Series: Mortal Instruments #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date Published: March 27, 2007
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Description: Don’t miss The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, soon to be a major motion picture in theaters August 2013.
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. . . .
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
Our book club has decided to read the entire Mortal Instruments series, one each month, leading up to the movie coming out in August. We started reading this series in March, and are reading the second book this month. So expect to see the review of book 2 up soon and feel free to read along with us! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this series.
This book started out a little generic to me with the girl doesn’t know she’s anything special and is trying to live a normal life when all of a sudden in her teenage years she learns that monsters exist and she’s part of their world. Something happens and a family member is in trouble and she has to learn about her place in the world she didn’t know existed in order to go to the rescue. But that is pretty much where the cliché teenage fantasy novel plot building ends. The world in this novel is unique and exciting with a lot of aspects I haven’t read about before. I admit the first part of this book took a while for me to follow because of the complex world building and learning about the Shadowhunters (demon hunters), the Downworlders (vampires, werewolves, fae, warlocks, etc), and everyone involved. There are items and concepts I am not familiar with and it took a while to grasp everything and have the world come together in my mind. But that is to be expected in a first book in a series, so I was patient with it.
This is a story where the people who you think are dead might not really be dead, family connections are not what they initially seem, and everyone has secrets. I’m not going to include any spoilers in this review, so I will try to keep everything vague. Clary is learning about her new Shadowhunter friends: brother and sister Alec and Isabelle, and Jace, who is an orphan and has been raised by Alec and Isabelle’s parents. Also, her best friend and mundane (completely human) best friend Simon refuses to be left out. These are our main characters. Jace is instantly super protective of Clary and that doesn’t get explained until later in the book when all the bombshells are dropped. And let me tell you there are some pretty cool bombshells. There’s also a bit of a Star Wars parallel between the characters but any more details than that would be spoilery. There’s also a lot of unrequited love between many of the characters so we can’t even really say there is a love interest or a love triangle because it is quite complex. Once the action gets started, everything moves pretty quickly with a lot of mystery and final realizations toward the end.
I gave this book 4 stars but it might be more of a 3.75 rounded up. The world building does take a while and all the major plot development happens at the very end of the story. It definitely builds up and makes you want to read the next book to know what happens.
After having seen this book on the shelves at every bookstore, Wal-Mart, Target and even the super market, I decided it was finally time to try out the Mortal Instruments Series. I first read book one, City of Bones last fall (2012). Yes, it took me 5 years to finally give this book a shot. My initial reaction? I didn’t like the book all that much. (Sorry. Grimace. I wanted to like it.) I wasn’t very impressed with the writer’s style. She seems to have an affinity for awkward phrasing and descriptions (i.e. the apple tasted green). Hmmm… how exactly does “green” taste? Green like annnnn apple!? ooooorrrrr green like grass? oooorrrr green like broccoli? I do not get it. Now, the apple being crisp, juicy, citric, sour, tart, sweet, even refreshing, I get that. Green? No clue how green tastes. I need to nibble a little on the green crayon the next time I find myself getting out the coloring books. (Yes, out of my top ten all time favorite pass times, coloring is a solid 5.) I am new to the YA Urban Fantasy genre and was somewhat bored. Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of action going on. It is not a dull book by any means, but the one essential element I require of a book in order to receive a 5 star review from me, is a romantic love interest of some kind. Just as this book begins to show some promise in that department, BAM! Fate steps in and delivers Clary and Jace a crippling blow. This little revelation left this reader frustrated indeed.
Upon my second reading of this book for my book club, I found the writing style to be only mildly distracting. I was able to better appreciate the intense attraction and subsequent tension between Clary and Jace. Having read the book once already, I was no longer under the false illusion as to the possibility of an HEA. This is book one of a series. Of course it can’t end happily ever after or there might not be a sequel. I was also able to see the humor, especially in dialogue, that I had missed before. Overall, an okay read. I read on to book 2, City of Ashes, not based upon the book’s own merit, but on the prompting of fellow book club goers. And perhaps a teeny tiny microscopic piece of me reads on in pursuit of the ever elusive HEA.
Here’s the trailer for the movie for City of Bones that will come out in August. It is definitely going to be good!