City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

March 8, 2012
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"There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love." —Christopher Morley.

City of Bones, the first book in the young adult urban fantasy series is a hilarious, dark, and sexy novel by Cassandra Clare that will be sure to leave you whimpering for more. Set in present day New York City, fifteen-year-old redhead Clary Fray – who tends to fall on the shorter side of the scale, never expected to witness a murder on the night she decides to go clubbing in the all age club, the Pandemonium. Though what is even stranger is (not that a murder isn’t already too much for one night), that this grueling act was committed by three teenagers who all carry bizarre weapons and bare strange tattoos all over themselves. Maybe it was because she had a little too much soda to drink that night, but after the murders did their deed – the body of the boy disappeared into thin air. Not a single drop of blood to be left as proof that the crime occured. Hoping to shake off the bizarre scene she witnessed that night, all Clary Fray wanted to do was to go home to her dear mom and sleep it all off. Poor, naïve, little Clary. As Clary soon learns, the murder she witnessed was her first encounters with the shadowhunters, warriors who from the time of 1234, has helped rid this world of demons; keeping out Earth safe and out of harm’s way. Within 24 hours of the murder, Clary finds herself dragged out of her comfort zone, and thrown suddenly into the world of the Shadowhunters, where vampire, werewolves, faeries, and demons do exist. Her only objective being to find her mom who has been attacked and kidnapped by a demon. However to having demons attacking Clary left and right though as she searches for her mom – her biggest nightmare is Mr. Jace Wayland, the most gorgeous man to walk this Earth. Although, his “charming” personality makes that pretty face the target of many, many, heartbroken girls who give all they have to give him a punch in the face, or maybe just to give him a big smooth one more time. Cassandra Clare sets readers on a fun-filled ride with swoon-worthy characters, relatable modern day crises, a fast paced twisted plot, and beautiful writing quality - a story that is a cross between Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Focusing first on the heartthrob characters, well – one heartthrob character… Let me just first start of by saying that Jace Wayland has ruined my expectations for boys, as my standards from them now are too high to be attainable. My choice is between a hunky, godly character like Jace Wayland, who is amazing at everything and saves lives left and right, or the boys at my school – whose main proprieties are air-softing and polluting the air with axe. With Jace’s cocky attitude, sarcastic personality, and surprisingly soft-side; as asked by main female protagonist Clary Fray; “’Do all the girls you meet fall in love with you?’” (204) Starting with Jace’s cocky attitude and sarcasm, it really does spices up the novel and define the humor in it. An example of this would be, “‘Usually I'm remarkably good nature. Try me on a day that doesn't end in y’” (441). Or, “The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.” (496). I find myself either laughing aloud or smiling to myself at Jace’s humorous personality – which again really does impact the book greatly as it can define the book as not only adventurous and romantic, but comically as well. Furthermore about Jace, which to be honest with you readers out there – I am having loads fun talking about, not only does Jace have a fun side, but a soft side as well. Total turn on. A guy that can be hilariously amazing but with a secret soft-side as well? Sign me up for a man-candy like Jace Wayland! Now, there is more to Jace then what you guys are probably thinking, which may include, or not include the words; superficial, arrogant, or a pain in the bottom. Having a horrible childhood, full of manipulative abuse and dark, twisted lies – although Jace’s physically features might announce that he is perfect, he is anything but. “’The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he'd learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed’” (206 ). Drilled into him as a young child, Jace learned that by allowing someone to love you, it is giving them the ability to destroy you – and from then on, he was broken. It almost seems to me that he uses his cockiness and sarcasm to hide his vulnerable side from everyone – afraid that the will think lowly of him if they see how broken he truly is.. Oh Jace, if I could, I would jump into the book and hold you until everything is okay. Let me love you!

Moving on, the second element that this novel consists of that made me absolutely fall in love with it, is how relatable it is to society today. Speaking of abandonment, bad childhoods, and homosexuality, miraculous amounts of readers who deal with these types of conflicts today were able to seek haven in this novel. Jace Wayland, a son whose father after abusing him for years and years as to “train” him to be the best shawdowhunter of his age – abandoned him at the age of 10, and disappeared off the face of the Earth. “’Sometimes the Marks can give you screaming nightmares,’ said Jace. ‘If you get them when you’re too young” (207). A horrible issue that through the book, sends a clear message: You are not alone, and things will get better. Readers may even look at Jace Wayland as a role model, as with even a messed up childhood – he came out alright in the end, and now has a family that loves him. Moreover, Cassandra Clare has also helped countless readers in how to deal with their homosexuality. In fact, one anonymous fan of Cassandra told the author that, “I recommended the City of Bones for my friend, whose is gay, but is having a hard time showing who is really is, and since I know about the Alec’s situation I told him to give the book a try– and he loves it and is now building up the confidence to come out.” As we all know, the issue of homosexuality is becoming one of the biggest issue facing society today; and as of now, many teen may struggle with their sexual preference, but again City of Bones sends a clear message: You are not alone, and things will get better. Not only is this novel a great book to read, but also has the characteristics to relate to teens who might be facing these issues.

Next come the exhilarating plot that in the end, made me had to catch my breath. From beginning to end, Cassandra Clare never yet failed to excite me as I reach the end of the page, and begin to feel the tension as I turned to the next. Well written, with many twists and turns – it was a roller coaster ride that I never wanted to end! One of my absolute most favorite part in the whole plot would have to be Chapter 14: The Hotel Dumort. With suspense just hanging around the atmosphere, followed by the action that caught me at an unexpected turn of the page, the whole event just had me sucked right into the book! The surroundings around me, like the Harry Potter poster on my wall or the T.V in front of me abruptly melted away, and I found myself slowly slipping into the chapter – engrossed by the fight scene that broke out and amazed, yet shocked at their lucky victory of escape. “Raphael clung on like a gripping spider, teeth snapping at Jace’s throat. Clary fumbled in her pack for the dagger Jace had given her –“(278). Throughout this whole chapter, this quote would have to be my favorite line because of the description Ms. Clare wrote, which honestly brought a crystal clear image to my head of a sweaty, hot blonde boy in the grasp of vampire, and a little redhead panicking around in desperate search for her dagger. A action-packed scene that has me flipping the page as quick as possible to find out what happens next!

Which brings to my final point of why I entirely devote my life to love this series; the amazing quality of writing this magnificent book possesses. Reading the novel, I feel myself just being carried away from my room and into the world of Shadowhunters, where I can go on adventures with the ability to kick-butt and look good while doing it. From the words itself, sensory details, narrative strategies, and figurative language used - this book is a piece of work! “A hot wind had come up, stirring the leaves on the stunted trees outside the hotel, sending the trash in the gutters and on the cracked pavement’” (253). The description written this scene has goosebumps crawling up my arms while reading it. Making me feel the thick tension of the scene; the eerily moment right before the action is about it happen. Furthermore, Cassandra Clare also uses realistic details, which made the book more relatable to readers – allowing them to enjoy the story even more. “Simon yanked the taxi door open and slid onto the plastic-covered backseat. Clary followed, inhaling the familiar New York cab smell of old cigarette smoke, leather, and hair spray” (17). The author throughout the novel also had plentiful great use of figurative language as well, such as personifications.: “The glow stabbed into her eyes” (49). In addition to the usage of similes, which can be seen on page 190 where Clary Fray states “It looks like a prison,” to describe an a house. The writing quality in this book is fabulous, and has sucked me into the book since page 3. It’s literally my escape from reality.

In conclusion, I highly recommend the City of Bones by Cassandra Clare to everyone. Whether you may be a tween or an adult, this book will appeal to everyone of not only all ages, but genders as well. With witty, fun characters to brighten your day, a safe place that with a flip of a page - you can always return to, a plot who will take you on the ride of your life with plenty of ups and downs, and finally words who have the ability to whisk you off onto a exhilarating adventure ahead.
“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” -Logan Pearsall Smith

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