Book Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

My review:

“Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.”

So, I have a love/hate feeling about this book. Someone recommended that I read The Infernal Devices before The Mortal Instruments series (which I did), but now I wish I read TMI first. Or I don’t. I don’t know. My point is: The Infernal Devices was good. I really enjoyed it. And then I read City of Bones and was very disappointed. The Shadow World is essentially the same but I suppose I had higher expectations going into it. I will also say that right after I finished reading this book, I looked at the reviews and had absolutely no idea about that whole plagiarism business with Cassandra Clare. Needless to say, I’m shocked. Grossed out, really. I tried not to let this affect my review but I didn’t like the book so much to begin with, so I hardly think it matters.

If I focus only on City of Bones as a singular thing to assess, I would say that it has the elements of novels I like: an interesting premise (demons and hunters and angels, etc.) and a somewhat interesting mix of characters. I say “somewhat” because each character is kind of predictable in their own way. If I’m being completely honest, I only wanted to finish this book in order to see where Jace and Clary’s romance went (if it went anywhere). Let’s just say it was cringe-worthy. Which is quite funny because I’ve seen the movie and I already knew what was coming and it still made me cringe. I physically and emotionally cringed when that information was revealed. Even the word cringe is making me cringe now. I’ll stop.

If I hadn’t read The Infernal Devices already, I wouldn’t be giving this book 3 stars right now. However, I will give it ★★★ (3 stars) because my enjoyment of the prequel series suggests that there is potential for the next book in TMI to please me. I don’t know anything about what happens after the first instalment, and I am genuinely curious to see how the individual stories of each character unfold. And I am a little obsessed with the Shadow World, so I can’t not finish this series.

P.S. Let’s face it. If I read this book years ago (when it was at its peak), I would have absolutely loved it.

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