Study Guide

City of Ashes Family

By Cassandra Clare


The three of them working together in perfect unison, the way they always had. Like family. (1.1.12)

The family that slays together stays together, right? Well, in this case, wrong. This happy family image we're presented with at the beginning of chapter 1 is going to go to pieces like Humpty Dumpty by the end of Chapter 1.

"Tell me you hate [your father], Jace. Tell me you hate that man and everything he stands for." (1.1.107)

Maryse tries to turn Jace, her adopted son, against his real father. Sure, Jace's dad is pure evil, but isn't this against a rule in the adoption handbook?

These days [Maia] hardly thought of her family at all. (1.2.10)

Ever since becoming a werewolf, Maia considers the Pack her family more than her own family. Considering how abusive her brother was, and how her parents let it happen, can you blame her?

"He's my brother," [Clary] said. "I have to go." (1.2.111)

Clary acts like she has to help Jace because he's the brother she never knew she had, but the truth of the matter is she's more interested in him as a boyfriend than a brother. However, she emphasizes the fact that Jace is her brother to Simon, so that it won't hurt his feelings. (It doesn't work.)

"Affection doesn't work like that." Luke shook his head. "You can't turn it off, like a tap. Especially if you're a parent." (1.2.138)

As we learn later, Luke is wrong, at least as it applies to Valentine. He turns his affection for Jace off, and is capable of sacrificing or killing his own son if it means he gains power from it.

"There's more to parentage than blood." (1.2.140)

This is a repeated idea throughout the book, emphasized by the fact that Valentine, Jace and Clary's birth father, is such a despicable evil man.

"Family is more than blood. Valentine isn't my father. Luke is." (1.3.87)

See? The idea from the last quote has already been repeated a chapter later. Clary is much closer to Luke than she ever will be to Valentine. Being almost murdered by your father puts a crack in that relationship.

"You know how the bonds of family are, my lady," said Jace, recovering his voice. "They cling tightly as vines. And sometimes, like vines, they cling tightly enough to kill." (2.8.338)

We doubt Jace and Valentine would be arch nemeses if they weren't related. It's those family bonds that make their animosity stronger. Love and hate are two sides of the same coin.

"The love a parent has for a child, there is nothing else like it." (3.14.98)

This is the Inquisitor talking. Losing her son pretty much drives her crazy. But Valentine doesn't share the same love. Is this because he's evil, or because Jace isn't really his son?

"And the first thing you're going to do is free my son from that accursed Malachi Configuration." (3.17.230)

Maryse's word choice here is important. Note she says "my son," making us realize that she does consider Jace a part of the family after all.