Book Reviews

Talk About A Life Changing Moment: Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones

Talk About A Life Changing Moment

Cassandra Clare: The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones

Review By: Jacquelyn Phillips

Cassandra Clare, City of Bones, The Mortal Instruments, The Wardrobe Journal


As the summer wound down, work no longer taking over my life, I browsed my large library located on one too small bookshelf and decided that it was time to give myself over to Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world once again. The first installment of The Mortal Instruments Series, The City of Bones, was everything I imagined it to be: love stories, sword fights, exploding demons—all executed flawlessly with fantastic word choice and realistic dialog.

For example, during a tension filled scene between Clary Fray and Alec Lightwood, Clare is able to absorb the reader into the conflict creating heart palpitations and potential anxiety:

She’d known he didn’t like her, but it still felt like a slap. “Alec, the last time I was home, it was infested with Forsaken. And Raveners. With fangs. Nobody wants to go home more than I do, but—”

“You must have relatives you can stay with?” There was a tinge of desperation in his voice.

“No. Besides, Hodge wants me to stay,” she said shortly.

“He can’t possibly. I mean, not after what you’ve done—”

“What I’ve done?”

He swallowed hard. “You almost got Jace killed.”

I almost—what are you talking about?”

“Running off after your friend like that—do you know how much danger you put him in? Do you know—”

“Him? You mean Jace?” Clary cut him off in midsentence. “For your information the whole thing was his idea. He asked Magnus where the lair was. He went to church to get weapons. If I hadn’t come with him, he would have gone anyway.”

One of the greatest attributes of this book is the use of dialog. Not only does it draw in the reader emotionally, but also gives the reader an idea of characterization. Through her dialog, Clare is able to give her characters qualities that would otherwise have to be explained through exposition. It’s juicy and never dull. It’s exactly what the reader needs in order to delve headfirst into a world that would otherwise been unknown to them.

Another strong suit of the novel is the story itself. It’s filled with topics that, for a Young Adult audience, might actually seem pretty adult. From losing one’s father at a young age to falling in love with your sister—Clare is able to touch on all aspects on life that might be considered “Taboo” or “Too hard to talk about.” She is also conscious of the gay community and what that sort of love entails—how it must be hidden or forbidden even if it is blatantly obvious to those around you. Betrayal, temper-tantrums, an infatuation for someone who can’t love you back; all in all, Clare nails it all with beauty, grace and finesse. And the best part is, she’s able to maintain these beautiful elements from page one all the way to page 485.

Here’s an excerpt for you to look forward to as soon as you decide to flip beyond the cover of The City of Bones:

Inside, the club was full of dry-ice smoke. Colored lights played over the dance floor, turning it into a multicolored fairyland of blues and acid greens, hot pinks and golds.

The boy in the red jacket stroked the long razor-sharp blade in his hands, an idle simile playing over his lips. It had been so easy—a little bit of a glamour on the blade, to make it look harmless. Another glamour on his eyes, and the moment the bouncer had looked straight at him, he was in. Of course, he could probably have gotten by without all that trouble, but it was part of the fun—fooling the mundies, doing it all out in the open right in front of them, getting off on the blank looks of their sheeplike faces.

If that’s not enough to reel you in, I don’t know what is. Be ready to be hooked—but be careful. There are five more books to read, and you’re not going to stop at the first.

Cassandra Clare, City of Bones, The Mortal Instruments, The Wardrobe Journal


Author Bio:

Cassandra Clare, City of Bones, The Mortal Instruments, The Wardrobe JournalBorn in Teheran, Iran, Cassandra Clare travelled to multiple countries and beautiful landscapes with her parents including France, England, Switzerland and the Himalayas.  She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she wrote her first novel, The Beautiful Cassandra, which she used to entertain her friends.  After college, Cassandra lived in Los Angeles and New York.  There, she worked for many entertainment magazines and tabloids.  She began her first YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, which was originally inspired by the uniqueness and chaos of Manhattan’s landscape.  She began writing fantasy fiction full-time in 2006.  Her series, The Mortal Instruments has become very popular; so popular, in fact, that movies have been made (or are planning to be made) based on the books.  The prequel to The Mortal Instruments is a trilogy titled The Infernal Devices and the companion series titled The Dark Artifices is scheduled to be released in 2015.


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