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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

First Paragraph: “You’ve got to be kidding me,” the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest. He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head. “You can’t bring that thing in here.” The fifty or so teenagers in line outside the Pandemonium Club leaned forward to eavesdrop. It was a long wait to get into the all-ages club, especially on a Sunday, and not much generally happened in line. The bouncers were fierce and would come down instantly on anyone who looked like they were going to start trouble. Fifteen year-old Clary Fray, standing in line with her best friend, Simon, leaned forward along with everyone else, hoping for some excitement.

Review: City of Bones is an urban fantasy novel that follows Clary Fray as she discovers that hidden just beyond the world she knows is another one full of faeries, werewolves, vampires, and shadowhunters. Shadowhunters are warriors that hunt down and kill demons and other creatures that might harm humans. A shawdowhunter is what Clary would have been if her mother hadn’t purposely hidden her from that world. As always, you can only hide from your past for so long before it catches up with you, and soon Clary must enter this new world to save her mother from certain death.

I could hang out with this lady

Cassandra Clare is the only author I have seen that is so involved and connected to her fan base. She lives and breathes these books and seems eager to communicate with readers that love the series as much as she does. When I see an author so connected to her characters it makes them seem all the more real which makes City of Bones, and its following novels of the series, that much more of a pleasure to read.

The novel is written in third person but features different perspectives of characters, so the reader isn’t always following the heroine around. It’s as much of a novel about Clary as it is about Simon, or Jace, or any of the other characters. The advantage of this style is that it breaks up the monotony that a single perspective can sometimes give, but the drawback is that it takes out a lot of suspense. At times I knew so much more than the protagonist I became frustrated with how oblivious she was. And when you’re frustrated with the protagonist it makes it difficult to sympathize with them. But I still prefer this style because it gives the reader a chance to see a focus on their favourite characters other than the herione.

"Hey pop, what do you think's outside New York?" "No more of these dreamer thoughts Jimmy."

Clare’s writing style is something I actually enjoy. Nothing reads as being particularly awkward and she has a more casual style of writing that I think sits well with the novel’s demographic. The novel, for the most part, takes place in New York city and while the setting is well developed there, it’s difficult to imagine anything beyond New York. City of Bonescomes across as a novel more about characters, relationships and action sequences than the world it takes place in. I don’t imagine that this was the author’s intention but I found it difficult to imagine anything remotely supernatural occurring beyond the city. People that leave New York in the novel are like middle school friends on facebook. You know they exist, and you might have a moment when you think “remember so-and-so?”, but ultimately they have no influence or detrimental life significance.

The best thing about City of Bones is the seamless combination of romance and ass-kicking. I like a mushy love connection like any other woman who cries watching Disney movies, but I also love a good slasher and gross-out fest. The worst thing about City of Bones is that I can’t picture myself walking the streets of New York and being transported into memories of the book, and let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure J.K. Rowling is the only person on this planet that can make people wet themselves with excitement about the prospect of getting on a train in Britain.


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Filed under Book Reviews, Magic, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, YA Fiction