“City of Bones” – Some YA Novels Should Be Reserved For Older Teens

Book Review : City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Spoiler Alert!

Clary has convinced her friend Simon to go to the wild Pandemonium Club with her. At the club Clary witnesses an inexplicable event, she sees a boy stabbed to death, but his body turns to dust. Prior to his death he hints that Valentine has returned which sets the tattooed teens’ nerves on edge.

As Clary tries to tell Simon she realizes there is nothing she can prove, especially when no one can even see the killers. Jace, the leader of the teen shadowhunters, says the boy they killed was a demon. The shadowhunters protect mundanes from the world of demons, as though they are angels, even if they act like jerks.

Clary tumbles into this unseen world of demons, shadowhunters and other mythical creatures when she hurries home and kills a Ravener demon, after an emergency phone call from her mother. Jace takes Clary to his home in an old cathedral, called the Institute, where he has been raised with Isabelle and Alec by their tutor, Hodge Starkweather. Enlisting the help of the Silent Brothers they discover that Clary has a very strong block in her mind, but the block has been signed by Magnus Bane.

The shadowhunters continue to follow the trail of clues with Clary hoping to circumvent the return of Valentine, who would see all shadowhunters killed and leave the mundanes unprotected. Clary slowly discovers that she didn’t really know her mother and that she harbors some of the same talents that her mother possessed. The question remains, does Clary know enough to stop the rise of the evil forces brewing.

Adult Point of View

I was quite dubious to begin City of Bones, The Mortal Instruments series, though it had come highly recommended by a sixteen year old girl. I was afraid that I would be confronted with another Bella/Edward/Jacob insipid love triangle. I was very grateful that Jace was a conceited jerk, Simon had no supernatural powers and Clary was not stringing along both boys. I was surprised that I enjoyed the first book. It moved along at a fast pace, was gripping, had moments of really good writing and creative ideas. (It also had moments of not so great of writing.)

I liked the originality in how the shadowhunters used tattoos as protective runes that would disappear when used against demonic forces. The vampire motorcycles, which ran only at night on demonic power, made me laugh knowing how much boys love cool toys with big motors. I was even sucked into the ending and didn’t guess the big twist (which I am not going to reveal here.) I love it when I cannot predict everything which is going to happen in a book.

There were also a few things that turned me off of City of Bones. First, the swearing was mostly unnecessary (and oddly was heavier in the first part of the book rather than evenly spread through out). Secondly, there were sexual comments made, though nothing was acted upon. As an example, Jace jibes Simon saying, “You just want to sleep with Isabelle.” (p. 139) Third, Alec, who was raised almost as a brother to Jace, is gay and in love with Jace. I don’t love teen books throwing in homosexuality. Fourth, the violence is fairly graphic in a few places. As an example, Clary witnessing the death of the blue-haired demon is described, “He sank the knife into the blue-haired boy’s chest. Blackish liquid exploded around the hilt. The boy arched off the floor, gurgling and twisting… He looked down at the twitching form at his feet, reached down, and yanked out the knife. The hilt was slick with black fluid.” (p. 13) There is so much violence in children’s books, I am sure this will not even hit the radar as a problem for most kids.

Because of the intensity and sexual comments I would prefer to see kids over fifteen or sixteen reading City of Bones.

3.5 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

ps- I looked at the second book and read the first couple of pages and just wasn’t getting pulled into the story. Maybe I will try it again at another time.

Teen Point of View

I liked the characters to some extent. I felt like it wasn’t deep enough with character development. I liked Alec the most because he had motivation that made sense for him to dislike Clary. Jace had a shallow character and I couldn’t believe him. It doesn’t matter how hard your life has been, you can’t just cut off love because that is part of human nature. His personality was so open and that didn’t work with his inability to love anybody. I am still considering if I want to read more of the series.

2.5 out of 5 stars

2 1:2 star

– the Daughter

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About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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