“The Mortal Instruments: Book One – City Of Bones”
by Cassandra Clare (March 27, 2007)
The first book in the Mortal Instruments series, “City Of Bones”, is a pleasant surprise. So pleasant in fact, that I bumped it from what would be the last noteworthy fiction list because it deserved top pick status, and there was no way I was bumping “The One I Left Behind” again (at the time I didn’t think about stopping those posts so this was set to be June’s Top Fiction Pick). Clare creates a captivatingly magical world within the world we already know: the world of the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. When Clary Fray goes to an underage club in New York City she hardly expects to witness a murder. She sees three teenagers with strange markings, shadowhunters, slaying what she later learns was a demon. But how can she see them? Their markings keep them hidden from humans and no human has the sight…
Within 24 hours of her first encounter with gorgeous Jace and his friends, Alec and Isabelle, Clary is pulled into their world with a vengeance. When her mother disappears and she is attacked by a demon, Clary’s world falls away to reveal the truth. This book did the doomed love thing, but what I loved about it is that it was done in a way that was new. There is no pining on either side (both characters involved are far too stubborn) and no ‘the world will end if I cannot be with this person because they define who I am’, which is so common in these kind of plots. There is not a love triangle so much as a love hexagon and yet it is always in the background, adding to the tension but not taking over the story or limiting the characters. I figured out many of the more ‘mysterious’ secrets right away and yet this didn’t take away from the book because I was curious how the author would make it work (and she always did). There were also a few surprises in store for me. When it came to the ‘great romance’ of the book I had a suspicion I quickly dismissed because it was too twisted. Well, their love is just twisted and it actually works that way (though you will seriously think ‘wtf’ and do a few double takes).
I’ll admit when my husband first presented this book to me at the library, I was skeptical to say the least – I almost didn’t get it! When we browse the library together every now and then my husband will bring a book to show me, thinking that it might be my kind of read. He has never been wrong, but has also stuck with authors and genres he knows I can’t resist. This was a book I had never heard of, from an author I had never heard of in a hit or miss genre with a quote from Stephanie Meyer (the author of the Twilight series) on the cover. I was certain it would be some doomed forbidden love teeny bopper story that would elicit plenty of eye rolls… thank goodness I did not listen to myself! And luckily, “City of Bones” hits the ground running and sucks you into the world of the Mortal Instruments right away. On the second page my complete attention was captured and it was not returned to me until I had finished the book (and I whipped through 485 pages in record time, thank you). This was a book that kept me up at night, not because it was chilling (this is certainly not a thriller or suspense novel) but because I had to know what happened next.
I also appreciated the ending on this book. Many books that are an installment of a series seem to have trouble with endings. While the larger story continues and leaves enough ‘what will happen next’ questions to leave the reader anxiously awaiting the next installment – the ending itself doesn’t leave you wanting for anything (in a great way). The ending is clean, but not a forced tidy that feels superficial and unrealistic. I should warn you the book was made into a movie, which apparently was a flop (I haven’t seen it). Producers are trying to figure out how to retool the second book’s adaptation, but if you have seen or heard about it, don’t let the movie affect your choice on reading this book. (Movies are inferior to books anyway, which is why I always have to read the book first.)
Clare has done a wonderful job of weaving magic and lore into the world as we know it and putting her own spin on it in the process. This isn’t a world you wish that you lived in, because you already do, but it is a world you wish you could see while you are there living. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up this book and prepare to be transported!
The Mortal Instruments is fantasy at its best (and I must not be the only one who thinks so, seeing how it is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Series). “City Of Bones” is the first book in a series of six (the last installment was just released last month) and you can be sure that I am eventually going to get around to cover the rest of these books (I just finished the second book today). I loved everything about this world, but even more I loved everything about the world Clare created in this series. And it has been a long time since I read of a world or reality I preferred to the one I am already in. Give this series a try, no matter how skeptical you may be, because so far it is downright magical! 🙂