Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Walker Books
UK Release date: 2007
Genre: YA Paranormal
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. . . .
When it came to understanding the people around her and putting two and two together, Clary was a little naive. Which meant that she sometimes frustrated me and she ended up in a love triangle without even realising it. Despite this, Clary was a very likeable character. She was quick witted and brave and would jump into situations to save the people she cared for. I loved the witty banter and repartee between her and Jace. Yes, Jace was cocky and arrogant. Very arrogant. But there was something undeniably magnetic about him. Perhaps it was the sense of humour that went with that arrogance, that made him more playful and fun. I could totally see why girls would be instantly attracted to Jace, but I think it helped that he was flawed and vulnerable like everyone else.
What I liked about the secondary characters within the Shadowhunting group, was that they all had very dynamic relationships with each other that took time to work out and understand. Isabelle and Alec were brother and sister and like family to Jace, but like Clary it was easy to imagine Jace and Isabelle getting together romantically. As an outsider, Clary kind of came in and disturbed the balance of the group which meant that there was some hostility towards Clary particularly because they considered her to be an ignorant human. Alec was the quiet, brooding one in the group, and at first his hostility towards Clary made me very wary of him, but as I discovered his hidden feelings I came to feel sorry for him and wished he could really embrace who he was. I really do hope that he can come out and not only accept himself for who he is but also be accepted by his family and the Shadowhunters in the rest of the series.
City of Bones had quite a complex plot and history to it. There were some plot developments that were glaringly obvious but Clary just didn’t see, and a little part of me wanted to shake her and say “hurry up and catch on a bit quicker”. Despite this there were plenty of shocking twists and turns that I hadn’t expected, particularly at the end where I wanted to ask Cassandra Clare “why the hell did you do that?!”. I’m not sure if I’m completely happy with the final turn of events in the book, so I will have to reserve judgment until I read the second book and see what happens. There was quite a lot of back story behind the Shadowhunters truce with ‘demons’ which meant that at certain times, the story had to flashback to the past to catch us up on events through retellings by particular characters. At times this felt quite natural, but they were also parts when huge chucks of the past were filled in in one go, making the story a tad disjointed.
With City of Bones currently being filmed, I couldn’t help but want to read it. And I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a fast paced, action packed urban fantasy with brilliant heroes and heroines and a wickedly clever villain. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing the film when it comes out!