***Be warned, plot spoilers ahead***
I just burnt through City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. When I say “burnt through” I mean that I read the trade-paper back copy in 8 days. It was an easy read.
Now, it was an interesting story and creative, I will give Clare that. But I have some concerns, many concerns in fact.
First off, McElderry Books needs to hire some new editors. I came across grammatical errors left, right and centre. These were pissing me off to no end, because if you’re going to publish a book at least read it carefully first! When I read my writing over and find grammatical mistakes I feel like a complete fool if anyone has read it. If those mistakes were mass-published world-wide I would he horrified. Now, I’m sure Clare probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass because, well she was published. But, seriously McElderry Books, get some good workers for crying out loud!
Now, the fact that Clare’s editors didn’t point out that she uses similes like they’re going out of style makes me wonder if anyone edited this book at all. Every single description is a simile. When Clare finally got around to describing something without one I was ready to throw her a parade. That’s right Clare, descriptions don’t ALWAYS need “like” or “as.”
City of Bones’ title is completely irrelevant to the whole of the plot. This whole book has 23 chapters plus an epilogue and half of one chapter is spent in the actual City of Bones. How does this warrant the title? How?!
As for the plot, sometimes it was exciting. Clare can write a decent fight scene, I’ll give her that. But her main character Clary (with a name very similar to the author’s… draw your own conclusions) was inconsistent. I found that she seemed to get weaker minded as the story went on. When it started she was all sass and attitude, then she became a scared little girl who couldn’t do much but run up to her convictions and she “Oh, hi.” Yes, her circumstances were more dire by the end, but still a strong character rises to the occasion, learns from their follies and becomes stronger, much like strong people. That’s why we like them. But Clary… I didn’t feel like there was any growth at all.
One thing that annoyed me was that there was no explanation of where Angels, whom the Shadowhunters are descended from, come from. Demons come from other dimensions and so one, Downworlders are half demons or infected with a demon disease, but where the hell do Angles come from? There were churches, but no mention of any religion. The one time that God was brought up, we were told not to think about him because he wouldn’t help, that is if he existed. If anyone who is supposed to be as well read and clever as Clary were thrust into this world how would you not think to ask what an Angel is exactly if you’re supposed to be half of one? “I don’t know who I am now that I’m half Angel, but hey no need to know what that means.” I’m compelled to read the rest of the series just to see if Clare will ever explain herself on this.
Now for the biggest cop-out of the book. The whole love triangle. Let’s face it, in all books of this particular persuasion there is a love triangle and when done right, we love it. Yes, I’ll admit it. But the whole point is the struggle of the triangle. Clare up and turned the new love interest in Clary’s life into her brother so now she could be in love with her best friend Simon and still love the new man in her life, Jace, but with sibling affection so it’s ok to love both of them. The fact that these two characters made-out at one point was only briefly touched upon and didn’t seem to disturb Clary at all, only slightly embarrass her. Also, after not talking about it these two new found siblings were perfectly content being buddy-buddies. I’m sorry Clare, but I will suspend my disbelief for the supernatural beings, for the shiny mystical weapons, but this? No, Clare. Human emotion and reaction is not something you can gloss over.
But, let’s be honest I will read the other books because I bought the second and third books already. I don’t hate the book, I actually kind of like it, in that “I love this movie because it’s terrible” kind of way. It did it’s job, it took me out of my life and entertained me.
So, despite my better judgement I’m hoping that some of these flaws will be addressed and corrected in the sequel. What can I say, I’m an optimist at heart.
Despite everything, this book has taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t submit anything to anyone until you’re absolutely sure you’ve worked out all the kinks.
Normally, now’s when I’d tell you to either pick up a copy or run for the hills when you see it, but today I’m no the fence. You’ve heard what I’ve had to say, it’s in your hands.