Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Review #10: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Book One of The Mortal Instruments)

Take a look at the cover art.

Allow me to criticise the cover art for a bit. Admittedly, the cover art of the book is very misleading. If it wasn't for the myriad of positive reviews I saw on Youtube, I'd have brushed past this book like it was an insignificant speck of dust. It shouts cheesy. Annoying too, planting a strikingly masculine male's chest on the cover of a book is a cheap cop out to attract hormonal teenage girls, however relevant it is.

The reason why I wanted to read this was because I liked her other book called Clockwork AngelIt's the prequel book to The Mortal Instruments series. Bottomline is, the cover art does not do the book justice.

This first book introduces to us Clary (Clarissa), who witnessed a murder commited by Shadowhunters; who are warriors sworn to rid the earth of demons. She is immediately plunged into their world when she was attacked and her mother captured. What makes her so unique? She is only a "mundane" after all. Oh, we'll find out soon enough.

I haven't read many Young Adult fantasy novels so I have little to compare this with. From reviews of other YA fantasy books, I can easily pick up on this formula. It's an effective formula, but one that can get tiring, especially to people who do not read YA, because it's not challenging, you know? The formula:

  • A main female lead, who -- by some fantastical, ground breaking reason -- is "special". She is usually one of those inconspicuous underdogs sitting on the sidelines like a Taylor Swift song. 
  • She usually meets a male, who is the epitome of what all girls apparently want but she doesn't want. Not yet. 
  • Most YA are in series, so there's going to be some conflict and a lot of mystery. 
  • Throw in the infamous love triangle.

This book has all of the above stereotypical characteristics.


I liked how the plot turns cleverly when I thought it would hit a dead end. I liked the protagonist, Clary, who is not unrealistically "strong" or annoyingly whimpering weak. The author bombards you with one predicament with the next; there are hardly any pauses. There are some slower, self-reflecting,  romantic scenes in parts of the book. At times, these scenes are scoff-able but generally, they are tastefully written (made me smile).

This book is quite hilarious. Clary's conversations with  Jace (who is on the cover) and Simon (her best friend) are laden with sarcasm and wit; something I always appreciate. The vocabulary and the writing  are good; it doesn't assume the reader is an airhead with limited vocabulary. I think what impressed me the most was this massive turn of events towards the end. I can't say it was unwarranted, there were tiny hints, but I didn't want to believe. I had to Google my worry to abate my anxiety.

The movie adaptation is coming out, filming starts this August, so I'm gonna force some friends to read this. We can "arrogantly" be the firsts. Oh, I have to say this. The ending matters to me, because I'm someone who gets emotionally attached to fictional characters. But when it comes to these types of stories, I think it's the how. The journey, not destination. I have to admit I thoroughly liked this and it was 4am before I stopped reading! Not good when you're supposed to be revising for exams. But, in all fairness, it didn't take me long to read! (485 pages) ★★★1/2

PS. I've never explained my rating system. Here's it:
★ Hated it.
★★ Disliked it.
★★★ Liked it.
★★★★ Really liked it.
★★★★★ Loved it.

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