Sunday, 12 August 2012

Review: 'City of Bones' by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones.jpgI will admit that I decided to try this series for a very vain reason, namely that it was announced Jonathan Rhys Meyers would be in the movie as Valentine Morgenstern, which starts shooting somewhere this month. I love that man, so I decided this was the moment to see what these books were about and why everyone loved them so much. I went into this not expecting too much from it but also quite curious because this is the first proper urban fantasy I have read, I think.

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. . . . 
I did enjoy reading the book. I was expecting to be a bit exasperated because I don't really like novels with demons and vampires and all of that stuff. But it was nice to come into this world together with Clary, who had no idea what was going on, just like the reader. This next point is more a general criticism of all these kind of novels. The protagonists adapt surprisingly quick and never once stop to question or take a breather from everything. I realize that is difficult when your mother has disappeared but sometimes I feel the authors try to cram everything a teenager might feel into too short a period; abandonment, love, despair, loss of trust, etc. Also, after finishing the book I felt Clare had left to many plotlines open for an ending. This could not be read as a stand-alone book, as the 'Harry Potter' books could be, because there is no closure whatsoever.

I quite liked the characters. Jace is funny and at times his lines almost made me laugh out loud. I think it is a good thing Cassandra Clare uses a character that is so ironic because otherwise the book would seem to take itself to seriously, thereby opening itself up for ridicule. Clary herself was a nice protagonist although she didn't leave that big of an impression on me as Jace did. She is clearly a character the author wants us female readers to identify with and that definitely works in parts. However, I feel that the characters of Simon, Isabelle and especially Alec are underdeveloped. I would have loved to know more about Alec and to develop his story more because I think he is very interesting.

What I did like were some of the imagery Clare produced. Especially the brotherhood and the idea that magic is based on runes that are almost tatooed onto the skin was very nice. It shows Clare's creativity and also makes her story seem a lot more plausible than, for example, the existence of vampires in 'Twilight'. Although not loop-hole free, it's not as glaringly missing explanation as those books.

I have to say, and I'll be careful not to spoil the book for anyone here, I did not like the big revelation regarding Jace and Clary at the end. Those who have read the book will now what I mean. It just turned me ever so slightly of the books. I forgave it in 'Star Wars' (this link will make no sense if you haven't seen 'Empire Strikes Back' and/or haven't read 'City of Bones') because it was a completely different situation there, here it just seems wrong. I guess I will just have to read the next book to see how this develops, but I really hope it turns out different.

I give this book...


It was an entertaining read and I finished it in a day. Although it didn't completely blow me away I liked the story and the characters. I do hope there is some more character development in the next book and some explanations and answers. I definitely will go see the movie and although the other cast choices, except Simon, don't really seem to fit, I think Jonathan Rhys Meyers will be great as Valentine Morgenstern.


  1. I love Jace but not a big fan of Clary. But don't worry, the "big reveal" will be rectified later one so please keep on reading. Although I love her other series, Infernal Devices, better but this one is not bad either.

    1. Thank god! I really didn't like it! Thanks :)