Wednesday, 4 August 2010

City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

City of Bones is the first in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and is her first full length novel. It was released by Walker Books UK on 2nd July 2007 and is 448 pages long. Thanks to Walker Books for sending me a copy for review.

Fifteen year old Clary Fray lives a normal teenage life in Brooklyn, New York but one night changes everything she has ever known. In a busy club, Clary sees a beautiful girl lure an extremely hot, blue haired guy into a closet but they were being followed by another 2 guys with tattoos carrying weapons. After sneaking into the closet, Clary realises that all is not what it seems, far from it actually. Clary witnesses a murder but when the blue haired boy completely disappears, she knows that there is no use in calling the police. Another reason being that no one else can actually see the people in the closet because Jace, Alec and Isabelle are Shadowhunters.

When Clary receives a strange phone call from her Mum, telling her not to come home, she doesn't listen and goes anyway, only to find her Mum missing and a very gross looking demon waiting for her. Although she is able to hold her own against the demon, Jace arrives just in time to save her and take her back to the institute, a place of safety for Shadowhunters. Here, Clary begins to learn that she is in fact, not a normal teenager at all and who she really is. Having to trust people she doesn't know at all doesn't come easy to Clary but she realises they are her only hope if she is going to find her Mum.

My Thoughts
City of Bones is written in third person which isn't usually something I like in these kinds of books but I thought it really worked in this case. Clary (Clarissa) is the main character but I was never overpowered by her thoughts. Instead, I got to learn as much about her as I did with other characters and that made the story more interesting for me. Although Clary was in the forefront of the story, Cassandra Clare managed to mix in best friend Simon, Jace, Alec and Isabelle really well while adding new characters into the story at well paced times.

Clary isn't your average main character in this genre. She isn't described as being extremely beautiful and she definitely isn't whiney and annoying. For these reasons, I found myself really liking her from the very beginning. Not only does she seem like quite a normal teenager but she also has hidden depths. Clary is a very strong female character who wont be told what to do. In fact, she usually does the opposite of what she is told to do just to annoy people. Although I liked her strength and willingness to do anything that was necessary, I was a little unconvinced at times. When Clary finds out what the Shadowhunters really are, she seemed far too ok with everything for it to be 100% believable. I would have liked her to doubt what was going on or even be more scared by it. The one thing that I will give Clary though is her distrust of Jace, Alec and Isabelle. She doesn't know them at all so is never quick to hang on their every word.

What really surprised me about City of Bones is how funny it is. I was expecting doom, gloom and seriousness for the most part so I wasn't expecting to find myself laughing out loud a lot throughout the book. Jace is quite cocky and very sure of himself that should have come across as arrogant but I loved this about him. He's very playful and teasing when it comes to Clary which gave them great chemistry. Clary never gives in easily to Jace, giving him as much backchat as he does to her. The banter between the two was fantastic and I can only see that carrying on in the other books.

The story was interesting and very exciting. In the 448 pages, there is a lot packed into it but it never seemed too much or that anything was rushed. The difference with this book compared to others in this genre, is that it isn't slow to start. The first chapter really jumps into the action and it doesn't really ever slow down much from there. When mythical characters began to be introduced, I thought that I was going to get a bit lost concerning who was who and where they came from etc but it was so well written that I never felt like this at all. The story is really easy to follow and understand even though there is always something happening. There are quite a few big action scenes but these are nicely balanced with some normalcy like having a meal in a diner or Isabelle attempting to cook. Some of the action scenes are quite gory but I liked these parts. If a book is going to have vampires, demons, werewolves, amongst other things, I expect them to fight in the way I imagine them to. For this, I applaud Cassandra Clare for keeping it real.

Towards the end of the book, there is a massive twist that I wouldn't have seen coming in a million years. That was one of the things that I loved most about City of Bones, I never really knew what was going to happen. While the ending was a complete shocker, I still felt like things were wrapped up nicely. City of Bones made me want more but not in a 'Oh my god, how could you leave it like that?' kind of way. The twist made me wonder what was going to happen in the other books and how the characters could overcome their problems.

City of Bones is a great start to a series and I can't wait to read the other books. I definitely want more of Jace and to find out more about what is really going on. I had this book in my wish list for a long time and now I really wish I hadn't waited so long.


Smash Attack Ash said...

Great review. You will enjoy this series so much!

Unknown said...

It took me a while to pick up this book, too, though I don't really know why. Once I did, I was hooked--Claire's writing is so detailed and action-packed, I just love it.

Great review & enjoy the others in the series!

Bonnie said...

This is a great series and I can't wait to read Clockwork Angel!

Dwayne said...

I LOVE this too! Writing my review now as well, lol.

Unknown said...

I love this series---and she's going to have three more books to make a total of 6---yeah!

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