Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Or: Why the heck didn’t I start this series years ago?

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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…

I’ll admit it, I’m pretty slow to jump on the Mortal Instruments Bandwagon. I’ve literally missed the entire fandom. People stopped reading this series years ago.  And I’m really pissed at myself for not reading these books earlier because I would have been obsessed with these books when I was a teenager.

I really enjoyed this book. Was it a little young for me? Yeah. Did it bother me much? No not really.

This is one of those series that I’ve been hearing about forever but have only recently gotten into. Massive hype like this always tends to throw me off and make me avoid a book like the plague, and I have ignored this book for the better part of 5 years. I’d liked the movie when it came out (I now realise the error of my ways.Forgive me) and was apparently satisfied I knew enough of the story to forget about it. Oh how wrong was I. I beg forgiveness book gods because I have sinned.

This book, as first in series go, was gripping enough to tempt you to read the rest, but was well paced enough to explain the shadowhunter world enough so you know what’s going on. It was easy to become attached to the characters and while Clary tended to annoy me a bit (15 year olds annoy me in general it’s not Clary’s fault.) I became very attached to Simon. I love Simon, I love his sense of humor, his “averageness” and his strength of character. Simon’s the type of guy I’m drawn to in real life, the easy going, quick minded sort with a good sense of humor. Of course when put up against Jace, most people would choose Jace. I think that’s skewed, and people should focus more on Simon. But that’s another blog post in itself. I’m sure I’ll argue more for Simon as the books go on.

Clare’s done a rare thing; she’s created a world so different and unseen that it’s enough to grab your interest. These days, it feels like everything’s been done in YA a million times over and its hard to find books that have premises that bore you from the outset. Clare’s didn’t, and while her writing in this book tends to swing more to juvenile than sophisticated, I have been promised by others that she gets better as the series progresses.

Valentine is an interesting Villain, one we didn’t get to spend as much time with as I would like in this book. He seems, from this book, a Hitler-type personality, just rotten to the core but close enough to the rest of society that it provokes a lot of thought on human morality and fear. Clare is clever enough to reveal enough about Valentine’s Evil Plan 2.0 that the reader thinks they know enough to know whats going on, but clearly there are greater things at work and parts of Evil Plan 2.0 that are yet to be revealed. This is a rather clever strategy of Clare’s and I’ll give her this; she definitely knows how to build tension and create mystery.

I’m going to admit something- I didn’t read this book, I listened to an audiobook. I was trying to come up with a way to fill in my 1 hr a day commute too and from the city (not Sydney, an Industrial city that shall remain nameless) and came up with the idea of listening to an audiobook. It was a brilliant idea and while it took me a couple of weeks to finish it, it definitely got me through those sleepy mornings and long afternoons. So will the experience of reading the series differ from listening to it? That is the million dollar question, that I guess I’ll find the answer to in book 2.

Stay tuned.

Read: Listened to the audio book thanks to Audible.

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