City of Bones

City of Bones

Title: City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Mortal Instruments, #1

Publisher: Walker

Release Date: March 27th 2007


Four Stars

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

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Every teenager in the world feels like that, feels broken or out of place, different somehow, royalty mistakenly born into a family of peasants. The difference in your case is that it’s true.”

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.

“I don’t want tea,” said Clary, with muffled force. “I want to find my mother. And then I want to find out who took her in the first place, and I want to kill them.”
“Unfortunately,” said Hodge, “we’re all out of bitter revenge at the moment, so it’s either tea or nothing.”

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.

…The Characters

“If there was one thing she was learning from all this, it was how easy it was to lose everything you had always thought you’d have forever.”

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.

“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”

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 was something about Jace, though, that made her want to push him, crack that shell of cynicism and make him admit he believed something, felt something, cared about anything at all.”

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 Setting

“We’re called Shadowhunters. At least, that’s what we call ourselves. The Downworlders have less complimentary names for us.”
“The Night Children. Warlock. The Fey. The magical folk of this dimension.”

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.


43 thoughts on “City of Bones

  1. Ahah it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you did the first time! It’s been a while since I read the series, but I remember really liking it. It would be interesting to see if my thoughts on it would change reading it again! 🤔 I’m glad you still liked the book well enough, lovely review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I just think this book was better when I could be surprised by the plot, knowing what was coming meant I kind of noticed the plot didn’t seem to happen at times you know? It was still a good story overall. 🙂
      Well yeah I read this for the first time a while ago, and while it was still an enjoyable read my feelings did change.
      Thanks Analee! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome review! I love City of Bones and I’ve read it quite a few times now, however I think I know what you mean. I always feel with this book in particular there should be more of something but I’m not sure what it is. I think Cassie Clare’s writing isn’t as great in this book as it is in the others, most likely because it was her 1st novel…so maybe that plays a part? I love this series, it’ll always be one of my favourites 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, I think for me it felt like there was a lot of buildup to something more but all we got was a mini face-off with Valentine at the end. There wasn’t that major plot twist or something I expected to see based on the way the story was built up throughout. Well I have enjoyed City of Ashes and City of Glass a little more, and I’ve heard great things about the rest of her books so I’m hoping it is a case of each one getting better and better! 😀 I can certainly see why this is one of your favourite though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice review! Glad to hear you were still able to enjoy it, even if this re-read took away that “new read” effect. Do you plan on checking out the TV series now? After you complete the series? Or maybe you’re not interested in it? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lashaan, and yeah while I did enjoy this book more the first time I picked it up it was still enjoyable reading it for the second time.
      I have actually already been watching the TV series (and I really love it) this has been one of the rare series where I’ve watched the adaptations before finishing the books. 🙂

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  4. Lovely review, Beth! Well I guess with re-reading, it takes away a bit of the first-time suspens and thrill you get when reading a book and discovering its world. I’ve been thinking about re-reading the first book in this series to try and go on with it, but for some reason I don’t prioritize it, there are so many other books I want to read first ahah 🙂 Hope the next books will have that spark you were missing here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie, and yeah that’s something I’ve noticed with a fair few re-reads but this was the first book where it actually affected my enjoyment of the story you know? That’s kind of how I felt about this series, but once I get through the first three I’ll be onto the part of this series I haven’t already read once which may bring that spark back. 🙂
      Book two was better, but at the moment book three is beating both! 😀 Thanks Marie! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this so long ago and I wasn’t really a fan. It just dragged for me? I did really enjoy Alec and Izzy’s characters though. Now, I really love the Netflix series so I’ve been thinking of retrying the books but I kind of keep putting them off 😂 Great review, Beth! I’m glad you enjoyed this even if it wasn’t quite as much as the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s a shame to hear Lauren, but yeah I can see why you felt this one dragged a little. It seemed to set up the world and the story so there was very little action to keep it going.
      It seems like we get more Alec and Izzy with each book if that helps convince you to give the series another go, and yeah I’m loving the Netflix series as well. This is a rare one for me in that I watched the adaptation before re-starting to books! 😀
      Thanks so much Lauren, and yeah a good book but could have been better overall. 🙂


  6. This sounds like a strong first book in a fantasy series for me! I don’t mind the lack of action when it’s well-executed and I get rewarded in later books 🙂 I really like the blurb for this one, I’ll have to check it out! Fab review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh well in that case this may be the perfect book for you Donna. It was definitely good at setting up everything, and there was plenty of action in the second to make up for the lack in the first so yeah well rewarded in later books I feel. 🙂
      Thanks so much! 😀


  7. I definitely understand what you mean about lacking that spark! When I first read it, I felt like it lacked originality despite being a fun read at times. I’m glad that you still enjoyed it despite it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how I felt about it as well, finally got around to picking this one up so it’s a case of better late than never.
      Yeah I thought it was a good book, and I guess that definitely applies here. I thought the second one was a bit better so it does improve in my opinion.
      I hope you enjoy this series when you get around to it Trang. 😀


  8. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Beth! Though I’m sorry it felt like it was missing a little something and not as good as you thought it was the first time you read it. It’s been so long since I read The Mortal Instruments but I know back when I did I loved them so much. I do think I enjoyed the second half of the series more than the first but when I first read it the introduction to the world was my favorite. I love how it’s set in the real world, so to speak, yet hiding from mortal eyes is a world full of magical creatures and demons. I remember them saying in the book “All the stories are true.” and I loved that. Now I’m feeling major TMI nostalgia! Also, just wait until you read the second half of this series and then The Infernal Devices. Magnus is in both way more and a lot of great characters get more page time in the second half of TIM as well. Great review as always!! 😁♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah overall this was still a good book. I just think, based on how much I can remember loving it when I first read it, it wasn’t the same the second time around you know? I’m hoping given I haven’t read the second half of this series I’ll enjoy those three books a little more.
      Yeah I love books that do that, start off with a familiar locations, or a real on in the case of this book and NYC, and then add the mystical locations on top of it. It’s something that was done really well in this book. I’m currently reading book three at the moment and I really love seeing Idris though.
      I’m looking forwards to getting onto the rest of this series, and then finally being up to date with the books, but it’s going to take me a while, there are a lot to get through.
      Oh yay, more Magnus is never going to be a bad thing in my opinion.
      Thanks Melissa! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get what you mean. Sometimes I think we tend to really enjoy some books the first time we read them because it’s a new world or hype and everything is exciting but then we find when we reread them it isn’t as fantastic as we thought it was the first time around. There are several series like that for me. I do hope you end up enjoying the second half more! 😊
        Same, it’s incredible when real life settings are taken and made all fantastical. And I loved seeing Idris in the third book too. It was neat since it had been talked about for so long but not seen. Though there was so much angst in the third book from what I remember lol.
        Right? There are a lot of Shadowhunters books and then even more to be released. But it’s definitely one of those series that I possibly never want to end just because I love the book world so much. I can’t wait until you’re all caught up and we can talk about the others. And I completely agree! More Magnus is never a bad thing. It’s a very good thing!
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 😁♥

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      2. For me it was probably the newness of it all. Like you said the new world and the new characters and the new story in general. Without that there just wasn’t that uniqueness to make me really fall in love with the book the way I did with TBS for example. I hope so too, given I haven’t read the second half yet I’m sure I will. 🙂
        Oh yes I definitely agree with you there. It was great taking the series away from New York for a book and seeing a place we’ve only heard about so far. Ha, yeah a lot of angst in City of Glass I agree. 😀
        Ah I have series like that, and I reckon by the time I’m up to date with this one I’ll agree with you on never wanting it to end either! 🙂 I’ll try and get caught up pretty quickly in that case so we can talk about it. I need to know what all the fuss is about when people talk about Lady Midnight! 🙂 ❤

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      3. I think a lot of the fuss with Lady Midnight has to do with the cliffhanger ending. I so can’t wait for you to get to it because you’re going to be like “WHAT?” but then you’ll probably get to jump straight into Lord of Shadows so it won’t be as bad. I still wouldn’t put it up there with AGOS’s cliffhanger but it was pretty close. 😂

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      4. Well now I know there’s a cliffhanger ending I’m definitely going to wait until after the release of LoS to start it. My aim is to be up to date by the end of this year. I think I can do it! 🙂
        Somehow I don’t think anything can beat AGOS cliffhanger! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh see I actually like the new covers, but then again I like the picture they create on the spine when you have the whole collection and I really hated the original UK covers! They were bad, trust me.
      But yeah I think this will be a series you really enjoy Stephanie, everyone seems to and they are good books. good books to do as a buddy read too! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great review Beth! Are you going to continue with the series? I hope you do because you get to see so much more of the secondary characters, and you really learn to love them. My favourite is Magnus… he’s so sarcastic and witty! 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Meghan. Yes I have continued with the series, my review for City of Ashes will be posted shortly and I’ve already started City of Glass.
      I’m glad to hear we see more of the secondary characters, I always love that in books, and Magnus is my favourite as well. I definitely can’t wait to get around to his novella collection! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad to hear you’ve continued! 😀
        Once you get to the fourth book: The City of Fallen Angels, that dives more into Simon, just to give you something to (maybe) look forward to. Ah yes Magnus’s stories are some of the best she’s written. I suggest reading it after you’ve read the whole TMI series & TID trilogy. It really enhances everything! 🙂

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      2. Yes, I need to try and get through all the books in this series soon-ish.
        Ohh, I do love Simon so I can’t wait for the second half of the series now. Especially considering that will be the start of the series I haven’t read before, so it won’t be a re-read for me like the first three books are.
        Oh I will, I stick to order with books like these, would you suggest I read TID trilogy before going onto the second half of this series, or reading the second half before TID? I’m not sure which would be the better option! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s exciting, finally starting to read the stuff you haven’t read yet! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
        Well I read them in the order they came out, so I finished TID before TMI (I literally have the books in order of when they were released on my shelf, and not by series ha!) Well the main characters from TID are in a few TMI books, so you may want to read TID before you get to book 4, because Clockwork Angel came out before City of fallen angels.
        Did that make sense? I feel like I rambled :s

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      4. Yep, although I have enjoyed going back and re-reading the first three books again.
        I feel like I vaguely remember TID series being released around the same time as the second half of TMI so I wasn’t sure what the correct reading order was. I’ll probably end up doing the same then, starting with TID and then going onto the second half of TMO.
        That made perfect sense, thanks for your help Meghan! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh good, I’m glad. I was worried I got all over the place!
        Yes the trilogy was released in sequence with the last TMI books. Every other book was a TID book.
        Just so you know I’ve been googling this as well just to see what others have done, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole haha! But I think the way you’re going to read it is perfect fine! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. No, besides I tend to do the same when I talk about things. I go off on wild tangents and never come back again. 🙂
        Well I guess that made it hard to work out which series to read first didn’t it? Then again I guess most people could have alternated them as they were released.
        Yeah now I have a plan of action I’ll stick to it. Start with TID, then go onto the last three TMI books, and the onto the anthology collections, and then finally Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows (which will likely have long since been released by the time I’m up to date!)

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