Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review - Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

What can I say about Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”? Firstly, beautiful world. This urban fantasy of New York blending with the Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and etc. is completely captivating. The mythology, the imagery, and the story are all truly fascinating. But this book does have some character hiccups it needs to sort through. Firstly, our protagonist, Clary Fray. I cannot begin to count all the times I wish I had Clary’s powers so that I could reach inside my book and clock her over the head with my paperback! The way she treats Simon makes me want to scream, and her manner of handling things with Jace is cringing.

That said, the other characters... Epic! I’ve always been a sucker for the sweet, best friend-types like Simon, so I found him utterly adorable. Jace, hmmm…where to even begin? He’s awesome. Brooding, but not in the stereotypical “loner who sits in the corner of the room” sort of way, brilliantly sarcastic, a bit emotionally broken, and let’s face it, he’s a total badass. What’s not to love? As for the glorious Magnus Bane, not much needs to be said other than that he’s flawless. With so many authors out there trying to illustrate such a visually and verbally colorful character and failing miserably, I have to give it to Ms. Clare on this one. Nothing about Magnus feels forced or artificial. He’s lovely, and perhaps one of my absolute favorites. Isabelle, I wish there was more back-story or character building with her in this installment, because I couldn’t quite connect emotionally with her. She always felt more like a physical essence than an emotive entity. Her brother, Alec, on the other hand, had plenty of emotions, not always for the better. His expressed insecurities provided with him with empathy, but his explosive reaction, particularly towards Clary, had me tipping my scale of approval against him.

Cassandra Clare’s ability to have such a broad spectrum of characters on the same plane of existence and not have the story feeling convoluted is impeccable. Her handling of situations ranging from coming-of-age to teenage romance to even sexual orientation is flawless and never feels preachy like so many others seem to make such topics. Overall, this is a beautiful world with wonderful, yet believably flawed characters, and it is a must-read as the introduction to a captivating series.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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