Friday, 12 August 2016

Book Review: City Of Bones; Cassandra Clare.

I've been putting off Cassandra Clare's books for a while because while I'm a fan of her close friend's, Holly Black, I've heard a lot of horror stories surrounding her books. I'm trying hard to move past other people's thoughts in these kinds of matters however, and Walker Books sent me such a lovely copy that I couldn't refuse!

SOURCE: Won
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: City Of Bones
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
SERIES: The Mortal Instruments (#1)
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
PAGES: 506
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

RATING: 4/5 Stars


Blurb:
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...

What I Liked:
  • While most of the characters were okay, I'm bringing it up in this section because of one particular character. Magnus Bane. Up until his introduction, I really didn't think the characterisation was so great. But he was just the right mix of aloof, mystery and glimmers of vulnerability. I loved that he indicated that he was LGBTQ+ and I really loved that he was Asian too. Diversity is always welcome in my Fantasy YA reads! I really hope to read more of this character in future books, he's really interesting!
  • Clare did a pretty great job with the world-building! The mix of 'mundane' NY City and paranormal was very well done. Everything seemed pretty well thought out too: Bars, parties, hideouts, everything. The vampires even get to own super cool bikes! I am really excited about the potential to see more of Idris in the future, the Fantasy land that the Shadow Hunters originally come from.
  • The plot and pacing, to me, were pretty good. From beginning to end, this was a lengthy book but I never found myself getting bored or uninterested in what was going on. That's a pretty amazing feat for a book that's 500+ pages! There were definitely a few distractions from the main plot but I think they furthered the development of the world-building and characters more than anything.
What I Disliked:
  • While Clare's character development wasn't bad, it wasn't great either. I found most of the characters a little so-so. The MCs especially, weren't very impressive. Clary was an average heroine who didn't make any real sort of impression, Jace is a character that would usually tick the boxes but he was a little too arrogant for my liking. Also, love triangle tropes don't really interest me unless they do something a little different. This one did not. I really wasn't impressed in any way with Simon, and the way he treated Clary. I hate the word 'friend-zoned' because it dangerously implies that any man who has behaved in a friendly way to a woman is somehow owed her love and affection. Simon's 'I've loved you for however many years so now you have to love me too.' attitude made me feel pretty sick. Eww.
Overall Conclusion:
I was a little sceptical when I picked this up because I've seen so many bad reviews, accusations of plagiarism and general dislike for Clare's writing methods. I felt that, since Walker Books sent me such a lovely copy, I ought to read it myself before making any judgements and I'm glad I did. This was a promising start to the series though I can understand the plagiarism accusations completely. I'm interested to see how it will progress and I hope that there's a bit more development for villainous characters such as Valentine (who is a little boring I'm afraid) as well as the heroes who have potential but need some work.