Book Review: Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

First just a quick announcement–I’m offering my short story pack “A Troll Under Golden Gate Bridge: A Cathy Pembroke Tale” for free for the next two weeks on Smashwords here: . This is an experiment to see if offering the first tale free leads to any sales on anything else.

Now to the book review:


Title: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1)

Author: Cassandra Claire

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: YA Paranormal, Horror (supposedly)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

So I already reviewed the movie few months back on my blog. Visually, I liked a lot of the elements, but plot-wise I felt it was weak and stumbling. I decided to read the book to see if any of the gaping holes in logic and continuity would be solved in the written version.

I’m happy to say that at least the world makes a bit more sense now.


No, these child Shadowhunters are not the only hunters on earth, which was alluded to in the movie. There was no ridiculous attempt to take over the world with flying demonspawn/bat things. And the logic of Jace being Valentine’s son held together a lot better with a lot more evidence. So in those aspects, I liked the book better. It’s still pretty junky teenage angst and creepy things, but it’s like candy–it tastes good for a moment then leaves you hungry afterwards. I like candy fiction now and again.

I read another review which stated that this book was basically rewritten Harry Potter fanfic, which I can somewhat see, but I applaud Cassandra for moving beyond that starting point, if that was the starting point. (which it probably was.) There’s enough interesting details in the world with the runes and scars and glamors that I enjoyed the tale. I caution the writer to avoid similes whenever possible. They are not her best talent. (his hair was like brass. REALLY?!) I’m also not crazy about the pseudo-incest or whatever you might call that, but it certainly creates tension. I caution here to stay away from the Mary Sue-like portrayal of her heroine, and either let her be ugly or just do away with the poor me I’m just not as pretty as ____ attitude. I’d also like to see her actually train to use a weapon before using one. It’s not that easy. Really.

I don’t particularly like Clary, the main character, which isn’t a good thing. But I sort of like Jace and all his conflicts. The best character by far was the warlock, because he was SUPPOSED to be cardboard and over the top. As others have said, we know next to nothing about Valentine which basically makes him a boring 2D villain. About the only reason I felt anything at all for him was because of Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ portrayal of him in the movie, which speaks volumes about JRM’s acting talent and nothing about Cassandra’s writing ability.

For now at least, I’m willing try the next book. Then we’ll see if I like where this series are actually going.

So for me, this earns a lukewarm 3 out of 5 stars. Sort of liked but didn’t love it.

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