Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 27, 2007
Date Read: August 29, 2012
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Don’t miss The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, soon to be a major motion picture in theaters August 2013!
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. . . .
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
Sexual Content: Mild (kissing is all)
Violence: Mild to moderate (the characters kill demons, but it isn't too overly graphic)
Other: Demonic theories; witches and warlocks; werewolves; vampires; faeries; mild toxicology
Before I start this review, I just want to say what a great experience it has been to walk through the Shadow World with Jalary (that is the weirdest ship name I have ever seen. Clace isn't much better, to be honest) for the second time. The twists and turns mildly surprised me still, which I loved.
Clary Fray, a short redheaded fifteen year old girl from New York, accidentally stumbles upon a murder that only she can see. Later the next day, she sees one of the murderers and talks to him. After receiving an alarming call from her mother telling her not to come home, she takes a trip down Stupidity Avenue and goes home. At home, she faces a creature from hell that wants to eat her, but she shoves a device down its throat, and it dies. Her new found Shadowhunter-slash-murderer-slash-rescuer friend saves her and brings her back to the Institute where him and his fellow murdering friends live.
As you probably can already see, this is a fantasy book involving fictional characters (unless you're a believer of warlocks and demons and faeries and werewolves--the whole bit) and creatures that don't exist. Therefore, the world building clearly needs to be amazing. I feel that Clare succeeded in her world building. But where as her world building was exceptional and commending, her character building was lacking and it fell short, not quite meeting my expectations.
I read this book back in 2011, the whole trilogy actually, and enjoyed it very much. I would've given it a solid five stars, no faults whatsoever. But back in 2011, I wasn't a reviewer, and I wasn't really picky about what I read. Basically I liked every book I read as long as there was a hot guy and romance in the story. Now that I'm older and a reviewer, my tastes have changed. Yes, I still pretty much won't read a book without any indication of romance but my standards have risen a lot. I've begun to recognize lack of character building, world building, and plot construction as well as plot execution. So now that I've reread this book, I have to admit that it did not impress me the same way it did in 2011.
After reading this book, I was ready to give it five stars and call it a day, but now that I think back on it, I realize that City of Bones is, in fact, not five star worthy. The story within itself deserves 5 stars. Yes, I admit that this book happened in a span of a week, and it's hard to believe that within a week a fifteen year old girl could so totally be immersed into this world and care about the characters so much, but that's why it's fantasy. I did happen to extremely enjoy the story, not so much as the writing or the characters.
Clary did not have any development whatsoever. (Spoilers ahead. Every spoiler in here will be blacked out. Highlight to view.) Except for at the end when she was like oh, snap, I kissed my brother and loved it. But other than that, Clary did not realize anything about herself by the end other than the fact that she wasn't completely human. She didn't change in any way. She wasn't a better or stronger person. In the beginning, she stood up to Isabelle, Alec and Jace. In the end, she stood up to Isabelle, Alec and Jace. There was simply so evolution in Clary's character.
Now Jace. In my opinion, it was insinuated that Jace didn't easily accept anything without proof or facts. But at the end, he seemed to accept everything way too easily. He thought he dad was dead for crying out loud! It shouldn't have been so easy for him to accept Valentine's--the evil guy's--word! He saw his dad die in front of his eyes. At the end, he was a terribly misled boy, and that wasn't exactly an attractive trait. I did not feel bad for his situation. In fact, I didn't feel anything. The only person that I felt any emotion for was Luke.
There's another thing about Jace that I just absolutely couldn't stand: he sounds like Will Herondale. Yes I realize that The Mortal Instruments was written before The Infernal Devices AND I read TMI before TID, but technically Will is older than Jace, so, therefore in my mind, Jace is a freaking carbon copy of Will and not the other way around. I did have emotions for both of the boys' backgrounds, to be honest, so it wasn't their sob stories that made me feel like they were the same person, because clearly in that department they're not. But it was their mannerisms, the way they treated the protagonist as well as everyone else, and most importantly it was the way that they acted like they were better than everyone else. They were even arrogant for the same reasons: love.
Will Herondale was arrogant because he didn't want anybody to love him because a demon had put a spell on him that told him that anyone who loved him would die. Jace Wayland was arrogant because he didn't want anybody to love because his father told him that to love was to break. Both of them didn't want anybody to love them. It's quite sad, if you ask me.
Now while we're on the subject of Jace and Will being identical twins, Tessa and Clary are pretty similar too. They both like books, they both fall in love with the guy that doesn't want to be loved, they both accept the Shadow World was too willingly. Same, same, same.
Also, the ending. Back in 2011, I thought the ending was genius. Now that I read it again...I find it absolutely repulsing and disgusting and just ew. Why incest, Clare? Just why? You could've made a perfectly fine impacting and shocking ending without making them brother and sister. That's just gross. I'm sorry. Just, no. (I don't mean any offence to those out there that...you know...I'm not here to judge you. But. I mean. Just. Uhm. This is awkward now. Please don't hate me. Just remember that my opinions are my own and that it doesn't affect the way I view you as a person.)
But despite all these negative things I'm pointing out about City of Bones, it still remains one of my favorites, and I'm probably never going to stop rereading the books. They're just so action-packed, and I love them so much. Each time, I'm probably going to find more and more reasons to not like the book and yet I'm probably never going to fully hate the book.
That's okay though. I like Jace. He reminds me of Will, and how much I love(d) that certain Herondale.