RC’16: A Young Adult Bestseller

Book: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
First published: 2007

So, because I started watching the Netflix series Shadowhunters, which is based on The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, my housemates insisted that I read the books – which, according to them, are much better than the TV show. It just so happens that City of Bones TMI Book 1 – is a YA bestseller, so I was like, ‘Huh, I can read this for the challenge’ and gave in.

Summary: Clary Fray bumps into a group of Shadowhunters at a club, and when her mother goes missing, ends up falling into their world. As she tries to save her mother, she finds and loses friends, love and family.

“[Clary] tried to smile. ‘Is [your party] in honor of anything?’

‘My cat’s birthday.’

‘Oh.’ She glanced around. ‘Where’s your cat?’

[Magnus] unhitched himself from the pillar, looking solemn. ‘I don’t know. He ran away.'”

My thoughts: Okay, so, straight up: it’s obvious that Cassandra Clare used to write fan fiction. I’m not here to hate on fan fic, cause I used to read it and it’s amazing. But some of the ways of writing, the words the characters use; it was just hilarious. Jace plays piano in the half-light, for God’s sake. Where have we seen that before? (Warning: content from the link might be considered NSFW.)

It also annoyed me that the 16-year-old boys were not talking like 16-year-old boys (a common fanfic thing). Clary thought in phrases published poets would be proud of. The dialogue in the whole book was like a representation of how characters ‘should’ speak. I know that it is just that – a representation – but it didn’t feel realistic in the slightest. And this is in a fantasy novel.

I actually really liked Jace in this book, and I also quite liked Clary (her horrible internalized misogyny aside). But I disliked pretty much every other character. Luke, Izzy and Alec redeemed themselves in Part 3, but for most of the book I wanted to slap them. Which I was sad about, because they’re my favourites in the TV show. Magnus is excellent in both, however.

I also really liked the development of Jace and Clary’s relationship. The book is much more of a two-person act than the TV show, so we actually got to see them become friends, begin to trust each other and so on, and the romantic side of their relationship seemed to follow far more naturally. To be honest, I enjoyed Clary’s developing relationships with all of the characters she meets. The love angle was less annoying in the book than in the show, as well, which I’m grateful for.

The twist was actually quite well written, and even though I knew it was going to happen, I was still almost on the edge of my seat waiting for the reveal. It’s very creepy and I’m not sure I like it, but it was written in a good way.

I mean, you know. I was convinced I was gonna hate this book. And I did kind of hate it. But… I also kinda liked it too.

Rating system:
★☆☆☆☆ = I didn’t like it
★★☆☆☆ = It was okay
★★★☆☆ = I liked it
★★★★☆ = I really enjoyed it
★★★★★ = New favourite book

My rating: ★★★☆☆

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