Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy that I borrowed from my daughter.
First line: “You’ve got to be kidding me,” the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest.
Clary has always known there was something a little different about her, a feeling that is confirmed when she witnesses a murder at a club in New York. She follows a blue-haired boy into a storage room, fearing that he is in danger from the two gorgeous, menacing young men who are following him. She sees the two boys, and their female partner, murder the blue-haired boy, who is a demon. The three other young people are Shadowhunters, belonging to the race of Nephilim, which were created by mixing angel and human blood. Their job is to control the Downworlders – demons, vampires, werewolves, faerie folk – and keep the fragile truce that keeps the Downworlders from killing humans.
Clary isn’t supposed to be able to see Isabelle, Alex, and Jace, the Shadowhunters – but she can. She wants nothing to do with their world until her mother disappears, and her disappearance seems to be the work of demons and Downworlders working for a rogue Shadowhunter named Valentine. As Clary learns the truth of her past, and begins to regain memories stolen from her, she is drawn into an epic battle in which the good guys and bad guys are not easily identified.
In City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare has created a wonderful world of urban fantasy that is rich with history and mythology. Some of the YA fantasy I have read lately has a very simple premise: smart girls falls in love with dangerous boy, has to figure out what/who he is, they end up together. (Hush, Hush, Twilight) Now, simple isn’t necessarily bad – I liked the Twilight series – but it’s always a nice surprise to read a fantasy that is more richly imagined and intricately drawn. (Fire by Cashore, Wicked Lovely by Marr) City of Bones definitely falls into the latter category – and I found it to be completely addictive and hard to put down.
I loved the love triangle created by Clary, Jace, and Clary’s human best friend, Simon (who was probably my favorite character in the book). And even though some of the surprises were spoiled by my daughter who read it before me, I still enjoyed every secret that was revealed. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
Side note: If you have kids who love fantasy, please keep in mind that this series definitely skews to the more mature side of the YA spectrum. I did allow Natalie to read it, although if I had known some of the issues it tackles beforehand, I probably would have encouraged her to pick something different when we were book shopping. (She’s 13.) But since I didn’t know, she read it, and we talked about the issues as they came up – which is our agreement when it comes to any book she reads. There isn’t any explicit sex, but one character is gay and (slight spoiler) two characters are attracted to each other and then later discover that they are brother and sister.