YA Fantasy

My Review: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1): by Cassandra Clare

***Information from earlier First Publishing***
Publish Date: March 27th 2007
Number of Pages: 485 Pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre(s): YA Fantasy

Total Star Rating: 2.5 Stars

All of these many years later, twelve to be exact since this book’s publication date, I finally decided to give it a try to (maybe) begin a series that’s had such a huge presence and fanbase in the YA Sci Fi/Fantasy genre. Cassandra Clare’s name has always come up amongst those who are considered the best of the best, so I knew I would eventually dive into her stories, but just never did, and as more thick volumes of her books hit the shelves, I was more and more discouraged.

There’s a lot of books of hers, and they all look like Stephen King sized bricks! However, running the Teen section at the bookstore I work at, I put it upon myself to see what all the hype was about. Maybe I’d find another story to obsess about with other book lovers!

What It’s About:

Clary Fray and her friend, Simon, are heading into an 18-and-younger club in New York and while she’s there, she witnesses a murder. The strange thing is, she’s the only one who can see the killers since they’re somehow invisible to everyone else.

It turns out that the boy they killed was actually a demon in disguise, and that the killers are Shadowhunters, a secret elite group of supernatural warriors whose task is to keep order in the world and take down any powerful forces that threaten to destroy it. She returns back to her apartment to find it ransacked and her mother missing, but is attacked by another demon.

In a strange turn of events, she ends up teaming with the hunters; riding through New York in flying motorcycles and discovering a secret world filled with creatures she believed to only be in fairy tales and myth! In the series of The Mortal Instruments, every creature and every myth that has ever existed is in fact true, as well as alive and well!

What I liked:

  1. The Gay Representation! This book was published in 2007, and times were a little different in terms of acceptance of the queer community, and I know LGBTQ+ was nowhere near as represented as it is now, so kudos to the author for including thee kind of diverse characters in her story!
  2. Great World-building! I like the whole “Every story you’ve read is real,” the author doesn’t go off of just one area of mythology or religion, she’s just cramming it all together and saying it’s all true, that every fantastic beast and divine being has actually existed at some point in time.
  3. The Main Character’s Group Dynamic! Separately, the characters are kind of meh for me, which I will talk more about down the post a bit, but together they form a group that was actually enjoyable to read about, and follow whatever task they’re trying to accomplish. Jace and his sass had to be my favorite part of the whole book, even if he’s the stereotypical snarky bad boy character trope.

What I didn’t like:

  1. So Many Clichés…Again, I know it was 2007 when this book came out, and it snagged it’s spot before the whole Twilight craze took over YA literature, but the clichés were for sure on the heavy side: Vampires and Werewolves at war with each other, the brooding but sarcastic bad boy who falls for the shy heroine even though she doesn’t believe she’s actually attractive, the chosen one story arc, the nerdy best friend who’s also been in love with her for years but never said anything, the bitchy hot girl, the wise and older mentor, etc. Back then, maybe these weren’t so overdone, so maybe it’s partly my fault that I’m reading it in 2019. I stand by my point though; way too many clichés litter this book without giving me much of anything new.
  2. The Twist Towards The End…I’m not sure if it’s really much of a spoiler when the book has been out for so long, but for safety purposes, I won’t go too into it. there’s a twist with Jace and Clary that felt incredibly weird and uncomfortable, especially when earlier in the book, their interactions and feelings were going in a much different direction. Also, I felt like things went back to normal between them way too easily, like they were talking to each other at the end like nothing happened. It would’ve made more sense to keep the tension higher between them.  
  3. The Length Of The Book…Like I said earlier, Clare’s books are thick, but after reading City of Bones, I felt like it shouldn’t have to have been the case. In my opinion, the book could have been condensed a bit more so that it was a quicker read. I felt like not a lot actually happened, at least not enough to warrant how many pages the book was. It seemed to drag on for certain parts of the story, and maybe some scenes didn’t need as much attention as they did? 


Overall, I thought the book was just okay; nothing was too mind blowing that would cause me to stay up until 4 am trying to finish it, but I am curious enough to see how the series progresses, so I am willing to continue onto the second book, City Of Ashes. Here’s to hoping it gets more better as the series goes on!

Update (8/6/2019): Not going to continue with the series

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

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