Recommendation: “City of Bones”

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This is one of my favorite series. Since there has been discussion recently here at Lytherus about the new 4th book in the series, the movie which is being cast at the moment, and the Steampunk elements in Cassandra Clare’s branch-off story Clockwork Angel, I thought it was a good time to post the review I wrote when I first read this extraordinary book.

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Released:  03/27/2007

Imagine walking into a club and witnessing a murder. Even stranger, the killers are teens, completely unashamed about what they’re doing, and the victim disappears as soon as he’s killed—because he’s a demon. This is the opening to Cassandra Clare’s extraordinary book City of Bones, the first in the Mortal Instruments series.

Our protagonist, Clary Fray, is almost 16, and suspects nothing unusual in her life prior to her witness of the demon murder. But she soon learns about the mystifying teens and what they actually stand for. They are Shadowhunters—the official term for demon killers—spending their entire lives hunting and killing the monsters that come to wreak havoc on the earth. Beautiful, strong, sexy, and aloof, Clary can’t help but be intrigued by them, especially the smart-alek Jace. When her mother disappears mysteriously and Clary is attacked by a demon in her own apartment, she has nowhere else to turn but to the Shadowhunters for help. This one occurrence begins an unraveling of a series of events, pushing Clary into a world she never even knew existed. Secrets and truths are revealed, and as the story continues you begin to see just how involved her life actually is. Plus, all of this is happening in the dark and familiar streets of New York City. Toss in the Downworlders—vampires, werewolves, faeries—and Clare creates a world rich with both common fantasy elements and fresh new ideas.

I love the way the author has constructed this world and the people in it. Our main character is wonderfully believable, quirky, vulnerable, and stubborn. The supporting characters in this story are bright shining souls, beautifully written. Clare captures their distinct personalities incredibly well. And though the majority of the book is told from Clary’s point of view, occasionally she jumps into the head of another character, giving us an even fuller view of the situations at hand. But the author also attacks things on a spiritual plane as well, something not done as often, and it is executed brilliantly.

My favorite part of this book is the fact that Clare wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of traditional writings for young adults. She includes elements in her story that some might call controversial, but it only adds to the complexity and beauty of the plot. Plus she executes it in such a fashion that it blends seamlessly into the story around it. I’d go into more detail, but to do so would reveal some of the wonderful facets of this brilliant book.

This was one of those stories that I read from start to finish in one sitting. I couldn’t get enough of it, couldn’t read it fast enough, and didn’t want it to end. The climax was so shocking, so wonderfully uncomfortable and edgy, that I cannot wait to pick up book two. If you like real-world, urban fantasy, you don’t want to miss this one.

Written by: Lauren Z.

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