Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, it is easy to see that this is literally an earth shattering book. As the debut of a YA fiction series, you definitely expect it to draw you in and Clare did a fantastic job of creating a story that would do just that. It is a beautifully memorable adventure.


Clary Fray is a fifteen-year-old teenager who suspects that she is completely normal. In fact, she’s never even contemplated being otherwise until she encounters a murder in a nightclub that nobody else can see – not even her best friend Simon. After witnessing this murder, Clary is drawn into a world she has never imagined before where every nightmare you could have comes true.

After her mother is taken by demons, Clary finds out that the three murderers from the nightclub are actually Shadowhunters. They kill demons to protect the human race – mundanes like her and Simon. Clary pursues the help of Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and Hodge in hopes of finding her mother and bringing her home safe. But what Clary finds, instead, is that maybe her life isn’t the way she’s pictured it all along. Maybe she belongs with these Shadowhunters and in their world too.


Clary has lived her whole life believing that she was just a normal girl whose mother was her only parent having lost her father before she was born. Her best friend since childhood is the closest thing she has to a sibling. So, when she is drawn into the shadow world where she is surrounded by Jace, Isabelle, and Alec, you can imagine how strange it must feel for her. It’s pretty unbelievable and she doesn’t quite know what to do with herself as she feels out of place and vulnerable. However, as the story progresses, it’s easy to see her character arc into something amazing.

Simon is Clary’s best friend and has seen her through everything. Despite his awkwardness, he is one of the few people Clary loves and cares about. So, when she is drawn into the shadow world, he is too. He cares for her and wouldn’t let anyone or anything hurt her.

Jace is a Shadowhunter. He has been all his life. Both of his parents are dead, so he has stuck with Alec and Isabelle Lightwood and their parents since he was ten. Despite his being an orphan, though, he is confident and cocky. He rarely shows his emotions. When he discovers Clary in the nightclub watching them kill a demon, he knows she is something special; she can see them, after all. He seems to have an instinct to protect her as she’s drawn into his world.

Alec and Isabelle Lightwood are fairly minor characters in this book, but without them, Jace would be practically nothing. They are always his backup and are the closest things to siblings that he has. They care for him dearly. So, when Jace drags mundanes into their world, they worry about his wellbeing as well as their own.

Hodge is the tutor of Jace, Isabelle, and Alec. He is cursed to stay put at the Institute where they all live. However, he seems to be lodged in his studies so doesn’t mind much. He loves the children and he loves teaching them. When Clary is pulled into their world, Hodge sees that she is something special too and does what he can to keep her safe and help her find her mother.

Being thought dead, Valentine shouldn’t be a big character in this story. However, he is. Soon into the story, it is clear that there are rumours that Valentine is not dead at all and is in search of a magical item that could destroy the world in a sense. It would change the balance of the shadow world and everyone knows it. It is dire that the Shadowhunters stop him at all costs, if he is even really alive at all.

Reviewer’s Thoughts

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and one of my friends has been trying to get me to read it for a very long time now. However, I was hesitant. I’ve read a lot of YA books and I was afraid that City of Bones wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I did expect it to be fantastic after all of its praise. I’m certainly glad I finally delved into it, though, because I was not disappointed in the least.

City of Bones is a beautifully crafted story and Cassandra definitely did the plot justice. It was just awe-striking to see each and every one of the characters develop throughout the book. She also did a fantastic job with description. She filled this book full of it, but did it in a way that wouldn’t have the reader feeling like it was lacking dialogue. Her descriptions were seamless. When you read this book, you really feel as if you’re in a completely different world and when you finally come up for air, you almost feel disoriented because you don’t even know where you are. That’s the way I like to feel when I’m reading and there’s only been a handful of other authors that give that to me the way Cassandra Clare did with this book.

Personally, I can’t wait to read all of the other books that Clare has written and I hope that I enjoy them just as thoroughly as I have this one. I easily recommend this book to everyone, no matter their age or gender. It has a bit of something for everyone – action, drama, romance, thrillers. Cassandra Clare has crafted a story for the ages. I gladly hand it 5 out of 5 stars.

***While writing this book review, I listened to When The Darkness Comes from the City of Bones Soundtrack by Colbie Caillat***


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