City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments: Book 1)

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 nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

City of Bones is the first book in The Mortal Instruments series written by Cassandra Clare, who is also known for her Infernal Devices series. Ever since finishing Harry Potter I have been on the lookout for a new YA series that delivers the same reading experience and when I came across the books of Cassandra Clare I thought that they might be in the same league, and I must say that I am very pleased with the first book. Just a note up front, yes, The Mortal Instruments has some elements that might not be unique anymore but that did not stop my enjoyment at all, and solely because of this reason: Each book stands or falls by how it is written and, moreover, how the elements are used in producing the storyline. In this Cassandra Clare has managed to create an interesting new series.

Too start of with the world that was created in City of Bones. The story takes place in a present day New York where you get to meet up with Clary, the main protagonist of the story. From the start you are thrown into the supernatural aspects of the world, introducing  the Shadowhunters. This organization deals with threats that arise from demons, werewolves and vampires. I found that the whole idea of the Shadowhunters was well thought out. They have a secret place somewhere in Europe called “Idris”, connected by portals. Being half Angelic they also have some neat angelic weapons, swords, dagger and chakrams! They are led by a librarian named Hodge who helps them out when injured, and above all the Shadowhunters have one great thing. Marks. It is from creating tattoos on their bodies that they can draw strength, heal instantly and the like, it was pretty awesome to read about when they were gearing up for battle. Although you get to met up with the Shadowhunters quite often, you do see less of the other supernaturals in City of Bones. Yes, there are scenes with werewolves and vampire and demons but they are not fully explored yet. In the end, with the ideas and the introduced elements, City of Bones turned out to be a dark story.

Clary, like I mentioned is the main protagonist of City of Bones. She is a 15 year old girl who, as I perceived it, just wanted to fit in and lead a normal life. But during one night out her whole life is flipped upside down. She witnesses a murder… or did she? From this point on it is a race through New York for her to find out what exactly is going on. When I first was introduced to Clary I immediately fell for her. She has a great personality, is somewhat innocent and somewhat snappish. All the stuff that Clary is going through made the story compelling and made it that much better. Added to that Cassandra Clare utilizes the events surrounding Clary to the very best, showing very nice character development. Next to Clary you get to meet up with a lot more characters, and one of them is Jace, typical of the bad, cocky, self-indulgent guy, who thinks he is everything. Although he does have his good moments, for me there were, in his personality, some changes and in the end he is not the witty guy anymore but changes to a more stubborn/closed type. But his character is pretty cool once he start fighting with the demons.

As for the evil lord in this story, I was so hoping that it would not be just another vampire or werewolf overlord and I was glad that this was not the case! No, it is a somewhat unexpected force. Following from the beginning there are nice few references to the past of Clary’s life that once you get to meet Valentine you already see some pieces of the puzzle coming together. It is with the talk to Hodge that everything becomes clear and that City of Bones is not just a mere rip-off but that Lord Valentine was actually trying and is still trying to do the best for the Shadowhunters but is not looked upon with the same view as the Shadowhunters. I cannot say more about it else it will spoil too much but this unexpected introduction was nicely done showing, on top of all, a great family history and struggle.

It is also in the goal of Valentine that the plot is slowly unfolding. There are 3 mortal instruments - one of them being “The Mortal Cup” - which can transform any human into something else… And with an interesting turn in the end this cup fall into some unexpected hands. What I liked about this plot is that it mostly leaves you in the dark once you had finished, there is no direct follow up or a reference in the epilogue of where the cup is. Also what are the other two instruments? There are nice twists and turns in the book that kept a nice pacing overall. In the end I was deeply thinking of the ulterior motives of some of the characters and what their true alliances were. Not everyone is who they claim to be...

All in all I found a great pleasure in City of Bones, Cassandra Clare managed to hit the right snares to introduce a new series, showing a interesting world and likable characters, and a plot that can go any which way.

8/10 A great pleasure, Cassandra Clare managed to hit the right snares in City of Bones.

Review by

City of Bones reader reviews

from England

it was an amazing experience to read a book full of imagination and drama. I definitely recommend this book to anyone as it captures and intrigues you. It also happens to make u want to read more and never stops being a good prop if ur bored rlly. TZ
10/10 ()

from UK

One of the best books and book series. Only one I have been able to finish as I get bored easily.
10/10 ()

from Idris

Favourite book of all time!!!
10/10 ()

from Idris

<3 <3 <3 <3 I love her writing.
10/10 ()

from Idris

I absolutely love it. It's my favorite book and I like live my life around it.
10/10 ()

9.7/10 from 6 reviews

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