Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Cassandra Clare- City of Bones

 Cassandra Clare- City of Bones - book 1

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.


This was a book that I’d heard about for a while but had never gotten around to reading. What finally got me to read City of Bones was all the hype around Cassandra Clare’s latest book Clockwork Angel. Now I can say that it was good and I understand why I’d heard so many great things.

The characters in the book had strong personalities that were engaging. My favorite character was Simon. His strong loyalty to Clary was really sweet and his bravery when dealing in a world where he was significantly out matched (since he was just a human) was admirable. There were also some really great characters set as villains. They were horrible but it was possible to relate to them and understand how they got that way. This made the story believable and layered and I loved that.

 The world building was engaging with good details that were nicely spaced and the story was action packed and I never got bored. For example, Cassandra channeled some of the creative genius of J.K.Rowling and introduced the concept of a flying vampire motorcycle. Since the book was YA, I also loved how the author inter-weaved a negative slant on discrimination into the story.

The book was written using 3rd person. Those who have read my other reviews will probably remember that I don’t enjoy 3rd person narrative styles as much as 1st. Well for this book it didn’t bother me. The main reason I don’t like this type of narrative style as much is because I find it harder to connect with the book. In this case the characters were so engaging and well developed that I had no trouble connecting to them and in particular the protagonist, which can be an area were 3rd person struggles.

There were a few aspects of the book I didn’t like. The biggest was the ending. Now obviously I can’t explain this in much detail without giving away major spoilers but what I can say is that it made me uncomfortable. I have great confidence that Cassandra will fix what made me uncomfortable in the next two books, but I still wish she hadn’t done that particular plot twist at all. Frankly, it put me off the next book because I don’t want to wade through where she goes from there to get to the resolution.

The next thing I didn’t like was Jace and Clary’s ability to annoy me. I’m sorry to all the fans that really like these characters but I don’t really get the appeal. Jace was portrayed as strong and brave but to me he seemed reckless, inconsiderate and self-absorbed. I found Clary annoying for similar reasons. For example, I found Clary’s friendly neglect of Simon baffling. I felt that she should have been more protective of him since he was human and I didn’t understand how she could go long periods without thinking about him, and then feel annoyed when he was with Isabelle. I also didn’t like her handling of Alec and his crush on Jace. The last and final clincher in my feelings towards these characters was their romance. I didn’t really feel it, even though it seemed like Clary will end up with Jace. I’m thinking Cassandra was going with subtlety (which I normally love) but missed the mark.

I think this book could have been so much better with only a few differences, which is disappointing. It was Cassandra’s debut so maybe that has something to do with it.   

My rating out of 5


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