FROM THE BOOKCOVER:City of Bones is Cassandra Clare’s debut YA urban fantasy novel and the first in a trilogy called ‘The Mortal Instruments’. One of the key ingredients I watch for in Young Adult novels is whether they can be appreciated and enjoyed by an adult readership. I am happy to report that City of Bones is smart, well-paced and an excellent read right to the end. It never talks down to its’ readers.
Their hidden world is about to be revealed....
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. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque 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....
Clary is fifteen going on sixteen living with her single-parent mother. Clary and her mother have the usual mother-daughter spats and life is normal. In the course of just a few chapters, her life is plunged from this ordinary existence into the dark territory of Shadowhunters, demons and the Forsaken. Clare ratchets up the tension with each succeeding chapter. Clary barely has time to take a breath, but at ever turn and decision point, her reactions seem natural and true.
City of Bones is not a light-hearted adventure, but a dangerous and mysterious journey for Clary, her best friend Simon and new companions from the Shadowhunters - Jace, Isabelle and Alex. With a deft touch, darker moments are often leavened by dashes of humour. For example when Clary and Jace are riding in a glamoured coach that looks like a limousine -
“Just relax,” said Jace. “Enjoy the new-carriage smell.”And again between Jace and Clary -
“There are demons in the White House?”Cassandra Clare’s narrative is descriptive and oft times quite expressive as shown by Clary during one of her introspective moments.
“I was just kidding,” said Jace. “I think.” He shrugged philosophically. “I’m sure someone would have mentioned it.”
She felt as if her life had been built on a sheet of ice as thin as paper, and now the ice was beginning to crack, threatening to plunge her into the icy darkness below. Down into the dark water, she thought, where all her mother’s secrets drifted in the currents, the forgotten remains of a shipwrecked life.Clary’s life is thrown into complete turmoil and just about everything she believed true about her life proves false. Her mother is an ex-Shadowhunter, her Uncle Luke as well. She discovers she is not an only child and her real father turns out to be the man most wanted by the Shadowhunters, a powerful and dangerous zealot. Valentine is a man responsible for many deaths, fomenting war and threatening the lives and security of her friends and family. Her very world changes as she comes to understand the supernatural is real, that demons exist, and that by blood she is a Shadowhunter too.
All of the key characters are forced to change and reevaluate themselves as long-buried secrets are revealed and events unfold. This strong characterization complements the frequently harrowing action scenes set amidst an inventive secret side of New York City. By the conclusion of this first installment, a great deal has been accomplished but much also remains undone.
City of Bones is an exciting urban fantasy adventure for readers of all ages and I highly recommend it. Tomorrow I will review the second book in the series City of Ashes.
Read the first chapter.
And here is the Prologue deleted from the final book.