Wednesday, August 14, 2013

REVIEW: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare Website Twitter Facebook
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Pages: 496
Buy It! amazon
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 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. . . .

First Thoughts: So glad I’ve finally jumped into The Mortal Instruments series; I’m not entirely sure why I waited so long! The world of the shadowhunters continues to live up to my expectations. I’m still not sure that I liked the twist at the end, but it definitely was unexpected and kept me on my reading toes.

Although I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, it continually fell on my To-Be-Read list. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I knew it was popular in my classroom without me having to recommend it; maybe because I wasn’t sure it would live up to the hype; maybe because there were always other books calling my name just a bit louder. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I finally got my hands on City of Bones.

It wasn’t until I read The Infernal Devices series (a prequel to The Mortal Instruments) that I knew I was fully committed to the world Cassandra Clare built.  In fact, I would love to be a shadowhunter (that dream is right under attending Hogwarts). Their strength, bravery, passion, and total disregard for safety is enviable. Now, admittedly, I would be a terrible shadowhunter as I’m sure I would cower in the corner if ever faced with a demon, vampire, or werewolf, but nonetheless, this book allows me to dream. I love how the modern-day city of New York combines with the history of the shadow world - well done Cassandra Clare.

Clary, the main character, might just be one of my favorite female heroines - right up there with Tris and Katniss. Her relatability is what sold me on her. She didn’t make unrealistic choices or annoy me with too much indecision and whining. She did what a normal girl would do, just while kicking some serious butt at the same time. And Jace...oh Jace. Talk about swoon-worthy. I can imagine a lot of teenage girls falling in love with him page after page. My only wish for the characters is that the minor characters had more page-time. I felt like Alec and Isabelle disappeared for the final third of the book and I really missed them.

Even though I read the prequel series already, this book contained a lot of unexpected twists. I pride myself on making predictions, but holy cow was I wrong about a few major plot turns. I don’t want to spoil the book, but I will say I’m not sure about one of the twists at the end. I almost felt betrayed as a reader. But, betrayal aside, I really did enjoy this book and I look forward to the rest of the series (four books...yikes). In all honesty, though, I actually enjoyed The Infernal Devices books more. I felt more connected and driven by those characters and their relationships; I’m not sure why.

Movie Sidenote - with the movie coming out soon, I was interested to compare the cast to my visualizations. I have two issues. Jace is NO WHERE near perfect enough. I’m sure the actor does a fantastic job, but at first sight, I’m not buying it. Also, the comparison between Clary and Isabelle is all wrong. Isabelle is supposed to be tall, curvy, and drop-dead gorgeous. Instead, she’s smaller than Clary and hides in the background - not at all what I got from her personality in the book. Nonetheless, I’m still intrigued by the movie, as I always am when books are adapted for the big screen.  

Final Thoughts: A great paranormal read! The shadowhunter world Cassandra Clare creates may be one of my favorite fictional worlds. The characters she writes are extremely believable, even with all of their paranormal powers. Plus, it has action, mystery, twists and turns. I’ve already added the rest of the series to my TBR list.

Who Should Read It? Although this book is definitely paranormal, I think it leans more to the “normal” side. If you like action, adventure, romance, and magic then definitely check this one out. It features believable characters, heartfelt relationship, and lots and lots of paranormal battles (basically fighting with magic). Plus, it’s coming out as a major motion picture, so you know it has to be good.

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