Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review: City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare (Fifth Reveiw for The 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge)

Here's my fifth review for this AWESOME challenge,
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City of Bones
(The Mortal Instruments, Book 1)
Cassandra Clare
Hardcover, 485 pages
Margaret K. McElderry Books
March 27, 2007
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Book Synopsis
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 series is one of those I've had sitting on my shelves for the longest time.... I kept telling myself I would start it, but somehow, other books came up first. I have the complete set of books, too, and they're all hardbacks, with those GORGEOUS covers that first came out. 

Well, thanks to this reading challenge, I finally decided to plunge into the world of the Shadowhunters.

The first thing that struck me was the world-building, which was totally awesome! This author has done a great job of creating a fictional world that really rings true, that seems so vivid and real, one begins to wonder if there are invisible battles constantly going on between these warriors and the horrible demons, while one is walking down the street. At least, that's what happened to me.

The amount of detail involved in this fictional world is just fascinating, and everything hangs together perfectly. The whole rationale for the existence of the Shadowhunters is very believable, in spite of its totally supernatural origin. Adding to the fascination is the invention of the Downworlders, as well as the use of magical runes, which I found especially intriguing, as well as exciting.

The last third of the book was a relentless, nonstop ride, with lots of action and edge-of-your seat suspense. I found myself turning pages as fast as I could, while berating myself for not being able to read faster.

In spite of having such positive feelings about the book, I was surprised that I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. There was an intangible something that I found less than satisfactory, and I couldn't figure out what it was, at first. Then it hit me: it was the characters. For some reason, I just couldn't relate fully to all of them.  This was especially true of the main characters, Clary and Jace. 

Clary was not as kick-butt as I would have liked her to be, for instance, and came across as weak at times, while Jace didn't really come across as all that wonderful a hero, nor did he seem all that attractive. I don't know....something just didn't click with these two.

As for Isabelle and Alec, I didn't like them at all. Isabelle struck me as rather standoffish and arrogant, while Alec's initial dislike for Clary (for which there's a very good reason, but still) really annoyed me. Besides, they somehow didn't seem all that committed to their cause.

As for Hodge, I really liked him quite a bit at first, as he reminded me somewhat of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. He turned out to be a huge disappointment, though. 

Clary's mom is gone from the story most of the time, but I did like that she loved Clary enough to attempt to protect her from a world she considered much too dangerous for her daughter. I wish she had been more active in the book.

The villain was very well depicted. He was appropriately evil and ruthless, and the huge surprise with him toward the end was very well handled.

Luke was another character I really liked. I thought at first that he might be related to Clary in some way, but it turned out that wasn't the case at all. He cared a lot about her, though, and was a very strong father figure to her. 

My favorite character of all was Simon. I loved, loved, loved him! He'd been Clary's best friend her whole life, and had a secret crush on her. Clary was, unfortunately, totally oblivious to this, until she finally found out in the most unexpected way. 

Simon is, I think, the most rounded-out character in the novel. He's very smart, incredibly resourceful, and is always there for Clary. In spite of the scorn sometimes heaped on him by the Shadowhunters, who only refer to him as "the mundane" (this is a normal person who is not a Shadowhunter or other paranormal creature), he actually does quite a bit to help out the others in their ongoing battle against the demons, and I thought he didn't get a fair shake from the Shadowhunters.

This novel has some very interesting twists and turns, which are all very imaginative. It also has some humorous scenes, as when the vampires couldn't start their motorcycles because Alec and Simon had put holy water in the tanks. Since the bikes run on demon energies, the holy water rendered them useless. The vamps were really ticked off!

The very surprising revelations toward the end almost spoiled everything for me, and I wanted to scream at the author. However, I calmed myself down, and rushed over to Wikipedia to get more information on the later development of the series. This is like reading ahead, I know, but I just couldn't stand not knowing the truth about these very uncomfortable revelations! I'm glad I did this, because I discovered it was not really the end of the world. It turned out that Clare was just setting things up for the next novel in the series. Still, I had a really 'freaking out' moment there!

The romance aspect of the novel was also a bit disappointing, although, again, I realized that it would probably develop further as I got further into the series.

Although I can't give this novel five stars, I felt it deserved at least four. The writing and pacing are absolutely top-notch, and the author's imagination, again, is amazing. If only I could have liked the main characters more.... I'm hoping that things will improve in the rest of the books, which I do intend to read.

All in all, Clare has written an exciting beginning to this series. In all fairness, I read this book in fits and starts, as I had several other things going on at the time. Perhaps I should re-read it, in order to experience it with more focus. If my feelings toward it change, then I will come back and rewrite this review.

The concept of demon hunters is not a new one, but this author's take on it is definitely fresh and original. I do recommend this book for all paranormal and urban fantasy fans, and am really looking forward to more adventures in the world of the Shadowhunters!    


Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for The Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the best-selling author of The Mortal Instruments series, as well as The Infernal Devices and Magisterium series. Her latest novel, Lady Midnight, was published on March 8, 2016. She lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.  


  1. I haven't yet seen the tv show that came out of the book, but I saw the movie. It was disappointing--at least for me. I did enjoy the book. I haven't yet read further in the series. I admit the movie kind of put me-off it. Have you seen the movie yet? I am glad you enjoyed this one!

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      I haven't seen the TV show, either. I don't watch much television anyway, since I work until 9:30 PM, from Monday to Thursday, so I've gotten out of the habit of watching.

      As for the movie, I gathered that it was disappointing because it was released two years ago, and I never heard any raves about it. Nor has there been any talk about making any more movies from the series. I'm sure the book is WAY better!

      I was pretty disappointed by the ending of this novel; you know why! That's the reason I rushed over to Wikipedia. I kept muttering, "It CAN'T be true! It just CAN'T be true!!" Lol. I found out that things were not as presented in the book. (Yeah, I read a synopsis of the following book. Sneaky, huh?) But I still found Clary and Jace a bit weak. However, maybe I should re-read this book, and focus on it more. I did enjoy it, though, for the most part.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment!! :)


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