Review of “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare

This is a book about a world in witch – I mean – in which – there are Muggles – darn it! I mean “Mundanes” – who don’t realize there is an alternate world full of supernatural beings. You just have to go through a portal, or send a message with an owl, I mean, raven, and then there are these Archivists of Memories possibly on loan from The Giver, and Nephilim guest-starring from some other YA series, and well, it gets complicated. Let’s start from the beginning.


The book is set in Manhattan, where the lights burn “like cold jewels” in a city “spread out … like a carelessly opened jewelry box,” with water “the color of lead, churned to a whipped cream consistency by the steady wind.” It’s not just similar to other popular stories, it’s simile-er.

Clary, 15, is named for a type of sage, or herb, you know, like say, the plant Katniss. This is undoubtedly because there is no plant named Leia as in Princess Leia, which would have been even better. Or maybe it’s because Clary rhymes with Harry, as in Harry Potter, in case we didn’t get all the other allusions. Clary thinks she is a muggle mundie but quickly discovers she can see things no one else can. Before we can even decide which character is really Dumbledore, Clary stumbles upon Voldemort, I mean, Darth Vader, I mean, Valentine, and well, I don’t want to give the plot away! Ha ha! But suffice it to say, Danger Looms, with Clary often having “the hard beat of blood in her ears.” [I wonder if they make Q-tips for that.]

There’s a sort of a triangle, or maybe actually a pentagon, involving Clary, Muggle Simon, and Shadowhunters Jace, Alec, and Isabelle. There’s a quest to find a magical cup, and each of their real parents, and to get revenge. And while Clary is brave and loyal and true, she is sometimes Too Dumb To Live. However, live she does, since this is only Book One of “The Mortal Instruments”, with (so far) four sequels (a total of six books are planned). The series has been sold in over thirty countries and a movie is on the way. Or probably many movies.


Evaluation: I think I would have liked this a lot more if I were in high school. …and had never read “literature” (which actually I didn’t do until I got to college anyway so I would have been safe). Generally I like to find surprises in the writing itself as well as merely in the monsters that the writer constructs. The author does make some pretty gruesome monsters; I can only imagine the movie costs racking up for costume design. But also, to be fair, there are some very funny lines in this book. Both Clary and Jace have fun sarcastic senses of humor. I may try one or two more in the series, just to make up for the fact that I never completed the Harry Potter books, or the Star Wars movies, or The Giver series, and I never watched all the Buffy shows or the Scooby Doo shows. This way, I could take care of all of them in one fell swoop.

Rating: 3/5

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2007

Note: You can follow the movie news here.

Lily Collins plays  heroine Clary Fray in the upcoming “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” film adaptation

Lily Collins plays heroine Clary Fray in the upcoming “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” film adaptation


About rhapsodyinbooks

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16 Responses to Review of “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare

  1. LOL…. Muggles. I read this one as well and had about the same reaction – I liked it but wasn’t involved enough to continue with the series. I will of course go to the movie – opening night is possible 😀 (Do not judge me…. lol)

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    These may not be the best books but I want to try one because of how excited the teens were when Clare came here. Anyone who can get teens that excited about books is A-okay to me.

  3. Barbara says:

    Or as my father used to say, “one swell foop!” I always read your reviews even if I would never ever read the book because I don’t like fantasy, dystopian, or YA. You are soooo funny.

  4. Well first, I can not read a book with a shirtless guy on the cover. It is a rule.

  5. Beth F says:

    I read one of the spin-offs and liked it better than you liked this one.

  6. Charlie says:

    Having recently read about how Clare started out this was a funny review. I didn’t know that this was just as much HP however.

  7. I’m going to have to agree with Caite above 😀
    Did Fabio Jr pose for the book cover?!?

  8. Athira says:

    This was a terrible book. Ha. All those similarities were just so crazy – did you get disgusted by that big revelation too?

  9. Brooke says:

    Haha – didn’t Clare start out writing HP fanfiction? I haven’t mustered up the energy to actually read this one. I can’t imagine it holds a candle to HP or Buffy – both of which I love.

  10. Trish says:

    I admit that I laughed out loud at your evaluation on reading in high school and never having read real literature before. Good thing that stuff is still being assigned so those youngins even know what literature might look like (heaven forbid they actually read it…thinking of my 17 year old brother…) I think I saw a preview for this one the other day when we saw Man of Steel but I can’t be sure…

  11. *giggle* Too funny. I know there’s been a lot of argument about her current/historical fan fiction. I do have this on my Nook, I think? It’s been on there for a couple of years, but haven’t gotten to it just yet.

  12. aartichapati says:

    Oh, NO! I heard so many good things about this series (granted, by people who were a little *too* gushing for me to know whether it would be up my alley or not), but I don’t think I’d be able to take it seriously after this review 😉

  13. Another movie series! good grief 🙂

  14. stacybuckeye says:

    LOL! That first paragraph had me smiling 🙂

  15. Iris says:

    LOVED your review of this. I should have read this post before commenting on your post about book 3, right? I may have decided never to read the Mortal Instruments when I heard how Clare started out in the land of fanfiction and the controversy there. I think that decision still stands. If I could write entertaining reviews like yours, I might be persuaded but since that’s not the case I think I will stay in my corner ignoring this until inevitably the movie hits cinemas.

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