Monday, 27 August 2012


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

One night at an all-ages club, Clary Fray sees three teenagers murder a fourth. That's bad enough, but then the body disappears into thin air. The fact that she saw any of it is a serious problem - the murdered teenager is a demon, his killers Shadowhunters, and Clary is drawn into their world.

I'm a little late to the party with this book, there are at least two sequels, a series of prequels and a movie currently in production. It has a big and devoted fan-base, and the guy in Waterstone's couldn't recommend it enough.

I thought it was okay. The writing's nice, pretty but not so fancy that it's annoying and distracting. There are some interesting characters and Clare has an interesting take on some of the more familiar paranormal creatures. However, Clary is being introduced to a world she didn't know existed, one with a long and complicated and rather drab history. A history that is told in excruciating detail. There is way too much backstory, and a lot of it is unnecessary. Unlike other books that are the first in the series, there's also a story, but at times it takes a backseat to the backstory. I would've much rather had more story.

And the name Clary might actually be worse than Wendy-bloody-Everly. Seriously, I found it hard to say and irritating. The character's not great either. She's clearly meant to be an ass-kicking anti-Bella-Swan, but she's so out of her depth that she just comes across as a bit childish. Running headlong into a dangerous situation isn't brave when you don't understand what you're running into. Bravery would be running into the situation with the full understanding of just what you're getting yourself into, and still doing it anyway. I don't know, maybe this will improve with the next book as Clary starts to better understand the world she's been pulled into.

Speaking of names, actually, the villain's name bugged me, too. Valentine. For a few days, I kept thinking I was sure that was the name of a vampire in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. When I finally looked it up, it was, and that kind of ruined Clare's Valentine for me. I couldn't picture him, I was picturing Hamilton's version and the two didn't really line up. I suppose this isn't Clare's fault, though, there are only so many creepy names to use for villains. Although I suppose she could have done a better job of building his character so that Hamilton's didn't have a gap to sneak in through...

All in all, I'll be buying the sequel, so it's not a bad book. I did enjoy parts of it, quite a few parts, I just thought it was a real shame that the story was sidelined for unnecessary backstory. Drip-feed that stuff as necessary, don't make it the core of your novel.

1 comment:

  1. Despite the flaws, I'm glad you mostly enjoyed this overall! Great review, Lesley! I hope you enjoy the second book too, if not more. :)