Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: the Mortal Instruments, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: the Mortal Instruments Book One: City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 1/2

Who Should Read It? If you don't mind watered down derivatives of YA urban fantasy books you love, this book could be for you. I think this book might appeal more to true fans of URBAN fantasy than it did to me.

What I Have to Say:
I'm sad to say that I was disappointed with this book. It was good, and I liked it, but I was expecting to extraordinarily love it, and the sad fact of the matter is that there is really nothing extraordinary about it.

In City of Bones, Clary, a normal girl finds herself thrown unexpectedly into the world of shadowhunters, unseen people who have dedicated their lives to hunting the evil of the world - the vampires and werewolves and other things that would prefer to kill humans than live with them. Supposedly.

We'll start with things I liked about the book. Cassandra Clare has a vivid way of explaining herself and describing things. She has an evident love of adjectives that translates well into writing (if you like to be hit in the face with clear, to the point descriptions, that is. I guess I occasionally do). It almost seems like she had FUN writing, and that made the reading fun. At the same time, I occasionally felt like she was having too much fun. There was the occasional point in which I felt like she needed to remember that she was writing for a general audience and not just her inner circle.

And the dialogue - if there is one thing that Clare should be known for, it is her ability to write engaging, believable dialogue. The conversations between the characters were real and emotional and, well, satisfying. I was especially impressed with some of the conversations between Clary and Jace, a shadowhunter. While I occasionally found the dialogue between Clary and her best human friend, Simon, to be forced and awkward, Clary and Jace had deep yet believable conversations that made me think and made me love them together. This is a book that makes you feel like you have to pick teams, and I am totally Team Jace. All the way. I liked the way that she used conversation to have aspects of the Shadow world explained to Clary. It seems like it could have been hard to bring her up to date, but I liked that most of her knowledge came through talking to Jace. It was much more real than, say, if she had just picked up a book and suddenly known everything (this happened, too, for the record, and it sort-of rubbed me the wrong way).

The PROBLEM with the book, though, was it's overwhelming lack of originality. Clary, while well-developed, was a well-developed character that I have read a million times over. And while reading through some of the situations that she managed to get herself into, I couldn't help but feel that I was reading a slightly more adult, slightly more feminine Harry Potter.
I'm serious. I sometimes thought I was reading Harry Potter minus all of the characters and places that I have grown to know and love. And as such, it was frustrating to read. I feel like I already knew not only what was going to happen but HOW before the initial storyline was even set-up.
It was so derivative wasn't fresh, it wasn't unique, and as such, it wasn't engaging. I always finish books, but if I hadn't been sitting for several hours in an airplane followed by a train followed by a bus, I think it would have been hard for me to finish this one. Simply because it was so hard for me to care about anything happening, because it felt like a watered down version of something I'd already read a thousand times over.

That said, I feel oddly compelled to pick up City of Ashes, the second book in the series. And I guess that means I was slightly more engaged than I thought I was. I'm sort of curious to see what happens between Clary and Simon and Jace. And then there's the expectations thing - I had such HIGH expectations of this book, and I can't wonder if that plays some minor role in my disappointment. I will start the second one with lower expectations. I also feel that Clare has the potential to be a truly good author, and I am curious to see if she will grow is an author.

Summary: When 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 commi...more When 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.

Cover Story: This cover is stunning! It was actually more for this cover that I wanted to read the book than for all of the raving reviews!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Thanks for the honest review. It doesn't sound like one for me either ;)

Sherry said...

This is my all time favorite series(tied with Harry Potter) lol. I hope the rest of the series is better for you! :)

Sara said...

Haha you're right - we have seen lots of "Clarys" before. What I love about this series is the dialogue, it's funny!

corporate housing said...

I’m actually quiet happy with this decision. If you think about it, the whole setting fits into the Ideal Graphic novel. New York City settings, Dark alley ways full of mysterious creatures..

corporate housing said...

This post was mentioned on Twitter by mortalinstrumentsnet, Page to Premiere. Page to Premiere said: RT @M_Instruments: New Post: Mortal Instruments To Be Graphic Novels..

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