Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book review: City of Bones

City of Bones
A shape-shifting world where the blur between illusion and reality crash, collide and send 15-year Clary on a cloaked-and-dagger type of adventure she never could have foreseen.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Walker Books)
15-year old Clary Fray has always  thought of herself as pretty normal teenager.
But normal soon takes on a whole new meaning when she heads to a club in New York one evening and witnesses a murder committed by 3 teenagers.

The murder she is witness to is by no means an ordinary one.

For one, the teens are covered with strange rune-like tattoos all over their bodies and secondly (and most importantly), it turns out that she is the only one who is able to see them. 

Of course, what makes this even more interesting is that even though her first impulse is to call the police, she can't because the body disappears right before her eyes.

Thus begins her introduction into the world of Shadowhunters - a world that quickly introduces her to the mighty Shadowhunter warriors who devote their life and time to ridding the earth of demons. 

Before the night is over, she finds herself:

a) introduced to 3 shadowhunters (which includes the sarcastic, rude and very attractive Jace Wayland),

b) On a desperate search for a mother who goes missing the same night and

c) Wondering when and why she was gifted with a dormant ability and sight to see the wondrous (and not so wondrous) creatures from the other realm.

One thing's for sure. Clary Fray will never be able to experience any form of normality again. Especially when the search for her mother leads her to knowledge of an important artefact that an enemy of the downworlders (the supernatural folk) is desperately searching for.

Review:
I know, I know.

I must be the last person left on this planet who hasn't read The Mortal Instruments series yet.  Goodness knows why it took me this long to get around to reading it, but hopefully my gushing review will make up for the amount of years it took me to read this book.

I have to confess that although I've heard a lot about The Mortal Instrument series, I was never sure whether or not I wanted to read it.

For one, I've read more than my fair share of urban fantasy books and before picking up City of Bones, had quite a number of disappointing experiences with a few of them. 

As a result I was definitely a little sceptical when I first heard about this urban fantasy series for young adults. 

And then I read Sya's post on hot fictional characters who play musical instruments (Jace and his piano playing ways is mentioned - and goodness, am I a sucker for boys who are musically inclined or what?).

Not only that, I also did a giveaway where Stephany's confession (about how to this day, she still can't stop fangirling every time she sees Jace's name anywhere) only kept on adding to the growing curiosity about this book series, that I no longer could put off from reading it anymore.

So, off I went and got myself a copy.

I am happy to say that I adore this book. I adore it so much, I won't even lend out a copy to any of my friends. It's just that good of a novel.

For those who have this book, you'd have noticed the Stephanie Meyer blurb that mentions how The Mortal Instruments is a story world she loves to live in. Now, love her or hate her, what I can tell you is that after reading this book, you will agree with her.

The world that Cassandra Clare has managed to conjure into life is a magical, fantastical, phantasmagorical and grungy world that is dark, sexy and edgy while at the same time also bringing an electrifying and magnetically enchanting quality to it that glimmers with magic and mystery throughout the entire book.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I don't think any description can really describe just how fantastic the world-building in this novel is, but when you read this, just know that the world Cassandra draws you into will hypnotise and suck you in so deeply, you'll sob at the very idea of having to return to the hum-drum of reality afterwards .

Never in my entire life have I wanted a story world to be more real than this one.  And is Cassandra a bloody marvellous writer or what?

She simply has this innate capacity to make her readers not only read the words she has written down, but to absorb, experience and bring them to life and to have you panting for more after wards.

I was very surprised at how easily she managed to combine such lyrically descriptive prose alongside jam-packed and fast-paced, grittily written action scenes.

Combine that with the surprisingly comic moments that will have your facial muscles stretch from smirking, to sniggering to spluttering with laughter,  and you'll have an idea of the kind of word-porn that you'll be experiencing throughout the book (yes, I used word-porn. She's that good of a writer).

I actually haven't come across many urban fantasy books where such beautiful writing is combined with such gritty scenes, so for me, that Cassandra Clare has the writing skills to pull this off and in doing so manages to create such vivid contrasts between beauty and darkness, well, that's just incredibly and astoundingly impressive to me.

But, that's not all.

If you thought that I was only impressed with the writing, wait till you meet the characters.

I simply adored Clary. Gosh, what's not to love? She's ballsy, brave, gutsy and incredibly smart. Not only that, but she is an amazingly well-developed and mature character for someone who is so young.

I loved the fact that she was so fearless even though more often that not, that fearlessness often put her in harms way. Some of her actions are so often based on her emotional reactions, but I liked her even more for it.

The great thing about her is that she also doesn't take everything at face value. I liked the fact that it took her a while to trust Jace, Isabelle and Alec and how, every so often, she wasn't afraid to speak just what it was that was on her mind.

I really can't wait to see what Cassandra does with Clary's character in the rest of this series.

If she's this awesome in the first book, then I really, really cannot wait to read and find out what happens in the next books. She's honestly one of my favourite female fictional characters.

Up next, of course, is Jace.

I swear I have a major thing for rude, sarcastic and sardonic hot boys, because Jace is all of that and then some more.

He is the poster child for the badass and cynical bad boy with a dark past he doesn't like talking about. He's quick-witted, sharp-tongued and is cocky to boot. Yet, this is what makes him so undeniably appealing.

The interaction between him and Clary often had me screeching with laughter - which was something that once again surprised me.

I've read such a lot of urban fantasy novels that was decidedly lacking in some humour, that the witty dialogue and exchanges (especially between Clary and Jace) not only surprised the socks off of me, but had me laughing out loud.

I wish I could go into more detail about how fabulous the rest of the cast is - Simon (Clary's best friend), Magnus Bane (I LOVE, love, LOVE him), Isabelle and Alec (who at first I didn't like until I understood just why he treated Clary the way he did), but this review will become a full-length novel of its own if I don't stop writing now.

What I can say is that if I were living in a world where the next door I knocked on could easily be housing a powerful warlock hosting killer parties and where the next restaurant had fairies, mermaids, vampires and werewolves as part of their regular customers, let's just say that I so wouldn't want to come back to the world where none of that exists.

It's an absolute must-read. 

And the plot twist at the end? Let's just say it will have you wanting to buy the next book immediately.

An absolute 5 out of 5 for this one!

11 comments:

Jenny said...

You and me Tammy, we share a love of the arrogant, sarcastic boys:) I don't think I can properly express how much I love Jace in this short little comment section. Like you, he had me laughing out loud with his snarky one-liners. Loved your review, loved this series, love Cassandra Clare, loved this world, love it all:)

brandileigh2003 said...

I have a bad boy complex too because Jace is sooo hot to me! I love his humor too- he made me laugh a lot.
This is such beautiful writing and an amazing setting!
I am glad that you enjoyed! Welcome to the fan club.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Jan von Harz said...

I just recently read The City of Bones myself and that was after reading Clockwork Angel. I still need to get through the other two before the fourth one comes out. Like you I loved the book. Great review as always.

StefanieEmmy said...

I so agree on your review! :D Cassandra Clare is one of the best and talented authors out there, I just love the way she writes :D

Greetings from Austria,
Stefanie

Aisle B said...

Make that the second person in the world to never have touched this series either... OK OK You've convinced me.. WILL BUY THIS ONE!

Girl you're killing me everytime I come back, I buy your book! FYI I bought ONE DAY! Can't wait to read that one!

PS Yes, I'm on goodreads just look me up under PK Reeves and tag me :)

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I still haven't read any Cassandra Clare books! Can you believe it? Oh, and did I ever tell you that I also have a major thing for musically inclined guys? I guess that's not a surprise!

Your review is totally making me want to read this one. This and The Hunger Games are two big series that I still haven't gotten around to, but I dunno if I can pick up another series right now. I'm starting to get confused with all the different book series I have on the go!

Splendibird said...

Thanks for the link! I am so glad that you loved this book and so happy that I, in part, encouraged you to pick it up! I too came to the party a little later when it came to the MI books but they have now become the books that I return to if I'm in a reading slump, or sick, or having a bad day. I just adore them. And, if you can believe it, book two is actually better than book one! Also, Magnus just improves and improves and improves. Enjoy!

Blueicegal ♥ said...

I love that you love Jace finally someone who shares my adoration for him, hehe he is rather steamy huh ;P all i have to say is, you if you like this dearie just wait until you read the others, because they get better :)

StephTheBookworm said...

Ooh, glad to see such a glowing review. I've got a copy of this but haven't read it yet.

Clover said...

I really got sucked into this series, but I don't think I LOVE LOVE LOVED them like everyone else did.

GABY said...

Hahahaha you aren't the last person! I still haven't read it, because as you, I have been kind of disappointed with urban fantasy. But wow, you gave it a 5/5!