City_of_BonesEnjoyability: smile transpsmile transpsmile transpsmile transp graysmile transp gray

Intelligence: brain2brain2brain outline transp 2brain outline transp 2brain outline transp 2

Pages: 485    Copyright: 2008

             “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…”

             I’m having trouble settling on a pro/con opinion for this book. This is partly because it got better near the end, so my fresh, recent positive feelings are conflicting with the less exuberant feelings that I had for the larger part. So I’ll try to just present all of my thoughts.

            The beginning and middle of the book were, for me, pleasant to read, but not earth-shattering. My front-most feeling was that it needed more rigorous editing. There were little rough edges that bothered me— for example, there was too much exposition sometimes, and I felt like characters were hammering backstory too hard and repeating clarifications I already understood. And there was a sense of urgency lacking from the plot movement. The kids were dealing with the fate of the world as we know it, and they just didn’t seem as concerned about it as they should have.

            On the subject of the characters, I think they could have been rounder and richer. I could never entirely forget that they were characters, and not real people. They seemed a little formulaic— Shadowhunter Isabelle the commanding femme fatale, her brother Alec the suspicious traditionalist, Clary’s best friend Simon as the friendzoned good guy, and Jace— I, as a teenage girl, was of course in love with him, but he so dutifully hit literally EVERY single lustworthy-hero trope (tragic back story, tough trustless exterior, smirky sarcasm, etc.) that he came off a smidge cheap, like the literary equivalent of an exotic dancer. I did like Clary. But even her personality could have been brought out more. For instance, there’s a fleeting reference once to her watching anime; tell us more about that!   

             At around the final quarter of the book, the action really picks up, and that’s where I got truly engaged and stopped noticing flaws in the writing, focusing on the actual story. It began to gain momentum and pull me in the way the earlier parts failed to. The pace was good, and the twists were exciting. There’s some weird stuff that was making me lose interest in the story, but I ended up seeking spoilers online and was reassured that it gets resolved, so I do plan to continue with the series. I’ll leave that vague to avoid spoiling anything. If you’ve read the book, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

            So, final sum-up— most people I’ve talked to about this series loved it, and I was at worst undecided, and at best on board. Maybe book two will help me solidify my stance, whenever I get the chance to read it. But for the overall reading experience, I think it’s safe to say I was more pro than con.

            By the way, I saw the movie before I read the book, something I almost never do. The book definitely made a lot more sense. There was a lot squeezed into the movie. And they changed a ton of stuff. Go figure. The actors did a really good job, though.

            Opinions? Questions? Leave a comment!

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