City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Rich, vivid, entrancing. City of Bones is all those things and more. As I read this book, I felt that sense of childhood joy that I remembered from reading C.S. Lewis' Narnia series and Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time, and the many fairy tales and legends growing up. I found the world-building in this series without fault. I have to give it to Cassandra Clare for creating this book. It was a fantastic concept that kept me enthralled to the last page.
City of Bones is a fantasy adventure in all the best ways. The characters are interesting, made me laugh, and had quirks and distinct personality traits that made them come to life for me. The setting is another character that I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a New York hidden behind the glamour. The mundanes (regular humans) have no idea what they are missing. Just ask Clary Fray. Clary Fray lived most of almost sixteen years having no idea about the world of the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders. If she saw something weird out the corner of her eye, it was easily dismissed. Until she encountered Jace and Isabelle at a club. Jace kills a demon, who looks like a boy, or does he? That's just the beginning of Clary's adventure.
This book is a young adult book that I think most adults can enjoy just as much, especially those who have a serious love for fantasy and adventure. I thought that Ms. Clare had just the right mix of sophistication to appeal to the youth of today, and the ageless wonder quotient like classic fantasy novels to make this book zing for both younger and older readers. The sense of risk is high, and there are no guarantees that the kids in this book will be safe. They might be youngsters, but their world is fraught with dangers.
The action was intense and sometimes frightening. Ms. Clare's word choice brings every scene to life. I never felt like there was a wall between me and the events playing out in this story. I felt like I was right there for every part.
I met a whole cast of characters that I became involved with in this story: Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Magnus, Luke, Hodge, Jocelyn, Valentine, the Silent Brothers. Some I loved, and some I definitely don't love. But, I definitely want to see more of these characters.
While I truly loved this book, I must admit that part of the resolution in this book has me baffled. I am even a bit disturbed. I am truly hoping that the revelation that takes place in this book is not truly the way things were presented. Although this book doesn't have a true cliffhanger, there are some threads left unraveled which lead into the next book in the series. Honestly, I didn't want things to play out the way they did. All I can do is keep reading to hope that Ms. Clare has an ace card hidden up her sleeve. But there's not a chance I won't be reading the following books in this series. This is fantasy that is too good to miss.
If you are looking for a fantasy series that will captivate you and take you back to the golden days of children's/young adult fantasy literature, I'd humbly suggest The Mortal Instruments series. In my opinion, Ms. Clare has written a book that will be a new classic in this genre.
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