Fiction: “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare

city of bones*phew* Now that the Hannibal season finale has worn off (and also, I have someone in line to be the next assistant manager at my store, which means I can start having two days off per week again – hooray!), I feel that I can start getting back into the swing of things. So let’s regroup with the last book I finished reading, yeah?

(Full disclosure: I may have also become addict— intrigued, by the BBC America TV Show Orphan Black. I’m not going to say “addicted” because my interest in the show has not yet reached Fannibal levels, and I don’t foresee that becoming an issue. But if I start talking with a distinct Liverpool/Cockney twang, I apologize in advance.)

(And Sarah, I know there’s a difference between the two dialects. But since I didn’t go to dialect school, please allow me my ignorance in this. Thanks. [smiley face])

One of my best friends, Jen, reads a lot of Young Adult novels. And over the years, she’s recommended some titles to me that she really liked, and that she thinks I’d like too. Now, she did not recommend Fury to me, as that was something I saw randomly one day and decided to get it from the library — and thank God, too, because if I had paid actual money for that book, I would have been … is furious too stupid a joke to make there? No? Okay, good. I’m gonna let it stand.

But Jen did recommend to me the Mortal Instruments series (not to be confused with the Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman, he of Golden Compass fame), and a-of-all, there happens to be a movie coming out about it, and b-of-all, I found it for cheaps at Target, so I decided to read it. After all, the timing was right, because after Red Dragon, I seriously needed something a little lighter and the less chance of me going all AAAAAAHHHHH over it, the better.

(Seriously, guys — it’s been almost a month and I’m still not over that show. I’ve been following all the Comic-Con awesomeness, and I just can’t, you guys, I can’t. I mean, I got a tumblr for Hannibal; I may have to finally bite the bullet and get a Blu-Ray player so I can watch the full gag reel and all the other behind-the-scenes stuff. I NEVER WANTED TO BUY MYSELF A BLU-RAY, GUYS.)

So, City of Bones… the first in the Mortal Instruments series. I should probably talk about that a bit, huh?

The main character is Clary Fray, a sixteen-ish girl who lives in Brooklyn with her mom, Jocelyn. One night, she and her best friend Simon goes to this club, and while they’re dancing, Clary sees a weird-looking dude get followed by three other teenagers. Because Clary is apparently some sort of code for “curious,” she follows the quartet and, when she tries to stop the three teenagers from beating the weird dude up, she learns that the weird dude is actually a demon and the three teenagers are demon hunters.

I’m kind of glossing over a lot of stuff there; just go with me on this.

Long story made very short (for me, so yay), Clary meets Jace, Isabelle and Alec, the three teenage demon hunters. Apparently, Clary’s not supposed to see them, because the demon-hunters are able to hide themselves from normal people, also known as “mundanes.” This leads Jace to want to introduce Clary to their world; and also, because some demons have kidnapped her mom and Clary may have almost died in the process. Y’know; that too.

There is a lot that happens in this book – it felt like the progression of scenes went, “Battle – regroup at HQ – Research Mission – Battle – Regroup at HQ – rinse – repeat.” There were times when I wished the author/point-of-view director would just take a breath and explain some stuff a little bit further before rushing onto the next beat, but I’m not sure if she was worried that we’d get bored with too much exposition? I don’t know, I just felt that at times, I was scrambling to remember what something was or what the significance of something was.

The characters are fully formed, however; full while still having secrets to discover. And seeing how there are at least five additional books in this series – plus a prequel series to boot – additional mysteries and/or secrets are kind of necessary.

I feel that I should mention two things before I get into Things That Made Alaina Laugh.

1) The series is basically a Quest for the Mortal Instruments: the props that an angel used to create the first Shadowhunters. Their main villain is named Valentine. And of course, being a Hogwarts girl through and through, I kept wanting to call him Voldemort. I mean, c’mon. Does ‘V’ stand for Villain?

2. I said consummate ‘V’s! Guy wouldn’t know majesty if it bit him in the face.

Real!2: I’m going to throw this out there, and while it might be considered a spoiler, I do want people to be aware of it in case they have a trigger. Jace and Clary do flirt a lot, including a little make-out action. At the end of the book, we learn there is a possibility that they may be brother and sister. Now, I did not know that going into the book, and may have texted Jen a big o_O?? at one point, and look, I’ve read a book with incest in it, and to me, City of Bones is a different animal, in that Clary and Jace both had no idea, whereas in Wideacre, Beatrice knew it was wrong and still did it twice. Anyway. It was a surprise, but not a shock, but hints at incest are still something to make me question the material. Not in a bad way, but more in a “do I want to continue to read this series?”

The good news I have for both myself and people concerned with how this story may go (because at the end of City of Bones, anyway, there is still a smidgeon of unresolved sexual tension): I looked it up on Wikipedia and they learn that they are not related, it was all a trick of Not!Voldemort, and so I can continue to read the series happily.

And now, funny things.

– There is a chapter that is entitled “Dead Man’s Party.” I immediately thought of this.

– Nobody likes to be from New Jersey:

“Isabelle hails from one of the greatest Shadowhunter dynasties in history,” Alec said dryly. “This girl, on the other hand, hails from New Jersey.”

“I’m from Brooklyn!” Clary was outraged. [68]

– That angel I mentioned before, the one that created the Shadowhunters? It was Raziel. Now, some of you are probably shocked that I know the name of one of the angels, but really, it’s Christopher Moore’s fault, because Raziel is the angel he chose to be the Stupidest Angel. So this book series got a lot funnier for me after that.

– There’s this character, Luke? He’s a werewolf. And he has a second and a third. His third is named Alaric.

ALARIC! PLEASE LET THERE BE A DAMON I’ve been ever so good! PS I was JUST talking about this!!!

– … but then Alaric dies. BECAUSE THAT’S ALL ALARIC EVER DOES.

– And if you know me, then you know this became my favorite passage:

“Don’t tell me,” [Jace] said, drawing his words out in that way he knew she hated. “Simon’s turned himself into an ocelot and you want me to do something about it before Isabelle makes him into a stole.” [324]

He remembers me!!

Grade for City of Bones: 3 stars

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