Ratings: ☕☕☕ (3/5)
This is probably my fifth re-read of this book, and I gotta say, my opinion about this book have changed dramatically since the first time I read it, which made it very difficult to write this review. In the end, the question I had to ask myself was: if I do not give a book good ratings just because I recognize many problems in it even though I enjoyed the story so much that I read it not once, not twice, but FIVE times, then am I really being fair as a reviewer?
The answer is obviously a strong, resounding no, and thus City of Bones by Cassandra Clare gets 3 coffee cups from me, and here are the reasons why.
Blurb: When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder commited by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons–and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. 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 an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….
To start with, the story has a really good plot, and I loved the idea of a secret, invisible world existing not just with us but among us. As a girl who fervently believes in the possibility of the impossible (think magic, vampires, teleportation, psychokinesis) this book immediately touched my foolish imaginative heart with well-crafted world building and convincing descriptions of warlocks and vampires and demons and
demon slayers Shadowhunters. But it’s not just the world building though–the politics, the tensions between the different creatures who share this world with us, the superiority of Nephilims and the inferior way they treated anyone else who was not a Nephilim made this book all the more enjoyable and interesting and complex, perhaps because in a strange way you could see these things in real life too. You even get to see how far one might go in his thirst for revenge and power with Valentine–who makes for a really great villain even in the first book.
Which brings me to the characters–all of whom I absolutely adored. From our stubborn protagonist to Clary to dream book boyfriend Jace to sassy Isabelle, bitter Alec, sweet Simon and fabulous Magnus Bane (trust me, fabulous is the only way to describe him), City of Bones comes with a beautiful cast of characters who will make you love them and cherish them with every single page.
So…what went wrong exactly?
The characters, for one. Despite having many wonderful, unforgettable characters who really brought life into this book, there were so many times when they made the stupidest mistakes and acted like immature children (yes, yes I get it they are just teenagers but hello, if they are being trained to be effing soldiers against Satan’s followers then we should expect them to behave more responsibly yes?). I must give Clary a special mention for this–there were many times throughout the story when she displayed intelligence, bravery, determination and quick thinking, and yet during the most crucial moments she was impulsive, reckless, rude and a blubbering idiot. I can’t describe how infuriating this was. Here you have a protagonist who can be so much and do so much, and yet it seemed that the author kept dumbing her down just for plot convenience.
Then there’s the writing. Yes, the world-building was beautiful but there were several instances when the writing felt inconsistent: some parts were just so artistic, and creative and very skillfully written, and the other parts just felt bland. Not to mention, throughout the book Clare used metaphors and similes that were honestly…cringe worthy to say the least.
The steps creaked and groaned as they ascended, like an old woman complaining about her aches and pains
All things considered, City of Bones is the kind of book you love and gush over simply because its highly entertaining and addictive, but not because it has literary beauty and flare that will fill you with awe and make you wonder just how talented and creative writers can be. This does not mean I don’t love this book to bits; it’s just I would not praise it the way I would praise any other urban fantasies, like say, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor.