City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I know the prime-hype for these books has passed and despite my reluctant stubbornness I have not escaped, I have been worn down by a friend who compared these books to their replacement for Harry Potter. I see now, why they did that. I also see a lot of other things. 

The writing style was elementary but since this was Cassandra Clare’s debut novel I’m going to not comment on the writing because every debut is allow something bad and I’m labelling the writing style to be the thing in this book that made me want to scream – the similes, the god-damn similes.

Ordinary teenager Clary Fray learns that she is descended from a line of Shadowhunters – half-angel warriors who protect humanity from evil forces. After her mother disappears, Clary joins forces with a group of Shadowhunters and enters Downworld, an alternate realm filled with demons, vampires and a host of other creatures. Clary and her companions must find and protect an ancient cup that holds the key to her mother’s future.

Reading this book has made me nostalgic about Harry Potter and every word J. K. Rowling jotted down to create the Wizarding World. The Mortal Instruments seems to be a regurgitated concoction of everything Harry Potter related. 

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is in no way like Harry Potter… well? 

Clary’s love-interest/brother is a version of Draco Malfoy – evil dad, misunderstood allegiance, wounded warrior thing-going-on. The setting is incredibly similar to the world in Harry Potter. The Institute where Jayce stays is like Hogwarts. This thing referred to as ‘glamour’ in similar to the invisibility cloak. The evil dude has a weird connection to both main characters and is also feared very much my the magical population. Evil dude is also trying to purify the world he lives in by waging war on the Law and Government that currently orders the Magical world. The evil dude is also collecting magical items what make something happen, for example: a Sword that makes you tell the truth…this was in Harry Potter, a cup …also in Harry Potter. The evil dude who is called Voldemort, I beg your pardon, apologies, I meant Valentine also has a group of trusted followers in his Circle who’ve sworn allegiance to him. Obviously there is no such thing in Harry Potter, oh wait, you guessed it. There is. 

The female protagonist: Clary

The female protagonist in this book has not a clue as to what is going on. She is not naive, she is clueless. Having now read the second book in the Mortal Instruments series: City of Ashes, I still feel that Clary is sidelined throughout the entire book and overshadowed by Jayce and his life. The way Clary is portrayed is different to what I would assume the main characters role to undertake. Her actions are often divided against what the others in the story are trying to achieve and she isn’t the running engine for majority of the action that takes place, she becomes very secondary and almost dispensable. 

The not-quite dead Mother

YA has developed a trope of getting rid of parents earlier on in books so the kids can go around causing havoc and saving the world etc etc. However this book does this strangely, we don’t actually get to know much about Jocelyn (Clary’s Mother), what we do get to know is mostly secondary information and even then it seems sort-of pointless. I say this because Jocelyn is in a coma-sort-of-thing for the entirety of book one and two. It seems Cassandra Clare wanted to get rid of Clary’s Mother but not permanently. Clary’s lack of concern for her sick Mother is also incredibly alarming. The relationship seems forced and doesn’t impact the reader a way a Mother-daughter bond could have had the potential to stir.

The plot twist

There is a certain twist in this book that made me put it down, re-analyse the need to read this book and then ring the friend who convinced me to pick the book and have a two hour discussion about whether I should continue to read the book. I did continue, but the twist is weird. It is disconcerting. Spoiler: Clary finds out the boy he she has a crush on is her brother. But then in the second book, both Jayce and Clary continue to have feelings for one another. It is strange and I am still unsure as to how it was necessary. 

A love triangle 

Another YA trope is love triangles. I really wish these wouldn’t happen. For once I want a love triangle not to happen in a story. And I want the author to just let a boy and girl be really great friends and thats it. Clary is pulled between her feelings for her brother (guy she is crushing on) and her best friend who is obviously in love with her but she can’t see it. Everyone can see it but her. 


Despite it’s similarities with Harry Potter I do believe there is originality in the world Cassandra Clare has created. The setting and and depth of the world she has imagined is the one that is keeping me reading. The world she is attempting to create is vast and well-thought out but the writing and description can sometimes take away from this. 

I would have given up at the first book during the plot twist had I not spoken to my friend but I have read through the second book quite eagerly. And despite my many annoyances with the book I still feel that there is something there that Cassandra Clare is developing. I have been told several time that the series after The Mortal Instrument is much better. I just feel like it is unfair for me to dedicate so much time to the world Cassandra Clare wants me to believe in when I am getting so little back from the book. If I have to wait four books in for something to really get me going then I genuinely don’t feel I should be investing my time in this series. There are so many books in my TBR that are amazing, it seems almost unfair to ignore them and read average books in hope to find a small shred of hope in an entire series. I don’t understand the hype. 

What were your thoughts? Was I too harsh? Let me know.