City of Bones is a book, for those of you who don’t know, either because you’ve been living under a rock, or don’t follow YA fantasy much, or don’t pay it any notice on Netflix (all are valid life choices!). So, I started with the painfully obvious. Of course it’s a book because I’m writing a book review and this is what I type at midnight apparently. This is my re-visiting of the Mortal Instruments and City of Bones (the first book in the series) because the TV show came out and all that.
City of Bones was published by Cassandra Clare on March 27, 2007. It was then made into a disastrously bad movie that was released August 21, 2013. Seriously, the movie was truly dismal and I’m generally pretty tolerant of not-so-great movies. They just went ahead and decided not to make City of Ashes into a movie after the not-great attempt at City of Bones.
In any case, I decided to revisit the City of Bones (book edition) after the release of Lady Midnight (see the review by me) this March 2016 and because I wanted to follow along with the new TV show, Shadowhunters, which was released January 12, 2016.
City of Bones basically introduces us to Clary, a normal “mundane” girl who’s best friend, Simon, is sooooo obviously in love with her. Turns out, Clary is not mundane at all because her parents are shadowhunters, or demon hunters if you like, and therefore she is too because that’s now it works. Shahowhunters are all supposedly descendants of half-angel (Razeal) and half-human and that’s that. This isn’t to be confused with Supernatural, which features two brothers who hunt demons and have all kinds of personal problems, like the fact that they’ve died 3 times each (somewhere between 1-5 times) but are still kicking around.
So back to the City of Bones, Clary runs into Jace, another shadowhunter, and all hell breaks loose, like she sees him kill a demon. Clary knows nothing about the shadowhunter world but she starts seeing things because the spell to make her forget all things fantastical / demony / shadowhuntery is wearing off. To make matters worse, Clary’s mom is kidnapped by her dad, who’s obviously kind of an evil overlord type (her words not mine) in the first chapter or 2 and can’t even explain everything. Fortunately, she gets some help from the Shadowhunters and Clary is well on her way to “fixing” things. But the shadowhunters have their own social issues. Frankly, there massive social issues in the shadowhunter culture that needs to be fixed, and still isn’t according to Lady Midnight, which is the first book in the newest series and is set about 5-10 years from when this takes place; apparently the older shadowhunter people just like to be stodgey elitists even though the young people are all like “yo, this is obviously wrong”.
Cassandra Clares writing style leaves something to be desired, to be honest. I have seen tons of writers who are way better. She does this weird thing where she splices sentences awkwardly when characters are talking. She’ll do something like this:
“I am,” Jace said, “not going to do that.”
Awkward right? It happens all over in her books, or at least in City of Bones (maybe less later on). As far as I know, City of Bones was her first major publication so it’s possible someone said to cut it out and she stopped doing it in other books, but I was really noticing it here and it was driving me up the wall.
Another thing that bugs me is her preoccupation with beauty and thinness because I sort of feel like she exemplifies being tall, having a flat stomach, and being stunningly gorgeous. City of Bones actually isn’t the worst for this, but Clary still spends a lot of time worrying about how her mom and Isabelle are “hotter” than her even though she’s obviously supposed to be attractive herself (even if it is in a “cute” way). I understand wanting to show how a teenaged girl is insecure, but I’m not really ok with the way Cassandra shows the comparison. Please check out my post on Lady Midnight for more details on my feelings here.
For some reason I keep reading her books, and all in all, I enjoy them (even though I see some flaws). While he Mortal Instruments are not literary masterpieces, they’re fun, easy and I like the Shadowhunter world. I also think that Cassandra Clare made really interesting characters who are interesting, engaging and flawed.
Shadowhunters, the TV show, has been out for a while now too and it’s interesting. The producers made some changes, such as having Clary be 18, not 15, and Simon becomes a vampire earlier in the plot (while the plot of City of Bones is still happening vs. in City of Ashes). My boyfriend (who never heard of the series before he saw me me watching it) thinks that the show is kind of ridiculous, but my best friend and I (we’re both long-time fans) have really liked it up to this point. It’s been set up for a new seasons last I heard, so hopefully they keep it up. It strikes me as the sort of show that is more likely to attract existing fans vs. acquiring a lot of new ones, but that might change if it keeps getting renewed.