City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare The sacred Soul Sword, Maellartch, is now in the hands of Valentine. With one act of horrific sacrificial ceremony, Valentine will have a complete control over the whole demons in the world. Realising that this will push Valentine one step closer to his goal in “purifying” the world from the Downworlders, Jace and his friends are set on a quest to stop further disastrous events from happening. However, Clave – the ruling organisation of Shadowhunters – has their own doubt. The Inquisitor is being sent, Jace is being investigated, making things a lot harder than it already is. As the clock continues ticking, new plan needs to be devised in order to stop the agenda planned by Valentine, with or without the support from the Clave. Could they make this happen?An excellent and exhilarating read; Clare has indeed successful on her own quest to captivate readers’ interest and evading the much dreaded sophomore slump with City of Ashes. The author skilfully starts the book by reintroducing readers to some major characters in the previous instalment while at the same time, spilling some beans and hints that spark readers’ curiosity on the things that are more to come. Her ingenious, fluid writing gives Clare some powers to manoeuvre readers’ moods: making them feels the chemistry and the tension between Clary and Jace, letting them experience the grim feeling of the prison at the Silent City and force them to live through the heart pounding action when team fights off Valentine’s armies. Those 453 pages will flow too fast before you even realising it!Fantastic characters have always been the drive force for this book, as well as its predecessor. The development of certain characters, especially those who sit at the sideline in City of Bones is fantastic. Among the whole characters, the drastic change that happen to Simon is the one that will surprise readers most but this is indeed a great way to bring forth his character and at the same time making him looks more important in this book rather than the previous one. However, the predictability of the villain, Valentine, is rather puzzling since bad people are not supposed to be too predictable, but that seems to be one of Valentine’s traits. Hope that the trend won’t continue into the next book in the series. Very entertaining!Final Verdict: As an excellent author, Cassandra Clare managed to retain the success of City of Bones into this book and more. Intense. Poweful. Intriguing. Full with complicated love triangle of some sort, endless humour and non-stop action. Definitely the kind of book that will keep any readers from sleeping at night until they reach its very last page. Highly, highly, highly recommended.Taken from my book blog The Bibliophile's Journal