** spoiler alert **
I originally took down my review because I wanted to re-write a new one in order to make a point, but being my usual absent minded self I promptly forgot that point and so a half-written review has been sitting on my hard-drive for Hera knows how long, while people look at the [[review coming soon]] note and think...sure that'll happen. So I decided on this cool August day that I am going to re-write this damn review and get it over with.
Cassandra Clare was a writer with a history that I was mostly unfamiliar with because being the sheltered little angel I am, I did not have access to the fandom when all the drama went down. However, the internet never forgets so I found about it after the fact. That and a blurb by Stephenie Meyer kept me from seeking out the series, until a friend of mine gave me Clare's spin-off series, Clockwork Angel and I honestly enjoyed it. So when it came a time for me to read City of Bones I was excited honestly. No one can say I didn't go into that book with an open mind. And in return for that, it tried to melt my brain.
All City of Bones managed to be was a messy accumulation of popular stories that were great in their original form, but were blended together into a low-fat, low-carb pop-culture smoothie that is as uncreative as it is long. We get treated to a book with complete character development stasis despite being nearly five hundred pages long.
When our insipid protagonist, Clary discovers, after meeting a group of mysterious strangers, that there is a whole world of monsters and fae that she was previous unaware of. On top of that an evil Voldemort-like villain called, Valentine, has kidnapped her mother. Oh the drama.
Clary commits the cardinal sin on any protagonist: she is stupid. Every action she takes, from the very beginning, is done to show us what a "brave person she is" but only serves to inform us that she can not actually use her brain. During the first chapter or so, she comes across a group of people (the Shadow Hunters) interrogating a "Downworlder" and she thinks that they may be a gang. Instead of going back inside to get help or calling 911, waiting for her friend to bring help or at the very least staying quiet to ensure her own safety
she tried to be a hero. "Isn't that a good thing?" You may ask. No, it is a stupid thing to do for many reasons. The main one being they have weapons and she does not
. What can she do? If she were to get involved would it actually save that guy's life? If they had actually been a gang she would have been killed, to ensure a lack of witnesses and there would be no chance at ID-ing the perpetrators later on. Thankfully, it's not an actual gang and the Shadow Hunters are so not a problem that Clary can talk with them for a while before they decided to leave. To quote a member from That Guy With the Glasses "They're the best!"
Thankfully for Clary she is not the worst character in this series, that privilege falls onto Jace, who is the oh-so-Byronic male love interest with daddy issues and a patronizing attitude that Clary just can not resist. He is from beginning to end an asshole and there is no nicer way to put it. He is an ass. He treats Clary like a child (which while understandable is not fun to watch when that makes her fall for him) and had everyone eating out of his hand.
As they participate in this journey Clary takes these discoveries of the supernatural with a causal nod and unrealistic clarity, partly because her love interest, Jace, is her mystical estrogen bait-guide. Both Jace and Clary qualify as our protagonists, even though the story is told following Clary’s events. They are both pretty shallow characters, and upon further analysis are seen to be completely stagnant despite the many things that happen to them throughout the book and things technically
do happen. Clary is plunged into a world where there is pretty much a war going on between the Downworlders and the Shadow Hunters. Information is thrown at her from all corners, including the fact that her memories have been erased since the age of two and Clary handles it with the equivalent of a shoulder shrug. There are brief moments of anger and outrage, but they fade unfathomably quickly. She never grows as a character and despite this book being the first of a trilogy I think it is fair to expect your lead protagonist to at least evolve a wee bit they discover the things that Clary does.
Oh wait...WAIT! Silly me, I am forgetting something. Clary does grow in one respect! She becomes more of a judgey, pretentious, know-it-all. Clary judges everyone and everything she deems not up to snuff. Mainly Izzy who has the nerve to be beautiful and dress in an attractive manner. I mean the jolly-g, what nerve! And the fact that she and her brother come from money. Gasp. Two attractive women can not be in the same story and actually be friends without one treating the other like the anti-Christ after all. The comments on class might have been more effective if Clary did not grow up in one of the best areas in NYC. I have no problem rooting for privileged people with corny problems, I watch Gilmore Girls. That is at least better than a character like Clary who has her nose up in the air and looks down on everyone and yet tries to make out as if she is so humble. The way she treats her family friend once she finds out he's a werewolf--calling him a dirty Downworlder--I just wanted to smack her. Who does she think she is?
Okay I have to stop talking about Clary.
In terms of just writing it is just very fluffy and silly with metaphors which do not really add anything to the story. Mainly because they are awkward and do not sound anywhere as deep as they are supposed to when read aloud. The Star Wars plot twist was just irritating to read and even thinking about it makes me want to bang my head.
City of Bones is just everything that annoys me about young adult literature. It is not creative and is not fun to read, which is a shame because there is potential in it. When she re-wrote it in Clockwork Angel I thought the story was much better, but then again it had Jem who is delicious and fantastic. In fact you know what, just read that series instead. If it wasn't for me not wanting to invest any more money into Clare or wanting to spend any more time with her work I might still be reading it.
Now back into my dungeon.