City of Ashes cranks up the dramatic intensity from its already super-intense beginnings in book one—Will they or won't they?! Gross, gruesome new demons! A crazy cliffhanger!—but the basic reading level remains basically the same.
You won't need to decipher any new runes—or new vocabulary words—to continue following this adventure. Unlike Clary's often-mentioned favorite artist, Hans Giger, Clare's work is straightforward and free of twisty-turny lines.