City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry
Date Published: March 27, 2007
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Once upon a time…
“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. And she’s more than a little startled when the body disappears into thin air. Soon Clary is introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. And Clary is introduced with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque monster. How could a mere human survive such an attack and kill a demon? The Shadowhunters would like to know…” (from Amazon)
The Nitty Gritty
Let me add in my little disclaimer. A vast majority of the criticisms I’ve read about City of Bones have been about Clare’s “Draco Trilogy.” To be honest, I don’t really know much about it. The basics? Clare wrote an extremely popular fanfiction of Harry Potter which focuses primarily on Draco Malfoy (as one could probably deduce from the name). As you could imagine, many in the Harry Potter fandom read this as children and are now enraged by the “plagiarism” they believe has been translated into this separate work. My thoughts? There are plenty of other things to pick on in this book. I promise. And as someone apart from that fandom altogether, I didn’t really see any overbearing similarities between this work and Harry Potter… unlike a certain Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (*cough cough*), but that’s a story for another time.
As always, I’ll give you some of the good. This book was very easygoing, and I blew through it in a manner similar to the Twilight saga back when that was a thing. I loved the concept behind this series. There’s a secret world of supernaturals living among the humans and it can only be seen by those involved? I was here for it. The whole story line is pretty unique and is something I could really see myself getting lost in if it were written in a way I could stomach. I felt as though the backstory of the Shadowhunters and the why of what they did was the only thing really fleshed out. Also, while you’re anticipating that some form of betrayal will happen, it’s all well thought… to a point. Clare just didn’t write this in a way that would make me rate it much higher.
Now, here are the problems. This book was WAY over-hyped everywhere (Hell, it still is). I, once again, found myself expecting the next great YA series. However, the writing is just not good. Unfortunately for Clare, there wasn’t an audiobook to shield me away from the words on the page this time. City of Bones is riddled with enough similes and metaphors to make your English teachers cringe. It was a rookie mistake that the editors should have called Clare out on as opposed to letting it slide. And to be completely honest, half of them were so ridiculous that they didn’t make sense. Clare tried too hard to be deep that it just came out as forced.
Be warned that she also spent way too long telling us just how blonde Jace’s hair is when she could have actually developed him as a character bigger than his looks. We get it. The boy has gorgeous blonde locks to make the angels themselves green with envy. Stop talking about it. Instead, how about you talk about his relationship with Alec and Isabelle? Tell me about his life. We get a brief glimpse of just how he had it then SMACK… nothing. Of course, I don’t fault her much there. More will probably be coming in later books as this is a series (more better be coming).
The characters…. Good God, man, the characters– specifically the main characters. I was more interested in what was going on behind-the-scenes with Alec (and Magnus) and Isabelle and Simon. Clary (Clarissa… Clary… Clare) was just so underdeveloped for her to be the one character I’m forced to follow around for damn near 500 pages. It came off as if these characters were just archetypes that accidentally went to the printers without being fleshed out.
What really disappointed me, though, was the ending. It just seemed rushed. Everything important was crammed into the last 100 pages so forcefully. I found myself feeling as though the beginning 400 pages merely extended unimportant scene after unimportant scene and forgot to actually lead up to an ending worthy of this plot line.
I will not lie to you, though. I’m tempted to read the sequel because MAGNUS FUCKING BANE!, and I want to know more about the story itself… Like I said, it really is interesting. It just wasn’t executed in a bearable manner for me. I just pray there is some evidence of growth in the next one. God help me if there isn’t.
Let’s Conclude This
The writing is what killed this book for me. I just came to a point where the over-the-top descriptions and the stagnant characters became too much. I only recommend this to those who find the story truly interesting enough to put up with anything. If not, don’t waste your time.