I was out of internet the entire week so I could only rely on my phone’s data to publish on Instagram. I couldn’t work on this review until now but here it is!
I’m going to be really honest, I’d seen The Mortal Instruments series so many times throughout the years but I was never drawn to it. A friend of mine had read the first book and told me about the upcoming movie a few years ago. I agreed to go with her so she took me to watch the movie and I thought it was so bad (sorry to anyone who enjoyed it!) that it left me with zero motivation to pick up the books.
Fastforward a few years to the first two months post-college graduation; I was bored late at night and thought I’d watch something on Netflix. I saw this ad about “Shadowhunters” and found it familiar. I then discovered it was also based on the same books. Now, I admit the show isn’t great but I loved it. I thought the characters were amazing and, with more screentime, better developed than the movie. It actually made me want to understand all the little references that were lost to me. So I looked for the books, found the beautiful new covers and bought them online alongside The Infernal Devices.
I knew when diving into the books that it would be entirely different from the show and I shouldn’t expect the same. I thought perhaps I would not like the books or start hating the show. Luckily, neither situation happened. A strange occurrence since I am very sensitive with book-to-screen adaptations. But I guess I was able to separate each and love them individually, which I think is the healthiest way to approach a beloved book’s adaptation.
But now, let’s focus on my thoughts from the first book in the series!
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Pages: 544 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Overall Rating: 4/5 ★★★★
Synopsis: 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. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a 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…
Since the show moved in gigantic steps, the book did appear somewhat slow to me. I understand why, since it was the introduction to the Nephilim world and had to be properly explained. I was however, left with the feeling that the action took too long to happen and most of it was just waiting. Then, when things got to the exciting bit, I felt the events were rushed.
Another thing that I didn’t quite like was the negligence to other characters. Now, I do get that the story is about Clary and must center on her and her journey discovering the truth of her birth, her lineage and the world that was lost to her for sixteen years. However, the way Cassie Clare wrapped up things for background characters was sloppy. We have Alec (who’s my baby, tbh) dying from a Greater Demon’s poison one moment and we come back to him many chapters later all healed and healthy… And you’re just like wait, what? How did Magnus save him? What happened? What was Izzy doing in the meantime? How did they notify their parents that their first child had almost died?
Many details happened off-screen with other characters and I felt that was not a show of great writing prowess. I believe authors must always give each character enough attention even if the main focus is not on them. At first I thought Cassie had decided on this since it was all from Clary’s POV. But now on City of Ashes, the POV changes constantly… Say whaaat?
The writing did not surprise me but I think it showed her potential as an author, which makes me thing the next books in the series, as well as her other trilogies will show how much she was improved over the years. I think she is able to create complex characters, that truly feel human to the reader. Characters that make us hate them one moment and love them the next; that make us feel pity and disgust, affection and empathy, just like another living human being could makes us feel based on their actions and decisions. This allowed me to truly connect to some of them (Alec), admire others (Simon and Izzy), make me want to strangle some (Jace) and just overall root for others (Clary).
The mythology of the Nephilim was also something I loved, since it is such a planned out world that you can actually imagine Shadowhunters exist hidden from the mundane sight. It is so complex and interesting that the world has become one of my favorite fictional worlds with only one book read under my belt.
I can’t wait to see where the rest of the story takes me.