Clare, Cassandra. City of Bones. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007. Print.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is the first book in Cassandra Clare’s internationally bestselling urban fantasy Mortal Instruments series. It follows teenager Clary Fray as she discovers the world of the Shadowhunters. She’s out at a club with Simon one night when she witnesses something horrible, but it seems that she’s the only one who’s able to see the perpetrators. She is suddenly sucked into the realm of the Shadowhunters – an ancient race of demon hunters. Clary may soon find out that she isn’t who she thought.
I first read City of Bones in 2012 or 2013 when this series was incredibly popular. I wasn’t really a fan. Nonetheless, I continued on with the series because I’m stubborn, and I disliked them even more as I went on. Then I heard that Clare’s prequel series, The Infernal Devices, was better. It wasn’t. For some reason, when I was in San Diego for Spring Break and I went to a really cool bookstore that used to be a movie theater, I decided to pick up Clare’s new book, Lady Midnight. Maybe I was in a good mood because I was on vacation, but I absolutely loved it. My love for that book made me want to reread City of Bones. This class finally gave me that opportunity.
I still don’t love the book. I may appreciate it a bit more because I know where everything is leading and it seems that Cassandra Clare has planned quite extensively. Or maybe she’s just good at improvising. This was originally the first book of a planned trilogy, but she later decided to expand into an eight book series. Even The Infernal Devices and Lady Midnight connect to The Mortal Instruments in quite a few ways.
Clary is probably the number one thing I don’t like about the book. She makes a lot of bad and irrational decisions throughout the series. I mean, all teenagers, and humans in general, make bad decisions from time to time, but seriously Clary? She also doesn’t react as a normal teenager would if they had been put into the same situation. She seems to be able to take in the situation very easily. Demons exist? Okay. Vampires? Sure, why not. She didn’t seem extremely phased.
A trope I have seen frequently in young adult books is the mean love interest. Jace Wayland falls into that category. I think there is a big difference between sarcastic humor and just being mean, and I believe Jace is far more mean than sarcastic. It bothers me that young girls are falling in love with this fictional character who doesn’t really treat women very well. I would hate for them to find themselves in a similar situation and think that it was okay or normal.
Aside from the unlikable characters, I found the pacing of the novel as a whole very slow. I spent a lot of time waiting for something to happen, and when something did happen, it wasn’t that interesting. I think there was a bit too much world building all at once, and it made the book move very slowly. Some of this information could have been explained at different points throughout to make it more even.
I don’t think this would be a great book to read in school, and not just because I’m not a big fan. I will be using City of Bones for my paper, which examines the stereotypical adolescent and how they are sometimes represented in literature. Teachers could use this book for that reason, but I think it would be a bit of a stretch, and there are much better books to use for that purpose.