Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

cityofbonesTitle: 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.

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12 Responses to Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

  1. Pam says:

    If you read the other books the brother sister thing gets less WOW. Did you know there is to be a book about Simon on his own? I LOVED this series.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I saw this book and hesitated, only because it gives the impression of a different genre with the big buff male chest on the front! Like erotica or something! I’m glad you guys enjoyed it though.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..A Little Princess: The Story of Sara Crewe – Frances Hodgson Burnett =-.

  3. This sounds so good! My coworker has a copy sitting on her desk and I keep being tempted to pick it up (the cover draws me in), but I’ve been good and resisted to so far. I think I’ll have to go ahead and cave in. 🙂 Thank you for your great review, Carrie.
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..The Search for the Perfect Gift – Virtual Advent Tour =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Wendy – yes, you should definitely pick it up – I think you’ll really like it!

  4. I LOVED this series of books! And I am so glad to hear you are getting to them. They just keep getting better and Simon is by far my favorite character as well. Good thing for us, the next book Clare signed on to do is going to be all about Simon!!!! Yay! Great review and great advice!
    .-= the1stdaughter´s last blog ..When I Was Young – Bookworming in the 21st Century =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Danielle – I am definitely picking up book two sometime this weekend! My daughter has it out from the library, and it’s not due until Jan. 3rd. 🙂

  5. heidenkind says:

    I have to say, I didn’t like this book too much. It was okay, I just thought it was really derivative of Star Wars and Harry Potter. And the sibling thing I saw coming a mile off.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..TSS–The Vlog Edition =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Tasha – huh, I didn’t make the Star Wars or Harry Potter connections at all! Funny how reading a book is such an individual experience.

  6. Pingback: The Sunday Salon – January 3, 2010 (the “December reading wrap-up” edition) | BOOKS AND MOVIES

  7. Shadow says: