Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 485
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Series? Yes, #1 in The Mortal Instruments
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (2008)
Rating: 5/6 – I loved it!

Synopsis from cover: 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 odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons – and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. 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 an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: So I decided to re-read this one for two reasons: 1) It seemed like everyone on my twitter feed was reading it, and I felt left out, and 2) I just saw the movie and wanted to see how similar it was. I reviewed this one ages ago on this blog here, but I felt like writing a new one now that I have a different review format. Surprisingly, though, I still feel the same way about this book as I did the first time I read it. Possible Spoilers Ahead.

What did I think about the characters? I’m still not so sure about Clary, since I felt she was a bit immature and needy at times, but I guess she has five more books for character development, right? Sometimes I just wanted to yell at her and say “Pick up the damn knife and stab a demon! Stop freezing in place and putting everyone else in danger while they save you!” But then…

JACE WAYLAND. GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY. He’s a sarcastic asshole, and I love it. He’s unapologetic, and snarky as hell. Plus, he’s all that, and more. I thought he was the most well-rounded character out of the entire cast. I ship Jayla – Jace and Kayla. Hear that Clary? Hands off my man!

The Lightwood siblings were great secondary characters – I prefer Alec over Isabelle, but not by much. Isabelle was just a bit too bubbly for my taste, but that’s more of a personal thing rather than how she was written. I really hope Alec’s role is expanded later on in the series – I want to see where his character goes!

And lastly is Simon, who provided one of my favorite lines, after Jace’s one-liners: “The nod means, ‘I am a badass, and I recognize that you, too, are a badass,’ but they don’t say anything because they’re Wolverine and Magneto and it would mess up their vibe to explain.” I think he has potential for the later books, but right now he’s acting more as a placeholder for the love triangle.

And the concept and plot? Angels angels ANGELS ANGELS. I love angels, if you haven’t gotten that already by my constant pushing of Angelfall on you guys. Reading fantasy, loving angels, the bookish business. Of course, the Shadowhunters are half-angel, or Nephilim, but it’s good enough for me! And CoB may or may not have exacerbated my tattoo fetish with those rune marks. Just sayin’. 

The plot was solid, but not stunning. At times I felt like it meandered a bit, especially the part close to the end with Luke and Clary. Otherwise, I enjoyed the rest! And – guys – are they or aren’t they?? I’M SO CONFUSED. (I won’t get any more specific since spoilers but if you’ve read the book – reassure me please?!)

What about the writing style? At times I felt like it was a bit immature, but overall Clare’s writing was really engaging: she really knows how to tell a story! It won’t win any awards, but ultimately I was entertained thoroughly for several hours, and that’s what matters in the end. 

Anything else you’d like to add? I stick by what I said about the movie: Jamie is the perfect Jace, but I really hate the casting for Alec. And I actually liked Isabelle better in the movie: she was a bit more level-headed and less… bouncy? Also, I’ve decided to alternate my books: one ARC, then one of my own pick. I’m finishing my next ARC now, and then I’ll start City of Ashes!

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4 thoughts on “Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

  1. Gosh, I feel like the only person who hasn’t read this series yet. I keep telling myself (and everyone else who talks about TMI) that I’ll get to it REALLY soon, but so far I still haven’t! But hey, I think this review might just be it. It’s one thing to enjoy a book when you read it for the first time. It’s an entirely different thing if you re-read it and STILL loved it.

    About Jace: “I ship Jayla – Jace and Kayla. Hear that Clary? Hands off my man!” — LOL! A lot of people seem to like him, and even though sarcasm and the whole “bad boy” thing aren’t really what I like in guys, I have hope. It’s also really great that he’s even more developed than the main character herself!

    I’ve heard pretty much the same things you said about Clary from others. So I’m feeling a bit iffy right now, because though it is possible, it’s very hard to get me to like a book if I don’t connect/like the protagonist herself. Though I’d probably be able to relate to her in terms of neediness. I’m not sure I’d be able to stab something — or have the strength to, since I don’t work out — even if it was attacking me! Then again, adrenaline works miracles sometimes.

    Truth be told, I’m a bit wary about angel books (this one is an exception, though), because they turn out to be overly dramatic with really crappish romance. But I think I’ll be able to look past the little bit of wavering from the plot and still enjoy this. And ha, you should totally go get a tattoo for yourself instead of just looking at pictures! I’ve seen some of the runes around on the internet before and I have to admit, they’d look pretty badass somewhere where people can see them. 😉

    So: good characters, check (you have me all excited for Jace!). Intense writing, check. Fairly good plot, check. I really, really hope that I’ll get to this soon, because I know I’m missing out! But great review, Kayla!

    • As far as Clary, don’t let that dissuade you too much. It’s written in 3rd person, so you get a bit from Jace and the other characters too. And then in City of Ashes, the second book, it fully switches perspectives between chapters. Definitely worth holding out for!

      Ah man if I get a tattoo it’s going to be from Harry Potter first! But at one of my jobs tattoos always have to be covered up and I don’t want to pay for all the makeup to put on every single day. And then where I teach visible tattoos aren’t allowed either. So my options are either get it on a place where my clothes always cover, or cover it every day and put it where I REALLY want to (at the top of my forearm). Hard choices!

  2. Dang it now I really feel like rereading the Mortal Instruments series as well!
    If you don’t mind getting spoiled, tell me, and I’ll tell you the answer to “are they or aren’t they” haha. Don’t want to say it now just in case you don’t actually want to be spoiled.
    I really like Alec as a character! (Although, yeah I don’t approve of his casting either). MALEC!

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