Audiobooks Book Reviews Young Adult Books

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

April 12, 2009

8 of 10: City of Bones is all that I can ask for in a fantasy book – action, romance, top-notch characters, and plenty of twists. If you’re a YA fantasy fan or a Harry Potter lover, it is a good bet you will like this book.

I somehow completely missed the boat on this series. The third one came out about two weeks ago and they’ve all been on the NYTimes best-seller; yet, I was hardly aware of them until two weeks ago when Kayla said, “YOU MUST READ THESE BOOKS.” And because she has kindly read every book I’ve forced on her, I figured I could return the favor. Once she told me about them, I started seeing them or hearing about them everywhere. Of course.

There were so many things that made me think I wouldn’t like this book: lots of made up terms, vampires, werewolves, and fairies. The covers also didn’t really appeal to me – they looked so dark and weird that I never really gave them a second look.

And yet, as you could probably guess, I loved this book. Like, kept having to shut off the CDs to text Kayla and say, “I will give you my first born child for telling me about this book.”

Clary is a fifteen-year-old girl living in NYC with her mother (Jocelyn); one night, while at a dance club with her best friend Simon, she sees three teenagers lure a fourth teen into a utility closet and then kill him. Except the teen’s body disappears. And when Simon, sent by Clary to get a security guard, shows back up, neither he or the guard can see the other three teenagers, even though Clary can see them perfectly.

And then, the next night Jocelyn disappears after a frantic phone call in which she warns Clary to not come back to the house but to get away as quickly as she can.

Suddenly her ordinary life becomes very unordinary when she discovers that her mom used to be a shadowhunter (a person who hunts demons), before she turned her back on a powerful and evil group of shadowhunters that were trying to exterminate all demons, no matter the cost to humans or downworlders (vampires, werewolves, etc). And as if the news of all this power and intrigue isn’t enough, Clary finds herself making tentative friends with the far-too good looking Jace (and Jace knows just how good looking he is. He also knows that he’s one of the best shadowhunters his age, so he’s got enough ego for the both of them).

There are a lot of things going on in this story, with many plot lines and characters appearing and then intersecting in interesting ways.

It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter (the sudden discovery of a world you never knew about going on all around you, werewolves, flying motorcycles, bad guy obsessed with pure bloodlines, etc), but there was more romance and more snark.

I particularly loved Jace because of his snarkiness. You know I’m always most attached to the character with the snappy and sarcastic lines (see House, Sawyer, Jacob Black, etc., etc.,). Jace has some lines so hilarious, I was laughing out loud in the car and rewinding to listen to them again.

And, of course, there’s a terrific love-triangle, another plot device I will probably never ever grow tired of. It comes as a surprise only to Clary that Simon has been secretly in love with her for years (Jace picks up on it approximately ten seconds after meeting Simon).

I guess if I was to make one negative comment about this book, it’s the heavy handed foreshadowing (like the revelation half way through the book that Simon likes her – as if it wasn’t SO so obvious from page 1) or the secrets about Clary’s family.

The best part is that I have the next two books here waiting for me, courtesy of the Notable Books project. City of Ashes, here I come!

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14 Comments

  • Reply Mari April 12, 2009 at 3:51 am

    I have been wanting to read this series for awhile now but just haven’t gotten a hold of the books. I will have to get them now after your review of the first book. 🙂

  • Reply Alison Stewart April 12, 2009 at 5:10 am

    I’m glad to hear that you liked it! Of course….there is nothing like fantasy/romance…..my favorite! All I have to say…is the second is good…and good thing you have the third on hand-it is definately the icing on the cake!

  • Reply Bart April 12, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Please don’t give away our first born child (or any of the subsequent eleven, for that matter).

    Many thanks.

  • Reply Katie April 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I LOVE THESE BOOKS! I bought the first one based solely on the front cover (a hot, tatted-up, rippling chest? yes, please!) and while I do admit that they are rather ridiculous, the whole series is so much fun! I was a little concerned with the whole brother-sister dynamic, but it all works out in the end (*happy dance*). And the nickname Jace? I think I’m going to name one of my sons John Cameron just so I can shorten it to JC…and then call him Jace. Love it, love it, love it!

  • Reply Em April 13, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I’m reading this right now! 🙂

  • Reply David and Sammy April 13, 2009 at 3:16 am

    Ohh I’ll definitely read this.
    I don’t have time to do my research on what books to request from the library so thanks to you and your good reads ratings I have yet to be dissapointed! How on earth was I choosing what to read without you?

  • Reply TheMoncurs April 13, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Bart, your first born is MINE! Janssen promised. Neener.

  • Reply Packrat April 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    To Bart – It is *not* cheaper by the dozen! LOL

  • Reply Miriam April 14, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I’m so glad that I decided to drop out of my ward’s book club – like your mom has said – life is to short to be stuck reading books you aren’t interested in. This is going on my list of books I DO want to read!

  • Reply Literary Feline April 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    This does sound like a good series! I appreciate your great review and the recommendation!

  • Reply housewife June 3, 2009 at 1:27 am

    I just finished this book. LOVED them! It's been awhile since I've been so sucked into a book. What did you think of the love triangle plot twists at the end? I was a little surprised.

    Also, if you liked this book, you'd probably like Poison Study.

  • Reply Beth F August 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    I've just discovered your blog and thus I must have been living under two rocks — (1) because I have been missing your great reviews and (2) because I missed this series. I have already bought the eBook version and have it on my Sony Reader thanks to you. I may wish I had gone audio, but we'll see.

  • Reply Kimberly December 11, 2009 at 1:42 am

    I just read this and I liked it a lot, but I am a little sad that the love triangle appears to have collapsed. Is that enough info without giving everything away?

  • Reply Erica March 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Yeah, were you a bit skeeved as well about Clary and Jace being siblings? I was worried I would meet and date a 2nd cousin at BYU, but dang! They went WAY beyond that.

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