Book Reviews

(Reread) Review — City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Book title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments, #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division)
Release date: September 2015 (originally published January 2007)
Format: Paperback, 485 pages
Source: Library.



Discover the world of the Shadowhunters in the first installment of the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly)—now with a gorgeous new cover, a map, a new foreword, and exclusive bonus content! City of Bones is a Shadowhunters novel.

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. And she’s more than a little startled when the body disappears into thin air. Soon Clary is introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. And Clary is introduced with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque monster. How could a mere human survive such an attack and kill a demon? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

I’m almost 9 years behind the times. Oy. Well. There’s not much to be said about City of Bones at this point. This was a reread, actually — I read the book for the first time a number of years ago. Back then, I wasn’t very impressed with it so I didn’t continue with the series. However, now that The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices have become such mega-popular series with giant fandoms, I figured it was about time to finally jump on the bandwagon. I reread City of Bones — and really enjoyed it this time!

Briefly put, City of Bones is a fantasy that takes place in New York City. There are Shadowhunters, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and the like — this is a really fun paranormal series with magic and magical beings. Fiesty and loyal Clary Fray is the book’s main character, and she gets pulled into the world of Shadowhunters when her mother goes missing. She meets Jace Wayland, the sarcastic, gorgeous bad boy Shadowhunter, and goes out on a quest with her new Shadowhunter peers to find the Mortal Cup, a lost magical object everyone wants for different reasons.

Maybe one reason I didn’t like City of Bones when I read it years ago was because of it being paranormal. A number of years ago, vampires and werewolves were the hot thing, and I was kind of sick of all the paranormal books flooding the market. (It was paranormal and dystopia, thanks to Twilight and The Hunger Games!). However, my reading tastes now lean mostly to fantasy — and high fantasy, usually — so it was a refreshing change to read a paranormal book. I also loved the New York City setting — hello, it’s where I live! And, now that I’m a bit older (well, only 19), I finally really got the romance and am totally shipping Alec and Magnus. Clary and Jace, you’re cool, too, but my main OTP here is Alec and Magnus. ❤

City of Bones originally started out as a Harry Potter fan fic and there are definitely a few similarities, such as the Institute kind of mirroring Hogwarts on a lesser scale, and the search for the Mortal Cup being like the search for the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone). But City of Bones is an entirely different story, and from what I’ve heard the rest of the books are original and don’t borrow much or anything from other famous fantasies.

I found City of Bones hilarious. Jace’s snarkiness always got me. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff that came out of his mouth. I found the book pretty interesting and fast-paced, too. I liked Clary, she was a perfectly serviceable MC. I wasn’t a huge fan of Simon, but he was okay. I really liked Isabelle and can’t wait to see more of her in future books. I liked Alec to an extent, but goodness, I didn’t like the way he treated Clary. I loved Magnus. I liked Luke. Valentine… let’s just say that I’m not completely sold on the series’ main villain yet, but he’s obviously pretty crazy what with his psychological manipulation.

After I read City of Bones, I watched the movie, the one with Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower. (And Godfrey Gao as Magnus and Lena Heady as Jocelyn.) The movie was fun, but they changed the entire ending so drastically! I understood why they changed the story so much, mostly for clarity and for a big show-down that action movies seemingly need to have. But they also spoiled something huge for the rest of the series! I’ve already been minorly spoiled for the series, so this wasn’t news for me, but still — c’mon, that was just rude! (Although I kind of get why they mentioned such an important thing.) I really loved the actors they got and think that Jamie made an excellent Jace, but Johnathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine– holy ravioli, that overacting was atrocious.

As I’m sure you all know, there’s a new TV show based on the books called Shadowhunters that’s coming out soon. I’ve watched the previews and teasers and I’m not sold on it, yet. Clary, Jace, and Isabelle… hmmm… The acting, from what I’ve seen, seems very stiff and obvious. I’m willing to give the show a try, but I don’t have high hopes for it. Still, it’s pretty awesome that there even IS a TV show based on the books! After the movie kind of bombed, I don’t think anyone expected any more adaptations.

So. City of Bones. I really enjoyed it this time around. Am I in love with the series yet? No. And I’ve heard it takes a few books for things to really get rolling. I don’t have any “feels” yet, I am not super invested in the characters or plot at this point. But I know I’ll be entertained and have a good time so I’m going to continue reading the series and finally become a Cassandra Clare fan. I’m currently reading City of Ashes — and let me just say that the new paperback covers are huge improvements over the original covers. 😉 ♦

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Have you read City of Bones?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s your favorite paranormal/urban fantasy book?
And are you looking forward to the Shadowhunters show?
Comment below letting me know!
And, as always, happy reading!

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8 thoughts on “(Reread) Review — City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

  1. This is why I’m always open to rereading a book I didn’t like the first time around – reading tastes change, people grow up, and what you didn’t like last time can be refreshing the second time around. Although it can also work the other way and you become disillusioned with a book you used to love, WHICH IS SAD. But anyway, I’m glad you liked it this time 😀


    1. Exactly! There have been a few books I’ve reread that I enjoyed more the second time around. But there have also been some books I didn’t like as much as I did the first time I read them… and that’s definitely a disappointing feeling. But I’m glad I liked City of Bones, too! I can’t wait to get sucked into the rest of the series. 😀


  2. OMG THIS IS EVERYTHING!!! I love this book. Adore it basically. (I love all of Cassandra Clare’s books now!!) But I actually tried to read City of Bones TWICE and the first chapter bored me both times and I ditched it. Then I watched the movie and aafajdsklad I loved it so much. I went back and read the book and was entirely sold. and that was only last year, so you’re not alone in being behind the times. 😉
    Magnus and Alec = ❤
    Also I’m entirely agreeing with you about the TV show. That 9 minute snippet that leaked a while back…gah. I was actually kind of horrified at Clary’s acting. o.O So we’ll hope it gets smoother as it goes along, right?! gulps


    1. The movie was pretty entertaining, yup yup, and it actually made me more excited to continue reading the series because, um, Jamie as Jace? Please and thank you. I don’t mind picturing him as Jace from now on. 😉 And that TV sneak peek thing was definitely a hot mess. But I did enjoy Harry Shum Jr. as the new Magnus — although I much prefer Godfrey Gao because man, he’s just damn FIIIIIIIINE. ;D


  3. I was never the biggest fan of this book, to be honest. It was a sold three star read. My favourite in the series is book three! Which, funnily enough, is where the series was supposed to end before it got extended. My least favourite is the last one. I felt like it dragged everywhere and there was so much useless stuff in it. It annoyed me T.T

    I love Mangus and Alec! Even though Alec isn’t the best guy around – he gets nicer as time goes on, haha XD They’re just so cute squish

    I think I am actually the only person that liked the movie? I know it changed a lot, and I was super disappointed in that, but I loved most of the casting and the cinematography was gorgeous. I really wanted them to continue making them 😦

    I’m keen for the show, but I really don’t think it looks that great. I don’t know if I like the casting for any of the characters (except Alec. He is beautiful), and the acting seems a bit off. But I guess we’ll see. No first episode is ever perfect, after all XD


    1. Hmm… I have heard that the series doesn’t get “great” until book 4 and beyond. City of Bones, when I first read it years ago, didn’t do much to impress me. Upon rereading it, I enjoyed it a lot this time around, and hope that I’ll become a Cassandra Clare fan as I continue with the series. But City of Ashes really has grabbed me and I’m still only a few chapters in…


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