City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
First published: 2007
Edition: Paperback; advertises release of the movie
Blurb: Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn towards a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City – and the dangers of forbidden love.
History of my copy: One of my friends recommended the series to me years ago, probably around 2010-2011. I eventually picked up my copy just before the film was released back in 2013 and immediately became hooked. I am in love with the Shadowhunter world and Clare’s books!
This is actually a review of a re-read... I have no idea how many times I’ve read this book now, and I still love it! Especially when you pick up on links to Clare’s other Shadowhunter novels.
Plot: The first instalment of The Mortal Instruments introduces us to seemingly mundane Clary Fray and her best friend Simon. It turns out though that things aren’t quite as ordinary as it seems when Clary discovers she is actually a Shadowhunter, just like Jace, Alec and Isabelle who she meets. Thrown into a world of demons and Downworlders, Clary must find out who she is and where she belongs, whilst also trying to save her mother.
City of Bones fantastically introduces us to the Shadow world and the key characters, whilst also setting the scene for the next 5 books and the imminent war. Touches of romance and family dilemmas add to the plot, making it fast paced and real page turner. Once you’re hooked on this one, you’ll be hooked on all of Clare’s other books too!
Setting: City of Bones takes place almost entirely in New York, mainly in the New York institute, a building that mundanes see as a ruined church. For the majority of the time, Clare’s setting is gloriously detailed, from the vampire haven of Hotel DuMort to the eerie City of Bones. The one thing I have always had trouble picturing, however, is parts of the institute, especially as the TV show, Shadowhunters, portrayed it so differently to the few bits I had set out.
Characters: It’s really hard on a re-read to judge characters on what you know from that specific book, rather than everything else that you learn later. For example, I remember not being a huge fan of Alec when I started the series, but come the end he is one of my favourites. The same goes for Luke.
Without a doubt, though, my favourite character is the one and only Magnus Bane. Again, although I didn’t love him in the first book, I never disliked him, but my appreciation for him has just grown continually. He’s such a magnificent character and person and every time he appears in any of Clare’s books, I just get super excited.
Jace is another character I wasn’t too sure on. Sure, super-hot and cool and a great Shadowhunter, but he always came across as too full of himself and his story seemed a bit too tragic, but again, I learned to adore him.
Clary is a fantastic lead character, and Clare has her priorities sorted perfectly. I feel like she was perhaps too trusting of the Shadowhunters initially, but I guess they do save her life enough times. And Simon! Even from the first book, I love Simon endlessly. He is witty and brave and sticks out like a sore thumb, but in a way that just makes me love him more.
To read or not to read: Must read. In case you haven’t already figured this out, I would recommend City of Bones and, subsequently, all of Cassandra Clare’s books to absolutely everyone. I adore them. They are brilliantly written and have lots of little links between the books which makes them even more fun to read. Whilst not her strongest book, City of Bones is a phenomenal debut novel and really set the scene for high expectations from Clare.