Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
Genre: YA, paranormal
Published on March 27, 2007
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 485
Read From: 7.6.14 - 7.11.14

When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? 
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? It's not enough that the cover is shiny - there is still a shirtless man on the front. I'm not down with that; sorry. It's embarrassing to walk around in public with this book.

Characters: I was a little surprised at how okay I was with all of the characters. I wasn't super attached to anyone, but I didn't hate any of them and I was all right with accepting them as my "team" for the book. Having seen the movie before reading the book, I couldn't help but make comparisons. I did like Clary better in the movie, but she was all right in this as well. She was a normal girl who had been thrust into dangerous circumstances, and everyone she had known her whole life weren't who she thought they were. Her emotional trauma and flying off the handle made absolute sense. I didn't think Jace was a jerk. He was confident - or at least pretended confidence when he didn't feel it - and he was also very sarcastic. Both are traits that I can relate to. Alec was okay; I definitely liked him better in the book than the movie. His reasons for disliking Clary were annoying, but I liked his quieter personality - and I could understand his not wanting to let an outsider into the group. Especially one that yes, could get them killed. I was also pretty okay with Isabelle. Her personality was straight forward; she didn't hide who she was or what she thought. Simon was better in the movie - less whining - but I also understood his complaints in both cases. If I was especially attached to anyone, though, it was Luke. He was pretty awesome. Valentine was an all right villain; he didn't especially intimidate me, nor was he just a silly villain. He was somewhere in between, and he did have style and the ability to control the situation. He's a villain that I think can grow as the series continues. So we'll see.

The Romance: It's probably easy to guess that affection blooms between Jace and Clary. To make things a bit more complicated, Simon has had a lifelong crush on Clary, and Alec happens to like Jace (yes, Alec is gay). The romance is a hard thing to really decide what I thought of it. I dislike love triangles, and I couldn't believe it took Clary so bloody long to realize that Simon liked her. Alec's main initial dislike for Clary is because he has a crush on Jace, and Clary is kind of shoving in, which is why I thought it was annoying. But surprisingly, the romance is balanced pretty well with the action. It isn't focused on too heavily, and it also isn't in the background. It gets even more awkward, of course, when Clary finds something out about Jace [Spoiler] he's her brother [End spoiler]. So I do have to give the Author some props for having some original twists in the romance.

Plot: Clary has been a regular fifteen-year-old girl, hanging out with friends and going to clubs, until the day she witnesses a murder by people that no one else can see. Suddenly, Clary is thrust into the world of Shadowhunters - or Nephilim, as they are known in legend - and their legacy of hunting demons. It's an accident that Clary stumbles into their world, but it opens up a whole lot of secrets about her mom's past that she didn't know about. When Clary's mom disappears and Clary is attacked by a demon, it becomes obvious that Clary must know something. But Clary's mom wiped her memory, and they have to find someone who can lift the spell so they can find what the enemy is after before they do - the legendary Mortal Cup. The cup that originally created the Shadowhunters. I would never call The Mortal Instruments literature, or even good fiction. But the storyline and the world are all very entertaining - mindless entertainment, but entertaining nonetheless. And while I maintain that reading is about more than entertainment, there's nothing wrong with having some books that are just that and not much else. The Author has created a strangely addicting world that, as the Reader, you do want to learn more about, despite yourself. There's plenty of action in City of Bones to keep things exciting, and when our heroes aren't fighting demons and vampires and other Downworlders, we're learning about the background of the Shadowhunters and exploring the mundane world through Shadowhunter eyes. Like I said, this isn't a book that requires you to think at all; you just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. I'm really glad it was in third person; I didn't mind Clary, but if I had to be locked up in her head the entire time, I think I would have grown to hate her. The style itself is nothing special, but it worked for the book.

Content: 1 g--damn. Alec is gay, Magnus Bane - the High Warlock of Brooklyn - is gay, there's lots of blood and freaky demons.

Conclusion: I do wish I hadn't seen the movie first, because all of the twists at the end of the book were ruined for me. I knew what was coming - in general - so the surprise was totally lost on me. Oh well. City of Bones is an entertaining read, and not as bad as I was expecting. Of course, this is only the first book, and many have told me that it's after Book #3 it gets frustrating. However, I've also heard that the last book makes it all worth it. So we'll see. It's the summer and I'm willing to stick with this series to get some entertainment out of it.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of well-developed supernatural and paranormal worlds will like this. So long as you don't mind some complicated romance. ;-)

Others in The Mortal Instruments Series:
1)City of Bones
2)City of Ashes
3)City of Glass
4)City of Fallen Angels
5)City of Lost Souls
6)City of Heavenly Fire


  1. This doesn't sound as terrible as I expected. Maybe I'll give it a go someday when I have nothing better to read :P

    1. I'd wait until I've read Book #3. That's where everyone says it gets rough.

  2. I read the first three books (which I thought would be all at the time). It was a while ago, but I remember thinking the first book was okay...and then meh. I'll be interested to see what you think of the next two. :)

    1. I'm preparing myself for the downhill of the next few books, as everyone has warned me about it.


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