All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

City Of Bones – Cassandra Clare

on May 29, 2011

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for a little while, but I picked it up because I was supposed to attend an author event with Cassandra Clare in my city last Wednesday night. Unfortunately my little boy came down with a nasty tummy bug and I couldn’t make the event – but I did finish the book in time for it anyway!

Clary (short for Clarissa) thinks she’s just an ordinary teenager in an ordinary world. She goes to school, she fights with her overprotective mother, she has a best friend named Simon that she does just about everything with. One night her and Simon are out at an all ages club named Pandemonium, Clary sees a young blue-haired boy follow a beautiful girl into a store room and then two other teenage boys follow with knives. She goes into the room behind them, only to see things that she cannot explain – the beautiful girl and the two teenage boys kill the blue-haired boy who simply vanishes. The three left behind are amazed that Clary can see them – as a “mundane” or average human, she shouldn’t be able to. When Simon arrives, to him Clary is alone in the room.

Not a day later and Clary, who  has had another fight with her mother and stormed out, receives a hysterical call from her telling Clary not to come home. Clary, knowing her mother is in danger, does anyway and once at her apartment, is attacked by a demon creature which she manages to kill. Clary is then thrown back into the world of Jace, Alec and Isabelle, the three teenagers from the club who are Shadowhunters – those who see and kill the creatures that are invisible or hidden to normal human eyes, like the blue haired boy from the club who was really a demon. Clary’s mother has disappeared and her mother’s friend Luke has turned his back on her so Clary has to trust her three new friends in order to help her figure out just what she is and how the rumors of a believed-long dead member of the Nephilim (Shadowhunters) is actually not dead, apply to her and her family.

Before long Clary finds out that she is not the normal teenager she thinks she is. Her parentage has been a lie her whole life and her mother has gone to extreme measures to make sure that Clary never sees the things that normal humans aren’t supposed to see. With her mother having disappeared and the blocks on her mind beginning to lift, Clary’s true heritage is becoming more evident by the day. She realises exactly what it is that her mother has that Valentine, the not-so-dead Shadowhunter wants – and how to find it. Now all she has to do is make an exchange – the item for her mother. But she’s not dealing with someone who operates within the normal realm. It could all go terribly wrong – for everybody.

I’m going to get my nitpicks out of the way first, so they stop bothering me during the rest of the review. At close to 500 pages, this is a pretty hefty YA book. And when you’re reading it, you realise that probably, it didn’t need to be that long. It could’ve benefited from a pretty thorough editing as it seems like there are several very lengthy scenes that serve little more purpose than to a) show Jace off as some sort of daredevil hero extraordinare that fears nothing and no one at all and b) to showcase the sort of creatures that populate the world of which normal folk are unaware. The scenes serve no actual purpose to the storyline, other than to say yes, there are vampires in this city! Here’s a lengthy interaction with them in order to prove it. The author also spends a lot of time laying the foundation of Jace’s character only to have him do something that seems totally out of character towards the end of the novel. That’s either sloppy writing or a testament to the manipulative powers of another character, but we don’t actually see these powers so, it’s hard to draw an accurate conclusion. And also – what is the stele thing? What does it do? Because as far as I can see, it seems to do whatever it is a character needs at any given time. It’s like one massive deus ex machina in a small convenient form.

Despite that, the storyline itself is very good. Clary is a likable teenager, not without her angst but without the whine and ‘why me’ complex. She displays loyalty towards the people she feels strongly about and she’s eager to learn all she can about this new life she has discovered and use what she learns in order to help. Isabelle and Alec are not particularly fleshed out but they are little more than periphery characters in this novel and I’d expect them to become more in the next few books. Jace is of course, the hero but he’s pretty enjoyable. His wit goes a fraction too far sometimes into ‘try hard’ territory but other than that, I found him a pretty engaging and plausible romantic possibility for Clary. There is a love triangle going on here and Claire executes a classic twist towards the end of this book to no doubt push the focus onto the third participant in the second novel. If you don’t like love triangles, this entire plotline might irritate you.

There was a bit of controversy about this author regarding some fan fiction and I have to admit, I only know the bare bones of the story but it does seem that Clare has borrowed quite heavily from paranormal story lines that have gone before her in these novels. There’s nothing wrong with that – it still makes for a very fast paced and action filled book with plenty of fascinating twists and interesting threads that all come together very nicely at the end but still leave enough set up to guide the way through the rest of the series. I have already bought the 2nd and 3rd books (the 4th has just been released in large paperback here, I’ll wait until it comes out in the smaller version so that it matches the rest of my collection and also, because it’ll be cheaper then) and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens. I hope Clary really starts to develop her skills and gifts that she would’ve been born with that have been stifled until now.

A lot to like despite a little bit not to!


Book #72 of 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: