Series: Mortal Instruments #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published on March 27th 2007
Genres: Action & Adventure, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
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...
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
World Building- 9/5/10
Review (SPOILER ALERT)-Hi, everyone! It’s awesome to be doing my first review for Sporadic Reads, and I thought, what better way to start than to do reviews for one of the biggest YA series right now? So I will be doing a compilation of reviews for the Mortal Instruments series to kick off my tenure here at this amazing blog. Be wary of spoilers, though; I am assuming most people have read this series, so I’m not holding back with spoilers!
City of Bones is my first EVER attempt at urban fantasy. Now, I’m not much of a fantasy person. In fact, the only fantasy series I’ve bothered to read are Harry Potter and Percy Jackson (both of which I loved). But the idea of angels, demons, warlocks, runes, and such never really interested me. So I went into City of Bones with pretty low expectations, even with all the hype surrounding it.
I wasn’t blown away by this book, but I wasn’t disappointed either. The plot was decent. It started out a bit strange- I wondered why on Earth 15 year olds were going to nightclubs filled with drunk, mad people. Maybe I’m just not a legit teenager, and that’s what we’re all supposed to do. Anyway, I found that a bit peculiar. After we met Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and Hodge, the pace slowed down dramatically. We were introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, and the world was so complex and detail-oriented that it took AGES to explain. So Clary just wandered around the Institute while everyone took turns explaining stuff to her. It was necessary for us readers to know all this stuff, but it definitely slowed down the plot. The middle of the book was a bit wander-y. It felt like the characters were worrying about minor things, like a human turning into a rat, and we were skirting around the big issue, which kind of revolved Valentine’s plan to obliterate anyone he thought wasn’t “pure”. We finally got to that issue about 350 pages into the book, which was relieving, but it took way too long. The climax was fun, surprising, and action-packed, although it was a bit confusing. When it was announced that Valentine was Jace and Clary’s father, I think Jace changed his mind about 5 times about how he felt about the issue before he finally decided on a course of action. I think I get it now. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I gathered, Jace and Clary are siblings, they both hate their father, Valentine has run off to Idris with the Cup, Jocelyn is still unconscious due to Valentine’s spell, and the Clave is supposed to deal with the issue of the Mortal Cup. Right? Ok.
The characters were pretty meh. Clary was not the best main character- in fact, she was whiny, cranky, annoying, and rude. I got annoyed with her very early on in the book. I hate how she treated Simon and didn’t see that he loved her. I mean, come on. It couldn’t have been any easier to tell. I hate how she was rude, how she cut people off, and how she got annoyed so quickly. A lot of people peg Jace as the asshole in the book, but really, Clary was just as asshole-y in this book. It made it hard for me to sympathize with her whenever she was struggling.
The minor characters were all right, though pretty one-dimensional. Isabelle didn’t do anything throughout the entire book, and to be honest, neither did Alec. They were just, well, there. I’m hoping for some more character development with them in the other books. Jace was all right, I guess. He’s your typical bad-boy love interest. A golden-haired angel, with brilliant skill at killing demons and a massive ego. He was snarky- he made a lot of sarcastic jokes even in the most dire situations, and never hesitated to make a comment about how attractive he was. Some people might have a problem with that, but I didn’t mind- I actually found it pretty charismatic. What I did mind was how he treated Simon. He treated him like some inferior animal, which was pretty appalling. If he did that out of jealousy because Simon was such a big part of Clary’s life, I find it peculiar that someone with that bloated ego was insecure enough to treat a “potential competitor” like an animal. It was weird, anyway, and it didn’t make me like him one bit.
Out of the 3 stars I gave this book, two and a half were for Simon. Simon was AWESOME. He was caring, witty, funny, smart, and came through when his friends needed him. It was easy to like him, and easy to see that he loved Clary. It was really cute watching him trying to break it to her multiple times, and when it happened in that Institute bedroom, I nearly passed out from the feels. Truth be told, Clary doesn’t deserve him, but I really want to see them together for Simon’s sake. I really hope he’s a major part of the second book, because I only find myself completely invested when he’s in the scene. He was effectively the saving grace in this book.
I thought the writing was pretty good. The author did a good job of disguising the twists, and really keeping the suspense of the novel very high. However, I do feel like the writing was a bit wordy. Whenever we entered a new room, the writer went off on a tangent about every single detail within that room. I know some people like dense, detailed writing, but sometimes, it was a bit off-putting for me.
The world building was cool- again, this was my first venture into the urban fantasy world, so at first, it was a bit disorienting. But I got used to it eventually, and I found the world pretty interesting. It isn’t completely unlike Harry Potter, what with a bunch of young kids trying to stop a magical evil that is threatening to rise again.
Overall I thought City of Bones was a good start to the Mortal Instruments series. Even though the characters were mostly underwhelming, there were a few really strong points to the book, like Simon and the detailed setting, that piqued my interest. I will probably read the next installment just to see what happens, and how things shake out between Clary, Jace, and Simon.
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