Thursday, 28 July 2011

Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Book:  City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007, 485 pages, young adult fantasy.

Source:  purchased.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.

My Thoughts:
I have heard people raving about Cassandra Clare for quite some time, but for some reason, it took me a while to get to City of Bones.  Better late than never, right?  I loved reading this book, even more than I thought I would because I am not usually a big fan of books that involve love triangles.  I was able to read it on the beach this summer, which was perfect because it made a great, entertaining read.

To start with, I enjoyed Cassandra Clare's writing, her style is vivid, imaginative, descriptive and exciting.  I could really feel the world that she created and how she layered them so there could be two worlds at once, the one that most people can see and an exotic world filled with Shadowhunters, demons, werewolves and vampires. 

I also liked how Cassandra Clare explored the notions of good and evil, and how she used Clary, a naive fifteen year old girl to do this.  Clary is young and tends to see things in terms of good and bad, black and white, right and wrong, but the world is not always like this.  Clary gets challanged on these beliefs, learning that there are shades of grey and this is almost too much for Clary to wrap her head around, something I think that most teenagers experience.

For the most part, I enjoyed the characters in City of Bones.  Clary, as I said before, is young and fifteen - she rushes in, doesn't always think and is fiercly loyal, which I think is fairly realistic for a girl her age.  She also needs to be rescued a lot, and I am hoping that changes as her character grows in the next books of the series.

The other characters are good also, even if some of them are a bit stereotypical.  Most, however, are well developed and show some sort of growth.  Jace, the sarcastic, macho, obnoxious Shadowhunter, can be a bit much sometimes.  I am not sure why everyone loves good looking jerks so much.

There are also some great plot twists which will keep the reader turning the pages.  Many of these are foreshadowed in the book, which makes them even better.  Overall, there is a nice balance between action and "down time" as well as some humour thrown in.

I can really see young adult readers enjoying this book, as well as adults who enjoy this type of urban fantasy genre.


  1. I read this series in June and Loved it! I am glad to read that you enjoyed City of Bones. The other books get better, with City of Glass being my favourite. Jace definitely is a bit of Jerk in this one but you get to see a sweeter, softer side of him in the next books!
    Great Review.

  2. Thanks, I can see that Jace has a sweet side and that he has reasons for his behaviour.

  3. While I really enjoy these books, I have a hard time convincing my students to pick them up though I think that's because the books are thick and, well, they're 8th graders. Great review!
    Mary @ Book Swarm


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