I’m not even sure how to approach this book. On the one hand, Cassandra Clare has made some awesome side characters that I have come to adore, as well as some amazingly hilarious and witty one-liners (which I have mentally noted down in hopes of using it one day). On the other hand, I felt as if the actual main characters and the plot and just everything was, well, meh.
I’ve read Cassandra Clare’s works before- I read The Infernal Devices (a prequel series) before I even touched these books and they were pretty good. Not amazing or anything, but good. So, since this was the ‘origin’ of the whole franchise, I decided I had to try it. People had been screaming in my face (in the nonliteral sense you get on the internet where they use caps locks and talk about it all the time) about it, so there must have been something that made it click. So I read. And got bored. And finished the novel. Then I read the rest of the trilogy for the sake of it.And then I found out there were three more books. Easter eggs rule.
Now, I’ve heard a lot of speculation about the whole ‘Cassandra Clare uses other stories as a basis’ theory. Yes, I’ve heard about it. No, I don’t want to talk about it because this is a book review. End of story.
Let’s talk about the things I liked first- the side characters. From Alec Wayland, best friend and parabasal (which is basically like having a best friend be your warrior soul mate) to Jace and Simon Lewis, Clary’s so-called best friend, Cassandra Clare has managed to make some pretty awesome side characters. They had their own backstories, weren’t cardboard plot pieces and to be frank, any of them would have made better main characters than the actual main characters. We’ll get back to that later.
What I really, really loved about this book though- was the dialogue. The dialogue was amazing- and I felt that it showcased Cassandra’s writing skills more than her flowery descriptions ever did. I’d seen some of it before in a Victorian time period with Infernal Devices, but the dialogue was really something that I enjoyed. Cassie was just really in touch with her characters- she knew how they spoke and none of the dialogue was awkward. Take a passage from my favorite character, Simon:
“That’s why when major badasses greet each other in movies, they don’t say anything, they just nod. The nod means, ‘I’ am a badass, and I recognize that you, too, are a badass,’ but they don’t say anything because they’re Wolverine and Magneto and it would mess up their vibe to explain.”
The awkwardness is so beautiful. Now, talking about beautiful, let’s mention some people who were somewhat less beautiful in my eyes as they graced the pages.
Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, our two main characters.
What can I say about them? They’re just very standard YA characters in today’s world- especially in the paranormal world, it seems. Clary is whiny and isn’t very interesting but boys adore her. Jace is a bit of a prick (and has a dark, dark past), but girls adore him. Don’t defend Jace here- he admits it right here (as a shameless way for me to show you more pretty dialogue):
“The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.”
It was the dialogue and the fact that Jace knew he was being mean that saved him just a little bit, but he was just very standard and I didn’t have a huge swoon fest as I did with the boys in Infernal Devices. I mean, I got the appeal- I just didn’t like it as much as others did.
The plot was pretty much the same as Jace and Clary- not particularly interesting, nor amazingly spectacular. It was passable, and while there were some areas where I was vaguely interested, it wasn’t the most exciting read, plot wise. The world building was decent- maybe it’s just the whole paranormal thing that put me off.
Speaking of things that put me off- the writing. It was just so flowery and over similised (which is not a word,but it refers to the overuse of similes) and it was just so unnecessary at times. A small description would have been fine, and I felt that some areas were just overstated. It would have been nice to keep it simple.
Overall, City of Bones was a pretty unremarkable read. It wasn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t say it was anywhere near my favorites. The dialogue and side characters were a saving grace, but I never really connected with the story. 2.5 stars.