The City of Bones is the first book in the “Mortal Instruments” series by Cassandra Clare. The story in a nut shell is about a girl (Clary, short for Clarissa) who gets accidentally into the “Shadow World” the other side of our modern day lives where Shadowhunters protect humanity from demons and werewolves and vampires and all that.
Calling this a bad book would do it a disservice, but it certainly isn’t a good book, in my opinion. The most powerful impression it left me with was that whomever wrote it must have written a lot of fanfiction in their youth. It has all the good things about a passionate writer, with all the awkward, half-baked leads of an inexperienced writer. But it wasn’t BAD fanfiction, let me clarify, it just wasn’t… amazing.
What the story does well is realistic dialogue. I am hard to make laugh, and here and there a line from a character could crack a grin from me or pull a chuckle. The main character’s best friend making D&D or Star Trek references, that sort of thing. The characters mostly
talk like teens would, and I liked that. Yeah, a couple of dudes are really overly dramatic, but for the better part they talk like teens would and argue about things teens would.
Once the plot starts unraveling, you can pretty much guess exactly how it’s going to end. The author managed to at least reach that climax in ways that were not only moderately original, but also mostly entertaining. There’s some great visuals, some great dialogue and some moments that you’ll be cheering for the heroes. You can feel that she really wanted to concentrate on the characters and their internal turmoil, but had to throw some action
scenes in there. As I mentioned, they’re not bad, but imagine an entertaining fanfic’s fighting scenes– they’re pretty much excuses for the characters to get hurt. They can be entertaining, but they still just feel like tools to progress the story awkwardly forward.
I feel I each sentence in my review flip-flops between bashing the story, and cheering it on, and that’s almost how I felt reading it. I did read it all the way through, even if I came back to it once in a while. It wasn’t exactly a page turner, but I found myself endeared by the awkwardness of it.
Maybe the movie (Trailer can be found here)will be a success, who knows. If you watch the trailer and fear that it’s like Twilight, it really isn’t. The main character, while many times needing to be saved and screaming a lot, is actually quite intelligent and is enjoyable to
read, even if she’s a been teen-angst at times, and the love triangle isn’t trite, but actually pretty well executed with characters actually listening to each other, which was nice. The ending has one little twist I won’t spoil for you, but it is fun to read.
Sometimes I want to read something completely predictable, but still novel. There’s a
comfort to it that is really soothing, even while reading an “actionee” book. I don’t regret reading this book, like I do from time to time, and I did want to read it through, which is something.
Will I read the next book? Probably not. Not unless someone who has read it recommends it. But hey! She’s an international best-seller and I’m an unemployed shlub. What do I know?
If you’re looking for a fun ride through a city filled with magic and adventure and teen stuff, you can do worse (like Twilight).
If you have read the book already, let me know what you thought? Do you agree with me?
If you pick up the book because of this, let me know what you thought at the end!
My next book series I’m planning on trying to start is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. Despite having been appalled by the movie adaptation, I keep hearing how good the books are, so I’m going to give them a try.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!