City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
(Simon Pulse, Paperback, 2009)
Clary's life has gotten awfully complicated. First, she learns that she is the daughter of a famous Shadowhunter and so must learn how to vanquish demons. Then she rescues her mother from the evil Valentine, only to learn that her mother is in a coma. Worst of all, she just found out that the guy whose kisses make her weak in the knees has a very unsettling past. Valentine is not gone for good though and it is up to Clary and her friends to try to stop him as he searches for the second Mortal Instrument, a sword that was made by angels.
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare continues to amaze me. Clare obviously did her research and convincingly blends Christianity with various other world mythologies to create a unique world view. Her grasp of literature is also amazing. As Clary fights to find her place in this world, she discovers several truths and half truths about angels and demons. Biblical passages are quoted right next to John Milton and William Shakespeare. On the back cover, teensreadstoo.com says that this series is "reminiscent of Harry Potter." I believe I can see where there might be some resemblance. I've read the Harry Potter books many times over and am always finding some new hidden gem of mythology or plot clues. While reading The Mortal Instruments series, I had a similar feeling--I felt as if I could reread it a hundred times and still manage to unearth new meanings and literary references. These books are definitely big on action and suspense, but they also contain that wonderful literary element that is lacking in so many books.