Sunday 28 August 2011

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I was surprised at the strong reaction I had to City of Bones, the story of the mysterious underworld of New York City (no, not the mob - the paranormal). You see, it made me freaking mad.

I wasn't mad the whole way through, of course. At first, I felt kinda "meh", and wondered why everyone raves about the book so much - more specifically, the love interest, Jace Wayland (he just wasn't doing it for me)...

Then, about a third of the way in, I really got into the action and found it hard to put down. I loved Clary, the strong, smart, quick-witted protagonist, and Jace was growing on me. I enjoyed their relationship, and thought how refreshing it was that there were no apparent obstacles for them being together (though I did wonder how the tension would be sustained throughout the rest of the series)...

Little did I know there was a big freaking twist at the end...

Yeah, that about sums up how I feel about the book right now. I liked it overall; though there were a few inconsistencies in the plot, it moved along at a good pace and provided plenty of action, while the characters were all likable and real (er, as real as Shadowhunters can be, that is). I saw one twist coming a mile away, but there was another that, as you might be able to tell, I was NOT expecting. I usually enjoy when that happens - it's definitely a sign of good writing - but this one just made me very cranky. I nearly threw my book across the room, I was so mad; instead I just ranted to my poor fiance for five minutes while he nodded along with a bemused expression on his face that said, "I'm trying to look interested because it interests you, but really I don't care, because it's a BOOK." When that didn't satisfy me, I went to Google - yep, I looked up spoilers. They calmed me enough to make me want to continue with the series... but I'm still kinda mad.

Rating: 3/5

Spoilery Talking Points
  • There's not much I can say except... WTF?! I was not expecting incest in this book. I was most shocked that, in all the praise I'd read for it, I'd never come across any mention of this little twist. I wondered how everyone could swoon over Jace if he's in love with his sister. Which made me think maybe she wasn't after all, and sent me searching for spoilers. But I was still surprised the book ended with you thinking Clary and Jace are siblings... in love. Seriously, WTF?!
  • One thing I wasn't surprised about was Valentine being Clary's father. What a creep! I was kinda disappointed with Jace in the end when he so readily believed everything Valentine said... but then, I guess he'd be pretty messed up after the years of emotional and physical abuse he endured. That hunting bird story?! Yikes.
  • I'm sure there were other things I wanted to discuss, but I'm finding it hard to get past anything other than the brother/sister thing right now... Was anyone else as shocked or angry as me after reading this book?
Eye Candy
With Jamie Campbell Bower and Lily Collins cast as Jace and Clary in the upcoming movie, I automatically pictured them.

I think Lily totally works for Clary, but despite Jamie Campbell Bower's prettiness, Jace was coming off more creepy than cool when I pictured him. So I didn't get far before I switched to picturing...

Alex Pettyfer, circa 2008 when he had longer hair on his head and less on his face. Also, before I knew he was such a douche. Though the douchiness kinda works for Jace (well, the arrogant part of it anyway). As for the others, I pictured Nina Dobrev as Isabelle, Ethan Peck as Alec and Penn Badgley as Simon.

Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
Published: 2007
Publisher: Walker Books
Get it: Book Depository


  1. Belle, I stopped reading this book at the exact WTF point you mentioned. I then went onto the web and checked out spoilers for future books thinking surely Clary and Jace are just friends after that but No! they're still secretly pining for each other. Double WTF? I don't understand why this is cool with readers. Maybe in the later books they will find out they're not related but until then stay the hell away from each other! Argh! Makes me so angry.

  2. I do like your eye candy :) And I understand your anger. Jace wasn't working for me the entire time but I did grow to him :) But seriously, with the brother sister thing, Clare doesn't make it gross or anything, so try not to let it get to you so much. It did annoy me that they were, but there are other things that happens that distracts me :P There are limits lol :P

  3. Lan, I'm glad I'm not the only one that freaked out about it! Such a strange twist.

    Steph, I've just started book 2 and it's not too bad so far... I'm slowly calming down. ;)

  4. I was upset about that WTF moment, too, but everyone kept telling me to keep reading, and I figured it couldn't be as popular as it is if it ended with Jace and Clary as siblings, so I basically read City of Ashes and City of Glass with that denial in my head. It made the books far easier to get through.

  5. I'm following you from Blogaholic Network! So nice to meet you :)

  6. I was totally put off by the *twist*. I like surprises and writing that pushes boundaries, but I need a clearer point for something like this - it just seemed to be there either for shock value - not for plot value.

  7. I am still wanting to read this! At least you didn't give up on the book and kept on going. I will keep in mind the WTF moment (I didn't read the spoilers) so I won't just stop myself and keep going. Good to know!!

  8. Amanda, I'm doing that with City of Ashes at the moment and it's kinda working.

    Multi-Testing Mommy, thanks for stopping by!

    Brenda, you've nailed it - it didn't seem to have a point, other than to shock. I think that's what bugged me so much.

    Melissa, I'm interested to see what you think when you read it!

  9. Great review Belle! I struggled with this book a little just it seemed to drag a little for me but I adore the concept and the characters. I think book 2 is better :)

  10. great review! you basically summed up my feelings when i read the first book. I was thinking "mmm this jace doesnt sound as good as everyone made him out to be" But apparently the books get better. The incest thing annoys me as well. I do want to read the series because i read some quotes on goodreads of book 3 and the clary and jace moments sounded steamy.

  11. Thanks Nic and Abbey!! I'm kinda glad I'm not the only one that didn't love this book instantly, I felt bad because I'd only ever heard good things before! But I'm reading book two now and already enjoying it more :)

  12. Ha! The extras you sprinkle about in your reviews are the best! I still haven't read this one, and I'm dying to. I wonder if I'll feel the same about Jace. Seems like everyone is pretty wild about him.

  13. I'd be interested to know whether you thought he was book boyfriend material, Missie! ;)

  14. Yar, Ethan Peck is a hottie and a half, just like his grandpa.

  15. omg I so agree. I stopped reading this series because that just creeped me out. I might read the series a bit later but for now I'm fine with ending it there

  16. First of all, your gifs in the review made me laugh. This is the first time I've read any of your reviews and I am now a new follower.

    As far as the Clary/Jace as brother and sister thing went, I actually laughed hysterically when that was mentioned because it was such a stupid red herring. There's no way that incest was going to play a part in a fluffy popular YA urban fantasy series without it being a big deal. It just seemed like a bad attempt at having an "original" reason to keep the main pairing apart. I didn't buy it at all, though it probably didn't help that I found Jace to be kind of a jerk. I prefer Simon way more as a character in general.

    Working for the Mandroid

  17. Hmm, I'm contemplating reading this book so I skipped over the spoiler points and comments... Still not sure on it. But I usually don't read YA, especially super hyped up books, but recently read Divergent and absolutely loved it. So trying to keep an open mind. Maybe I'll get to this one eventually. Sounds like you have to read the entire series though for closure.