Monday, August 5, 2013

Goodreads Review: "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones"

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's no "Harry Potter" or "The Hunger Games," but "City of Bones," the first book in "The Mortal Instruments" series, is a fun trifle of YA fiction. I didn't fall madly in love with it or with the characters, like I do with my favorite books, but I did keep going back to it and, by the end, I was ready not only to see the movie (the reason I read the book in the first place), but also to see what happens next. That's a pretty good review for me.

"City of Bones" follows teenager Clary Fray, who discovers that she can see some weird things in the world right about the same time that her mother, Jocelyn, is kidnapped and she discovers and fights a demon in her apartment. This is her introduction into the world of the Shadowhunters, magical demon-fighters. At the Institute, she meets Jace Wayland, a talented orphan, and his adoptive siblings, Isabelle and Alec Lightwood, as well as Hodge Starkweather, the librarian/tutor. With the help of her "mundane" friend, Simon, and her newfound shadowhunter pals, she tracks her mother and finds out more about herself and her family in the process.

In a lot of ways, "City of Bones" is very cliche YA fiction. Clary is awkward and misunderstood, but she learns that she's special. There is some unrequited love and a little dabbling of romance. All the teenagers are amusingly attractive. The overarching plot is also pretty predictable.

However, I was pleased by some plot twists that genuinely surprised me. Not everybody is who they seem, and although several of the "twists" seemed obvious looking back, I was surprised at the time I was reading it, and that's good enough for me. (Granted, I usually read books without thinking too hard about what I think is going to happen next, so sometimes things that surprise me are painfully obvious to everyone else.)

I also appreciated the world that author Cassandra Clare worked on building in "City of Bones," and I look forward to exploring it more. Even though it's obvious that the idea of the Shadowhunters is inspired pretty heavily by other media, I do think she did a good job coming up with the world, creating its inhabitants and make it (mostly) make sense as a part of our world. That's one of the fun things about Urban Fantasy, and something Clare did a pretty good job of - she made it at least somewhat believable that a world like that could exist with our own, and that fantasy creatures could live in our world.

Yes, "City of Bones" is silly and predicable, but it's also a fast, breezy, fun read. It has the potential to be a fun movie (and I like many of the casting choices), and it was an enjoyable addition to my summer of mindless books!

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