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….
512 pages | Published: October 15, 2011 | Margaret K. McElderry Books
Talk about attention-grabbing! City of Bones begins as if it were a contemporary read, then quickly derails into exciting territory. It doesn’t allow you to warm up to the characters or the action – you’re either with it or without it, because the tension isn’t about to dissipate and wait for you to catch up.
Part of this tension stems from the love triangle that sets itself up early on. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. Simon’s intentions are easy to see, but I was actually rooting against him. For me, he pales in comparison to Jace. But this opens up another can of worms: Clary is only fifteen. After so much buildup of romantic tension, Clary’s age is mentioned in passing again and that’s when it felt like a slap in the face. She’s FIFTEEN! That’s really young. (Or maybe I’m just old?) Either way, the romance stopped working for me. I wished for her to age quickly.
Also, the vampire/werewolf standoff seems a bit too…staged? It doesn’t fit well enough into the overall plot, in my opinion; it’s a distraction. I ended up forgetting what their Big Purpose was, and what they were supposed to be accomplishing. But I like that the fight/action scenes are detailed. It’s not simply a case of “he punched” and “he fell.” The details really amped up the suspense and my investment in the story, even if it seemed to be getting off track.
I’m warning you, though. Nothing will prepare you for its ending. Nothing. Even if you guess part of it. Your brain will still explode and leave you no choice but to move on to book two, City of Ashes. If you want surprise, Clare brings surprise – with a punch!