"Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies since 1234." (Jace Wayland)
When I read City of Bones six years ago, I loved the world and the characters. Six years later, I don't care much for City of Bones.
THE CHARACTERS AREN'T ANYTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT
Clary is a typical Mary Sue YA protagonist. She's thrust into an unfamiliar world that she doesn't understand and ultimately plays a huge role in saving that world. She thinks she's ugly and clumsy, but everyone else loves her and thinks that she's beautiful. There isn't anything that makes Clary stand out as a heroine or main character.
Jace, one of the two most developed characters in City of Bones (the other being Luke), isn't special either. He's rude, arrogant and conceited and yes, he does have his reasons for acting that way and his personality improves in later books in The Mortal Instruments series, but I don't like him and I don't care about what happens to him.
The fact that I prefer the underdeveloped secondary characters over the supposedly developed main characters, Jace and Clary, speaks volumes. Maybe, it's because I know how developed the secondary characters become in future books. My favourite character in City of Bones is Magnus and that's because he is Magnus. My favourite Shadowhunter in The Mortal Instruments series is Isabelle, but if I were to look at City of Bones on its own, she would just be another side character that I don't care about.
The characters bleed into each other. They have similar personalities, have sarcastic, cynical outlooks on life and LOVE dry humour and deadpan jokes. Most of the humour and jokes are offensive and problematic. However, I like the dialogue exchanges and banter between the characters.
THERE'S NOTHING NEW
Everything that occurs in City of Bones is so tropey and feels like it's been done before. I don't expect a book to have something that's never been done before, but it must have some refreshing and unique aspects. City of Bones is a typical YA Urban Fantasy novel.
There's also a love triangle between the mysterious bad boy with the cold exterior and the familiar and open nerdy best friend. This love triangle is nothing new and nine point nine out of ten times, it ends the same way. I don't care much for Jace or Simon. This love triangle is also angsty; not good angsty, but unnecessarily angsty.
CITY OF BONES COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE
I can't deny that City of Bones has an interesting concept. Imagine finding out that all the stories and legends that you heard about were true. However, there's so much info-dumping, especially from Jace and Hodge, to introduce us to Shadowhunters and their world.
There's also slutshaming and girl hate. Clary says many mean things and has such ugly feelings towards Isabelle just because of jealousy. However, I am a little more tolerant towards books with problematic aspects that are written pre-2014.
I also hate the ending. I feel like Cassandra Clare was just trying to lay on the angst. Firstly, Jace acts so out of character and secondly, EWW! There is a difference between a forbidden romance and a romance that shouldn't even exist. Jace is stubborn and has an I'm-better-than-everyone-else personality and I couldn't believe that he was so easily brainwashed by Valentine. Also, the whole incest plot twist... WHY?!?! I know that Clary and Jace aren't really siblings, but the whole I'm-romantically-attracted-to-my-sibling thing is gross.
...CITY OF BONES HAS SOME ASPECTS GOING FOR IT
1) An interesting concept.
3)Luke's POV chapter.
4)The dialogue and banter.
I feel like The Mortal Instruments series does get better and I hope to fall back in love with it while rereading.
"Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side." (Hodge Starkweather)