City of Bones by Cassandra Clare Book Review

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

City of Bones

by Cassandra Clare

Published by McElderry Books

Book 1 in the Mortal Instruments Series

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...


Violence Young Adult Exciting



City of Bones is the first book in the Mortal Instruments Series, and the first book that started Cassandra Clare's massive Shadowhunter World, that includes different spin-offs and novellas, and has been made both into a movie (which I am partial to, despite the series not being continued), and a popular show. City of Bones centers around Clary Fray, a fifteen, soon to be sixteen, year old girl, who witnesses a murder at a popular, all-ages club, a murder that no one else can see. This leads to Clary finding about the shadow world, and shadowhunters, half-human and half-angel beings that are destined to kill demons. Within 24 hours, her mother goes missing, she is attacked by a demon, and she is thrust into a world of secrets, and betrayal. Along with it, she is also introduced to Jace, the beautiful, prickly shadowhunter, that leaves quite the impression on her.

I read City of Bones for the first time in 2013. This is my third time reading it (and not just because I wanted to review it, but because there are still more books coming, and I wanted a refresher ... plus, I like them.) I'm older now, so I am just noticing it now, but I forgot just how innocent City of Bones is. Cassandra Clare's stuff now seems steamier in comparison. That being said, Clary is 15/16 years old in City of Bones, so innocent is good. I would have NO problem letting my teenagers read this. While stories on nephilim, demons, etc, etc ... are countless, I forgot just how original Cassandra's shadowhunters world is, and that it truly stands apart. City of Bones is just plain fun, with all the sarcastic banter, action, and the hint of romance. I mean, it's my third read through, and I wasn't bored.

Clary is a great role model for young girls, in my opinion. She is strong, brave, and has a desire to do whats right, despite it being the harder thing to do. Jace is an interesting character. Heavily sarcastic, a little bit dangerous ... but underneath a very tough exterior, is sweet. You get your bad boy fix, but at the end of the day, you know your main character won't end up with a broken heart. Spoiler -----> Unless, of course, you find out your crush is your brother. Ew. <------ I do, however, wish there were more private moments between Clary and Jace. I wish I had a bit more bonding between them, so their feelings towards one another made a bit more sense. Of course, as I am saying this, I am not that old. I remember being a teenager, and being plagued with insta-love. The other characters are also great. One of the things I love about Cassandra's work, is that all the characters have their own distinct personalities and quirks. I never feel like she is copy and pasting a character profile. Simon is great, and I never felt like he was getting in the way of the main romance arc. Isabelle is the exact opposite of Clary, which makes their interactions funny and awkward. It's obvious they are not used to friends of the female sort, and while it can come off bitchy, I think it's mostly discomfort. We don't see Alec's best side in City of Bones, but underneath his obvious turmoil, he genuinely cares about his family and friends. And I am always all for a LGBTQ+ characters, even if, in City of Bones, Alec struggles with his homosexuality. But hey, that adds a level of realism to a fantasy.