, which I do not like at all. I'm all for a little romance, don't get me wrong, but making their awkward angst a priority instead of the battle is just frustrating. I want to hear more about what Valentine is planning, not listen to Jace moan about Clary avoiding him.
Even in that, I am interested in finding out what the third book has in store. There are some hints in this book that make me think there may be some resolution to a few of the problems I had, but I'm still on the fence about whether or not that means I'll read it. After all, I've been trying to teach myself not to read books I don't like just because I feel like I have to. There are too many good books I need to read.
"Look," Luke went on. "In all the years I've known him, there's always been exactly one place Simon wanted to be, and he's always fought like hell to make sure he got there and stayed there."
"Wherever you were," said Luke.