Review: City of Bones
I started reading this because Sarah Maas was talking about how much she liked it, and I thought to myself, “Huh. Well, I like Sarah Maas, so I MUST like this book, right?”
I probably should have realized what I was getting into when I saw Stephenie Meyer’s endorsement on the front cover.
The premise, of course, is sound: there are not-quite-human beings, called Shadowhunters, who prowl the world defending it from what I would like to affectionately term “supernatural nasties.” Clary Fray (whose name is too similar to the author’s for me NOT to snort derisively) stumbles on this world and, following the kidnapping of her mother and the invasion of demons into her home, is taken in by a group of teenage Shadowhunters and their caretaker. They begin a mission to track down the Voldemort of the series, whose name is Valentine, who kidnapped Clary’s mother in order to try and find an artifact that will help him build an army to kill all the Muggles – er, that is, half-demons (werewolves, vampires, etc.).
Clary’s character is irritating, to say the least, to the point where I can confidently label her a Mary Sue and probably also the author’s self-insert character. Orange walls, obscure bands, and more details than we need on every outfit she wears, combined with her complaining about being freckled and ginger, AND having multiple love interests and NEVER NOTICING, make her the very definition of a Mary Sue.
Things I Will Give the Author Credit For
(1) World-building. The way the world works, it’s structure, rules (both political and fantastical), they make sense. The classification of the different types of supes is simple enough to keep track of, but broad enough to do what it needs to.
(2) Dialogue. For the most part, the back-and-forth banter was pretty solid and had be chuckling every one in a while.
(3) Side Characters. If not for Simon, Isabella, Alec, and Jace, I likely would have stopped reading this book where I left off in February: Chapter 2. Although I would have liked to drop-kick Clary into Manhattan traffic, I managed to endure this trip through Thingly-Veiled Fanfiction Land by pretending the side characters were actually the main characters.
Things I Would Like to Kick the Author For
(1) Blatant Fanfiction Cliches. This includes Mary-Sues, the obvious Harry Potter influences, the borderline Twilight influences, and a desperate need to convey to us, through wall color, hair styles, clothing, and band preferences, all the ways in which the main character Is Different.
(2) Purple prose. Yes, you can come up with some very flowery language, but holy crap I do not need all that description of how strangely beautiful every tiny little thing is in the middle of a mother-effing fight scene.
(3) Plot Twist. By far, that was the stupidest thing ever. Because I don’t want to give any spoilers, I won’t spill it here, but I found the plot twist both unnecessary and ridiculous. In addition, the way the characters just kind of, I dunno, GET OVER IT all of a sudden… yeah. Right.
To sum up, I thought this book was a load of crap.