Newest Review: ... 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 t... more
The Great Bare Bones of the Story
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Member Name: elfbwillow1
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Advantages: Exciting and Exhilirating read
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.
Summary: A great story even if it is predictable