Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare
Release: March 27th 2007
Genre: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, YA
#1 in the Mortal Instruments
Sequels: City of Ashes (#2), City of Glass (#3), City of Fallen Angels (#4),  City of Lost Souls (#5), City of Heavenly Fire (#6)


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.


Now, after re-reading this for, I don't know, probably the fifth time a couple of days ago, I think I am now ready to get into this review. I have decided to go back and review some of past books I wanted to re-read anyways and to start reviewing in general, so yeah — I'm new to this whole reviewing thing. Don't judge.

Clary Fray, 15 years, turning 16 during the book's progression, sees a murder committed by three teenagers her age that nobody else can see. They all have these strange marks that seem to have disappeared over night as she sees one of them again the next day. That same fateful day, her mother also mysteriously disappears, leaving her to be taken in by these suspicious murderers who call themselves Shadowhunters, cleansing the world of demons and the like. 

So, what the holy fuck, she just decided to go with those teenage killers and live with them? She doesn't go to Simon's, who is her best friend by the way, place to live as long as her mother's missing, which would have been the reasonable place to stay since Luke turned her down, but she stays close to people she has actually seen stabbing someone? 

Now, don't get me wrong. I love this book. I love this series, I love Cassandra Clare and these books are one of my favorites. This book actually has a five star rating after all. But my love for this is purely subjective and if I look at all this through an objective point of view ... well, it's quite flawed, I have to admit. While I personally can overlook these flaws and love this book anyways, I do feel responsible to point them out. You may then decide how you like this book either by your reaction to all of this or by just going ahead and reading this yourself.

So, Clary discovers that practically her whole background story is a lie, because her memories have been wiped out and are not exactly wrong, but missing crucial parts. She also finds out that her "Uncle Luke" doesn't care about her or her mother anymore after being a loyal and lovely friend of the family for all her life and he has a massive arsenal of weapons in his home, which is a bookstore. But she is only mildly concerned about that, it seems, although she is severely pissed at him for abandoning her and her mum. And also more interested in the guys who are visiting him who turn out to be supposedly the killers of her new acquaintance's father. Now she's known Jace, said new acquaintance, for a few days, tops, and she already trusts him like a brother (See what I did there?) and lets him accompany her to archivists whom he and everyone else is terrified of, she lets him dress her up to attend a party the guy who stole her memories is hosting and she puts her and her best friend's life in his hands when visiting the Dumort. (Not to mention kissing him after about a week either, although I am okay with that one.)

Also, Clary at this point has none to hardly any character development. If you think she's grown stronger or braver at the end of this book, no, I don't think so. She has (more or less) stood up to Jace, Alec and Isabelle in the beginning already, defending the guy they were killing and having Simon get the security. I think she hasn't evolved much from the person she was then - which was a fine person, by all means, I had no issues with her - to how she is when we turn the final pages. But I assure you, that changes as the books go.

As for the world-building and setting, we have average, normal, boring New York City as main setting, but the world-building idea with the Nephilim and the other well-known supernatural creatures all mixed together was really cool. So you got a bit of everything in here and it's quite interesting that it doesn't all focus on only the Nephilim, but we get an overall view of every paranormal being here. Others aside from the vampires may not be as prominently featured in this first installment, but as the series progresses, we get more and more familiar with each of them. Props for that.
Aside from NYC we also have a fictional country named Idris, positioned between Germany and France, but unfortunately, Clare doesn't get into that until the third book. Still, worth mentioning at this point already, so I hope I didn't scare everyone away from this book.

The writing ... I think it's quite good. Clare definitely gains more experience along the way and gets better, but that's not to say the writing is bad in this one. It's written in 3rd person and jumps around a lot, which I had a few issues with, but it was okay. I just generally don't like 3rd person that much, is all. Anyways, the descriptions were very vivid and nice and overall, the writing flowed pretty easily, but I'm just saying it gets (even) better with the next books.

Okay, so aside from the fact that I just completely spoiled basically all that's happening in the first half of the book, I can at least take good faith in the fact that I didn't spoil any of the shocking plot twists, that were actually kind of good. I admit I didn't see most any of them coming at all, so that made for thrilling read.

All in all, like I said, I love all these books and I want you to know that I am ready to overlook all of the mistakes made in these, because I like the world and the characters a lot and so it's all very bearable. Even the stupid characters you mostly want to shake all the time are likable, which means a lot really.

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