Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)
by Cassandra Clare 

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publishing Type: traditional
Publication Date: March 27, 2007
Source: local library (Audio CD)
Age Rating: 14+ (for some profanity)

When 15-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...

My Review

I had been meaning to read the first book in this series for quite a while now, but was afraid I wouldn't like it. I finally decided to check it out in Audio CD format from my local public library. That way, there would be no commitment to a bothersome read, nor any money wasted. But, I ended up liking this book, regardless.

The characters (most of them, actually) are very interesting, and I think what makes this book successful has something to do with how the characters interact with each other. Never a dull moment. It's like watching a houseful of people who can't stop being brutally honest every time they open their mouths to speak to one another! That does create plenty of conflict so, as the observer, you just wanna kick back, pop some popcorn, and watch the kiddies have at each other.

Also, the world of The Mortal Instruments is really interesting, if not downright cool. Clare's description is very detailed, making it easy to conjure up images of the New York gothic cathedrals and abandoned buildings bricked up everywhere. Without needing to overdo it, she even manages to get you to see exactly what the paranormal characters are wearing and how different the style is from just normal everyday human attire.

I don't feel the technical writing is very good, though. Too many adverbs that make some passages clunky and lazy, at best. But, everything else about the writing shines, particularly the use of description. Best of all, the young adult voice sings loud and clear. It does seem like something not particularly sophisticated as a piece of literature, but this is part of what makes it work in portraying a proper teen voice. I think this is why actual teen readers are reading these books like they're going out of style (which they are not). They don't have to read something hard for them to mentally process, because most teenagers would rather play video games, or watch YouTube than read a book.

This is great fiction for middle-to-older aged teens who want to read something that, yes, is long, but will immerse them in a fascinating world, and keep them engaged from beginning to end without having to strain their brains for something only meant to be entertaining.

My score: 3.5 stars ouf of 5.

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