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NAME: H. SHAR
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City of Bones.
4:09 AM
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Rating: 2.5 stars


Let me just start by saying that I wanted to love this book so badly and I end up having a love/hate relationship with it. It's not completely unreadable, but it really disappointed me. Maybe it was 'cos I read 'Clockwork Angel' first and so my expectations for this series were pretty high. Even then though, I know that I probably would still not be so crazy about this book. I honestly don't get what all the hype is about.


The story is about a girl named Clary Fray who suddenly notices lots of strange things and is later plunged into a world that she never knew existed but have always had. It was a world of Shadowhunters, Warlocks, Demons and all sorts of supernatural, mystical beings. One fateful night, she stumbled into a scene that involved a couple of Shadowhunters and her life changed forever. She later finds that her mother was kidnapped by unknown forces and it is up to her to find her and unravel all the mysteries that lay in her forgotten past.


I expected this to be 'Clockwork Angel' but in a contemporary setting. Mind you, I expected to like it a bit less as I am a historical fiction buff, but this book is really... *sigh*. The premises of the setting and the Downworld in itself is very entertaining. However, it starts off extremely slowly. And the pacing of the book leads to afew anti-climaxes. Just when I think that the pace is picking up, it lulls down again. But after sloughing through the first half, the second half of the book, by contrast, was extremely action-packed with revelations happening left-right. Almost hard to keep track off. Still, the second half was much better.


Another thing that ticked me off was the similarities to other stories that I found throughout the book. Not only did it bear uncanny resemblance to Clockwork Prince. There were lots of Harry Potter elements to it as well. Luke reminded me of Sirius Black (which instantly made him my fave character). The Simon-turning-into-a-rat episode, really reminded me of Ron's pet rat incident. The flying motorcycle reminded me of Hagrid's. And the Portal reminded me of Portkeys. Plus the term 'Mundanes' that used to call humans reminded me ALOT of 'Muggles'. I dunno if it's just me, but I am just naming afew.


The characterization was... okay. I really disliked Clary. Alot. I mean, she's almost ridiculously useless to the point where her only purpose seemed to be to just watch the scene unravel in front of her, so that we can see what's happening through her eyes. Her only saving grace was the fact that she helped get the Mortal cup. But 99.9999% of the time, she played the Damsel in Distress card and YET, at the end she was being praised for her 'bravery' and being a 'warrior princess' by Luke. At which point I literally laughed, 'cos that HAS to be a joke. Also, she is dimwitted to the point where I can't HELP but roll my eyes. HOW COULD SHE NOT HAVE KNOWN THAT SIMON LIKED HER?! Like I knew from page 2. And the fact that she was so surprised just ticked me off (also that she hurt Simon with her utter social blindness and stupidity pissed me off too). All she did was scream and be dragged around by people, she was SUCH a deadweight. She got better towards the end when she had to face Valentine, but still, she had to be rescued in the end.


Jace was obnoxious. I have nothing else to say about him. He is the typical wounded bad boy who hides his scars with sarcastic comments that are so lame, it almost makes you cringe. Still, he plays a very significant role as he does most of the rescuing and fighting. And he was very sweet and loving at the moments when Clary and Him were alone together. (the greenhouse scene)


Simon and Luke were my favourite characters. I HATED the fact that Clary simply USED Simon whenever she felt like it. And by the end of the book, it seemed like Simon was more like her driver rather than her childhood best friend. I kinda hated it when he lets Clary walk all over him like that. But he is SO SINCERE and nice. AND he was FAR and BEYOND more useful that Clary ever was. He even saved the Shadowhunters at a crucial moment. I felt that Clary didn't deserve his devotion and friendship. Luke, at first, I thought was a betrayer. But then, he turned out to be the best person in this book. LOVED HIM TO BITS. I enjoyed the chapter when he was telling his story the most.


If you look past the cheesy dialogues and Clary's stupidity, there are redeemable qualities to this book. Such as the interesting Runes and the world of the Shadowhunters in general. It really interests me. The action sequences are very well written and fast-paced. Easily the saving grace of this plot. There were also very nice tender moments such as when Clary was remembering her memories of Luke being a part of her childhood and when Alec got hurt and the others rushed to help him.


But I can't get over the HUGE ASS TWIST in the end that literally made me go "WTF?!!". And NOT in a good way. There are several themes touched nonchalantly by Cassandra Clare, that I felt was quite disturbing and cast in too trivial a light. First of all the issue of homosexuality, just thrown in there (as if to spice things up) and the almost pedophilia nature of Magnus Bane's attraction to Alec. It creeped me out. But I was willing to brush that off. THEN the issue of incest just POPPED out of nowhere totally blindsiding me and I felt, totally unnecessary to the plot. It just traumatized me. I mean, THEY KISSED. And had very romantic and tender moments together. WHY would you let them do that first?! I literally gagged. And the fact that they were still sort of flirting after the huge revelation made me nauseous. I wanted to just slam the book shut and forget what I read, but I read on in hopes that it will all be explained and it is untrue. That it was joke. BUT NO. It wasn't. And I am traumatized.


The issues were not even addressed properly. They were not justified. What was the purpose of that? The plot would've been just fine without them. Also, Valentine wasn't as badass as I thought he would be. I mean, being held at sword-point ("gunpoint" sort-of) by a 17-year-old boy isn't exactly menacing. I never actually feared him either. I was more terrified of the Silent Brothers actually.


Overall, the book was good, in terms of bringing action and fantasy. I love the Downworld and the Institute. I think the world in itself has infinite potential. However, the super gross twist and alot of failings with the pacing and characterization really bummed me out. I have the rest of the series, so I probably would read them eventually. But it won't be my top priority, sadly.


I won't discredit Cassandra Clare though, as I thought that the Infernal Devices Series is well-done and I am looking forward to 'Clockwork Prince'.


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