It’s been a while since I answered The Daily Prompt! But then again, writing my thesis took priority over anything else…
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has been part of the latest fiction craze that is being adapted into a film debuting in August. After seeing the trailer with some of the intense fighting sequences and a humorous exchange between Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower (“Oh no…You killed two cops!”/”They weren’t cops!”) I picked up a copy of the novel to read.
The first book follows 15 year old Clarissa “Clary” Fray who has lived an ordinary life with an overprotective mother. After she witnesses a trio of teens killing a human-like demon in night club, Clary attempts to have them arrested, only to discover that no one else can see them. Days later, she runs into the leader of the trio named Jace, who suggests that she may not be a regular human being but a Shadowhunter, possessing the blood of the angel Raziel which enables her to see demons. Clary is then forced to embrace her new lifestyle as a Shadowhunter when her mother is kidnapped from their home and few clues to her location are found.
The novel fits within the action, adventure, romance, and fantasy genres neatly. Yet one questions whether Clary can be classified as a heroine or borderline damsel-in-distress. (She is not the deft archer fighting the government like Katniss Everdeen nor is she trying to escape her present for the unknown challenges and adventures like Tris Prior.) When the readers are first introduced to Clary, she is presented as the typical teenage girl who likes exploring the nightlife, admiring attractive boys from a distance, and as the defiant daughter who blames her mother for ruining her summer. For me, it took some time to warm up to Clary as the story progressed, as she is struggling to assimilate into Shadowhunter culture. While this is the first book in the series, I felt more drawn toward the attitude and development of Isabelle Lightwood, a fellow Shadowhunter who keeps the boys in line while fighting the demons with her whip.
Clary’s relationship with Jace is explored in the middle of the novel as the two begin to warm up to each other. Because Jace starts off as brash and condescending toward Clary, his treatment of her seems evocative of Edward Cullen’s initial rejection of Bella Swan in Twilight. Yet Clary always matches his cold remarks with some smart ones of her own, proving that she can hold her own against him.
I like the descriptions of the setting and the battles that the characters fight in. Cassandra Claire is skilled at presenting readers with fantastic descriptions of facades created through magic, grimy buildings home to various factions, and the gritty image of battles between good and evil. She includes some funny, memorable quotes that brought a lightness to the fast-paced novel.
Currently I’m reading the second book in the series to see whether I’d like to continue reading or not. As for the City of Bones, I would rate this novel a 3.5/5. There are elements that are enjoyable and well done but the novel has some errors and some questionable behaviors that prevent me from giving this a higher rating.