City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

(Cover picture courtesy of Kirkwood Public Library.)

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.  Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons.  Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundane like Clary and her mother?  And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight?  The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Clary Fray is just an ordinary fifteen-year-old girl until she witnesses a murder in Pandemonium Club and realizes no one else can see the murderers.  She discovers that the murderers are Shadowhunters, people who hunt and kill demons.  When Clary’s mother is kidnapped and Clary herself is almost killed by a demon, the Shadowhunters take her in and Clary discovers secrets about her past and her mother that she might have been better off not knowing.

City of Bones is pretty much your average urban fantasy book: vampires, werewolves, warlocks and secret societies.  Despite these clichés, it is a surprisingly enjoyable read.  The plot is riveting and filled with unexpected twists and Cassandra Clare has obviously spent quite a bit of time on world-building.  The only aspect that really falls flat is the characterization.  Clary could be substituted for any other YA protagonist, Jace is your stereotypical ice-cold hunk, Isabelle is a man-eater and Simon is the tragic best friend who *SPOILER ALERT* secretly loves Clary.

If you can get past the poor characterization and the typical urban fantasy clichés, you will enjoy City of Bones.  It does have its shortcomings, but Cassandra Clare is a good writer and manages to pull off a funny, enjoyable and addicting book.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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5 comments

  1. Thomas

    Wonderful review! You do a great job of balancing the positives and negatives of the book in an evenhanded way. Also, like I wrote in my comment on your review of City of Ashes, I’m glad that you liked the second book better than the first. (:

  2. alexandraczarina

    I agree, it is a surprising enjoyable read, but the characters are kind of two-dimensional. And I think the romance between Simon and Clary seemed a bit forced. But that’s just me. Anyway, good review as always.

  3. Book Blather

    I read this book years ago and wasn’t that enamoured with it either, I never continued the series. But I will be seeing the movie! It looks really good. 🙂

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