Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Thursday 3 October 2013

City of Bones
Cassandra Clare
Genre(s): young adult, fantasy
Published: 2007
Pages: 442
Rating: 4 stars

Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn towards a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City - and the dangers of forbidden love.

I actually really enjoyed this book. I don't think it quite lived up to all the hype surrounding it, but it certainly didn't disappoint me like I expected it to. Although, there were a few moments that had me thinking 'this is boring, why is it included?' Fortunately, all the good, action-packed, world-building, character developing bits outweighed the parts (mainly dialogue, I found) that dragged.

I think my favourite things about this book were the characters. As of now, I don't have a favourite - or a least favourite, if I think about it - but I'm sure I will if I decide to carry on the series. And I think I most definitely will be continuing with The Mortal Instruments books.

The thing I found most appealing about the characters was how they weren't one-sided. Okay, yeah, they could all still use a bit of work because they were a tad cliché, but I didn't find them to flat or unrealistic. Simon, for example, stood out to me. I liked that he ended up falling out with Clary at one point, despite the fact that they were best friends, because I feel that it really shows how people behave in reality. He was annoyed with Clary and he let her know by ignoring and snubbing her. You can tell that, even though they work through things, the things that were said and done between them will never truly allow for their old relationship to become fully fixed. I'm not sure that that made much sense, but what I'm trying to say is that they manage to get over themselves, but not in an overly dramatic 'I totally forgive you and want to be BFFs again'.

While I did really enjoy the world and all the fantasy elements that were introduced, I did find it rather difficult to keep track of everything. I was constantly opening up Google to search what a Downworlder is, or what a certain rune looks like, or what a Seraph blade is. You get the idea. I feel like all of that wasn't explained as clearly as it could have been, at that it should have been explained again towards the middle/end of the book to just refresh the reader's memory, because with everything that happened between the initial explanation and the ending (there were a lot of twists and turns, which again, were sometimes hard to get your head around and keep track of) it was easy for all these new words to just slip your mind.

City of Bones ended up being a quick, gripping read for me, but I'm still kind of wondering why it needed to be so long (and why there are so many more books in the series). I get that the world and characters need to be established, but can't it be a little more condensed so only the important, action-packed parts are included? Yeah you need non-actiony parts to balance it out, but not too many. In this case I felt like there were nearly too many, partly because the chapters were so long and the author's writing didn't really captivate me or motivate me to read lots at once (although I did finish this rather quickly). I don't know, I just feel like it's a bit too long, and that scenes could have been cut and it still be a good story.

Overall though, it was a good read. Perfect for any young adult fantasy fans that enjoy the Harry Potter books and the show Supernatural.

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