City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) {4* Review}

City of BonesCity of Bones
Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
by Cassandra Clare
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 27, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 485
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from Library
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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.

Opening Sentence:

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest. He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head. “You can’t bring that thing in here.”

Book Review:

Not my favorite book in the world but definitely worth the read.

Clary is the 18 year-old daughter of a single mother whose father died before she was born. We get the sense that they have a very close relationship even though in the early part of the book they get into a fight which creates distance between them. My only problem with Clary was that she never grew as a person throughout the story. Granted the entire book only takes place over the course of two weeks, but still, I expect the main character to learn and grow and adapt to the situations they go through. And Clary definitely had enough trials to learn from!

Unfortunately through everything she went through, she still remained this helpless, dependent, “mundane” character. Lol. See what I did there? (P.S. in the book “mundane” is the name given to regular humans; non-magical folk). I found the naming to be rather fitting for Clary as she left me expecting so much more from her character.

Jace is my favorite kind of bad boy. His rough attitude and perfect looks hide a hurt, soft little boy who just wants to be loved. An orphan at the age of twelve, Jace was taken in by the Lightwoods and lived/trained at the Institute; a safe house for Shadowhunters. He is often rude and opinionated but he is also loyal to a fault and honest.

While the book was very well-written, the pacing was really slow in the beginning. There was a lot going on but the story didn’t go anywhere for the first 149 pages (or so). If I hadn’t really wanted to see the movie, I am not sure I would have pushed through the book as fast as I did. This probably would’ve ended up in my “maybe later” TBR pile.

All that being said, I did really enjoy this book. Really! I did! It had a good dose of fantasy (which I love) and the world building was spot on. It had all the classic paranormal characters: witches, vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, and even some zombie-like creatures. The pictures that were conjured up through Clarissa’s writing were fantastic!

Hidden within this fantasy novel is also a mystery thriller. The reader is given clues, at a dizzying rate, which have no real place in the story at that time. Some clues are rather obvious (at least to me) and others left me scratching my head. (I was constantly thinking “Does this mean something or am I reading too much into this?”. At the end of the book you can finally see how all of the pointless romping around from the first two-thirds of the book finally makes sense. And by the last third of the book you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next unexpected twist to happen and still taken off-guard when it does.

If you still haven’t jumped on the TMI band-wagon, I recommend you give this book a try. There is a high dose of fantasy, but I think this book could appeal to more than just fantasy fans.

4 Stars

About Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.

About Meagan

Meagan is a Reviewing Wonderland founder and featured reviewer. Because reading books does not go far in paying the bills, Meagan is also an established certified public accountant (I know, right) and spends most of her time working or spending time with her family.
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4 Responses to City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) {4* Review}

  1. I had the same thoughts when I finished this book. It’s nothing too special, but it’s very enjoyable. It’s a good mixture of fun, fantasy and action. This book went downhill and after the third book (which I hated so much) I decided to quit this series. I hope it will work better for you ;) Great review!
    Check out Mel@thedailyprophecy’s most recent post! – Fairytale News 17. Hard life of a reader (4)My Profile

    • Meagan says:

      Oh no. Here I was hoping it would get better as it went along. I might just stop now then. If it gets worse I don’t think I can handle it.

      I’m going to have to think long and hard about this one. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Thanks for that great review Meagan, I liked this book when I read it too but Clary was annoying and Jace was too up himself. I still rated it 4 though because of the world building and stuff. That reminds me, I still need to pick up the 3rd book..
    Check out Jeann @ Happy Indulgence’s most recent post! – ARC Review: Bound by Night by Larissa Ione – Vampire role reversalMy Profile

    • Meagan says:

      I still need to read book 2 too. I agree with you about the world building. It was great! But the characters fell flat for me.

      I was REALLY disappointed in the movie though. I was expecting some amazing special effects to match the world building from the book. Nope. Nothing. The “fight” scene with Dorothea was TERRIBLE. Absolutely nothing like the book.

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