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**spoiler alert** I've been deliberating for a few hours over doing a Serious Business review of City of Bones and outlining the infinite number of pr**spoiler alert** I've been deliberating for a few hours over doing a Serious Business review of City of Bones and outlining the infinite number of problems that lie within, but I decided that any critical thought that I could flesh out isn't going to be anything that you've never heard before. Therefore, I choose the low road - sarcasm and mockery.
Oh, Cassie Clare, you so crazy. I can only guess that after writing almost a million words of Harry Potter fan fiction, a bunch of people sucking your e-cock for stealing whole paragraphs from books and quotes from Buffy simply wasn't enough. No, I understand. You had to capitalize on all that time spent typing up whole paragraphs from books and outlining plots that pretty blatantly ripped off from various films, books, etc. I get it. I'm sure that's how the Mortal Instruments came to fruition. It is painfully obvious that your dopey red-haired ingenue and snarky blond asshole were essentially Ginny Weasley and Draco Malfoy in Original Character clothing. Ditto Simon being a hybrid of Harry/Ron and maybe Isabelle being a slutty Hermione. But wait, you didn't stop there! Hodge is Lupin/Peter Pettigrew 2.0 and Luke is better known by his other name, Sirius Black, and I am not entirely sure why you didn't just call Valentine by his true name - Voldemort. And seriously, though, why not just call the Mortal Instruments by their true name - the Deathly Hallows? But wait, it gets better!
Strong with this novel, the Force is - because somehow there's a creepy Luke and Leia thing going on with Clary and Jace which, for the record: dude, that's nasty. How dare you let them make out and then discover they're related. Because I had to know in order to keep myself from hurling up my dinner, I did discover that this little detail does get resolved eventually, but I reiterate: that's nasty. I thought the point of this book was to make teenage girls hold their hands to their hearts and swoon, not make them want to upchuck with what I find to be your disturbing affinity for incest (seriously - you had the whole six episodes of Star Wars to steal, uh, draw inspiration from and you pick the creepy incesty parts?). But it's weird, because if Jace and Clary are Luke and Leia, does that make Simon Han Solo? In a weird way, I found Jace's whole over-confident demeanor to be more like Han, which I guess is pretty on point with what happens in later novels. In other news, I will no longer be referring to Valentine as simply that; he is now Darth Valentine. Yes, I said it. I guess this makes Jocelyn Padme, except she's not dead yet.
I must give you where credit where credit is due, though. Clary isn't a total dumb, annoying, doormat heroine, which is essentially my biggest pet peeve in the entirety of fiction. Instead, Clary is just dumb and annoying. Why the fuck does she slap everyone? It doesn't make her a strong, venerable female, it makes her a psychotic bitch, especially since there wasn't a single justifiable slap she delivered. Also, she's a moron. Blind, deaf babies knew that Simon was in love with her. My dog knew that Simon was in love with her and the most complicated thought he has in a day is, 'gee, I think I'll lick my junk today'. I have no idea why it's such a surprise to her, really. This brings me to my second greatest pet peeve and yet another trope that you liberally borrowed from, well, everyone: all the boys want Clary. What the hell is this shit? Clary isn't even likable. You stole it off of Stephenie Meyer who stole it off of L.J. Smith and frankly? You keep copying copies, the shittier-looking and harder to read they get. You are not an exception, you are the rule.
Also, okay. So the Clave is like the circle of Jedi, right? And the Circle is like the Order of the Phoenix and the Death-Eaters, sort of, but bad. So, like, Order of the Sith, kind of? Also, is Darth Valentine channeling Magneto from X-Men: The Last Stand with his whole 'purifying the race' bullshit? I think he is. Now that I've brought the X-Men into the picture, I can see the vast similarities there, too; Clary is film version Rogue and Wolverine - Rogue because she can't be with the person she loves physically (Rogue's life-sucking power = Clary's being in love with her brother) and Wolverine because of the whole not having any memories thing and wondering why he has all this power. Also, The Institute = The Knight Bus/Hogsmeade/The Leaky Cauldron (because sometimes the Institute boards travelers and there's bad food at all three places, much like Isabelle's cooking) and also Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters (and Hodge is kind of Professor Xavier-esqe - his inability to leave the institute = Professor X's disability) and also The Jedi Training Academy and also possibly Starfleet from Trek.
You know what the funniest thing about all this is, Cassie Clare? You aren't even stealth about stealing. You know, when most people shoplift, they maybe do a cursory look for the cameras and stuff something in their pocket when they think no one is looking, but you're that chick that goes up to the clerk, asks a clerk a question about a product you have in your hand while winking that you just don't have the money to pay for it. In this book there were blatant reference to both X-Men and Star Wars (Magneto and Prof. X by name and the dice hanging up in the Millennium Falcon).
Now that I've drawn all necessary attention to your totally original content, I want to talk about the story in general. I read this book because it was handed down to me by my recently-turned eleven year old niece. I figured, okay, I'll figure out what the big deal is with this book since everyone and their mom (no, really, I think my mom, too) has read it. My niece isn't what anyone would call fastidious; she hates cleaning her room and at dinner, she likes to mash all of her food together and make a sculpture with it and then eat it. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the portion of the book I borrowed from her had pages upon pages of highlighted words. I figured, aw cute, she highlighted her favorite parts. But, no, my eleven year old niece had gone through the book and highlighted grammatical errors. There were misspellings, comma splices, and just general bad phrasing all throughout. She had also highlighted words that she saw in multiples. Seriously, Cassie Clare, I get it. Every time a wolf shows up in your book, you don't have to describe it as 'brindled'. I get it. Did your word-of-the-day calendar run out? Did you lose your thesaurus? Do you have a short-term memory problem and forget that you used the word 'brindled' to describe a wolf eight times? I can't even talk about the metaphors and the similes. I can't. I used to like them. Now they make me want to punch toddlers in the face because your book is full of approximately nine hundred and thirty-three million of them. I am also not going to talk about your bizarre tense changes and the random chapter you threw in from Luke's point of view which was completely out of character for both a man and a human, let alone Luke - no one talks like that.
Another thing that I want to reference is this whole stele thing. In Tatiana's review, she mentioned that there didn't seem to be any parameters with this stele; it seemed to be a fix-it for whenever you had written yourself into a hole. I may not have noticed it had I not read the review first, given that as I was trudging through, I was filled with an irrational rage. It's a very good point, though. But since I read your book in three days just to get through it, I'm feeling like an asshole and I want to ask the following questions: can the stele make me look like Scarlett Johansson?; can the stele magic a cheeseburger out of thin air? These are questions of vital importance. Because if the stele can't, maybe you want to consider it in case one of your characters gets stuck on an island with no food for three years or something.
In conclusion, Cassie Clare, OF COURSE YOUR BOOK IS GOOD. YOU STOLE EVERYTHING IN IT FROM OTHER PEOPLE. I just want to say that I sincerely hope that you make/have made a lot of money off your books; I also hope that the people you blatantly stole your content from take it all from you when they sue you.
Here is the Reader's Digest version of this review:
The Mortal Instruments = Harry Potter/Star Wars/X-Men/possibly Star Trek Clary Fray = Ginny Weasley/Princess Leia/Rogue/Wolverine/Uhura/Cassandra Clare, herself Jace Wayland = Draco Malfoy/Luke Skywalker/Han Solo/Wolverine/possibly Captain Kirk Simon = Harry/Ron/Cyclops/sometimes Han Solo/possibly Spock Isabelle = Slutty Hermione/one of the green chicks Captain Kirk always hits it with/one of Jabba the Hut's slaves/possibly Jubilee or another dumb, irrelevant mutant Alec = token gay character/C-3P0?? Luke = Sirius Black/Chewbacca Jocelyn = Padme Hodge = Remus Lupin/Peter Pettigrew/Professor Xavier Valentine = Voldemort/Darth Vader/Magneto The Institute = The Knight Bus/Hogsmeade/The Leaky Cauldron/12 Grimmauld Place/Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters/Starfleet Academy Church the cat = Mrs. Norris/R2D2 the portals = Floo Network/Disapperating/Beam me up, Scotty
Someone pointed out that mundies = muggles GOOD POINT, YO...more
Eff you, book cover. Why are you so pretty? And book, why are you called Across the Universe making me think there would be some remote collation to tEff you, book cover. Why are you so pretty? And book, why are you called Across the Universe making me think there would be some remote collation to the Beatles and peace and love?
I don't know why I read this. I hate space-related stuff ever since I was a wee Andrealet and my dad told me that outer space wasn't just about floating around and playing trampoline on the moon and that you'd actually suffocate to death from the lack of oxygen. But I read it because the cover spoke made me go, "Ohhhh, pretty colors," and because I still haven't overcome this disease I have where I can't put a book down once I've started.
Anyway, the book starts with a rather graphic, horrifying description of a family of three going being cryogenically frozen (personally, I think fam nights should include DiGiorno's and movies with talking guinea pigs, but what the hell do I know) to prepare them for a three hundred year trip to another planet which they'll help repopulate and colonize. Interesting plot to start, but through the intense descriptions of the freezing process, I was CRINGING. To make matters worse, the book contains a dual perspective narration, flopping from Amy (the girl in the icebox) and Elder (future captain of the ship 250 years after she's been frozen like a fish stick), creating the impetus for about ten chapters of popsicle person nightmares. Do not want. And if it freaks me out, any novel deserves a big thumbs up on the creep factor.
Then the worst thing begins to happen. SOMEONE STARTS TO THAW PEOPLE AND LEAVE THEM TO DIE. Fortunately, Elder finds Amy just before she drowns in her own cryo-juices and she's left to wander around the ship and come to grips with the hinky way people on the ship have evolved and the fact that she might be dead before her parents are ever resuscitated.
I give Revis an A- for world-building, but maybe a C+ for execution. She definitely brings up a lot of interesting concepts - the way that people farm on the ship to create nourishment, the way that the language and the the people evolve, and mostly, she acknowledges how easy it is to go cray-cray in a ship knowing you might never see home again.
That's when it starts to get even creepier. I won't go into details because I want this whole thing to be generally spoiler-free, but a huge caveat that I have with this novel is that it was more of a series of creepy events that Beth Revis wrote, but there was not really a discernible climax. Or, there was when the perpetrator was found, but I feel like there were creepier moments in the book - like when Amy discovers who really pulled her plug. (And FYI, the scene in which she finds out is ridiculous - she's not even angry about it; why would you not beat someone to death with the closest blunt object?) I think that maybe I was expecting something more plot-based than character-fueled and I got the opposite of what I wanted. Not to mention there were waaaaay too many unanswered questions at the end. Do they ever get to the planet? Is there going to be a follow-up? Will the cover be just as pretty. THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION.
Whatevs, 2.5 starts and I'm feeling generous, so watch me round this up....more