Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: City of Bones

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Cassandra Clare

Release Date: March 27, 2007

Book Description:
When fifteen-year-old 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. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Okay… finally done! It was a bit of a struggle, but I’ve done it. I practically had to force myself through the first half, and then read the second half in one sitting. Go figure. All in all though, I feel disappointed, underwhelmed and annoyed. I had such high hopes and expectations, since everyone talked about The Mortal Instruments so highly, that I expected to enjoy it immensely and what I’ve found did not impress. Don’t take it to heart dear friends, if you don’t agree with my opinion – I still love and value you and your recommendations, but this book was not for me. And, let me tell you why… [For those, unfamiliar with the novel, beware: mild spoilers ahead!]

Clary is the 15-year old, girl next door, daughter of a single mother, and is about to have her life turned upside-down, when her mom goes missing under mysterious circumstances. What’s a girl to do, but suddenly discover a Shadow World full of magical beings, secret societies, and angels. Oh, and by the way – she is “like” the best thing that happened to this magical Shadow World. She is the new it girl and all the boys want to be “friends” with her, and girls most obviously cannot handle it – they are jealous. [I’m huffing and puffing just writing this!]

Enter, Jace. The most popular shadowhunter on the block, who has an eye for Clary. Jace is seventeen; he is a total heartthrob, obnoxious, know-it-all, and a professional demon hunter. Things like eBay or Dungeons & Dragons are not in his vocabulary, and his childhood was not all bright and sunny. No matter, he is good at killing demons, and making snarky remarks about his ability to score with girls. So obviously, the two, set out to “save the day”, by helping free Clary’s mom, catch the bad guy, aptly named Valentine, and find mysterious object that helps turn humans into shadowhunters.

I don’t know where Ms. Clare has observed teenagers acting as such, but for my personal sake I’d say teenagers are not like that, especially not at fifteen. I’ll try not to judge too harshly, but I just can’t imagine leather-clad, 15-year olds running around clubs, talking about their “adult-like” experiences as if it wasn’t a big deal. I’ll even forgive the almost adult-free world they seem to live in, as many YA novels take similar approach; still, neither Clary nor Jace had any redeeming or likable qualities. I simply didn’t care for them and that’s what made this a hard read for me.

Other than that, Clary had a total Mary Sue syndrome going on, she kept going from totally shocked, to totally cool-with-it in a matter of sentences. Besides, she was no help whatsoever in most scenes, and simply froze, contemplating random things, while waiting to be miraculously rescued by Jace or Simon. Luke Garroway and Magnus Bane perhaps left more of a positive impression, unlike the Lightwood siblings. As for the main villain, Valentine, he was not villainous enough. And the whole Star Wars-like revelation scene made me almost throw this book away [which, luckily I didn’t, since it was borrowed from the library].

In Conclusion:
I’ve read quite a few reviews since I’ve finished City of Bones myself, and it seems this novel fits into love it or hate it category. From extremely adoring reviews, to highly disappointing ones, this book is clearly not for everyone. If you read the many reviews posted throughout the web, quite a few of them note the plagiarism rumors surrounding Ms. Clare’s writing, which seem to be unsubstantiated judging on the publication of these books. As many other readers I can certainly make connections and find similarities to few other novels and series here, whether it should be considered plagiarism or not is not up to me, and I have not considered it in my review or reading of the novel. As for you, my friends, try it if you will, you can’t judge something until you do, and perhaps this will be more your cup of tea than mine.

Happy reading!


  1. Oddly enough - This book started out as a Harry Potter fan fic - and there were accusations of plagiarism when it was first picked up by a publisher - you can see the traces a lot in this first book. The whole series is completely it's own world after this one.

    PS You're this first person I know of that hated this book! I adore all the books, but everyone has their own tastes, I guess.

    1. Perhaps, other books are better and are their own - I can't say since I haven't read them.

      And it's true, everyone tastes differ. I don't know why I had such a negative reaction towards this particular novel, perhaps it was truly the characters that I didn't love.

      I think this could've been a great book, but for some reason it just didn't click for me. Oh well! :) I wouldn't go as far as saying I hated it, there were parts I found fun, and laugh-out-loud funny, but I would not read this again, or continue with the series in general most likely.


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