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City of Bones

(The Mortal Instruments #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,479,641 ratings  ·  57,826 reviews
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is not ...more
Paperback, Aus Paperback, 510 pages
Published 2015 by Walker Books Ltd (first published May 27th 2007)
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Atheda It really won't, unless you appreciate Mary Sues and their cliché life stories and so forth. That's my own opinion though and there are plenty of…moreIt really won't, unless you appreciate Mary Sues and their cliché life stories and so forth. That's my own opinion though and there are plenty of people out there that will tell you the opposite. In the end, you might have to read it to see if it is worth reading or not. Cheers!(less)
Katherine Definitely a teenage audience in my opinion. The characters are fairly one-dimensional, which a lot of more sophisticated audiences would not…moreDefinitely a teenage audience in my opinion. The characters are fairly one-dimensional, which a lot of more sophisticated audiences would not appreciate. A lot of detail is given toward Clary's (the protagonist's) self-consciousness and ambivalent feelings about Jace (the stereotypical chauvinistic, male romantic love interest who secretly has a "heart of gold"). Ultimately, it probably is more thought-provoking and universal than a trashy romance novel, but very clearly geared toward young teenage girls. Even for older teens it's fairly juvenile.

I read the prequel trilogy a few years ago and enjoyed them immensely, expecting to find the same satisfaction with this book. Even though the character layout and underlying themes and concepts were pretty parallel or similar, I enjoyed this book a lot less; I feel that this is probably because I simply outgrew it.

Clare's writing style is beautiful in places, however, and that may appeal to you. I enjoyed her lovely descriptions of the city lights and backdrops. It really depends on your interests.(less)

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Apr 23, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenage girls, fans of angsty teenage soap
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat Kennedy
***Warning: won't contain spoilers cause I didn't get far enough to give a fuck and discover anything worth spoiling.***

Okay, so let me get this out straight. I have never NOT finished a book before. Okay, I'm lying. The History of Sexuality Volume 1 by Michel Foucault remains unfinished as does Villette by Charlotte Bronte. Why? Because they were boring.

Because, as I read them, I wanted to take a cheese grater to my skull and rub vigorously just to have something to do!<
Rick Riordan
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so I’m far behind the curve on reading this, but I very much enjoyed my introduction to the world of nephilim, Shadowhunters and demons. Clare constructed a vivid, believable parallel world with great characters, punchy dialogue, and a winning mix of humor, pathos and action. I like her take on warlocks, vampires, and werewolves, and of course I’m a big fan or urban fantasy, where these fantastic elements mix into the regular gritty city life of New York. Clary Fray is a sympathetic protag ...more
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cara by: Tori
Wow. I was reading some reviews on this and people either hate or love it. I am not ashamed to say I belong to the latter. Lots of opinions means there is lots of things to say...

Ok so I was practically splitting my head open thinking of what exactly I wanted to say about this book. In the end I just decided to go with what comes to mind. So here it goes...

Clare does a superb job of drawing you in. Maybe the plot isn't completely unique but the world she created is. I kep
Tomoe Hotaru
19 Apr '16
Bet you're sick of my updates, now.

Just for reference, on the recent Sherrilyn Kenyon v Cassandra Clare.
Kenyon has filed a lawsuit against Clare, and also provides a list of alleged similarities between Clare's work to her own.

Read and decide for yourself.

15 Jun '13
update again! Saw some stills for the movie, and to be honest, despite being slightly spurious in my "casting" of City of Bones, I actually think my version is much better than the movie version.

I mean, look at Isabelle, and look at Clary.

19 Apr '16
Bet you're sick of my updates, now.

Just for reference, on the recent Sherrilyn Kenyon v Cassandra Clare.
Kenyon has filed a lawsuit against Clare, and also provides a list of alleged similarities between Clare's work to her own.

Read and decide for yourself.

15 Jun '13
update again! Saw some stills for the movie, and to be honest, despite being slightly spurious in my "casting" of City of Bones, I actually think my version is much better than the movie version.

I mean, look at Isabelle, and look at Clary.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Isabelle is supposed to be way hotter than Clary.

And don't even get me started on Jace.

I mean, Jamie Campbell Bower was cute in a couple of his other films, but.... Jace was supposed to be..... I dunno... swoon-on-your-feet-panty-wetting hawwwt.

And Simon.....

I mean, he has "friendzone" written all over him.

12 Jan '13
I know this is now being made into a film, and I know they've all got the cast sorted out, but I imagined them very differently. So here's how they all played out in my head:

Simon - Aaron Taylor-Johnson

For some reason, I always imagined Simon as young Eisenheim. And a part of me wants to kick myself for associating the 2006 film with this book in any way.

Alec - Ezra Miller

And no, it's not because he's queer.

Isabelle - Jessica Szohr

Because I wanted to put this picture in here, 'kay?

Jace - Draco Malfoy

I mean come on. Is there even a debate on this??

Clary - Kristen Stewart

Only because her acting skills match the quality of Clary's personality.

11 Aug '12
Also known as Why Readers CAN Review An Author As Well As His/Her Book, And Why STGRB Are Full of Shit And Obviously Never Took English Lit Classes For Telling Us We're Not Allowed To.

I heard about the whole plagiarism issue long before I even heard of Cassandra Clare's books, so I tried getting into it as objective as possible, given the circumstances. All I know is that she pretty much copy-pasted whole wads of text from another FF writer, from published books, from TV dialogue - into her Draco Dormiens trilogy, without providing any credit to the original authors.

I also know that she lifted wads of text from Draco Dormiens into her published Mortal Instruments. What remains a mystery, though, is whether these bits copied into The Mortal Instruments were her own original pieces of writing, or some of them even plagiarized work?

I won't go much into the whole plagiarism thing, since if indeed any plagiarized work exists in The Mortal Instruments, that is pretty much speculation.
However, it does bring to mind questions of ethic; should a plagiarist be published? Some people strongly believe in giving second chances. I think people only deserve second chances when they admit to their errors and have truly proven their repentance. Both cases which I have not as of yet heard Cassandra Clare do.

Other questions popping into my head include shouldn't there be some sort of punishment for plagiarists?! I mean, if I did in university what Cassandra Clare did in Draco Dormiens (and, arguably, The Mortal Instruments), then I would've been kicked out on the curb and my pretty Master's degree ripped to shreds. And, similar to the whole Chris Brown debacle, instead of condemning her far below ethical work habits, we, the consumers, commend their "artwork", as if sending the message that whatever wrongs they have done, it doesn't matter because people still eat their shit up. There is no learning curve here; or at least, no deterrence factor.

But anyway, I tried to suppress these nagging questions while I read the book, because I wanted to know if I would truly, objectively, enjoy City of Bones. Especially after the whole "GR Bullies" absurdity, where an increasing number of voices proclaim that Reviews Should Be About Books And Completely Separate From The Author.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, my experience reading City of Bones will provide evidence (alongside many other ample evidence out there), that no - sometimes we, as readers, cannot keep the two things separate. Sometimes, our moral and ethic code just won't let us. Reading is, after all, a subjective experience, and all sorts of things influence our enjoyment of it, including our perception of the author. And if that affects our enjoyment of a book, then it damn well does belong in a review if we choose to put it there.

So. Anyway. Now that I'm off my soapbox. The biggest thing that stands out while I read City of Bones was how inconsistent the writing was . It was so lazy and repetitive, information was handed over to us on a silver platter - there was no subtlety or any depth going on. But then there would be brief, short scenes or dialogues that actually made me laugh out. Those few and interspersed scenes surprised me, like one wet and icky autumn day, when I found a five dollar bill while raking up my neighbour's filthy garden.
Try as I might to ignore it, I was at a dilemma. Should I enjoy this? I mean, it's only five dollars. Surely they couldn't miss it. And, I mean, I'm working my arse off in this horrible weather because my mother owes them a lawnmower. And anyway, it might not even be theirs to begin with.
In the end, I took the money (come on, you would've, too!), but I just didn't enjoy it as much as I would have. And the delight I should have felt at finding money just wasn't there.

These funny bits of dialogues and scenes filled me with just as much inner turmoil as my five-dollar-note dilemma, and even though I know that maybe, perhaps, it could be that these are all Cassandra Clare's own words, I still couldn't shake off the icky suspicions out off my gut - did she "draw inspiration" from some other unknown source, here?
In the end, it just ravaged me with too much guilt and suspicions that what originally would have been a five-star scene was reduced down to three stars and a really, really sad face.

Also a part of the inconsistent writing, was the inconsistent narration . I know 3rd person omniscient gives the narrator the power to sift through characters' thoughts and emotions as they please, but this is what made the narrative sound forced and contrived. We would normally follow Clary as the novel progresses - until it is convenient for us to see things from another character's perspective, in which case off we'll jump into another person's head.
These conveniences are just one example of what I mean when I say that the narrative lacked subtlety . When we aren't directly being fed a certain character's thoughts and emotions through his/her own point of view, we are blatantly told their feelings by the character themselves. Rarely are people in real life so honest and self-aware as the characters in City of Bones.

"An asshat?" Jace looked as if he were about to laugh.
"What you said to Simon--"
"I was trying to save him some pain. Isabelle will cut out his heart and walk all over it in high-heeled boots. That's what she does to boys like that."


"(...) You want to know what it's like when your parents are good church-going folk and you happen to be born with the devil's mark?" He pointed at his eyes, fingers splayed. "When your father flinches at the sight of you and your mother hangs herself in the barn, driven mad by what she's done? When I was ten, my father tried to drown me in the creek. I lashed out at him with everything I had--burned him with everything I had--burned him where he stood. (...)"


"I didn't think you liked me all that much."
Isabelle's brightness faded and she looked down at her silvery toes. "I didn't think I did either," she admitted. "But when I went to look for and Jace, and you were gone..." Her voice trailed off, "I wasn't just worried about him, I was worried about you, too. There's something so ... reassuring about you. And Jace is so much better when you're around."

The point I'm trying to make, here, is that we get to know the characters because other characters are constantly telling us about them, instead of us making our own informed opinions of them based on their actions and words. This is why I say the writing was lazy and lacked depth . And how Cassandra Clare tried to show us that her characters have background and troubles and are oh such damaged goods was more or less through self-testimonials such as the second quote up above, where Magnus Bane so conveniently gave away his entire childhood to three random teenagers. The chapter The Werewolf's Tale was another one of these self-testimonials for another partially-important character.
This is a whole new level of telling-instead-of-showing. Where unimaginative writers just unload all these information through descriptive prose, Cassandra Clare was at least creative enough to hide it into her dialogue. But the same underlying problem is still there - we see none of this "damaged goods". I didn't need Sweeney Todd to tell me his past to know that he was a damaged, troubled man. His actions spoke it for me.

As for information being handed to us on a silver platter -- all you need to do is take a look at the entire ending scene with Valentine to see my point. The whole chapter was an infodump session. Rarely do I read villains who are so eager to reveal their past and provide explanations to their potential victims. The Harry Potter novels were slightly guilty of this - especially in the earlier books - but I believe a lot of other things about the books redeemed itself from this one fault.
Jace was also a bit of an infodumper, but I don't take away points for this. I mean, I get it - it's hard to get on without one character at least explaining what the blazes was going on.

Speaking of characters ... this is rather tough. Many reviewers despised Jace because he was such an asshole. Clary herself accuses Jace of being an asshole plenty of times. But I've lived a fair amount of years, and I was friendly with quite a few assholes during my own teenage years. And let me tell you one thing: Jace is no asshole. He's a guy with daddy issues, trying to act tough. And that is as deep as any of the characters get. I guess, he would be my favourite character out of the whole lot - not my favourite character as in the one I liked the most, but the character whom, in my opinion, was the most developed, without self-testimonials or other characters telling us about him.

But remember my five-dollar-note dilemma? Yeah. Jace was, without a doubt, a direct cut-and-paste of the Draco from Clare's Draco Dormiens trilogy - who, by default, is a creation of JK Rowling's. So forgive me if I "can't separate the book from the author" because frankly? If I enjoyed this book simply because of Jace, that doesn't say much about the rest of the book, or the quality of writing, because Jace is not even Clare's original character.

Further illustrating the inconsistencies of Clare's writing, though, was the sudden and drastic change in Jace's character during the scene with Valentine. There is no way one person, in such a short amount of time, could thoroughly convince and change Jace into such an ... obedient? passive? receptive? character. No matter who the person claimed he was, or what evidence he brings to the table. Even if Jace believed in everything Valentine told him, there is no way it would have drastically changed him in such a manner and such a short time.
Just as unlikely, was the way Jace was ready to walk the ends of the world with Valentine, build a new life with him, and in the next moment - after a few words from Clary - was ready to throw that all away once again. The double inconsistencies astound me. Clare simply does not understand human psychology or even human nature enough to make solid characters.

The other characters were forgettable, to say the least. They all sounded the same, I'm afraid. Witty, dry sort of humour. It gets tiring after a while. Also, the Magnus-and-Alec thing? Can I just say, ew? Magnus is like, what? Forty? And Alec is ... sixteen?
Even Valentine the Villain was ... not much of a villain. He didn't frighten me, or even daunt me. I kept reading how Clary was disgusted at how manipulative he was during his scenes, but reading the pages myself, reading his words, his actions? He wasn't particular conniving or ingenious - really, it was just that Jace was so ready to have a family back, he was willing to lap up every bit of contradicting information he heard.

Plot progression and twists were unsurprising. Uninspired. No, wait, they were inspired. By Star Wars and Harry Potter, to name a few. Perhaps even a bit of Buffy in there.

And this is where my final dilemma lies. To like, or not to like? That is the question.

For light fluff, it has entertainment value enough. But what little entertainment value there was, was lifted off other, better, pieces of work out there. To say that I did not enjoy City of Bones would be a lie; but the question is, did I enjoy City of Bones, or did I enjoy the bits of Harry Potter and Star Wars in City of Bones?

I'll let you decide if it's fine to like a book filled with other writers' characters, other authors' plot twists, other screenwriters' dialogue. Perhaps I'm being too uptight, but here's how I see it. New York with Potterverse and Star Wars. Take that away and what are you?

Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was instantly enchanted when I first read City of Bones, and that enchantment still holds four years, and at least half a dozen re-reads later in sptite of the fact that I'm older, wiser, and should know better. I've also read countless reviews, both adoring and loathing and have come to the conclusion that this book does not garner any type of middle ground, you either love it or you hate it.

I'm glad that I get to love it. What else can I say?
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For me, this book shines, and to those of you who loved isay?
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great and interesting books. I manages to combine the infulences from many of top fictional series of our time. It combines hidden magic world of Harry Potter, the teenage drama of Buffy, and a couple of themes from Star Wars as well. The book is very well written and fast paces.

We follow Clary Fray, a 15 year old misfit trying to find heself, not quite sure if she is goth, cyberpunk, or just a temperamental teenaged artist. One night in the local club, Pandemonium, she realises sh
Elise (TheBookishActress)
I was never expecting anything from this but an entertaining and maybe a little bit forgettable book. I was wrong; I found this completely unforgettable. For being a trainwreck.

To be quite honest, I think 75% of the hype for this series comes from nostalgia. Listen, I'm sorry, I know this isn't everything, but I really... don't get why these first three books are hyped, on any level. Not only do I have ten million problems with the tropey nature and the slutshaming and the etc etc etc, it's al
“Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234.”

I read City of Bones for the first time 5 years ago. I still remember that day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing It was during my first semester in Law School and I had to study History of Law, which was a complete waste of time because seriously, who is ever going to ask me whether women in Byzantium could get a divorce? (In case you are wondering, they could only if the husband was impotent or possessed). Aaanyway,
“Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.”

Hi, my name is Melanie, and I’m the last person on this planet to read anything by Cassie Clare! But I had too many best friends who promised me that reading this series would be worth it for me to finally get to Lady Midnight! Well, the other night I did an Instagram poll, because I wanted something fae and I was just going to pick up Lady Midnight, without reading any of Cassie’s other work, and some of my friends lost their shit, to put
Jul 04, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Pure and utter crap. I wish there were ways to give negative stars. I certainly want the time from my life back. I would compare its writing quality to a fanzine, except that comparison wouldn't be fair to fanzines. But I swear to God, it took every single bad fanfic writing cliche and published them. What were her publishers thinking??? Where was her editor?? It was horrible.

I would dearly love for a fanfiction author to make good and become a published writer, but I'd prefer one with talent,
Chelsea Humphrey
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can totally see why everyone rants and raves over these books; while I'm only one deep (so far) and hoping to read City of Ashes in the very near future, I feel this is the type of book that teenage Chelsea would have flipped her turds for back in the day. I'm just glad I can still enjoy them now. While very teen oriented, City of Bones still had a classic feel that surpassed barriers of age and gender, and I have heard from many folks that they wish they had found these books while they were still a y ...more
Sasha Alsberg
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Mortal Instruments changed the way I looked a fantasy novels. I am a huge fan now. I defiantly recommend this book for any hunger games, divergent, harry potter, and twilight fans out there. It is truly a fantastic series.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stars

After so many years of trying to read this, I finally finished it.

See, I think the story has so much potential, and I like it, but I can't stand the characters at all. Clary is so annoying, and I just can't connect with Jace at all.

For now, I will put this series on hold.

Was it worth reading? - Kinda.
Would I read it again? - Hardly.
Would I recommend it? - Depends on the person.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.6/5 Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt.”

This book didn't leave a good taste in my mouth. Basically, it left no taste in my mouth. Or if it left a taste, it was like water taste. It didn't exist. But let's talk a bit about my history with the Shadowhunter world. But first the plot in italics cause we're classy as fuck.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder c/>When
shady boots | #WatchPOSE
Aug 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who have the hots for dickhead heroes.

I had to do it.
Miranda Reads
“You're an idiot."
"I've never claimed to be otherwise.”
Clary Fray goes to one little party with her best friend (Simon)...and there's a teeny-tiny littler repercussion by way of her life being absolutely and irrevocably ruined.

She witnesses an unusual boy being led to the back by figures cloaked in black, brandishing knives.

Curious, she decides to investigate...and stumbles upon an exorcism.

The Shadowhunters are just as surprised as she is - mostly because the only people who can see Shadowhunter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
3 Stars

Reviewing this is weird-- because I used to love it. When I was about 13, I remember finding this library book, taking it home and reading all 400+ pages in one sitting. Then I went back the next day and grabbed the next two books, devoured them, thought that was the end and (mostly) forgot about it. (Until that awful movie came out a few years ago)

So reading it now, as an early-twentysomething with a lot more reading and life experience, I knew the initial love wouldn’t be there. I had a lot of problems with this. But I stiStars
CAN YOU BELIEVE its taken me this long to finally pick up my first cassandra clare book?!? because i can. lifes too short to read books you know you wont love implicitly, but i recently had a change of heart.

unfortunately, reading this went exactly how i thought it would. this is serving some major pre-teen juvenile cringe realness. the writing is a little bland. none of the characters are memorable. and there is a lot going on that isnt really worth obsessing over.

that being said. i didnt hate th
I didn't always love The Mortal Instruments.

In fact, the first time I read it, I found it quite immature and annoying. If I’m not mistaken, I read it for the first time three years ago, just before the release of the execrable movie. Well, 1) you need to know that, at that time, I wasn’t reading English books just yet (that came a couple of months later) and 2) some of the French editions look horrible (view spoiler) and those are the ones my library owned. So
Meredith Holley
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 uncom ...more
Jul 27, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really, there's nothing very original, or satisfying in the book. She borrowed so heavily from Buffy, Harry Potter, and Star Wars that it sticks out like a sore thumb. It reads like altered fan fiction. And I love fan fiction, make no mistake, but it's not attempting to make a buck off someone else's world, either. Which is essentially what the book is. Cobbled fan fiction that has no cohesion.

I knew Clare as Cassandra Claire from Harry Potter fandom, I will admit, and that did color somewhat. But no matte
Oct 09, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, on-app, fantasy, ya
12 years ago I lost the choo-choo train that was hyping this book and I told myself then "One day maybe..."
Now guess what? The day has come. And I've got a ticket to first-class!
Jessica Edwards
I've actually been meaning to write a review about this book, and because I watched the film only recently, I thought why not write a review about it now.
I received the first 4 books from my sister but I never got around to reading either of them. I remember reading City of Bones, but I think I stopped midway because I realized that a movie had been made of it, so I watched the film instead.

City of Bones is about a teenage girl called Clary Fray who lives with her mother in Brooklyn.
Clary dis
The Burning Rose (Jess)
2019: re-reading.

2016: 4.5 stars.
Such a great book!
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Blue fairies
Recommended to Kiki by: A blue fairy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
So here’s the thing. I got rid of my copies of these books and The Infernal Devices series awhile back when I was having a clean out. The I enjoyed some of the newer books. Then one of my groups put up a challenge for the series. Then I decided to listen to them from the library. NOW, my thoughts have changed as they do on rereads sometimes. I love certain characters more so in the newer books but in this book I feel like I wasted precious time, AND time is precious people!! This went from 5 to ...more

*Spoilers yeah*

I’m going to say this now so it’s out of the way.
I’ve never read the Draco Trilogy by Cassandra Claire on

I have no right to mention the plagiarism event around the Draco Trilogy in this review, because I have not read it, and so I will not go into the plagiarism event.

I know of the plagiarism, and I find it despicable, but I’m not reviewing that, I’m reviewing City of Bones.


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*Spoilers yeah*

I’m going to say this now so it’s out of the way.
I’ve never read the Draco Trilogy by Cassandra Claire on

I have no right to mention the plagiarism event around the Draco Trilogy in this review, because I have not read it, and so I will not go into the plagiarism event.

I know of the plagiarism, and I find it despicable, but I’m not reviewing that, I’m reviewing City of Bones.


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It started EPIC, then tapered to a molasses read but who really cares. It’s done now and that’s that! But onto MY review!


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Thaaaaaaat’s ME!

BACKSTORY. When I first spotted City of Bones, I saw the cover and thought, “Hmm...interesting designs. Kinda weird, but I rather like it...” Drew me in, so I read the blurb, said, “Lol kay” and purchased it. What I remember after that first read was Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, Abbadon, the Star Wars copycat sibling scene, and Jocelyn still being in a coma. Of all those things, Momma Fray still being in a coma pissed me off the most, and I dropped the series because of that alone.

Fast forward to Ghirardelli present day with more of a brain. Now I got a sense of plot, character arc/development, themes, literary devices, and a fresh love for reading. Now, with this knowledge, City of Bones angers me even further without Momma Fray’s limp body.

Le blurb:
Clarissa, or Clary Fray (Clare...Clary...*sigh*) is a 15 year-old girl who is somehow allowed into a club and meets a bunch of Shadowhunters who kill a demon party goer. They’re like, “SHOOT SHE KNOWS” and she goes off on an adventure after she finds her apartment totaled by a Ravener demon thang and her mother not where she last left her.

Aww yeah here we go!

The writing...
The. Writing.

I cannot begin to fathom just WHAT is going on with this prose. I’ll admit that there are a few moments where the descriptions of certain areas are vivid and near perfect
Ex: When Clary finds Jace with Valentine. That gold room with the velvet curtains and all that. Woooow lovely image.Also, with Abbadon. Fuck guys, I don’t wanna get NEAR whatever that thing was. Yeesh, I’ll just hide in my bed thanks.

But at the same time, with this descriptions, Clare likes to drop about a bajillion these on us:

“Moonlight ran like silver water...”
“...stinging and aching, like raw meat.”
“The apple tasted green and cool.”
“Leaving the Institute was like climbing into a wet, hot canvas bag.”
“...pale gold pollen as light as talcum.”

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Honestly, I’ve never seen so many similes in one book ever.
This is literary technique abuse in its natural habitat. I honestly thought Twilight was bad with the thesaurus raping, but Clare is nearly there with all of these nonsensical similes! Yes, some of them indeed worked, but having this army of them got me out of the story so quickly by about the 20th one that I was groaning every time the words ‘like’ or ‘as if’ came up.

This nonsense is an example of telling us someone’s reaction, rather than showing us. YOu know the whole SHOW, don’t TELL thing. There’s a moment where Jace’s tension is described as a downed electrical wire or something, but that doesn’t show me anything. It’s showing me the image of a live wire on some ground. Is Jace writhing on the ground in frustration or...? Whatever.

I also felt...bored. Excluding Luke’s POV and Abbadon’s chapter, I just sat and twiddled my thumbs. Nothing was interesting to me. The Ravener battle seemed meh and the encounter with Valentine SUPER lulzy.

I think it might’ve been because the POVs were switching so randomly at times. Even from page one, we have Clary scoping out the blue-haired kid, then we JUMP to his perspective and we’re forced to oblige. Here I thought we’d follow third person omniscient, which I have no quarrels with since I’m doing that myself, but the switching was so arbitrary and rapid that I was unsure if who I was reading. It may just be me, but I get so mind-boggled when I come across that. The whacked POV really threw me for a ride.

All the POV switching didn’t help the plot much, nor was the plot much to begin with. Clare seems to take a nose dive into plot with Jocelyn’s disappearance. I’m ready to go, I’m all strapped in. Then, she just kinda lets Clary float about for a while. Go get some memories, go help Simon the rat, go into a conflict between two boyz, go fetch the Mortal Cup (which we have no idea what it is or DOES until Dorothea spells it out when we’re roughly 77% done the book).

Even with the plot jumbled up like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle with forks and turns that made barely any sense, it was still there, and it was throughout the book and not shoved into the end. So by my standards, this book stands a little taller and prouder than others I’ve read. I’m not exaggerating that either. This book is worthy of its two stars.

I feel like the second star is for the times where I just caught myself enjoying little bits like Abbadon and Luke’s infodump. I found the battle with Abbadon to be fairly kick-butt, an I actually didn’t mind Luke’s backstory stuff so much. I started to enjoy his character a little. Speaking of characters...


I will never not hate Clary.
Clary is a cruel-hearted, whiny, and angry little girl. She contradicts herself and her own actions, she bad mouths every living soul around her, and for what? Is this supposed to make her a strurng female churuktur or something? Kicking ass and taking names because you open-handedly smack everyone around you? That’s just being mean and hateful. There is nothing appealing or likable about Clarissa Fray.

She abandons her best friend, Simon, at a poetry slam to follow the boy she barely knows, then yells at Isabelle for abandoning Simon at Magnus’ party, then she even forgets that Simon drove her and the other Shadowhunters back to Dorothea’s. This is when Simon SAVES THEIR ASSES, too.

I just can’t. Clary, you’re an idiot.


Our love interest, ladies and gentlemen. Tawny, tumbling gold locks, and gold eyes! Oh sweet lawd hold me!

Jace is a major asshole. Simon calls him out on it. Clary does then APOLOGIZES FOR IT (HUH?), but I still would take him over Clary. Hell, with the backstory that Jace was getting, I wouldn’t have minded if this were told from his perspective. I bet it would’ve been a lot easier (somehow), not to mention far more interesting.

I can still handle him. Like, I’m not wanting to strangle Jace like I am Clary. Jace was an ass, but he didn’t cross my line. He does have a tendency to be obnoxiously cheesy and loves to fail-snark the heck out of everything. Maybe I liked him more because his seraph blades were actually psychic-type Pokémon evolutions.

Actually, this brings me to one point, what’s up with steles? They make runes, but they can’t when someone’s got demon blood in them. OKay that’s cool. They open certain doors, and start...vampire motorcycles? What can’t they do? Can they make me a chicken sandwich? These steles don’t seem to have much going for them, like Clare said, “LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE” then drops them off for bumblefuck reasoning. Their description?

“It was a long, luminous cylinder, as thick around as an index finger and tapering to a point.”

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Come on, gotta keep your subtlety in check, Clare.

Anywho, the only thing that made me want to gouge my eyes out were the similes and Clary Fray’s behavior. Other than that, everything was just okay. It wasn’t beautiful, fabulous, or pure genius. This is certainly not genius material. Stuff I write isn’t genius material either.

But it also wasn’t the very worst thing I’ve ever read. Twilight, Halo, and Hush, Hush far exceed this book on stupidity, plot, and What-the-flying-fuck. It is a decent read, but that’s all I can really say about it.

Read it if you want, go ahead.
I just know that I don’t have to go back to this book again for any reason.
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Hello Goodreadsers. Here's my official bio:

"Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instr

Other books in the series

The Mortal Instruments (6 books)
  • City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)
  • City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)
  • City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)
  • City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)
  • City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
“Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?'
Jace said, "Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself."
..."At least," she said, "you don't have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland."
"Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.”
“Is this the part where you start tearing off strips of your shirt to bind my wounds?"
"If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked.”
More quotes…