Sparrow's Reviews > City of Bones

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
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Sep 07, 10

bookshelves: punching-tour, young-adult, reviewed
Read from August 28 to September 01, 2010

I think this book is has some kind of mental disability. I kind of don’t want to make fun of it because, you know, it’s not playing the game with a full deck of cards. But, at the same time, it does not have such a significant learning disability that it needs to sit in a separate classroom from the other stories; it just has this confluence of creepiness and then some kind of mild mental challenge. So, I kind of do want to make fun of it because, you know, you probably don't have to be this uncomfortable to be around, book. It's a tough call. There was this guy in my high school graduating class like that. I’m going to tell you about him in this review. I really, honestly apologize ahead of time if I offend anyone here. I especially apologize to Cassandra Clare, who I see is a GR author. I'm not meaning to disparage anyone who has a learning disability, and I have great respect for people who share their writing with others. And I'm not equating learning disabilities with mental illness or with being creepy, just to be clear. I just knew a boy who happened to have a learning disability and be creepy, and he reminds me of this book. Also, this isn't to say that people shouldn't read The City of Bones. You actually should read it, maybe, and play the really fun game, Where Did the Mangled Body Part Come From?

Anyway, back to my story. For purposes of this illustration, I'm going to call the creepy high school boy David Caruso (any resemblance of that name to the name of a real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental, of course). I felt bad for David because he was so picked-on, so I tried to be nice to him. One day, he started leaving notes in my locker on notebook paper in a child’s scrawl, asking things like, “If I’m sad, can I have a hug?” He found out where all of my classes were and would be waiting outside them when the bell rang. He lived about a block away from me, so he would walk home with me from school sometimes. After the hug note, we had a serious talk about boundaries. That night, I had to take a makeup Chemistry test, which lasted about an hour. It was pouring outside, and he waited in the rain for me, standing under a tree. When I finally left, he followed me home, walking about ten feet behind me the entire way.

As I was turning to the road that led directly to my house, David desperately cried out something like, “Why don’t you love me?!!!” This was a relatively common experience with him. There was another girl he was following around for a while around that same time, and he went down on his knees outside of the cafeteria, saying something similar. She got a restraining order against him.

I’m not saying that I believe in originality, because I don’t, but The City of Bones made me realize that there is a line somewhere, where the flow of literary inspiration and use of traditional themes can turn into a Single White Female incident. Rather than being a fun re-imagining of Star Wars, this story was a haphazardly sewn together pop-culture Frankenstein. Eeeet’s ALIVE!!! Basically, the characters from The Gilmore Girls hook up with non-vampy, but still campy, versions of the characters from Twilight, and re-enact Star Wars. Seriously, there is a Luke Danes character, and his name in this story is still Luke. And, it turns out, it is very possible to make the Luke and Leia Skywalker relationship grosser. I'm not sure why you would want to . . . Also, I feel like there are a bunch of other stories that The City of Bones is stalking, and it seems like some other reviews list them, but I forget what they are right now. My point is that this book has killed them and is walking around wearing their skin.

The other weird thing is that I’m pretty sure there’s a misquote from Star Wars in here. Isn’t Han Solo the one who says, “I know”? This book says that Leia says it. And I don’t mean that the Leia/Rory character in here says, “I know” while re-enacting the Star Wars storyline. I mean the book literally says that Leia says, “I know.” If you’re going to SWF a story, at least get it right. Better yet, don’t SWF a story because that’s creepy.

I listened to half of this book on audio, driving to and from a wedding, then I read the rest on the page. Neither were good. Reading on the page is a little better because you can skip the boring parts. I’m not going to lie, though. It was actually a great experience. It was completely refreshing to read something awful. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not sure why, but it renewed my hope for writing.

Still, all you young stories out there, if a stranger story with shifty eyes comes up to you and asks for a hug, it’s okay to say no. Set some personal boundaries, or you might end up the victim of this kind of literary massacre. I hate to be a fear-monger, and use your own judgment, but be smart. Some of these stories obviously waited too long to take out their restraining orders.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 94) (94 new)

message 1: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! The cover does look all Romance-y.

message 2: by Buck (new)

Buck And what do I get if I'm really, really sad?

Sparrow Eh? Eh! wrote: "The cover does look all Romance-y."

The funny thing is that it's really not that romance-y. I mean, it's about as romance-y as Star Wars. The Han character isn't that dreamy, though. Oh, dang! I forgot to talk about the gay character. That was actually a kind of interesting part of the book, and maybe a little more romance-y, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I have a feeling it'll become a bigger part of the story later, which could be really interesting or really horrifying. I'm not sure.

Buck wrote: "And what do I get if I'm really, really sad?"

A kiss. Oh, no, crap! Wait! I have to check the rulebook on that.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm still scared about the possibility of making the Luke and Leia relationship grosser. I keep wanting to ask, and then I freak out.

Rule book says Buck should get an autographed copy of Fulk the Reluctant.

Sparrow Ceridwen wrote: "I'm still scared about the possibility of making the Luke and Leia relationship grosser. I keep wanting to ask, and then I freak out."

They make out and go on and on about how hawtt each other are. I mean, the grossness is tweeny, but I was always glad it didn't get too far with Luke and Leia, so still kind of a bummer.

Ceridwen wrote: "Rule book says Buck should get an autographed copy of Fulk the Reluctant."

No way, man. Fu*k that. That baby's all mine (but if the library asks, we never had this conversation). My rulebook says, "Still restraining order." Bummer.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

You're right. Restraining order is always better.

Buck, are you getting involved in the fulking? When I put it that way, it sounds really diiirty and fun, and not horrible at all.

Sparrow It's going to be such a clusterfulk, but in the best way possible.

message 8: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! Yes, Buck, don't be a fulkstick. Get with the romance reading program.

message 9: by Buck (new)

Buck 'Fulkstick'? Come on, that's not even a real thing...Is it?

In my line of work, making bad puns is an occupational hazard. Sort of like engineers and bridge-humping. But 'Fulk' is just way too easy. Even I have a glimmer of artistic conscience.

But Eh, I see Karen just posted a review of a book of 'semen-based recipes'. That's just crying out for your particular brand of double entendre. Somebody already beat you to 'Beef Stroganoff'. I was leaning towards a 'jerk chicken' gambit myself, but then my pesky conscience started up again.

message 10: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! It's as real as the Fulk in your heart.

I have no artistic conscience. I smashed that pesky cricket long ago.

Argh! I missed the opening salvos! Look what happens when I leave the computer.

Sparrow Eh? Eh! wrote: "Argh! I missed the opening salvos! Look what happens when I leave the computer."

But it was SOOOOOO worth it. Eating yummy food, getting harassed, watching my brother perform social magic. . . Ah, the memories!

message 12: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! True! Thanks for letting the rest of us polish off your food. Do you ever feel like you should get non-business cards? Your brother would be tossing them out like a bad magician (that's supposed to sound more complimentary). I would've given one to the mohawk woman who lost her drink. McK would've withheld his from Hot Wheels.

Heh, this has turned into secret code language.

Sparrow Oh my brother has real business cards. But he seems to understand the nuances of when you give someone a business card and when you just let the contact go out into the universe. I have so much to learn.

The mohawk woman was awesome. Plus, she had a legit, old school mohawk, not one of those new shaggy deals. Way to go, mohawk lady.

message 14: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! But what about the in-between contacts? Not business, but not superfriends. Is there a card for that?

And it was neon. And her name was so regular!

Sparrow Eh? Eh! wrote: "But what about the in-between contacts? Not business, but not superfriends. Is there a card for that?"

Facebook add? High five?

Sparrow Have you seen my pictures from when I had blue and purple hair? It was pretty bright like hers for a while. No mohawk, though.

message 17: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! Facebook would be too much. High five too temporary. I wish there was something more in between.

Yes! I did see them, you My Little Pony punk!

Sparrow Yep, aww. So purdy.

Phone number on napkin? Too suggestive? If I see anything in between, I'll let you know.

Kat Kennedy I can only say that I agree whole-heartedly with the creepyness that is this book.

I'm reading her book Clockwork Angel right now, because apparently I'm a masochist - and I can verify that her writing never truly gets better.


Sparrow There is really no way it could, right? I think there's just such a fundamental problem with thinking any of that would be a good idea that there would be no way she could come back from it. It's one thing if the only problem is redundant word choice or something. It's an entirely different problem if you're the Hannibal Lecter of authors. Maybe that's too far, but my point is that her problem isn't editing. It's a problem with the entire structure of the story. Ugh!

Synesthesia ha. Great review. I'm avoiding her books like a plague. No matter how good and glossy the covers look. I tried to get through all 3 of these books too, but by the time I got to the 3rd book, I was like ENOUGH ALREADY! ARGS!
She does have some interesting ideas and imagery. But so much of this is lifted from better books. I bet I could write something that isn't lifted and even if it was no one could tell because I spent TEN YEARS ON IT trying to make it UNIQUE.

Sparrow And I don't even believe in stuff being unique, but this was a bad combo no matter how you look at it. You gotta give some thought when you're choosing your ingredients for a mashup! You can't just throw in all the stuff that's been in your (literary) fridge forever.

message 23: by Manny (new)

Manny The other weird thing is that I’m pretty sure there’s a misquote from Star Wars in here. Isn’t Han Solo the one who says, “I know”?

He is, and I have read that it was an ad lib. The script originally called for him to say "I love you too". But Harrison Ford suddenly found a much better line.

By the way, this is the only piece of Star Wars trivia I know. Honest, I can explain everything. I really can.

message 25: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal Stalking stories do get a little old.

Sparrow That is awesome, Madeline. I like, "Wowzers." I'm surprised it didn't stick.

And thanks, Manny! Way to give Ceridwen a run for her money. (Not really, right? But it's the best Star Wars compliment I give.)

My brother did clarify that later (in Jedi) when Leia saves him, Han says he loves her and she says, "I know." Awww. So, maybe there was an earlier point in the City of Bones that I missed where the girl already told him she loved him. Even though she would have meant it only in a sisterly fashion at that point, it would explain the mix up.

Sparrow Esteban wrote: "Stalking stories do get a little old."

Wow. This story seems less single-minded than that, but YES!

Sparrow Yeah, that was really smooth, Elizabeth. You slid by there. How do you feel about the light saber sound made by the iPhone? Because my brother and I had that conversation while he was demonstrating how his "zhwooom" noises were of a higher quality than the current ap's.

Sparrow I love the ewoks! As Marshall from How I Met Your Mother says, "I don't know why people are so cynical about Ewoks, the Rebellion would have failed without the Ewoks."

message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Socky has one of those apps. Naturally.

This is only tenuously related, but this seems like something that could result in serious sexual confusion.


Sparrow That's rad. My favorite is the one where they're sitting at the table doing ???? with Rafael (or Michaelangelo. difficult to see the color). The one with the Elvis storm trooper and all the Leias is creepy.

Sparrow I don't think people had trademarks in 1983. Didn't exist yet.

message 33: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 12, 2010 10:50AM) (new)

Meredith wrote: "I don't think people had trademarks in 1983. Didn't exist yet."

Ha! I recently watched some Care Bears, because of TEH CHILDREN, and I can honestly say it's the worst kids show of all time. Seriously, it's sick.

There's a great article about the horrible nuclear winter that would inevitably ensure when the Death Star rained down debris on Endor. Let's see if I can find it....

Omigod, it's so much better than I remember. All those disclaimers at the beginning about how the authors don't want the Ewoks annihilated or anything, it's just a thought experiment, blah blah blah. Clearly worried about the CAPSLOCK COMMENTARY OF IMPOTENT RAGE.

Edit: They're playing Magick, right? I have no idea which Ninja Turtle that is.

Sparrow Ceridwen wrote: "There's a great article about the horrible nuclear winter that would inevitably ensure when the Death Star rained down debris on Endor. Let's see if I can find it...."

That's awesome. Poor ewoks. Apparently, Care Bears were invented the year I was born and Jedi came out when I was 2. I adored both when I was little, so they still have a big place in my heart. Plus, it's just true that the Ewoks saved the rebellion. And the Ewok Adventure? OMG that was my fave. It's like Legend meets the Care Bear Adventure.

One time my friend who loves games bought Trivial Pursuit at Goodwill, and we were all playing it. It had the weirdest questions, and one was something like, "Which of these is NOT an actual Care Bear: (a) Cheer Bear, (b) Friend Bear, (c) Tenderheart Bear, or (d) Mean Bear?" Finally, we realized it was Canadian Trivial Pursuit.

message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

ALL Trivial Pursuit is Canadian. A Canadian company produces the game. (I was told this by a Canadian, of course.)

Sparrow Over half of the questions we came across were about one Canadian lake. I want to say it was Wauklahegan Lake, but I could be wrong. It was the oddest Trivial Pursuit experience I've ever had - and they're all a little weird, right?

Sparrow It makes sense that it's a Canadian game, but this was specifically Trivial Pursuit Canada Edition, like Trivial Pursuit 80's Edition, but weird and boring.

message 38: by Esteban (last edited Sep 12, 2010 05:55PM) (new)

Esteban del Mal Ceridwen wrote: "Socky has one of those apps. Naturally.

This is only tenuously related, but this seems like something that could result in serious sexual confusion.


In regards to the possible sexual confusion: storm troopers with tassels and garter belts. Or maybe all pinked-out, a la Hello Kitty. And then maybe some with tribal tattoos around their biceps (but then I guess this sort of thing is pretty androgynous by now).

message 39: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Apparently there's some question about how original the author is (I think I read another review that said a lot of the published trilogy was based on her fanfic). If it is based on her fanfic that might explain why so much of it felt, um, familiar.

message 40: by Sparrow (last edited Sep 12, 2010 06:00PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sparrow Yeah. I didn't talk about that because I never followed her then, but that's hilarious that her wiki mentions it. Man, if I ever have a wiki I dearly hope it never mentions plagiarism. In her review, Kat talks a little bit about the plagiarism and the other works that Clare rips off:

I'm sure there are gazillions of parts of this book that I didn't catch that were directly lifted from something else. Pretty much seemed like the whole book was a cut-and-paste monster.

Sparrow Ha! Probably a good choice. I actually thoroughly enjoyed reading it and giggled almost the whole way through. I was just in that Plan Nine From Outer Space kind of mood. It was awesome.

Sparrow Definitely. If you're in the mood for watching someone make an ass of herself, this is the book.

message 43: by Eve (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eve Davids Your review is very funny. The story of the stalker boy had me Lol. Definitely an inspiration for a story, especially with your sense of humor. Kudos!

Sparrow Ha! Thanks, Barbeth. Stalkers are always funny later . . . not so much at the time. ;)

Sparrow Thanks, Liz! I guess she got in trouble for straight plagiarism, too (I think someone posted the wikipedia about it on this thread). I mean, I'm all for referencing other stories and even stealing if you're doing it in an awesome way like Shakespeare did. But stealing other characters to make them stupider? Sad and awful.

message 46: by Cari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cari Haha! Great review. I loved it. And I completely agree. I especially love your little side story. ;)

Nishtha Really the story about that boy is really creepy!! I lt would have scared the crap out of you cause reading about it sure scares me!!!!

message 48: by Sparrow (last edited Dec 03, 2010 08:51AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sparrow Thanks, Cari!

Love_ya, yeah, it was creepy, but I am, like, a REALLY brave person. No, just kidding. It was creepy, but you had to mostly feel bad for him. The waiting and lurking was not very comfortable, though.

Last year, one of my good friends met a girl through a mutual friend on facebook, and she moved from South Dakota to Oregon, and they got married. A couple of weeks before they got married, she posted some status on facebook about the wedding, and "David" commented on it! So, then she and I had a big rant session about that guy. Apparently, he's off in South Dakota pulling the same kind of creepy antics now.

message 49: by Mari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mari For God's sake? People have accused this writer of copying every book ever written!!!! Its not possible. Not every relationship with romance and hints of incest has anything to do with StarWars! The characters and the story, and the setting and every thing else is not in any way similar. What your story does prove is that you like to write, and are not talented. Also, you are certainly not PC, and for that I almost give you credit. Could you be jealous? I think so....

message 50: by Mari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mari Plagiarism is there to prevent people from making profir off of other peoples ideas. She was entertaining people for free. So it really, really, really does not matter. She was never in trouble. Here in America, unless you are proven guilty of a crime in court, you are innocent. Ticking off some touchy, jealous fanfiction writers does not count. If anyone felt she broke the law, they are free to tell the appropriate people(like George Lucas) and they can, if they wish and believe you, go with it! If not then stop slandering her. Its obvious there is no plagiarism in the work, although it is also clear it is inspired by other fiction. So... GIVE. IT. A. REST.

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