Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones (Four Stars)
City of Bones was a great start to a thrilling series. YA novels are not typically my “drug” of choice, but this one didn’t feel “teeny” at all while I was reading. If you are looking for an exciting fantasy, this is the series for you!
The novel centers around fifteen-year-old Clary Fray. She seems ordinary enough with her passion for art and her ragtag small group of close friends. She’s very close with her mother, which is a foreign concept for me (when I was fifteen), but I’m sure some teenage girls would be able to relate to that. The novel picks up right in the first chapter when she and her friends go to an all ages dance club in downtown New York City, where she lives. This is where she first sees Jace and his pack of Shadowhunters. They kill a demon in front of her and she’s the only one who can see them. From there she is thrown into the Shadowhunter world when her mother is taken from their apartment and she’s attacked by a vicious demon. She does whatever it takes to get her mom back while learning new things about herself in the process.
I was torn about the character Clary Fray. Sometimes she was tough and independent with great comebacks to what others had to say about her. Other times she seemed a little Jace-needy and clingy, which I hated. All-in-all, though, I found her to be an enjoyable character. (And with the bomb that was dropped at the end of the book, I think the Jace neediness will be less of an issue.)
Jace was the main Shadowhunter the story focused on and the “love interest” of the book. In my opinion, he was the worst! I did not like him at all. He had no redeeming qualities. Sure, he had a hard life, thinking his mom and dad were both dead and having to be raised by a strange, new Shadowhunter family, but that’s no excuse for being the rude, sarcastic, vain, egotistical boy he turned out to be. There was no book crush there for me.
Simon, on the other hand, was a great boy character that I liked a lot. He is Clary’s best friend and not supernatural at all. He’s charming, friendly, witty, funny, loyal, and caring. I was rooting for him the entire book, if only Clary felt the same about him as he felt about her. I would love to see Jace rejected, the smug little bastard.
Isabelle was an okay character. She was the “foster sister” to Jace. She fell kind of flat for me, being the incredibly beautiful girl that all the boys love. There wasn’t much else to her except she was a Shadowhunter and could fight demons. That made her badass to a point, but I felt like I didn’t really get to know her deeply as a character.
Alec is Isabelle’s brother, and a much deeper character than his sister. He is hiding the fact that he is gay and in love with Jace from everyone around him. His sister knows, but keeps his secret to himself. Clary eventually finds out and uses the information to hurt him when they are having an argument. The only annoying thing about him was that he was literally against every single thing Jace wanted to do to help Clary find her mother. He was so negative, but we all knew it was because he didn’t want Jace to get hurt. He loved him too much.
Hodge was a good character. I envisioned him as this old professor, though he was also a Shadowhunter in his day. Hugo, the black raven that was always perched on his shoulder gave me the creeps from the beginning. I don’t particularly like birds. Hodge seemed wise, knew a lot about the Shadowhunter world, and was nice enough to include Clary and teach her about it. The end made me hate him, though. I hope we see him again in later novels.
Luke is the man who practically raised Clary as his own daughter since her father “died” before she was born, or so her mother told her. He wasn’t in the book that much until the end, so I didn’t have much of an opinion of him either way until I learned more about him. He’s a werewolf, which he kept hidden from Clary all her life. He is loyal and loving to her and her mother, which made me love him. When he was hurt badly by Valentine, it was the only point in the book where I felt emotional.
Valentine is the villain of the story. He is truly despicable. The way he manipulates Jace made me sick. What he did to Clary’s mother, making her think her son was dead, killing her parents, was awful. He was what made the novel feel more adult than YA for me. He was a murderous and callous character. The author did a great job in creating someone the readers could unite against with Clary. You want to see him dead from the moment you meet him.
Those are the characters I remember the most. If there are any more I am forgetting, the obviously didn’t make much of an impression on me or were not in the book much. Now for the story and setting…
Cassandra Clare’s strongest skill in writing was her descriptions. She did a great job of putting the reader into the scene. I could picture every place Clary was, see what she was seeing. The monsters and demons she described were perfect in my mind and made my skin crawl. It was fantastic. Emotionally, she did a good job of making the reader sympathize with Clary. There was one point where she switched point of view to Jace and I got a little jarred from that. I really didn’t care to know his point of view since I disliked him so much. Sticking with Clary was the way to go. Thankfully, it was only for a few paragraphs.
I gave this book a 4 out of 5 star review. I was very into it. The story and characters kept me reading, often longer than I intended to in a night. I already bought the second book in the series in paperback and will be starting that tonight!