City of Bones, 1 by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones, 1 (Mortal Instruments, #1)

by Cassandra Clare

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.

Reviewed by ammaarah on

2 of 5 stars

"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.

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.

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.

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.

1) An interesting concept.
2)Magnus Bane.
3)Luke's POV chapter.
4)The dialogue and banter.
5)It's entertaining.

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)

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Reading updates

  • 1 January, 2012: Started reading
  • 1 January, 2012: Finished reading
  • 8 October, 2018: Reviewed
  • 3 September, 2018: Started reading
  • 8 October, 2018: Finished reading
  • 8 October, 2018: Reviewed