Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments, #1
Release Date: March 27th 2007
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder―much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
While at Pandemonium one evening with her best friend the last thing Clary expects to witness is a murder, but that’s what she sees, and what only she sees. Simon doesn’t see the three teenagers who committed the murder, even though they’re right in front of him at one point, and neither does the bouncer he ran to collect. With no evidence of what happened, no body and no murderers to point the finger at, Clary leaves Pandemonium and tries to push what happened from her mind.
However, the following day, after arguing with her mother and storming out Clary spots one of the boys from Pandemonium, and again she’s the only one who can see him standing there. Racing out to find answers about what happened the previous night Clary quickly finds herself on the end of Jace’s interrogation, asking how she could see through the glamours when no other mundane could. Then Clary gets a phone call from her mother, and hears her being attacked before the line goes dead.
By the time Clary makes it home Jocelyn is gone, but the demon that attacked her isn’t. Clary manages to fight it off but she is gravely injured, and the next time she wakes up she’s at the New York Institute, home of the Shadowhunter’s. Her ability to see through their glamours and bare the runes makes her one of them, but Clary doesn’t want any part of the world that has turned her life upside down and stolen her mother. However there are secrets hidden in her mind, secrets the Shadowhunters need and secrets that may save her mother’s life
This is the second time I’ve picked up City of Bones, and while I still enjoyed it I felt like it was missing a certain spark that makes a book truly unforgettable. Maybe it is because I’ve read it before so the little surprises and reveals along the way didn’t have as much of a punch the second time around. City of Bones is still a good book but there is a lot of set up for the world and the situation, and it doesn’t seem to leave much time for the action and for the real threat of the series to make itself known.
Clary grew up believing she was normal, and all she wants is to get her mother back, no matter the cost. With Jocelyn gone Clary’s life seems to be calling apart; she no longer has Luke and discovers pretty much everything she’s ever believed has been a carefully kept secret. Most of Clary’s motivation in this book is to find her mother and find out the truth about what was taken from her. She doesn’t know much about Shadowhunter culture and she doesn’t seem to want to learn anything more than what will help her meet her own goals.
Although being a Shadowhunter is in her blood Clary doesn’t know much about the life that should have been hers, and is willing to take a step back when she feels out of her depth. However at the same time if someone she loves is in danger she will rush headfirst into any situation, no matter how dangerous, to help them.
Jace is described as the greatest Shadowhunter of his age. He’s brash, overconfident, and sarcastic, and he skates past the rules believing them to be more guidelines than anything else. He marks Clary despite the small possibility of it killing her and runs off on dangerous missions without any backup, believing he doesn’t need any. However he is determined, willing to help Clary however needed, loyal to Alec and Izzy, and despite his closed-off attitude you can see the scars that were clearly inflicted on him at a young age.
There were plenty of secondary characters in this book who we got small glimpses of, and who I would have liked to see more of. From Alec and Izzy, Jace’s adopted brother and sister who live in the New York Institute and get roped in on some of Jace’s more insane ideas, to Simon, Clary best friend whose place is by her side even when that happens to be fighting demons. From Hodge, who has dark secrets of his own, to Luke, who pushes Clary away for seemingly no reason, to Magnus, the High Warlock of Brooklyn who put the memory spell on Clary so long ago. All of them have their own stories, their own wants and desires and fears, and it would be great to see them explored a little more.
The Mortal Instruments series is set in New York, but in a world underneath New York where the Institute stands behind a glamour keeping it hidden from mundane eyes and where the City of Bones rests. It’s a city where demons try to find their victims, where you can run across the fae in Central Park, and where any church is readily equipped to help in the Shadowhunter’s war against the demons. We learn a lot about the Shadowhunter’s dark history, and although we don’t get to see Idris we hear a lot about how this city is essentially an idealised paradise for all Shadowhunters. There was a lot to explore in this book, and although we got a good look at the history and the people themselves I would have enjoyed seeing more of the hidden side of New York the Shadowhunters and Downworlders inhabit.
While I enjoyed City of Bones I felt it was a book that was better the first time I picked it up. It was missing that spark for me and I just hoped for a little more from the story. Without being surprised by the twists and turns, by the secrets that were revealed bit by bit, I felt like I was waiting for the plot to go that extra mile.
What did you think of City of Bones? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.