Review: City of Bones

City of Bones
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A little over a year ago, this book caught my eye. I ended up reading the first chapter in the store and decided to come back to it later. My taste in books must have changed in that period of time because now I have no idea what made me want to read this in the first place.

The story centers around Clarissa, or Clary for short, as she finds herself thrown into the “other” world of vampires, fairies, werewolves and sundry other mythical creatures, but most important of all, Shadowhunters. Yes, it seems the descendants of angels are living in New York City and their sole purpose in life is to hunt down demons and slay them with their weapons of celestial steel. Oh, and they’re all teenagers.

Let’s start out with the good things about the book:
Um…well, there’s…*tsk*…The lead demon hunter sounds kinda hot?

Yep, that’s about all I can say here. Honestly, there are very few redeeming qualities to this story. I can’t even say that it’s very original. Angsty teen demon killers? Haven’t we rehashed this concept to death? Oh wait, I guess since they’re “descended from angels” that makes it more interesting.

I changed my mind, it doesn’t.

Now, on to the shit list:
First off, it’s so painfully obvious that this, like Stephanie Meyer’s literary abortion, is a story written by a fat nerdy girl who is so bored with her mundane existence that she writes herself into a “kick-ass” romantic fantasy. And makes her self the pretty teenager she never was. I mean, seriously. Cassandra Clare writes a novel about a girl named CLARY? Cellophane isn’t that transparent. Especially when Clary constantly reminds us that she’s a fiery redhead (guess who else is!).

Then there’s the constant references to classic literature, art and, of all things, anime. Yes, almost once every chapter we have to read something like “The church reminded me of this anime where the head vampire sits on a throne near the altar,” or “Wanna come over and watch some Trigun?” Yes, that happened. As if we needed any more confirmation that this is Cassandra Clare’s wet dream.

And let’s not forget the brilliant dialog. It seems Ms. Clare wants everyone to know how well she did in English classes because she loves to make her characters throw BIG words out at random. Dear god, everyone here talks exactly the same! Are we really to believe that a couple of kids from Brooklyn converse like Long Island WASPs? And the reader is constantly left wondering if some of these characters are supposed to be British or just plain douchey. Maybe in Cassandra’s version of NYC the public schools are AMAZING.

Though I don’t want to give anything away, there is this really awkward question of an incestuous relationship between two characters that is never properly addressed. Maybe that’s something for book 2, but I’m not interested in reading it to find out.

And, oh my god, this woman uses the word “tawny” like Meyer uses “beautiful.” It feels like every damn paragraph! “His tawny hair.” “His tawny eyes.” Blah blah blah, gag gag gag.

A lot of characters here seem to border on schizophrenia. Jace, the male lead of the piece, can’t seem to pick an emotion or decide how he feels about anything. That plus the constant arrogance reminds me of a real-life Jace I know and wish I didn’t. Must be a Jace thing.

Add all that together, plus the random bits of information (A.K.A. writer’s conveniences) and you have a completely mediocre foray into teen paranormal romance. Hurrah.

Honestly, feel free to skip this one in lieu of something with more substance and better writing. It just isn’t worth the time or effort of 6+ books.

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6 thoughts on “Review: City of Bones

  1. I do love a nice scathing review in the evening. *sips tea*

    Look, I grew up on Final Fantasy and I love it, so I get the fascination with mythological characters and stuff. But this whole demon-slayer/vampire/werewolf/fairy thing is just getting so predictable. This genre is spiraling out of control. There used to be decent books about vampires (*cough*Interview*cough*Lestat) that used these things as a METAPHOR to express something deeper. This supernatural fiction genre is all about a glossy, shimmery, anghsty teen surface. The characters aren’t endearing and the scenarios are mundane. I just don’t see how people are treating these kinds of books like they’re some amazing works of literature. Maybe they’re not utterly awful, and sure, a lot of things have been done, but at least ATTEMPTING some originality would be nice!

    There, I have ranted and you have ranted and we’ve all had a nice rant. Now come, let us go and read Anne Rice’s upcoming teen werewolf novel, The Wolf Gift, in which I am sure she will show these (perhaps well-meaning) literary upstarts how to really write a novel with some class.

  2. I must admit I abandoned the book after just one chapter. I don’t like to take digs at other authors’ works, but this one didn’t do it for me. I found your review insightful and amusing 🙂

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