A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is a lot of gory violence here -- more so than in the first book. This installment includes throat and wrist cutting, dismemberment, stabbing, severed limbs, and more, all with lots of blood. There are also mild sexual references, including to incest and homosexuality, and some kissing. Teens who didn't read the first book will be confused by this one.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In this sequel to City of Bones, Clary continues to be torn between Simon and Jace; an Inquisitor, who has an agenda of her own, comes from the Clave to investigate Jace's relationship to Valentine; and Valentine gathers an army of demons to destroy the Clave. And if none of that makes any sense to you, that shows that you need to read the first book before tackling this one.
Is it any good?
Fans will be glad that author Cassandra Clare wastes no time in recapitulation of the first book -- she slams straight into the action here. In the first book, City of Bones, a complex world of demons, werewolves, vampires, faeries, and Shadowhunters, hidden within our own and filled with politics, factions, and history, was set up and partially explained. CITY OF ASHES won't make much sense without having read the first book.
And there's a lot more of that action than in the first book. It's also a lot bloodier, sometimes unnecessarily, and sometimes disturbingly so, such as when a major character's throat and wrists are slit. But fans of the series will find many of the elements that first drew them in: an engrossing, if melodramatic, writing style that makes the pages fly by; a complex and fully realized parallel world; intriguing mysteries that are more fully fleshed out here, but not yet solved; and appealing teen characters who are gradually discovering new and unusual abilities. Teens who don't mind the gore will find this is gripping sequel.
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