City of Ashes is the second book in the Mortal Series written by Cassandra Clare. The book continues the story of Clarissa, the young girl that discovered in the first book that she was actually a Shadowhunter, a race created by mixing angel and human blood that had the task of protecting the human race against demons and other malevolent spirits.
The book was well received by critics despite the incestuous tones in it. In 2009, the novel was on on the top ten teen books in the YALSA top.
The title comes from a chapter in the book, when the Silent City and the Silent Brothers are destroyed. The title could be considered as making reference to the symbolic destruction of certain characters in the book.
Themes like love, the quest for one’s identity, the battle between good and evil remain central like in the first book. The characters are more developed compared to the first book and they are often placed in the situation of deciding to do what is morally right but painful or to give in the temptation. This battle is most obvious in the relationship between Clary and Jace.
Another character who undergoes drastic transformations is Simon who enters a relationship with Clary at the beginning of the book but realizes that she will always love Jace.
Alec also starts to accept his sexuality and that he is attracted to other men. He even gets to the point where he is ready to confess to his parents about it but is stopped before he could do it.
The book is filled with witty and sarcastic lines, making it an easy and enjoyable lecture for people of all ages.