Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Review: CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I don’t know how I’ve managed to avoid all spoilers for this entire series, considering how popular it is and how long it has been around, but I seriously knew next to nothing before I started the book. I knew it was an urban fantasy, there are beings called Shadowhunters, and the main characters are Clary and Jace. That’s it. I’ve been wanting to read The Mortal Instruments for quite some time but kept putting it off because it’s a long commitment, but I really wanted to get to it this year, so here I am.

City of Bones is about Clary, who finds out she is a Shadowhunter (which is a demon hunter). The story basically just follows her as she learns about and gets used to the Shadowhunter world while fighting some monsters in the meantime. This was a very foundational book because most of the story is introducing us readers to the main cast of characters and how the “magic” system works and what the world looks like. Of course, there is also drama occurring and secrets being revealed, but nearly everything that happened felt like a plot device so Clare would have a reason to explain X, Y, and Z about her world without just throwing those details at us randomly.

I could tell this was a debut novel because the writing did seem amateurish at times, but I have heard from many people that Clare’s writing gets better as the series continues. I love seeing how authors’ writing styles progress over their careers. The writing is my favorite part of any book.

For the most part, I did not feel like there was a lot of info-dumping, which was nice. Going into a brand new fantasy world with unknown creatures and abilities, it can be hard to adequately explain it all without overloading the reader all at one time. There were a few times when a lot of information was being handed to me, and I had to slow down and reread to process it all, but overall the descriptions were spread out enough throughout the book to be interesting and engaging but not overwhelming.

I did not like the characterization in this book. A lot of the characters felt very stereotypical, predictable, and one-dimensional. Especially Isabelle. What a stuck-up snob. And Jace isn’t any better. He’s your typical bad boy who’s actually just a piece of crap. I like Clary, although sometimes she can be melodramatic, and Simon is my favorite character for his humor. I hope as the series progresses, the characters will become more fleshed out and realistic and relatable.

I do not like when people compare books to other books, but City of Bones definitely gave off Twilight vibes. There was just something about the writing style, the character traits, and the plot nuances that reminded me of Twilight. Except I liked Twilight more.

I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. I found it to be entertaining, but also highly melodramatic (and reading the blurb for the next book, it sounds like the whole series is going to be that way). I wasn’t at the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next, which is how I usually am when I’m reading a fantasy. In fact, I didn’t have a problem pausing in the middle of an intense high-action scene and coming back to the book at a later time. I guess I just didn’t feel as emotionally invested in this story as I usually do when I’m reading. I’m hoping as I continue the series that I will become more connected to the characters and the plot.

What I didn’t like the most was the ending of this book. There was no resolution in the ending, no cliffhanger to make me want to read more, and it honestly felt like nothing really happened. I think this first book of The Mortal Instruments was fairly weak, but at least it was entertaining for the most part. If I were younger (like if I had read this book when it was released), I might have enjoyed it more. But as it is now, I don’t feel especially compelled to read City of Ashes, but I am still going to because it was my goal this year to read this series, and I own all six books. I’m hoping I will enjoy each one more and more.

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