City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I’ve decided to make The Mortal Instruments my next big fantasy series to read. Aside from the rereads that I’m doing for A Court of Thorns and Roses and finishing up The Lunar Chronicles. Of course I need more books to read and confuse myself with.

Here’s more about the book

256683When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know… 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.


Alright, since this is the first book in the series I’m taking everything I write with a grain of salt. Yes, I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt because I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy with this book despite hearing a lot of good things about this series.

The reason why I’m not happy is because it seems like the first attempt for an author to write a fantasy series and could have done a better job. The potential is there, but the story itself lacked.

Class systems and struggles were a huge portion of this story. It first puts the Shadowhunters at the top of the food chain. It also suggests that there are vampires and werewolves and elves and every other creature you’ve ever encountered in fantasy novels. The demons were what Shadowhunters fought against to protect humans or “mundanes” as they called them. With the class struggles, of course there’s bias. The Shadowhunters being at the top of the chain, there were factions that looked down on all the magical creatures (aka Downworlders) that existed.

As the plot suggests Clary, your average 15-year-old girl, finds out that she’s a part of this crazy Shadowhunter world and that her mom was a super bad ass woman trying to fight for what she believed in. What I didn’t like about this whole story is how adaptive Clary was. Everything seemed to be too easy for her and she just dove into decisions without thinking about repercussions. There wasn’t any struggle on her life prior to finding out she was a Shadowhunter. There didn’t seem to be any rebellion against what she was finding out all because her mom was missing and she felt like this world she had no knowledge beforehand would help. It just seemed too easy and it made me uneasy throughout the story.

Of course the story is also overwrought with drama. There are people who don’t know who their family is. There are people who are falling in love with each other. There are even possible outing of someone’s sexual identity and it all seemed like a lot for a first book.

However, I did feel like the world building was done well enough. Everything was sort of snuck in through descriptions and fighting. I was almost waiting for a character to blatantly explain what something does (like the TV show) so that the audience knows what’s going on. I mean, there was an entire chapter dedicated to Luke sharing the whole backstory on what happened to Clary’s mom and what happened in the past.

I’ve definitely read fantasy novels who spread out their world-building and take things a little bit more slowly. This felt super fast with a ton of components kind of happening all at the same time. In one instance, Clary and Jace are fighting to get her friend Simon back from a group of vampires. Then all of a sudden, some werewolves show up out of nowhere and now they’re fighting against them. It seemed exhausting and too busy which made it difficult for me to keep track of people, items, and plot lines.

But I’m not giving up on this series. I’ve heard so many things about this world that there has to be something beyond the first book that merits a TV show, a movie adaptation, and Cassandra Clare’s success. I’ll continue to read the books, but I’ll probably take it with a grain of salt.

Simone and Her Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way affects my opinion of the above book.

4 thoughts on “City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

  1. Thank you for writing this review. I agree with most things you said and I’m planning on doing a review soon. The series does get better after the second book, people hate City of Fallen Angels, but it’s really good. It’s like a character development book which is what we need. Book 5 and 6 is amazing, with six is so action packed and sets up the next triology-Dark Artifices which is even better

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  2. Ooh, I have somehow never managed to read Cassandra Clare’s books despite them being hugely popular and now I am a bit reluctant because it’s so hyped and I don’t want to be disappointed but your review has left me feeling a bit better about the series despite it being a three star book. Because it also gives a rough idea as to what to expect so thank you for your lovely review!

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  3. I completely agree here and I also rated the first one a 3, but it definitely does get better!! Also YAS to both Lunar Chronicles and ACOTAR. ACOTAR is the best and I wont tell you how many times I’ve re-read them.

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  4. I know what you mean- I didn’t like COB much, but as soon as I got to City of Glass, it got better. I kinda got stuck on that book in the series since I’ve been reading more of other stuff (ARCs etc)- but I had the same opinion. Worry not! It does get better.

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