City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1)

by Cassandra Clare

3.69 of 5 stars 101 ratings • 26 reviews • 129 shelved
Book cover for City of Bones

Bookhype may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Full disclosure.

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1)

by Cassandra Clare

3.69 of 5 stars 101 ratings • 26 reviews • 129 shelved

First in Cassandra Clare's internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series about the Shadowhunters.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Demons. First in the New York Times No. 1 bestselling series that has swept the globe, City of Bones is also a major movie and Shadowhunters, the TV series based on the book, is currently airing on Netflix. Irresistibly drawn towards a group of demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City and the dangers of forbidden love. This edition contains exclusive bonus content as well as a map and a new foreword by Cassandra Clare. Read all the sensational books in The Shadowhunter Chronicles: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, The Bane Chronicles, The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours and The Shadowhunter's Codex.

  • ISBN10 1416914285
  • ISBN13 9781416914280
  • Publish Date 21 April 2007 (first published 1 March 2007)
  • Publish Status Unknown
  • Publish Country US
  • Imprint Simon & Schuster
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 485
  • Language English

Reviews

Avatar for charlesreads

I first read City of Bones a few years back and continued on to the second and I think the third book I think. But for some reason, I never finished the series. So I figured it was time to start the series again.

City of Bones is a larger book to get through. But there is some much explained throughout it that it makes it oh so worth the length. It all begins with Clary meeting a group of shadowhunters at a night club by chance, or was it only by chance?

From there the spiral into the shadowhunter world begins. City of Bones refers to the Slient Brothers, a form of monks who oversee the bones and learnings for the Clave and Nephilim (Shadowhunters). In this book, they were called to try and help Clary unlock memories that a warlock looked away.

My favorite part or thing from City of Bones is the Institute. From Clare’s description, the place is huge and intrigues me. There could be so much that we as the reader could learn from it. The Institue is a home base for the shadowhunters and also functions as a sort of hotel for traveling Nephilim.

One major element of the book is Clary’s interest in Jace. The relationship has it all romance, adventure, confusion. An even bigger wrench is thrown into the relationship towards the end of the book. But, I won’t be mentioning that here.

From the moment City of Bones began, Clary had her world turned upside-down. She learned who her mother and father really were and why she also felt different. Clary also learned why Luke was so close to her mother.

Overall City of Bones was a great read. There were loads of details and worldbuilding that book place. Some parts of the book were fast-paced while others were slower. In general, the book was well worth the reread and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Avatar for talearchives

Stephanie 2 of 5 stars
I enjoyed the beginning, but the middle and end dragged on and on. I am also very uncomfortable with the... love interest? Sibling story line?

Avatar for catiebug

catiebug 5 of 5 stars
I'm so glad I decided to pick this series up. I'm already in love. I don't think it dragged at all. It's such a unique world so far and I can't wait to learn more about it.

Avatar for leahmichelle

Leah 5 of 5 stars
WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO READ THIS SERIES? I've tried a few times, but I really need to be in the right mood to read a series like this - there's loads of books, they're big and chunky and you really need to be in the right headspace but I *loved* it this time! It was fantastic, and it's so relaxing to read a book for the sake of reading it, I've been dying to read it for weeks, since I got it and it was SO worth waiting for! Can I get to Lady Midnight by May, ready for Lord of Shadows? Only 8 books to read...

Avatar for msbarham3

Mackenzie 3 of 5 stars
First read: July 6, 2013.
Second read: Jan 5, 2016

Ah, The Mortal Instruments. A series that never seems to end.

Seriously, though. I thought this was supposed to be a trilogy. Next thing I know she’s popping out 3 more books (are more on the way? That’s a serious question), a spin-off series (which I love SO much more btw), and yet another spin-off series coming this year.

WILL IT EVER END?!?!

Okay, getting off topic.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock a la Patrick Star, you’ll have heard that they’re making The Mortal Instruments into a TV Show (it airs tomorrow in case you're wondering). And, as the good little bookworm I am, I simply had to read (or reread in this case) the book before the show came out. 1) So I can remember what the heck happened. 2) So I can see if it stuck close to the book.

The results?

My feelings haven’t changed.

The first time I read this book, I gave it 3 stars. The second time I read it, I gave it 3 stars. 3rd times the charm? Nope. The rating stays the same (and I seriously questions why I've read this so many times...). I liked it, but didn't fall in love with it. I originally picked this up because of all the hype surrounding it and was expecting it to be some utterly fantastic book. The second time was because the movie was coming out. Unfortunately for me, it felt very middle ground. I liked some things, hated others, or sometimes loved and hated something at the same time.

The one thing I REALLY loved: THE WORLD and PLOT

I loved the world-building. I truly did. I thought it was utterly fascinating and exciting. It was a world ripe with mythology and adventure. It was rich and beautiful and incredibly intriguing. I caught myself consistently wondering about this world Clare had built. I was so incredibly interested in all things Shadowhunters. Even if some points were slightly info-dumpy, I was still utterly fascinated by the Shadowhunter’s world. The demons and Silent Brothers were all insanely creepy and brilliantly done. And all the mystery surrounding the Mortal Cup and Valentine made me want more.

Unfortunately for me, an amazing world and mystery isn't enough to make me fall in love with a book. I need to like the characters too, especially the main characters. And, quite frankly, that didn't happen.


  • Jace: Don't get me wrong, I love a good snarky, arrogant, tough guy, but I just couldn't fall in love with him the way some others have. I can't quite pin-point what made me not like him. I think it was the fact that while he was arrogant and cocky, he didn't really have any redeeming qualities to counteract those characteristics. Somewhat one-dimensional I guess. He was simply cocky. Plain and simple. But he was sarcastic and I love sarcasm so brownie points there.

  • Clary: Eh. You were sometimes a rather strong girl and I personally felt bad for you, but you also really got on my nerves. I like that she didn't just believe them, but believed it over time. I liked her curiosity and her fierce protection of her mother, even though they didn't get along. But she was also a very annoying teenage girl. She got petty and jealous and angry. And annoying. Can't forget annoying. She'd vie for Jace yet get mad and extremely mean when Simon looked at Izzy. Oh, boohoo. You can't have both honey. Besides, you ignored that poor boy until someone else came along. Sucks to suck.

  • Isabelle: Tall, thin and gorgeous. Pretty much a model. I liked that she is a tough girl who kicks-butt. But I don't find her incredibly memorable. Again, she's like Clary. Stereotypical whiny, jealous teenage girl.

  • Alec: Not much to say. He was a jerk. I don't like him. But he also wasn't really in the book enough for me to really say whether or not he redeems himself.

  • Simon: I actually liked Simon! Yes, I'm rooting for the friendzoned boy here. He's funny, sarcastic, and geeky. Totally adorable! And he knows how to use a bow and arrows. Cool points!

  • Magnus: Okay, I can't deny that I do love Magnus. His "I'm awesome and I know it" attitude coupled with his careless and sarcastic demeanor made me adore him. He was cocky sarcasm done right. And, he's a warlock. He's just all around cool.


BUT I hated the ending. It sucked and was awkward.  I know what is actually going on from me reading the rest of the books, but the first time I read this, it just disturbed me. Not to mention it totally made the relationship beyond awkward in the next book.

Final thoughts

This series has potential. While I didn't really love the main characters because they were all typical annoying teenagers, I did love the world Clare created alongside all the action-packed adventure. If plot and world-building are the most important to you, definitely check out CoB! Although I didn't love it, it's definitely a series worth reading on a rainy day.

I will say that I think this could make a really good TV show. It's action-packed and dark and has a good plot line. As long as the acting doesn't suck, I have a feeling this will be a guilty pleasure.

Avatar for kimdeister

Kim Deister 5 of 5 stars
City of Bones I was engrossed in City of Bones from the moment I started turning the pages, no matter how late to the game I am for this series!  The characters are fun and varied, the story is rich with mythology and action, and there is a nice mix of humor and romance, too.
 
The cast of characters is fantastic.  They are all very different and the dynamics between them is often hilarious.  Clary is new to the world of the Shadowhunters.  Her life has been fairly isolated, revolving around her mother Jocelyn, her mother's best friend Luke, and her own best friend Simon.  Clary and Simon have been best friends since they were very little and they are virtually inseparable.  He is a self-admitted gamer nerd with a fondness for witty T-shirts and she is artistic with a fondness for manga.  The two are often hilarious together.  And then they meet Jace, Alec, and Isabelle.  Jace is the epitome of a pretty boy, gorgeous and often a complete jerk.  Alec is his "sort of" brother and is a bit on the brisk side, clearly a bit protective of Jace and Isabelle, the oldest of them all at eighteen.  Isabelle is Alec's sister, gorgeous and confident... everything Clary feels she is not.  The dynamic between the three guys is often tense, for very different reasons.  The two girls are not used to having female friends and have virtually no idea how to relate to one another.  The ways in which these five interact is often hilarious, with a lot of witty repartee that I love!
 
I love a story with a good mythology and this one has that.  The mythology is rich, blending elements that we know with new elements and new explanations.  It creates a story that makes the existence of the supernatural entirely believable.  The mythology is based around that of angels and demons, but incorporates the existence of werewolves, warlocks, faery, and vampires right along with them.  A whole new world is created right along the one that we live in.
 
The story line is full of action, mystery, intrigue, and romance.  It is often emotional and it was unexpectedly funny in a smart way.  There are a lot of passages of truly witty, and often sarcastic, banter and it comes across as naturally humorous, not contrived.  Simon and Jace were the undisputed kings of witty repartee, especially between them.
 
My Recommendation
 
If you love a read with supernatural creatures and a richly created mythology, then this is a good read!

Avatar for lauriehouse

lauriehouse 1 of 5 stars
I can't do this anymore!! I watched the movie and it was alright. Had no desire to finish the audio book. So bland and boring and..ugh. Frustrating.