Book Review: City of Bones


Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Pages: 544

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Purchased | Paperback

Date read: December 21-24, 2016


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. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque 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…


To be honest I was – am, still – torn on how many stars I’ll give this book because I’ve got mixed feelings about it. A lot of people adored the Shadowhunters world and I for one, wanted to be a part of it. Unfortunately, I might not have loved the first book as much as they did, but still, it was enjoyable, to say the least.

I had fun reading Simon’s and Jace’s sass – maybe even Isabelle’s too (but mostly just Simon for being such a clueless, adorable dork). Though I felt like the characters need more developing and although the genre says YA, I could totally tell that this is FOR teens. I mean, the immaturity and constant whining? Definitely for teens. But, I’m still eighteen but…nah, teenage drama is soo far behind me now.

As stated above, I did enjoy reading it. But surprisingly, City of Bones took me longer than I would have thought. Occasionally, I would set it aside and do something else which is definitely NOT a good sign. It was half-interesting and half-frustrating because it kind of felt like a squeezed mush. That there’s a huge build-up starting somewhere but the author failed to give it a proper introduction. The Clave, the Shadowhunters, the Circle – it was all too overwhelming for me.

And I did felt like the plot was all over the place. There’s drama and there’s action and there’s drama by the next – NO. No thanks. City of Bones left me hanging in confusion and I had to read everything slowly so as not to get left behind.

But overall, it was pretty good – except for the actual YA part. Or teenage part, rather. The romance? Yech. It was awkward as hell, and I was always squirming in discomfort because duh, love triangle? And can’t girls and guys just be friends and not fall for each other? And the being siblings with your love interest was totally not cool. More like a plot for soap operas or something.

And Clary was relatable (and I do respect that fact that she’s an artist – oh hell, I love artists) but there were times I wanted to smack her in the face.She’s just a useless protagonist with a really fancy family background but I was hoping for a better development in the next book.

And before I end this review, I also wanted to to add the thing that made me so frustrated was the fact that:

VALENTINE IS A PUNY VILLAIN. I would laugh at him and poke him in the eye and make him call his mommy. Honestly, he isn’t so scary. And I think the overall reason behind his “evilness” was too shallow and thin for him to be a really feared antagonist. JUST SAYING!

You guys can probably get the hint that amidst all my criticisms, I did got into the story and I did have fun reading through it. It wasn’t that good and it wasn’t bad. Just probably another YA novel that comes and goes, as for me. Still, expect me to go get book number two!


7 thoughts on “Book Review: City of Bones

  1. Hahaha! Yes i felt pretty much the same. I was left disappointed because there was so much love around this series. And was left in discomfort because of the reveal (also, anyone else seeing Star Wars parallels?!) BUT (see the big capital letters? I would use italic and bold too but me no know how.) you should try The Infernal Devices series. Its follows the same Shadow world but it takes place in 1878 and the writing is so much better and the characters are so much more deeper. Please try it out! With a fresh slate too. Don’t expect it to be the same as this book; that like basing the success of a person on the sibling’s success. Ugh, tragic! Okay I’m done. Happy reading!

  2. I’m part of the group that loves all things shadowhunters. My first exposure to Cassandra Clare’s world was, in fact, this book. I read it in 2009 when I was a young teen… But somehow I feel like if I’d to reread it, I wouldn’t feel the same way. There are certainly jarring flaws to this first installment (and even to the entire series as a whole), like you mentioned. Also, I’m glad you can appreciate Simon. :’) Most seem to love or hate him, haha. Anyway, this series holds a lot of sentimental value to me; my positive memories when I read this is so precious that I’m afraid to reread it. But you should definitely read TID because my book beau resides in that time period (of the same world). Also, I think the story is infinitely better and more focused with that trilogy. Anyway, great review!

    Also, wishing you a happy, healthy new year, Joyce. Cheers!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Summer!! ❤ And I do think that Ms. Clare’s writing at that point was still on the verge of improving and TMI has been out for so long – back when I was in highschool, City of Bones was already published so it’s definitely different compared to her recent books. And I’ll definitely go read TID! I do adore the Victorian Era! Can’t wait!!
      And wishing you the happiest new year too!! (albeit late) 😁

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