Study Guide

City of Ashes Race

By Cassandra Clare


There are lots of similarities between City of Ashes and the Harry Potter series, one of the major ones being their respective capital-V Villains with capital-V names: Valentine and Voldemort.

Like Voldy, Valentine has a severe hatred of mudbloods, except here, instead of being wizards born of mundane descent, they're half-demonic people, like vampires or werewolves. Instead of just admitting that these people don't affect their lives in any way, both villains are bent on a form of magical racial cleansing that must be stopped.

Questions About Race

  1. Why does Valentine hate Downworlders so much? Are there any parallels between Valentine and real-life historical figures?
  2. Many Downworld races don't get along. Is it biological hatred, or learned racism of each other?
  3. Jace often makes comments about Simon ("mundane" or "bloodsucker") and makes disparaging comments about Downworlders early on. Within the context of the book, is Jace racist?

Chew on This

Jace and Valentine have the same basic hatred of Downworlders, the only difference is that Jace wants to work things out peacefully, whereas Valentine just wants to kill them all.

Maia realizes that she is being racist toward vampires after Simon becomes one, but it remains to be seen if her newfound open-mindedness will transfer to all vampires… or just ones she has a crush on.