New Read: City of Bones

City of Bones

July has been a sunshine and fantasy series packed month for me. After finishing off Prince Caspian by C S Lewis and Wing by Tara Maya I was happy to carry my reading on with a similar theme. In steps a family friend who had not long finished City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, the first instalment in The Mortal Instruments series. Said friend offers to lend their copy of the book which I happily accepted, especially as the film adaptation is due for release later this year.

City of Bones introduces us to Clarissa Fray better known as Clary to her friends and family. Clary is small, awkward, and artistic; nothing out of the ordinary for your average teenager. One evening while out with her best friend Simon at a local night club in New York she is to have a chance encounter that is to start her seeing the world differently. When only a few days later Clary’s mother is attacked and kidnapped by a demon Clary realises the world she thought she knew has gone forever. If Clary wishes to see her mother ever again she will need to wise up to this new world fast. Out with demons, vampires, werewolves, faeries, and warlocks being fiction in with them being fact. I liked the premise for City of Bones. An underground world of magic and unusual creatures living in an invisible world within our own. It is not a completely originally idea but it is a trope which works well. Along side magical creatures we also have the Shadowhunters (a modern equivalent of Van Helsing) who are out to kill demons and other evil creatures. These are who Clary is going to have work with to free her mother and discover the secrets of her childhood.

Clarissa (Clary) Fray the main protagonist of City of Bones is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. Quite similar to a few other young adult heroines I can think of. Add into the mix attractive and caring best friend Simon who is madly in love with Clary (although she is oblivious to it). Plus the mysterious, brooding, and drop dead gorgeous Shadowhunter Jace; and I think you can see where this is going. My heart dropped a little when I saw the emergence of another love triangle in another young adult novel. The love triangle is of a standard quality which for me was only saved by the twist that comes at the end of the book. Jace is not the only Shadowhunter in the book there is also brother and sister Izzy and Alec who are gorgeous and pretty bad-ass too. There is also the villain of the book Valentine a Shadowhunter gone bad. None of these characters are anything new but I did think they all worked pretty well together.

I have never read anything by Cassandra Clare before but I have been meaning to for sometime. My younger brother has devoured both her The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series’s. Being a teenager himself these books have been good for him and I believe he has enjoyed them all. I found a City of Bones to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner once you got into the main action of the book. I found the characters to be a little two-dimensional and weren’t that original as I said above. I could have also done without the love triangle. The twist that came at the end was pretty creepy but was not as shocking as it could have been. I think there were quite a few clues to be spotted earlier in the book. Taking this all into account I can say I did thoroughly enjoy City of Bones with the faults though I can’t say I loved it.

City of Bones is a fun and easy read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. I think I might read the other books in The Mortal Instruments series if I were loaned them too.

Have you read City of Bones? Or other novels by Clare?

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10 thoughts on “New Read: City of Bones

  1. As someone else, I’ve read CC’s fanfiction and while I am not resentful of her as some others in the HP fandom were after that controversy, I do feel she’s not the best writer. My one big issue is that she tends to recycle her characters; the male and female leads tend to be all very similar. If you read the prequel series Infernal and this long enough, you’ll see what I mean. Her fanfiction was the same. I started both series, but I continue to find most of the characters 2D and the same. I’ll watch the movie, but I’m not hoping for much though I like Simon from the books and the actor they cast too. Cheers!

    1. Athena it is interesting to hear from someone who has read Clare’s fan fiction. It is a shame that both that and her novels seem to suffer from two dimensional characters. I think my friend is continuing to read this series so if she lends them to me I will read them as this was an easy and fun read.

      I liked Simon too! And I totally agree Robert Sheehan is a great choice to play him in the movie. I saw Sheehan in a fun TV film adaptation of The Borrowers a year or so ago 🙂

  2. I’ve had this on my Kindle for ages and really should get around to it. The only book os Cassandra Clare’s I’ve read so far is Clockwork Angel and I loved it 🙂

  3. I read this series a while ago and enjoyed it. I would agree with the provisos in your review. It’s probably not going to win any great literary prizes, the characters are a bit flat and we have the typical love triangle so popular in YA. I did like it though. I started the ‘prequel’ books, The first was okay but the second did nothing for me and I haven’t bothered with the rest. Personally I think the author should have stuck with three. As it is it feels a bit like overkill! But – they were very popular – plus film rights – so, it happens. (Not meaning to be overly cynical!)
    Lynn 😀

    1. Lynn I can understand what you’re saying there is such a thing as having too much of good thing. Just because a series is doing well doesn’t necessarily mean you should write more. As I said though my brother really enjoyed all of these books and as you said there are now the film rights. There is definitely a big audience for this series. I do plan to go see the film myself.

  4. I admit to be really interested to begin with, not so much when I read about her fanfiction days, but recently interested again. That said because of my ‘second’ non-interest I’m not sure if I’d be able to read them without that context so I’m still considering it rather than going out and getting a copy (I worry about going into the books feeling negative which is of course unfair on them). Otherwise it sounds great, and with the film being released there is an urgency of sorts to read them soon.

    1. Charlie I sympathise it is not a good idea to go into reading a book feeling negative. After having a break from it you might feel better about reading this series. As long as you’re happy that this isn’t going to be award winning writing I thought City of Bones is a quick, fun, and easy read.

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