* Prices may differ from that shown
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
I am an avid reader and am always on the lookout for new series'. When checking out future movie previews, I came across a film in which will be released later this year (2013); City of Bones. The preview really caught my eye, and when I found out that it is a set of books, I immediately looked at reviews. After seeing a number of five star reviews for this book on various book sites, I purchased the book straight away. As with most book sets, I only purchased the first book just in case I did not enjoy it, though looking back now, I wish that I had bought the next couple in the series.
City of Bones is part of 'The Mortal Instruments' book series, and there are, to date, five books in the series with the sixth and final book coming out in 2014. The books in this set include;
City of Bones
City of Ashes
City of Glass
City of Fallen Angels
City of Lost Souls
City of Heavenly Fire (unreleased)
Originally, this series was written as a trilogy, though the author decided to continue the set due to popular demand. I have not yet read the whole set so I can not comment further on this, though I do wonder whether the latter three will be as good as the first three as quite often I find a series is pushed into further books without any real storyline. Anyway, this is a discussion for a later review.
With all this said, I will now take you on to my review of the first book in this series; City of Bones.
DEMONS, VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES...OH MY!
"If you were half as funny as you think you are, you'd be twice as funny as you are now."
Clary Fray is seeing things; vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhatten. Irresistibly drawn towards a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City - and the dangers of forbidden love.
Once I had purchased this book, I realised that I had looked on this book before and passed over it. The synopsis as outlined above really does this story no justice at all. I was almost expecting a story which focused strongly upon the vampire world and such like, and although these appear in the book, they take a backseat to a group of people who can be loosely termed as demon hunters.
The story follows Clary Fray as she is drawn into a hidden world of demons and demon hunters after her mother mysteriously disappears. It does not take her long to realise that her mother had been keeping secrets from her all her life, and with the help of her new friends, a group of Shadowhunters dedicated to protecting the Earth from Demons, she begins to unravel the hidden world in which her mother fought to keep from her, including the City of Bones which is hidden deep beneath the city graveyard and is protected by those who are barely human themselves.
Almost immediately, I am drawn into this book. The action and excitement begins on the very first page and does not dim down at all through the rest of the book. There is barely a moment to collect your thoughts as you are thrust into a whole new world inside the pages which grippingly excites and exhilarates the reader. The flow is perfect for the type of story that this is, and the style simply screams with action and adventure. There is a whole mixture of fantasy and even a touch of sci-fi with regards to certain weapons used within the story, with the imagination of a world within our world really taking shape. There is also quite a mix of subtle humour in the story from various characters which really round the story of brilliantly.
With a lot of books, I find it takes me quite a while to attach myself to the characters, though within this book, the characters are so well rounded with their personalities starting of extremely strong and growing vastly with each turn of the page that I found myself loving each and every one of them from the very first meeting. Of course, it would not be much of a story if we knew everything about the characters from the start, and so as the story progresses, more and more details flow out. You never quite grasp everything there is to know about them, though, and although many questions are answered, many are also left open for further books. There are not that many main characters who are introduced in this book which helps their description and personalities become focused, though there are a lot of lesser characters; each with their rightful places within the story, and many which I can see growing as the series goes on. I do not think there is really any negative points I can think of with regards to the characters in this book which is a fantastic thing.
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, this book is not formally about vampires, demons and werewolves even though the synopsis leads you to believe that this is the case. Yes, these mythical creatures do exist in the book and appear quite often throughout, though they are almost an underlying sub-plot to the main storyline which focuses upon the group of Shadowhunters. This is almost a welcome relief from the growing number of vampire stories out there at the moment, and although I am partial to these kinds of stories, it is great to read a book which does not focus only upon these other-worldly creatures and instead focuses upon love, loss, strength, weakness and so much more in many different degrees and instances.
There is a love story within this book; a very complicated one with many different players, though this is certainly not at all in-your-face. This plot takes a back seat and is extremely subtle with very mild references to it. The love story part does not really take off in any form in this book, though I can see it becoming more dominant in future books. It is not out of place, either, as the whole story does need this to help fill in the gaps, and this part of the story will hopefully progress further without being too overbearing.
One slightly annoying aspect when reading this book is the predictability of the storyline. Although it does take a while for suggestions to appear as to where the plot is heading, I felt that I had pretty much guessed the main things by the middle of the book. In many books, this predictable storyline would be off-putting and almost ruin the story for me, though this author has a knack of keeping me glued to the pages and excited about where it is going, even when I know the outcome.
So what makes this book any different to other books along these lines?
To be honest, the story is not exactly unique in its storyline. I did not find anything I had not read in similar ways in various other books with regards to the storyline, and carrying along this path, I would not even rate this story as strong as some of these other books...
...There is something about this book which is different, though I am not sure I can really put my finger on it. I found the whole story from start to finish exciting and a brilliant read which surprised me as I do not like reading books which have the same feel as other ones. The world within a world within this story is not overly unique though it does have a slightly different take on it, and I believe that the strength in the characters has something to do with this.
One thing which I find very important in a book is the ending. A story can be written perfectly, though if the ending is wrong, then it gives me a really terrible feel to the whole book, almost as though I feel my time was wasted reading it, even if I did enjoy the rest of the story.
So how does the ending of this book compare?
The ending is fantastic, if not completely predictable! Yes, I had figured out most of what was to come, though there were a few interesting twists and turns near the very end which were enjoyable, and the action and excitement continued right up until the very last page. Once the story wraps up, there is an epilogue which slows right down and gives the reader a chance to collect their thoughts before saying goodbye to the characters for the time being, and I felt that this was written really well. The ending also leaves a lot open and made me really want to purchase the second book, which I have been able to quite quickly luckily. My advice is make sure that you have at least the first three books when starting to read this set otherwise you will kick yourself!
The story was 442 pages long, and although this is quite a long look, I read it reasonably fast as I just could not put it down!
CASSANDRA CLARE CONTROVERSY
I felt it was important to add this aspect to this review as I have both read and heard a number of different reasons why people avoid this book, and a lot of negative reactions to the author herself.
Cassandra Clare is reasonably well known (though not by me and I am a Harry Potter fan!) in the Harry Potter fandom by writing many fanfiction pieces (fanfiction in case anyone does not know is stories based upon actual books/films and their characters though taking on a whole new story). One particular fanfiction piece she wrote came under severe scrutiny about its plagiarism. She has also wrote some Lord of the Rings fanfiction and other science fiction writings, many of which have also been accused of plagiarism. She has since taken down these works from the fandom sites, and now writes in her author name of Cassandra Clare opposed to her surname being spelt 'Claire'.
I have looked into this further and it is also apparent that when Clare's first novel was published, she was accused of being racist and sexist, though not much is really said about this which makes me wonder how true this aspect is.
The plagiarism problem seems to have vanished once she changed her name and stopped writing fanfiction, though this could be as she was not as well known as some people thought. What with the success of the 'City of Bones' series, and the upcoming film, this argument about her past has now come back into the light. Whether people believe this, or in fact care, is another case entirely.
I did not hear of any of this until I was part way though reading this first book of the series, and to be honest, I am not sure whether it would have changed my mind about reading it or not. The fact remains that this author has plagiarised many works which is a definite no-no in the world of writing, though can an author leave her mistakes behind and can people forgive these mistakes?
It is true that 'City of Bones' is not an overly original story, though as far as I know, nothing has come up about plagiarism with this story, and even knowing what I do now about this problem in the past, I am still glad that I read this book as it was a great read despite its few negative points.
Whether this piece of information deters you from reading this is up to you, though in my opinion, I would say that if you decide to avoid it just because of this then you will be missing out.
"Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt."
City of Bones is a fantastic book which I fully recommend. The film is due out at the end of this year and so this book is shooting up in popularity as we speak. I would personally suggest reading this before watching the film as a book tends to be much better than a film and you will get an insight into this world and the characters which I doubt the film will give.
The book is not without its flaws, such as the story not being overly unique and the predictability of the plots, though it is an exciting and exhilarating read which will appeal to both young adults and adults themselves.
The RRP on this book is £7.99, though I was able to purchase this on Ebay for less than £3.00. 'The Works' shops have this one and the next three at the moment for £3.00 each also which I think is great value.
16 year old Clary Frays life changes forever when she witnesses a murder in a nightclub . Or at least, she thinks she does - but how can you explain a body disappearing into thin air, or the fact that you can see things that nobody else can . However, when Clary's mother vanishes, and she confronts a demon in her own home, it becomes clear that Clary is not imagining things, and she soon finds herself thrust into the world of the Shadowhunters, and an epic battle between good and evil .
This book had me gripped right from the start . Okay, the story isn't that original - somebody is thrust into a whole new world, and with a group of friends must defeat an evil bad guy. So far, so Harry Potter . But actually, I found myself really enjoying this book .
Lets start with the world of the Shadowhunters - there is so much rich detail in this book about them, what they do, and how they came to be . I liked that time was spent establishing them, and the ways they were different to 'mundanes' - in fact, plenty of time in the book was spent devloping the mythology of the story, and the distinct personalities of all the characters.
The characters are great . Clary, the main heroine of the book, is refreeshingly different from so many of the simpering raven haired stunners that seem to be taking over teen fiction. She seems actually pretty ordinary, but with a strong stubborn streak, a fierce loyalty to her friends, and a tendency to act now and suffer the consequences later.
I also liked the fact that Jace, the romantic interest, was to all intents and purposes, a bit of a dickhead - rude, arrogant, and sarcastic, and more than a little bit in love with himself. Whilst he has many redeeming qualities - strength, honesty, a strong sense of honour - it's so nice to see a male character that actually has all the personality flaws a real man would have.
The action in the book is fast paced, with frequent battles against demons, and of course against some human baddies. The plot is intricate and unpredictable, and there are plenty of surprising twists that keep you guessing the outcome right up until the end .
Overall, I really enjoyed this book . It's aimed at teen readers, but it manages to be interesting without being patronisingly simple, or assuming that everyone just wants the two leads to end up together living happily ever after . I strongly recommend this - for teen readers and adults alike!
City of Bones is the first in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and is her first full length novel. It was released by Walker Books UK on 2nd July 2007 and is 448 pages long. Thanks to Walker Books for sending me a copy for review.
Fifteen year old Clary Fray lives a normal teenage life in Brooklyn, New York but one night changes everything she has ever known. In a busy club, Clary sees a beautiful girl lure an extremely hot, blue haired guy into a closet but they were being followed by another 2 guys with tattoos carrying weapons. After sneaking into the closet, Clary realises that all is not what it seems, far from it actually. Clary witnesses a murder but when the blue haired boy completely disappears, she knows that there is no use in calling the police. Another reason being that no one else can actually see the people in the closet because Jace, Alec and Isabelle are Shadowhunters.
When Clary receives a strange phone call from her Mum, telling her not to come home, she doesn't listen and goes anyway, only to find her Mum missing and a very gross looking demon waiting for her. Although she is able to hold her own against the demon, Jace arrives just in time to save her and take her back to the institute, a place of safety for Shadowhunters. Here, Clary begins to learn that she is in fact, not a normal teenager at all and who she really is. Having to trust people she doesn't know at all doesn't come easy to Clary but she realises they are her only hope if she is going to find her Mum.
City of Bones is written in third person which isn't usually something I like in these kinds of books but I thought it really worked in this case. Clary (Clarissa) is the main character but I was never overpowered by her thoughts. Instead, I got to learn as much about her as I did with other characters and that made the story more interesting for me. Although Clary was in the forefront of the story, Cassandra Clare managed to mix in best friend Simon, Jace, Alec and Isabelle really well while adding new characters into the story at well paced times.
Clary isn't your average main character in this genre. She isn't described as being extremely beautiful and she definitely isn't whiney and annoying. For these reasons, I found myself really liking her from the very beginning. Not only does she seem like quite a normal teenager but she also has hidden depths. Clary is a very strong female character who wont be told what to do. In fact, she usually does the opposite of what she is told to do just to annoy people. Although I liked her strength and willingness to do anything that was necessary, I was a little unconvinced at times. When Clary finds out what the Shadowhunters really are, she seemed far too ok with everything for it to be 100% believable. I would have liked her to doubt what was going on or even be more scared by it. The one thing that I will give Clary though is her distrust of Jace, Alec and Isabelle. She doesn't know them at all so is never quick to hang on their every word.
What really surprised me about City of Bones is how funny it is. I was expecting doom, gloom and seriousness for the most part so I wasn't expecting to find myself laughing out loud a lot throughout the book. Jace is quite cocky and very sure of himself that should have come across as arrogant but I loved this about him. He's very playful and teasing when it comes to Clary which gave them great chemistry. Clary never gives in easily to Jace, giving him as much backchat as he does to her. The banter between the two was fantastic and I can only see that carrying on in the other books.
The story was interesting and very exciting. In the 448 pages, there is a lot packed into it but it never seemed too much or that anything was rushed. The difference with this book compared to others in this genre, is that it isn't slow to start. The first chapter really jumps into the action and it doesn't really ever slow down much from there. When mythical characters began to be introduced, I thought that I was going to get a bit lost concerning who was who and where they came from etc but it was so well written that I never felt like this at all. The story is really easy to follow and understand even though there is always something happening. There are quite a few big action scenes but these are nicely balanced with some normalcy like having a meal in a diner or Isabelle attempting to cook. Some of the action scenes are quite gory but I liked these parts. If a book is going to have vampires, demons, werewolves, amongst other things, I expect them to fight in the way I imagine them to. For this, I applaud Cassandra Clare for keeping it real.
Towards the end of the book, there is a massive twist that I wouldn't have seen coming in a million years. That was one of the things that I loved most about City of Bones, I never really knew what was going to happen. While the ending was a complete shocker, I still felt like things were wrapped up nicely. City of Bones made me want more but not in a 'Oh my god, how could you leave it like that?' kind of way. The twist made me wonder what was going to happen in the other books and how the characters could overcome their problems.
City of Bones is a great start to a series and I can't wait to read the other books. I definitely want more of Jace and to find out more about what is really going on. I had this book in my wish list for a long time and now I really wish I hadn't waited so long.
City of Bones is a teenage fantasy and romance novel, the first part of a trilogy. The story follows 15 year old Clary as she discovers that magical creatures such as demons, vampires, warlocks and other such beings exist. She comes across one particular group of beings called Shadowhunters, AKA: demon killers. Soon after her mother is kidnapped, a demon is found at their house, and Clary turns to the Shadowhunters for help. With their help she discovers that she has Shadowhunter blood coursing through her veins, both her parents were Shadowhunters, but Clary's memory of her past, of her family, has been blocked by a spell. She goes on a journey to save her mother, and to discover her true heritage. But of course what's all this without a little romance? One Shadowhunter catches her attention, a fair haired boy named Jace, with whom as time passes she falls in love with, only to discover that their romance could be a forbidden one.
Now, having in the past been a bit of a Harry potter fan, I couldn't help but notice some interesting similarities between the two. For example the villain in City of Bones is a man named Valentine versus villain in Harry Potter - Voldemort. Coincidence?...perhaps. Either that or names beginning with the letter V are destined for villainy. In City of Bones, there are also these shadowhunters called the Silent Brothers, Clary's reaction to them is as follows, 'The hair rose along Clary's arms and on the back of her neck, prickling almost painfully...Clary felt cold to her fingertips.' This really reminded me of the dementors in Harry Potter, and his reaction to them, and also the appearance of the Silent Brothers and the Dementors are somewhat alike, both in long hooded gown type things. An old man named Hodge who is tutor to a few of the shadowhunters you come across, he reminded me of Dumbledore from Harry Potter, especially his first appearance with a raven on his shoulder was very reminiscent of Dumbledore and his phoenix Fawkes. Along the way there are other similarities, but unless you're a serious harry potter fan, don't read too much into it, don't let it put you off. I know that some may criticise it for being so, but to be honest they are very different stories depending on how you look at it. For me the main storyline is Jace and Clary's relationship and how they try and deal with the problems they come across. Other's may feel that the main storyline is Clary discovering more and more about her past and so on.
For those interested in greek mythology and anything greek, there are a number of greek mythology and elements of greek plays. I don't want to go into too much detail about this as it would ruin the story if you're planing on reading it. But there are some minor elements that reminded me of plays like Oedipus Rex and Antigone, you'll know what I mean when you read it.
Other than being a fantasy/romance novel, as most novels do, it has some morals, some things that younger people can learn from, things like determination, familial love - how you'll do anything to save the people that you love, confidence, overcoming fears. There are definitely characters that one could aspire to be like.
As mentioned before it is part of a trilogy, so the two books that follow, carry on Clary and Jace's story as they work towards battling evils and dealing with truths that they come across in the first book. Second book is called City of Ashes and third is called City of Glass. I absolutely loved the trilogy and have read them over and over again. I'd recommend it for ages 14 and up, there are some references to sex, never anything explicit, never anything close even close to it. Mostly it's a fantasy adventure and teen romance.
I bought my copy from amazon which is currently priced at £4.73, definitely worth the money. Or you can purchase them from WHSmiths or Waterstones for £7.99, I think there is a 3 for 2 on all kids books currently going on in WHSmiths, so you can get the whole trilogy.
I don't do paranormal fantasy. Or teenage books. Usually. This book in some way had me intrigued because I'd heard it mentioned so many thousand times in the past three months that I finally caved in.
There are so many books out there at the moment that all follow the similar style of genre that many have fallen in love with, namely, Twilight, so what sets this book apart from others of it's kind? Stephanie Meyer has already declared her love for this book, so fans of Twilight will probably find it a delightful read, but for the other skeptics, read on.
Clarissa Fray is a normal girl. So she thinks, until she winds up getting herself into some trouble in a club, as you do. When she sees a blue-haired boy get attacked and killed by three strange-looking teens, things start to change dramatically. They take an even weirder turn when nobody else can see these teenagers but herself.
When Clary receives a weird phonecall from her mother, she rushes home to make sure everything is alright, but arrives to an apartment from hell, before she bumps into a demon which tries to kill her. It is then when she discovers she is no normal girl, and manages to just about hold this said demon off until killing it. She's rescued by one of the three strange teenagers, who then takes her back to 'the institute', a place of safety for his kind.
There she discovers her secret, who she is and above all, who the Shadowhunters that took her under their wing are. From that point on she's dragged into an exciting and dangerous world where everything that could happen, happens.
There is a lot to City of Bones. Every twist of the story had me engaged, and the characters and descriptions are all well represented. Clary's best friend Simon is one of the most awkward yet sweetest guys you'll ever feel sorry for. Alec is dry-tongued and Jace has secrets you'll want to uncover with every turn of the page. The world of the Shadowhunters is fantastic.
In conclusion, City of Bones felt like a more mature style of book. It's unrealistic, sure, but what book isn't at times? It's surely a fantasy series that will capture the hearts easily of fans of Twilight, Buffy, and Vampire Diaries and maybe even set itself apart enough for those looking for something a little different.
I bought this at work when a customer suggested it to me. I was intrigued by the front cover to begin with, but my customer assured me that the book was even better than the front cover. Happily my customer was right, and I've subsequently been recommending this like crazy to all my customers who are into the fantasy genre.
This is Cassandra Clare's first novel, although she has been writing Harry Potter fanfiction for years. Usually author's first novels are mediocre, but this one oversteps that mark completely. It's directed towards a teenage market, but I would recommend it to older audiences too, especially those who remember and still love the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'.
We are introduced to the novel via our protagonist, Clary Fray. Clary seems a fairly mundane character until she discovers that the earth secretly houses demons by witnessing a band of demon hunters (known as Shadowhunters) kill a demon at a local nightclub. After this discovery, strange things begin to happen to her; as Clary is drawn into the Shadowhunter's world, she finds out things about her past and her family that may have been better off buried in the dark. However, with her best friend Simon beside her, and her strange friendship with Jace the Shadowhunter, Clary manages to battle her way through her difficulties and hardships.
As mentioned before, I would heartily recommend this to anyone and everyone. Be warned though: it is a very addicting series, and you'll have to buy the second book (City of Ashes) and the third book (City of Glass) immediately so you can read them all in one go!