Vanessa's Reviews > City of Bones

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
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Jan 28, 14

bookshelves: fiction, reviewed
Read from February 16 to 28, 2012

Last year, I read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. It was okay, nothing special, yet it seemed to be a real darling in the YA world. I’d be hanging out in the YA section at bookshops and seeing girls squealing about The Mortal Instruments, I’d buy books similar to TMI or The Infernal Devices, and the clerk would tell me I should check Ms. Clare’s books out too… So eventually, I got around to readingCity of Bones, the first in the series.
I really didn’t enjoy it.
It starts out strong enough, gradually introducing us to the world of magical creatures, children of the night, witches, warlocks, demons, and those who slay them. Clary, our main character, goes to a nightclub with her friend but stumbles across something she shouldn’t see: kids her age slaying a demon and talking in a snippy manner to each other. And she also shouldn’t even be able to see them, considering they use ‘glamours’ and various runic markings to make sure that regular humans (or Mundies/Mundanes/Muggles/Mortie-Muds/whatever the fuck you want to call them, it’s a massiveHarry Potter rip-off either way) can’t see them.
So Clary goes home, then goes out again, then comes back, only to find that her apartment has been ransacked. And since it’s a YA novel, this happens right after a tiff with her mother. While she’s trying to find mummy dearest, a low-level demon attacks her, and she’s rescued by one of the people she saw that night: Jace Wayland. His kind are called Shadowhunters, and they’re descendants of the Nephilim, or something like that.
What follows on from that is Clary trying to uncover the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance, learning about the creatures of the otherworld who co-exist with us in secret, and discovering that she, le gasp, is the daughter of a Shadowhunter! And still needs to look out for her mum, so away we go on more demon-slaying adventures that seem to take place in night clubs, alleyways, and industrial lofts!
Also, because this is a YA novel that likes to go off on a tangent, there are a few times where the overarching plot is sacrificed so we can, you know, have Jace dump his backstory on us. Or have them sit in a greenhouse together. Or we can have a werewolf explain his life story and his relation to Clary in an entire, boring as hell chapter. It’s a load of ideas cobbled badly together.
The characters really got on my nerves, unfortunately.
Clary just didn’t do it for me as a heroine. I don’t quite understand why, because even though she’s pretty much a blank slate character the reader is supposed to project onto, we have a few things in common: short temper, we both like reading, we both like watching anime, what have you… But having her as the narrator just really got on my nerves. Maybe it was the fact that her thoughts were like a pinball machine at times. There’s one scene where there’s a massive flock of vampires crowded around them, but Clary and Jace had the good thinking to take a hostage. She looks around at the vampires and takes a paragraph to ponder about whether or not there are ugly or fat vampires in the world, because they’re all so beautiful. What the hell? And the first time she sets foot in a church, it makes her hark back to an anime she saw that had an evil vampire priest, which doesn’t give her much confidence about the church’s safety? Yes, just like that: PING PING PING “Anime vampires in churches!” PING PING PING “Do vampires turn people based on their looks?” PING PING PING“Manga!” PING PING PING “Warlocks and witches are sterile?” PING PING PING “Jace looks so cool right now!” PING PING PING “I wonder if all Shadowhunters are beautiful, because I’m most certainly not!” Eurgh.
Alec and Isabel got such little time to be developed I hardly noticed that they were there sometimes. One thing that really did bother me, though, was Clary asking Isabel if Alec was gay. Isabel asks Clary how she knew, and then forbids her from telling Jace or anyone else, because being gay is apparently frowned upon in Shadowhunter society. Just like that. Is there any reason…? Is it some kind of religious quagmire to Shadowhunters? Would Alec be cast out of society? Would he be forced to stop being demon-slaying bros with Jace? No? You’re never going to mention it again? Oh, okay, then.
Jace was an arrogant arsehole, and I just found him completely unbearable to read. All of his snarky comments didn’t make me laugh, they just made me roll my eyes in how obvious Ms. Clare was being in trying to create a sarcastic, cold-hearted bad boy brat.
The villains just… really didn’t do anything for me either. Valentine wasn’t scary, and the reveal near the end that a certain character really was selling information to the other side felt really rushed. It was just like in Clockwork Angel, where we had to suffer through a rather slow third act and were then thrown into a hurried explanation about the main villain and his motives in the last fifty or so pages. I was so bored that I was skim-reading it. And I rarely do that. It became more of an obligation rather than something I enjoyed reading. I just wanted to plough through it and put the whole sorry mess behind me.
I apologise, fans of Ms. Clare’s work, I just don’t enjoy it. She’s just another Holly Black to me. I do have Clockwork Prince on my reading list, yes, but I didn’t enjoy the first book of the original series, but quite liked the spin-off, so I guess you could call it my guilty pleasure. 1/5.
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Reading Progress

02/16/2012 page 28
6.0% "I've already run into one clanger... Jace (I think) is described as having 'cat-lion eyes'. Yeah... just like how I have jackal dog eyes."
02/16/2012 page 29
7.0% "I love how like, Clary tries to tell Simon, in all seriousness, about what she saw in the club the other day. Simon just looks at her earnestly and goes: "Clary, you're an artist. You're bound to see things differently."

02/17/2012 page 41
9.0% "Legasp. A girl, reading Shonen Jump? Unthinkable!"
02/17/2012 page 58
13.0% "It isn't too atrocious so far... just your typical blank slate projection character being introduced to a secret society."
02/17/2012 page 61
14.0% "Clary: Is he [Jace] always really rude, or does he save it for mundanes?

Isabelle: Oh yes, that's what makes him so damn sexy.


" 1 comment
02/17/2012 page 61
14.0% "Clary just said there was nothing between France and Germany except for Switzerland. What about Luxembourg and Belgium, dumb-ass?"
02/17/2012 page 75
17.0% "Clary: Mum hated all that fantasy stuff. She didn't even like me reading manga. She said it was too childish.

I understand like, Naruto can be seen to be childish, but most of the manga I have are pretty dark and twisted and feature really quite horrifying stories. See my review of volume 8 of Black Butler. e_e;

02/17/2012 page 85
19.0% "Clary let out a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding.

...How do you do that?

02/17/2012 page 88
20.0% ""What would demons," she [Clary] said, "want with our microwave?"

I don't know, Clary. Maybe they like ready meals.

02/17/2012 page 99
22.0% "Okay, so Jace and Clary are having tea with Madame Dorothea. Madame Dorothea drops the bombshell that she's the daughter of a witch, and Jace goes: "No, that isn't possible, witches and warlocks are sterile," and Clary goes: "Like mules!" And then they have a massive infodump discussion about different breeds of demons and their virility.

02/17/2012 page 102
23.0% "Madame Dorothea is now reading their tea leaves. Since this was once a piece of Harry Potter fan-fiction, is it safe to assume this was once a scene with Professor Trelawney?

02/17/2012 page 106
24.0% "Clary, you dipshit, now you've gone and gotten yourself pulled into an extra-dimensional door. Fucking moron." 1 comment
02/20/2012 page 139
31.0% "So Valentine's name isn't spoken of in Shadowhunter circles and... okay you're bloody Voldemort, I get it."
02/20/2012 page 149
34.0% "Gods, this is actually rather boring..."
02/21/2012 page 186
42.0% "Clary lay on her bed in the Institute, shoes kicked off, willing herself to sleep, but sleep wouldn't come. The caffeine in her veins fizzed like carbonated water.

Caffeine makes your bloodstream fizzy? What!?

02/27/2012 page 235
53.0% "So Clary's just walked into a church, and she's never been into a church at all. She immediately thinks about the churches she's seen in anime, and how in one anime (that's totally not Hellsing) there was an evil vampire priest.

So... by that logic, she could go to Japan and look at a Buddhist temple and be like:


02/27/2012 page 238
54.0% "Ms. Clare, making Jace tell us a story about how he's all woobie and angsty because his father killed his pet falcon does not a good backstory make." 1 comment
02/27/2012 page 238
54.0% "Clary had only two years of French, but it was enough to get the joke. "Du mort," she said. "Of death."

Oh STFU Clary I don't like you

02/27/2012 page 246
56.0% "Just met Raphael. He's a horribly written Hispanic character who cries: "Dios mio!" and knows how to navigate the bad neighbourhoods and is spiritually aware because he's so religious. Oh for the love of..."
02/27/2012 page 248
56.0% "Like puppets with their heads attached to strings, Clary and Raphael both looked up at the same time.

Okay, well... That's a really stupid description of two people looking up in unison...

02/27/2012 page 252
57.0% "Clary wondered if there were any ugly vampires, or maybe any fat ones. Maybe they just didn't make vampires out of ugly people. Or maybe ugly people didn't want to live forever.

Fuck you, Cassandra Clare.

Did I also mention that Clary takes a moment to ponder on this stupid fucking thought right while she's holding a hostage and there's a tonne of vampires on her case?

" 1 comment
02/27/2012 page 258
58.0% "The vampires just hissed in pain 'like scalded cats'. What the fuck!?" 1 comment
02/27/2012 page 261

For fuck's sake, you don't need all-caps to show that a character is bellowing their lungs out. There's such thing as exclamation points or bold language or the general speech patterns people adopt when they're angry...

02/28/2012 page 261
59.0% "The steps creaked and groaned as they ascended, like an old woman complaining about her aches and pains.

That is a terrible simile.

02/28/2012 page 265
60.0% "Jace pressed the backs of his hands against his eyes. ..."Think, Wayland, think."

I just tried to press my hands, palm facing outwards, into my eyes. You don't look like you're concentrating, you just look like a right twat.

02/28/2012 page 265
60.0% "Also, this novel has vampires on motorcycles.

That reminds me...

02/28/2012 page 268
61.0% "Jace and Clary have just taken a magical demonic vampire flying motorcycle on a skyward trip around New York whilst trying to run away from a group of vampires who accidentally picked up Clary's friend Simon (in the form of a rat) when all of a sudden a load of werewolves burst in and so they had to make a hasty exit.

02/28/2012 page 278
63.0% "Fuck yes, Alec. Well done you for shutting Clary the fuck up. You get to wear my favourite character badge for now." 1 comment
02/28/2012 page 283
64.0% "Rather than have Jace and Clary take a lovely picnic in the greenhouse, why the fuck can't we go back to the actual plot? You know... that fucking Shadowhunter Valentine who's defected and is trying to destroy the world or some shit?"
02/28/2012 page 289
65.0% "Clary wanted a tattoo of Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to cover up a scar when she was younger.

Fuck you, Clary. Stay away from my favourite Ninja Turtle.

02/28/2012 page 345
78.0% "So fucking bored right now omg."
02/28/2012 page 370
84.0% "So Clary's just discovered that Valentine is actually her father.


02/28/2012 page 393
89.0% "So Jace is apparently Valentine's son too, thus making him Clary's half-brother. How come, looking at the Mortal Instruments page on, it seems to be the dominant ship...?"
02/28/2012 page 403
91.0% "So Jace is a nickname for Jonathan. What the fuck?" 1 comment
02/28/2012 page 418
95.0% ""Yes!" Shouted Valentine. "I burned them."

Jace made a strangled noise. "My grandparents-"

"You never knew them," said Valentine. "Don't pretend to a grief you do not feel."

I'm sorry, but is that last sentence garbled English to anyone else?

02/28/2012 page 429
97.0% "So what the fuck happened to Clary's mother?" 2 comments
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Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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Angela Good luck, you're going to need it.

Emma That bad? Ouch... I thought it was okay...

Vanessa Emma™ wrote: "That bad? Ouch... I thought it was okay..."

Different strokes for different folks, after all. :)

Emma Hehe true... it is confusing, though.

message 5: by Choco (new)

Choco Why haven't I read this before?
Clary draws, she carries a sketchbook around, and she's an artist. At first, I was excited about that, but then she just didn't feel like a real person to me at all.

Maybe it was the fact that her thoughts were like a pinball machine at times.
Lol, I agree with this.

Vanessa Palice wrote: "Why haven't I read this before?
Clary draws, she carries a sketchbook around, and she's an artist. At first, I was excited about that, but then she just didn't feel like a real person to me at all...."

I had to put the book down when, whilst holding a hostage, she spends most of the page thinking about whether or not there's some kind of beauty selection process when vampires choose to turn somebody. =___= YOU'RE HOLDING A HOSTAGE YOU STUPID GIRL. GET TO THE MAKING THREATS AND DOING SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT, DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. NOT WONDERING ABOUT INCONSEQUENTIAL SHITE.

message 7: by Choco (new)

Choco Argh, yes. There are so many parts throughout the book like that. I see it as Clare trying to put in interesting info by making her character seem like she's observant -- no. That just makes her stupid.

There's another part in City of Ashes, I think, when Clary is looking at Jace, and then suddenly, she's thinking about Magnus and Alec - it makes no sense.

Howdy YAL Great review. I don't read a lot of manga or anime, so I didn't get those references. But I did see all the Harry Potter stuff. It's ridiculous. I'm have way tempted to read through all of her Draco centric HP fan fiction just to see if I can spot more similarities but from what I read the characteristics of Draco are clearly transplanted into Jace. I think for me I enjoyed it mainly because it was mindless entertainment, but I really don't know if I'd enjoy the MI series upon a second reading. The fourth and fifth books are pretty horrible in a lot of ways. I do like the spinoff series though, oddly enough. And I really don't know why Will is sort of an ass a la Jace too. Maybe it's because of Jem? Shrugs.

message 9: by Emma (last edited Mar 06, 2013 06:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma This book is the type where after a while you get so confuzzled that I just went "Aish, I'm just going to read the Jace/Clary parts since I ship them."

VampireNovelFan I am just starting this series, but I tend to be on the more critical end for these things, especially YA stuff, so this review was helpful.

Lauren There is such a thing as a next book,and maybe you should try to read it to understand because maybe you'll understand it better cause right now you sound like you just read a synopsis

VampireNovelFan She clearly lists her reading progress...

Vanessa Lauren wrote: "There is such a thing as a next book,and maybe you should try to read it to understand because maybe you'll understand it better cause right now you sound like you just read a synopsis"

Uh, no. I'm not wasting my precious time reading the sequel to a book I hated.

True fact: my friends at sixth form can vouch for me sitting through this book whilst we were stuck on campus, as we had a whole day off when everyone else had gone on a trip and went a bit stir-crazy in the library. In fact, some of my reading updates show the stupidest quotes I could find, that gave me and my friends a few laughs, and not in a good way.

Mizuki Lauren wrote: "There is such a thing as a next book,and maybe you should try to read it to understand because maybe you'll understand it better cause right now you sound like you just read a synopsis"

Do you agree it's horrible when you need to read not just one book, but also it's sequels in order to get to the good parts?

Vanessa Mizuki wrote: "Lauren wrote: "There is such a thing as a next book,and maybe you should try to read it to understand because maybe you'll understand it better cause right now you sound like you just read a synops..."

Exactly. I am not reading the sequels to find out what happens to Clary's mother, precisely because Clary, Jace and their chums are so tedious, aggravating, and absolutely dull to get through.

I learned about what happened to Clary's mum by asking a friend of mine who's read all the books.

Mizuki mind me to spoil what happens to Clary's mom just a little bit?

This woman finally escapes her evil ex-husband, only to get yelled at by her own daughter when she manages to get back to said daughter again.

Liliflor I don't agree with you but I think it's really cool that you have a strong opinion and you aren't afraid to tell people!

Vanessa Liliflor wrote: "I don't agree with you but I think it's really cool that you have a strong opinion and you aren't afraid to tell people!

Thanks! It's much nicer to hear that than: "YOU'RE WRONG, CASSIE CLARE IS AMAZING AND YOU'RE JUST A JEALOUS BITCH," et cetera. So thanks again! :)

CraftyO1 Thank you!!!! Someone finally gets me. My friend recomended this to me, and so being me, I read it. Ugh. i cannot believe I read it. It was soo "ewww", and I kept facepalming myself because of Clary's stupidity. I am, like, the only person I know who hates this series.

message 20: by Katrina (new) - added it

Katrina I have always been hesitant to read this since it seemed like one of those books that are insanely popular but don't actually amount to much (I'm trying not to call it overrated haha). But I decided to give it a chance anyway, so I bought it. I haven't read it yet but after seeing all of these less than positive reviews I'm a little more apprehensive about it than before D:

message 21: by Ally (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ally Great review :D I don't understand why people love this book so much. It's so ridiculous and I was kinda shocked to learn it's just revamped fan fiction. How lazy can you be? I spent money buying a copy to then learn it's just basically a reworked version of something that was originally available for free. What a cheek! Add to that the fact that the book is also just crap and I'm not pleased. Not pleased at all. And all this about needing to read the sequel? Yeah right! Like I'm gonna continue to line the pockets of a plagiarist .....

Jessica Agreed. I also think that they won a bit too easily. I feel as if someone should have died getting the Mortal Cup.

drowningmermaid Well, someone who wasn't introduced two pages ago should have died getting the Goblet of Mortality-- er Mortal Cup.

I actually only read it because it was re-vamped fanfiction. Fanfiction gets a bad rap because the vast majority is utter, utter crap (although a lot of people ended the Twilight series better than Meyer). But if you think about it-- most of Shakespeare's work, and Jesus' parables, were all fanfiction, not original works. They'd spend all their time in court today, defending where they got their ideas.

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