Tatiana's Reviews > City of Bones

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 23, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: 2009, ya, why-the-hype, tres-annoying, urban-fantasy
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
Recommended for: teenage girls, fans of angsty teenage soap

** spoiler alert ** 15-year old Clary witnesses a crime at a trendy New York night club. Interesting thing, nobody but Clary can see both the victim and perpetrators. As it turns out, there is an entire invisible to regular people world, and Clary is an unwitting important part of it.

"City of Bones" is one of those books that all my female friends and fellow readers simply love, Jace-mania all around. Needless to say, I had to jump on the bandwagon eventually and get me some Jace. Who am I to deny myself a pleasure to fall for a fictional hot, sarcastic and brooding guy? Imagine my disappointment, when I found out that this book was one big pile of hot mess! Sorry ladies, I said it, it's bad.

I had the hardest time sticking to the story and for quite some time I couldn't figure out why. Then gradually I realized that there were several reasons.

Let me start with the editing. I don't really think this book was edited at all, actually. Errors were endless and visible to even my untrained eye: wrong words ("noise" instead on "nose"); missing words in sentences; strange mix of POVs (the book is mostly told in 3rd person, from Clary's POV, but occasionally I saw both 3rd and 1st person narration in the same paragraph describing the same events, then there was a page from Jace's POV and a chapter from Luke's); Clary's father was called Jonathan in the beginning of the book, but John in the end. I can go on, but these were the things that I would normally overlook if the story itself was good. Unfortunately it wasn't, and the errors stood out.

I didn't think that the story was cohesive, it just didn't quite flow for me. It read as more of a series of events rather than a novel. I thought there were some parts in the book that served no other purpose but to give our hero an opportunity to act knight-like. I am talking about the entire rat-Simon/vampires extravaganza. This story line could have been edited out completely without any damage to the narrative IMO.

I couldn't quite relate to any of the characters either. What made my friends sigh with adoration, annoyed me. I hated the sarcasm, mainly because the jokes, although funny, felt often out of place, plus all of the characters attempting to joke, sounded exactly the same to me. I didn't feel the difference in attitudes of Clary, Simon, and Jace. If Clare had to make Jace a witty sarcastic type, she should have made the wisecracks his exclusive trademark, not everybody's.

The story itself was so ridiculously predictable! I do not normally see what is to come in the books, but in COB, I saw every "revelation" coming. Clare just doesn't have a skill to lead to them subtly, it's always in your face: "Valentine is alive" revelation (who in this book who was thought to be dead was actually dead? - a serious question), "your mother put a spell on you" revelation, the big "father/brother" revelation - I could see them all, and I am not the most astute reader out there.

Now, my biggest problem with this book - I've read/seen it all before! Clare borrows so liberally from "Star Wars," "Harry Potter" and "Buffy," it is simply impossible to overlook. Valentine - Voldemort/Darth Vader combo; Jace/Clary - Luke/Draco/Leia/Ginny (if it is possible) combo; the Circle - reversed Order of the Phoenix/Death Eaters combo; the Clave - Ministry of Magic; Luke - Lupin/Snape combo; Hodge - Giles/Wormtail combo. I can continue, but will stop here, you get the picture. Granted, there is nothing absolutely original in paranormal genre, but a skillful writer can re-work an old theme and make it new, fresh, and unique. Whatever is original in COB, is not quite thought through. As an example, let's take a "stele." After finishing this book, I still have no idea what exactly it does - do you only write runes with it? how exactly do you use it in a battle? why it can open some doors and not others? it can heal, but not everything? it can make you be able to see through a wooden screen, but is it because you write a special rune with it or you use it as a wand? It seems to me stele is pretty much used as a deus ex machina, convenient whenever a quick solution to a problem needed. And what's with all the shadow folk? There is just so much mashed up together - fairies, vampires, werewolves, pixies, jinns. You name any mythical creature, it is in this book. And what about magic? I read about spells made by a warlock, stele rune tricks, curses, where does it end? The limits of magic possibilities were never defined. Bottom line, all these inconsistencies make for one unoriginal and messy imaginary world. And this probably was the main reason why I couldn't connect with this book.

Finally, I was a little surprised by some of Clare's creative choices. I found both flirtations of at least 35-year-old warlock (he might be older, his age was never mentioned) with a gay teenage boy and reversed Leia/Luke extravaganza quite tacky, if not disturbing. Although I know how Jace/Clary "family matter" is resolved in the end, I don't find possibly incestuous relationships appealing.

This review might make it seem like COB is the worst book ever written. I wouldn't say so, after all, I've read "Breaking Dawn," and that book doesn't have any plot. There were some nice Jace/Clary moments, the greenhouse birthday party comes to mind. But was COB the most blatantly unoriginal book I've ever read? Absolutely (although I haven't read "Eragon" yet, but I heard a lot about it).

In all honesty, I shouldn't give this book more than 1 star, but I will add a second one as a dedication to one Mrs. Jace Wayland. Would I recommend this book? Sure, many of my friends enjoyed it immensely. Will I continue on with the series? I don't think I will be able to convince myself to waste any more of my time on being mad at a book. I think I will just check out plot summaries on wiki and be done with the series.

P.S. I just read that Cassandara Clare is an avid and famous in certain circles fanfiction writer. I guess that's where all the liberal "borrowing" comes from. Mystery solved.
562 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read City of Bones.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

April 23, 2009 – Shelved
August 7, 2009 – Shelved as: 2009
August 8, 2009 –
page 82
August 9, 2009 –
page 130
Started Reading
August 11, 2009 –
page 240
August 11, 2009 –
page 350
August 11, 2009 –
page 496
August 11, 2009 – Finished Reading
September 19, 2009 – Shelved as: ya
November 25, 2009 – Shelved as: why-the-hype
May 31, 2010 – Shelved as: tres-annoying
August 31, 2010 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy

Comments (showing 1-50 of 155) (155 new)

Heather So, how's it going? Are you hating it?

Tatiana I don't hate it, but I am not in love with it either, sorry:(
I have no idea why it is so hard for me to get into it...

Heather Yay, a shout out to Mrs. Jace Wayland!!! :)

message 4: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 12, 2009 07:00AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tatiana I might be harsh in my reviews, but I always acknowledge fictional lurves:)

Heather You were harsh, but honest. Can't fault you for that. I saw the same parallels, but I was in the throws of Jace Lurve, so I chose to overlook it :)

message 6: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 12, 2009 07:16AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tatiana Understandable, can't blame you for that:)

Heather Despite the fact that you verbally assaulted my fictional husband, I do like your review. Nice work. Excellent use of snark :)

Tatiana I had an excellent teacher:)

Arlene Your review is very well written T, but I have to say I'm shocked you didn't like it. :( Well more Jace for us. :)

Heather Haha, I'm not surprised she didn't like it. I saw the same things she did, but hoped against hope that she would fall for Jace too. Oh well, more for me, haha

Heather Tatiana wrote: "I had an excellent teacher:)"

Aww, I'm flattered :)

Tatiana Arlene wrote: "Your review is very well written T, but I have to say I'm shocked you didn't like it. :( Well more Jace for us. :)"

It's not like I disliked Jace, rather I disliked the package he came in, if it makes sense.

Heather In other words, she expected more or rather, because we love him in part for his wit, she was hoping he would stand apart in that regard. But Clary and Simon are equally snide, so it deminishes Jace's talent so to speak. I get it.

Tatiana I mean, I get the love - sarcasm, hotness, plus blond locks and golden eyes alluded to as often as to
marble skin and Adonis-like features of our other fave character that shall not be named:)

Heather Don't forget the lion expression and the smell of blood, steele and soap! lol

Tatiana Plus his magic ability to come into a room wearing a shirt and a couple of paragraph later switch it to jacket. And they all had magic pockets too, they would just come out of nowhere when needed. I supposed Shadowhunters are special like that:)

Heather I don't remember the shirt jacket thing.I guess I wasn't paying attention. It did say that Jace dressed like a goth, with tons of pockets, but Clary often pulled things out of her pockets too. I don't know about you, but pockets are just a decoration on my pants. I don't use them. That's what my purse is for. What would my life be reduced to if I didn't loose things in my purse?

Arlene "I don't remember the shirt jacket thing."

That's because you always picture Jace shirtless Heather. :)

Heather Arlene wrote: ""I don't remember the shirt jacket thing."

That's because you always picture Jace shirtless Heather. :)"

Oh, this is probably true, though the Jace in my head looks D@mn fine in clothes too. Yum. You know how the t-shirts of men with picks slightly stick out and mold to their pecks? Well that's what I see. Delish :)

Tatiana I can only imagine your excitement Heather when he was playing piano in the beginning:)

message 21: by Heather (last edited Aug 12, 2009 08:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather I loved it! Haha, you know me too well. Clary draws, one of my favorite things, and Jace is musical, which is my another favorite. Plus, I adrore the men with musical talent, but you know this ;)

Tatiana Yep, I know exactly why you love him:)

Heather Because he is glorious and golden, lol.

message 24: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 12, 2009 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tatiana And don't forget deliciously tormented:)

Heather Oh yes, tormented, how could I forget?

Hannah LOL T. I've just read your review of CoB after posting my own, and I must say we're pretty sympatico (although your review is mucho better!!)

message 27: by Tatiana (last edited Sep 14, 2009 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tatiana Thank you and I am glad you are on my side. Everybody else is in mad lurve with Jace:)

Heather Well Jace is glorious, lol.

Heather At least you love Alex :)

Hannah Heather wrote: "At least you love Alex :)"

Are we talking about Alex Pettifor? If so, Alex IS a cutie. If they cast him as Jace, I'll probably watch a CoB movie at least.

Tatiana Yeah, Alex is a s*xy kitten, no doubt about that:)

Heather Oh you got that right! lol

Kat Kennedy I agree with this review so much I can't even find words except to say "yes" to everything you wrote.

Tatiana It's nice to have someone who agrees with me:) 99% of my friends love this book and for me it was just meh.

Beryl S.K. You laid it all out. XD I so agree with you. What depresses me is how much people liked it! Are teenagers really that blind to obvious cliched characters and weak plots? To think that there are so many better books out there that never get the attention they need, and that only those that seem as if they have been written through only one draft make it through best sellers. :/ Not to forget how unoriginal they always end up being.

Nicole John isn't even her father

Dannielle Beryl wrote: "You laid it all out. XD I so agree with you. What depresses me is how much people liked it! Are teenagers really that blind to obvious cliched characters and weak plots? To think that there are so ..."

Just so you know, I'm almost 18 and I still hated this novel, if that's what you want to call it! So just know that not all us teens are horribly blind. Although, sadly, most are.

message 38: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara I have to say that this is my favourite book but I get what your saying ... but also a lot of those rnadom moments that seem like they arent nessacary are just opening up the idea for the other books ..

Spider the Doof Warrior This book annoyed me hardcore.
I don't understand why people like Jace so much.
He seems like a jerk to me. I don't care how good looking a man is and how gold his eyes are, I can't stand rude jerky men.
I liked Simon better.

message 40: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 09, 2010 07:11AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tatiana What can I say? I can't understand his appeal either, but I guess a tortured hero persona mixed with sarcasm is a turn-on for many.

Spider the Doof Warrior Hmmm. I must be missing that gene. I think I like cute nerdy intelligent men with clever senses of humour that sometimes can be sarcastic without being jerks about it and they don't torture themselves all day long either because that's annoying.

Tatiana LOL. I think you are in a minority:o)

message 43: by Jamie (new) - rated it 1 star

Jamie "'This review might make it seem like COB is the worst book ever written. I wouldn't say so, after all, I've read "Breaking Dawn...'"

Amen to that!

kelsie I agree with everything being so predictable - the "devastating twist" between Clary and Jace? I smelled that a mile away!

message 45: by Kay (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kay I read this and I could not get into it. For some reason, I couldn't point out exactly why this book just didn't do it for me. I knew I didn't like Clary at all.

But, your review nails it right on the head. Everything you've mentioned makes me realize that this was how I was feeling reading this book.

So, thank you.

Tatiana My pleasure, Katrice:)

message 47: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue Tint love your review! Thanks,,, I am glad I am not the only one.

Britley i freaking hate you, sure most of the things in here are true, but im pretty sure your just some feamle dog hating because you cant write a book any better than hers. any way thats how ideas form from other things. how do you know that she got all those things from starwars and harrpotter?? you need to get a life and just stop being a dickwad :P

Britley you know what, i take back some of what i said. this books a hot mess....

Spider the Doof Warrior I am sorry, Britley, but you need to improve your spelling and grammar as you simply cannot SURVIVE in this world without decent writing skills.

But then again, it is rapidly becoming like 1984. And everyone is speaking a sort of Newspeak. It's a wonder you're not saying doubleplus ungood unlove book or something like that.
Plus, if you've read Harry Potter or seen the Star Wars movies you'd see the similarities. Too many similarities. There's inspiration and then there is plagiarism.
I shall try to write my own books.
And they will be original at least. I have worked hard on them for years.

« previous 1 3 4
back to top