Saturday, January 16, 2016

YA Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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...

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

My Review:
City of Bones is all about Clary awakening into a world she didn’t know existed and discovering her place in it. The book unfolds quickly, drawing together elements of normal, mundane life and the supernatural. I found it pretty gripping, though not entirely unique in its themes of werewolf vs. vampire vs. demon vs. Shadowhunter. Still, I was surprised many times by the direction the story took.

I’m obviously a bit late on reading this; I didn’t even know YA was a thing back when this came out, but I do now, and this has all the hallmarks. Teen girl rebelling against her mom. Family secrets that are dangerous, but also key to an unknown, latent power. Crushes. A bit of a love triangle (well-done though). Us vs. the world. Underdogs and heroes. Mistakes and consequences, seemingly insurmountable. And a decent cliffhanger, leaving plenty of story going forward while closing this part of it in a satisfying way.

As for the audio narration, it was alright. The narrator reads at a quick pace (still, it’s over 14 hours of content) and uses different voices for all of the characters; both are good for an audiobook. Also, she does a fairly good job of pacing and adjusting her voice for the energy level required for each scene. I had no trouble following the action or imagining the setting. I guess my only beef was that she gave all the Shadowhunters and former Shadowhunters snooty accents, probably to set them apart from mundanes. It’s hard to root for Jace as a possible love interest when he sounds so stuck up. And, goodness, Clary’s best friend’s not much better. He sounds so uptight.

Overall, I really liked this book and am getting ready to listen to book 2. I’d recommend this book to folks who like a solid YA with an interesting plot, plenty of angst, and lots of action. As there are several books in the series, there’s plenty of story left for those who don’t want it to end after book 1.

I picked up City of Bones from the local library as an audiobook.

View all my reviews

This is the edition I listened to:

And here it is for Kindle: