Burn Bright Book Club: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

Hardcover, 1st Edition, 453 pages

Published March 25th 2008

Margaret K. McElderry Books

ISBN 1416914293 (ISBN13: 9781416914297)



I found the audio book of City of Ashes in my local Library; the cover is the same as the paperback with a muscular, redhead in a tough girl stance super imposed over the Brooklyn Bridge.


There are a wide variety of supernatural characters, and though there is political crap to sift through, they work really well together to add depth to the story.


Jace (Jonathan). He’s conflicted thanks to his lineage, but lets his morals guide him. He’s a smart mouth, a tough guy, and he’d fight to the death for his adopted family.

Least Favourite

The Inquisitor. It’s one thing to not believe a teenager in an impossible situation, but it is another thing entirely when you do the things she does. Nasty, nasty.


Clary’s Mum is in a coma and Jace is facing a situation with his biological father that throws the Lightwood family into chaos.


Valentine is up to his old tricks again and it’s Jace, Clary, Isobelle, and Alec’s job to stop him.


There are answers to be had but you’ll have to read the book, because I don’t want to spoil it for you.


I tried to get my hands on the first book, City of Bones, so I could lead into City of Ashes… not only were there no copies on the shelves in any of my local stores, but the holdings list for the library was impressive, and after listening to City of Ashes, I now understand why.

This series is gritty and will tear at your heart. It will be interesting to see if the good guys win in the end. At the moment all bets are off.


Rather than a quote, I dedicate the song What You Want, especially the film clip to the book. The two really mesh, and the lyrics are so relevant it gives me goose bumps.



I love the covers for all of the Cassandra Clare books, the colors are beautiful and there is really a lot of detail.


This series contains an ensemble of characters that come into play. Some readers find it overwhelming, but I for one love getting to know each of them and their relationships with each other.


Luke is by far my favorite character. He is the only father figure that Clary knows. In the first book the reader is a little unclear what his position will turn out to be. But the relationships that form between Jocelyn (Clary’s Mother), Luke and Clary are my favorite.

Least Favourite

This early in the series I think it would be Magnus that is my least favorite. This does change later on, but in City of Ashes he seems really smug and indifferent to the rest of the group. He definitely is a personality type that you have to get used to.


The end of book one really left us off with a crazy whirlwind of events. This book jumps right into where we left off with Clary having her world turned upside down. The beginning here will introduce us again to what transpired in the first book and focus on the whereabouts of Valentine and Jace.


Jace is torn between his fellow Shadowhunters who have taken him in, and the return of his father Valentine into his life. Clary is pulled in several different directions as well with her mother in a magical coma, and learning who her real father is. She is not ready to lose Jace completely but starts to really feel like she belongs among the Shadowhunters.


Cassandra Clare has an amazing way of building up to an intense climax with each book. Several different events take place and lead into what could possibly happen in the next book. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but something that will make you say WOW!


There is a lot of action, great plot and fabulous writing style. There is a constant flow of action and entertainment until the last page.
My absolutely favorite part of this particular story was the relationship between Simon and Jace. And, oh boy, does Simon go through a lot of stuff in this one!

Valentine is a creepy and well written villain as well. He has the potential to be a real Voldemort. I really loved to hate him.


“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.”
“Where’s that?”
“Wherever you were.”

“I keep thinking about blood, I dream about it. Wake up thinking about it. Pretty soon I’ll be writing morbid emo poetry about it.” – Simon



Every single book in this entire series is an eye catcher! Doesn’t matter if you pick up the Hardback or the Paperback copy; they both look A-MAZING! But my favorite part about this series, has to be the way they look together on my shelf. After purchasing all of Cassandra Clare’s books, you do have quite a shelf full!


I love all of the characters. from the love triangle between Clary, Jace and Simon to the evilness of Valentine.


Jace or Simon would have to be my favorite (I guess I’m in a little triangle of my own). I love how sweet Simon can be to Clary, he is just the kind of guy they will always be there for her. While Jace is Clary’s starcrossed lover, and part-time badass, with a motorcycle!

Least Favorite

I don’t really dislike any characters in this book, but Maryse (mother of Isobelle, Alec and Max) did frustrate me a few times throughout the story. I wish she’d have believed, trusted and stood by Jace’s side more often!


Jace is living with the Lightwoods, while he is having problems with his father Valentine. Clary is living with Luke, as her mother is in a coma. Clary is also having feelings for her best friend Simon. Not liking the first book in the series, The City of Bones, I think caused me to start reading this book very skeptically, which ended up making me feel that the beginning of this book was simply okay.

Story Line

Valentine is starting to build a army. With almost no help Jace and Clary and a few others (Luke, Isobelle, Alec and Simon) try to stop him before things go to far, and time runs out. Spending a lot of time together, Clary and Jace start to rekindle their feelings for one another, causing jealousy from Simon. The relationships were very interesting and about 1/5 of the way through the book, I start enjoying and loving the story!


It’s almost hard, describing the ending, without giving away too much, but I’ll try my best anyways! Defeating Valentine and most of his evil plans, Jace proves Maryse wrong, and that he deserves her trust and respect. Things and especially relationships (not just love ones, but also biological ones) may not be what they seem! 🙂

My Overall Thoughts

Disliking the first book, caused me to go into The City of Ashes with a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t really enjoy the beginning but once things started heating up, I couldn’t (and didn’t really want to) put the book down. I can’t wait to see how the series continues, and how things between Clary, Jace and Simon work out!


Audiobook, 11 Discs

Published April 1st 2010 by Bolinda Publishing (first published January 1st 2008)


  • Kay

    I agree with Belinda, I didn’t want to read the second book without reading the first but I was lucky in that my library had them available. I think they are popular because they are the Premiers Reading Challenge list.

    City of Ashes was wonderful follow up from City of Bones. Full of action that kept me wanting more and I couldn’t put it down, so I am hooked.

  • Ruby Replogle

    I absoluetly LOVE Cassandra Clare’s work, so its great to see what other people have to say about the series (and to see if they are as crazy obsessed as me…) haha 🙂 Great reviews! – And i didn’t know there was hardcover copies of this book, look how pretty they are! *Strokes computer screen* 🙂

  • Renee

    I don’t think I’ll partake in this bookclub, despite owning 4 of the 5 Mortal Instruments novels, because I loathed so many things about the first book that I just don’t have the impulse to continue with the series any time soon. And if and when I do read the rest of the novels, I probably should stay away from bookblub scenarios, where my violent opinions and Jace-hate might offend people, hehe!

  • The Mortal Instruments series is actually not one of my favorites, but I devoured all the books up to the 3rd or 4th novel. Cassandra Clare really kept me curious to see how events would play out, but I disliked more than one character to keep reading. I’m all in for the Infernal Devices series though 🙂

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