Thursday, April 4, 2013

[Book Review] City of Bones

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments Book 1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Date Published: March 27, 2007
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 3/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
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. 

An interesting young-adult story featuring twists and turns that are sure to make eyebrows raise (either out of sheer awe or pure disappointment, I leave the choice to the reader).

This is a long review. And though I tried my best not to post any spoiler, I might have spilled a few bits (nothing major, I promise). Consider yourself warned.

Let me start by saying that the alternate world presented in this story is very, very interesting. I love the thought of a world existing beyond what we see by our naked eyes.

As an avid reader and part-time reviewer, I've had many opportunities to enter alternate worlds and realities through books. I've read so many that they don't usually stick to my memory. It's like, I read a book tonight and then, everything is flushed out the next morning, well, except for a few bits and pieces, or the major outline of the whole story.

This one, however, well, it stuck, and the major reason is because it really is a fascinating world. It's an escapist's cliche, I know. I read this book just to escape the usual legalese that I deal with on a daily basis. It never occurred to me that it will actually draw me in. What a pleasant surprise, indeed.

Next, the characters. I'll start with the minor ones first.

I'll start with Isabelle. I think Isabelle is a pretty kick-ass character. She's portrayed as someone strong and independent from the get-go alone. I love strong female characters but what I like about Isabelle is that she can be a bit bitchy but not without reason. She gives you what she thinks straight to the point and without sugar-coating anything. Plus, she's a great fighter.

Next is Alec. Just his mere existence within the story already earns a hundred brownie points from me. I know that most YA books are still a little closed-off in featuring a gay character in a book that's targeting the mainstream YA population. Also, I love how Alec balances his sister's strength. He's the 'plan-first, attack-later' kind of character, as opposed to Isabelle and Jace who are both trigger-happy. If this were a multi-player, role-playing game, Alec would be the support. Heh. (Gamer here.)

Next is Simon, Clary's best friend and the all-around snark and sarcasm type of guy. To be honest, I love this guy. I'm even on Team Simon rather than on Team Jace, because he is just adorable and snarky. He got me hook, line and sinker by the snark part alone. Plus, the fact that guy best pals automatically earn the 'awww' factor for me.

Simon also gets a hundred brownie points for staying with Clary after being dragged into her alternate world where he's considered an outcast and completely helpless. And another hundred brownie points for choosing to stay even when Clary treats him like a doormat. (I'm being honest about how I see things here, so yes, Clary was really douche to Simon.)

Hookay, now for the main leads...

First, Jace Wayland. I don't really know what to feel for this guy. I do understand where he's coming at, but I'm kind of undecided on where I stand as regards him. I don't know if I should like him or not, which says a lot, because it was fairly easy for me to determine which characters I liked from the minor characters alone.

Upon first meeting with Clary, Jace seems like the easy-going type, but then as I read on through the story, his while background is heavy and dark. Then there's the fact that he seems to like getting himself in perilous situations. I mean, sure, he's a trained and very skilled shadow-hunter, but shouldn't the proper description be 'suicidal'? Just my two cents.

Then there's the heroine, Miss Clarissa Fray or Clary Fray. I do not like her. I can't exactly pinpoint what I don't like about her. It's just that she seems off no matter how much I try to figure out what doesn't add up about her.

Maybe it's the fact that she doesn't cry hysterically after experiencing one tragedy after another. Or the fact that she's still mentally stable after knowing that the life she has led thus far is a lie, after being attacked by a mindless monster, after losing her mom, after being abandoned by Luke, and after being practically mind-raped by the Silent Brothers. She's just too... perfect. (In comparison, Katniss Everdeen was completely psychologically unstable in Mockingjay of the Hunger Games Trilogy.)

Oh, and also one of the reasons why I don't like her is because she treats Simon unfairly. She's been friends with the guy for a very long time and yet, she just takes him for granted. (What an injustice!)

What else? Hmmm... I really liked the action scenes. I can just imagine them happening in my head, and for me, that's the criteria on whether an action scene is effective or not.

Oh, and the kiss scene! I am relieved and at the same time, confused. Let me start with why I'm confused.

I'm confused because they kissed without any warning whatsoever. It was like, Clary tripped and she ended up on Jace. Jace thought she was asking for a kiss so he kissed her. Personally, the kissing scene wasn't even remotely romantic because it felt rushed. It felt like it was squeezed in there just because they needed the male and female lead to kiss. Personally, I found the scene where Jace was telling his story to Clary more romantic.

The same kissing scene, though it baffled me, also relieved me because it wasn't portrayed with purple prose. It was just a simple kiss. It wasn't earth-shattering, it wasn't orgasmic-teetering-on-obscenity. It was exactly how I think YA kisses should be like. Brownie points for that. Hee.

The ending of the story was also mind-blowing, in my opinion, so I'd say that it was well worth reading.

Overall, the alternate world in this story really drew me in. That, and Simon are the main reason why I give this book three points out of five.

Just to be clear, I am well-aware of the plagiarism issues concerning Cassandra Clare, and I just have to say that I will not touch upon those, and that I've tried my best to review this story objectively.


On a side note, I know that City of Bones (The Movie) is coming out this year (August 23, 2013), and that they actors and actresses set to play Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Jace and Clary have been picked.

Still, I choose to post the picture below:

If it were me, I'd pick Nick Roux to be Simon and Alex Pettyfer to be Jace Wayland.


  1. Darn it, I started reading this book; didn't like it; dropped it; now I want it back because the movie trailer is awesome.

  2. I agree with you on one thing! I didn't like Clary AT ALL! She's a little off to me.. but since the series itself has such an AMAZING story I just kept reading..

    BTW, This is a pretty cool blog! I at least spent like half an hour on here just reading and reading haha!
    If you want, check out mine,, and even comment if you have a chance xx


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