The City of Bones Book Review

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.

–Amazon Book Description

The City of Bones  by Cassandra Clare   


This is the story of Clary. She’s on the verge of 16, a petite redhead with a single mother and a good friend, Simon. One day, she heads into a club, sees something strange and her whole world changes. She is sudden able to see weird things at the club: a blue-haired boy being murdered by a group of cool looking hunters. Clary is shocked. What the heck just happened? Soon enough, she finds out. The boy was demon, and his killers were Shadowhunters, part of a group of people who fight to rid the world of demons and the like.

Clary is drawn into the world, and as various events take place, her whole perspective on life changes. She falls in love, finds out who her father really is, sets out a “quest” to find one of the Mortal Instruments, the Mortal Cup, and becomes tangled up in a world where fantasy is fact to such an extent, that there is no leaving.

And from what I read in the book, it seems unlikely that Clary should really want to. Clare has created a world that reminded me of Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter, where a kid discovers something that changes them forever. Her world in curious and intriguing.

However, Clare  failed to execute her story with the talent of either Riordan or Rowling.  While her concept drew me, the beginning of the book was…how to say it? Like Swiss cheese: full of holes.

I don’t know if I was crazy, or what, but it seemed like nothing was every really explained clearly until the very end. Things happened almost randomly. Her characters would act friendly, then hostile. They would be jerks, then make out with each other. In my opinion, they weren’t particularly clever; or maybe they were clever but in an ordinary sort of way. Many of them followed some regular character stereotypes, which, if you’ve read my reviews before, know that I’m okay with, as long as everything else is fresh.

For instance, regular characters with witty dialogue. Or regular characters with a fantastic world. You get the idea. But Clare maybe doesn’t. First, her dialogue was choppy. She’d put the “said” bit in the most awkward places, or have a character say something really cool, and then have somebody else say something so dumb that it sucked up whatever awesome she might have achieved. Second, she introduced a lot of people, but didn’t do a lot to make them unique. I mean, I’m not expecting to hear the back story of every character, but the way they look, how they act, whatever– it can be portrayed through the story itself and how they react to the world around them. But I ended up taking Clary’s word on everyone because I wasn’t experiencing it myself. If she said Jace was awesome, I sorta just had to believe it.

The best developed character (and the only one that really stood out to me) was Jace. He was probably the most mood swing-y of them all, but at least it suited him. While Clary is the main character, Jace, through her eyes (though it is in third person) comes to life. I got a much better feel for him than I did anyone else in the book, though his character did leave a lot to be desired. Clary was second, because, well, most of the book is from her point of view. The others tended to kind of blend together. They weren’t horrible or anything. They just didn’t…stand out. I wasn’t interested in their well-being. Sometimes, I forgot that they existed.

Aside from the characters, the writing was average. It reads like fanfiction, nothing that anybody with hands couldn’t reproduce on a computer. Oh wait, Clare wrote fanfiction. Hmm. I may have called that. Anyways, it could be wordy and reminiscent of other modern fantasies, or it was stark and blunt. I skimmed a lot of the end battle because I wasn’t pulled in. All the build up was boring. Actually, the book starts off quick, and then slows way down, only picking up when Simon (Clary’s friend) gets turned into a rat. And that is some ways into this hefty book. And honestly, if a rat transformation is what it takes to get things interesting…well I think that speaks for itself.

But I think my biggest gripe with the writing/story/plot/characters/book was that it seemed to keep reaching its climaxes too early. The big things would happen, and then there endless pages of falling action. The book seemed like it would have packed a more potent punch had it left the drama for the end, rather than the middle. I suppose some people enjoyed it this way. Personally, I didn’t.

So after all this complaining, what am I to say about the book as whole? Well, it was just average. There’s one heck of slap in the romance realm that’ll really wake you up in the end. If you’ve read it and were disturbed, do what I did and Wikipedia it. Read the plot summary end for book three. It’ll put your mind at ease. But aside from that, I don’t think it really left me with any big emotions. I didn’t hate it. There were a couple of funny lines, a few characters I liked, but I wasn’t dying for the sequel for any other reason other than I had nothing else to read.

I guess my advice to you would be this. If you can digest Twilight knockoffs, chances are, you’ll love this book. If you died a little on the inside when Harry Potter ended (as I did) then you’ll be amused if you have nothing else to do. And if you can’t stand average writing, then just don’t read it.

As for myself, I skimmed through the sequel and read whatever interested me. I’ll borrow the third one from the library to wrap things up. Maybe, if I feel like it, I’ll go through some of Clare’s new books, in hopes that she gets better with experience. But will I be revisiting this series later? Chances are, after I’m through, this is the last I’ll ever have to do with Clary and her world.

Ri’s Rating:


0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

 4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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