Friday, March 13, 2009

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (2/5 stars)

I thought this book looked and sounded interesting. I read a lot of paranormal young adult books and was excited to see if this was a good series. I listened to this on audio book. The quality of the audio book was okay. The lady who read it had kind of a teenage know-it-all twang to her reading that tainted all of the voices for the characters; this may have contributed a little to how little I enjoyed this book.

In this book Clary sees some people luring a young man into a storage closet; when she follows them in there she sees that the three youngsters are attacking the young man. Her friend Simon runs for help but when the police show up; Clary is the only one who can see the group of attackers and the victim. As if this isn't weird enough Clary's mom suddenly wants them to move out of the city and out to the countryside. Clary and her mom argue and Clary leaves angry. When she returns her mom is gone and horrible creatures are in wait for her. Clary finds out that she can see the true world; which is composed not only of humans but also Downworlders and Shadowhunters. She ends up in a house full of Shadowhunters and tries to help them find the Mortal Cup in an effort to find her mother.

This book was just awkward. It's kind of done in third person but everyone talks in first person and everything is from Clary's point of view. It was a weird way to write it; it would have been a more pleasant read had it been written in first person from Clary's point of view. If this was the only problem of the book then I could live with that. Unfortunately it gets worse.

Most of the characters are pretty stereotypical. The banter between the characters, especially Jace and Clary, is meant to be witty and funny but comes off as unnatural and overly contrived. Clary's character is very inconsistent; at times she shows incredibly keen insight and at times she is incredibly dense. Most of all though Clary stumbles around causing trouble and relies on someone to come and save her. She is not the type of lead character I enjoy reading about.

The unseen magic world is very stereotypical. The relationships between werewolves and vampires are similar to everything else you've read. The plot was slow moving and predictable. I mean I figured out who Clary's father was pretty much right away. I figured out who Jace's father was mid book; and I was disappointed to find out that I was right. I don't like it when authors assume their readers are stupid and throw out some many clues that nothings ends up being a surprise.

The book ends at an odd spot. Her and Jace leave to take a ride somewhere to do something important ; then the book ends mid-ride. That was also irritating. Overall I thought the book was poorly written, paranormal drivel. The book tries, oh so very hard to be Gothic. The Gothic clothing and piercings and hair styles are described with such detail it's like the book is trying to force itself to be creepy and Gothic; the effort makes the book feel fake.

I usually try to point out some good things about a book too. I guess the Shadowhunter culture is kind of interesting and the use of tattoos as magic is interesting (although done before). Strangely enough I thought the plot was similar in a lot of ways to The Signs of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson; The Signs of the Zodiac is not a young adult series but many aspects of the plot of the Signs of the Zodiac series are seen here.

I won't be reading anymore of this series. I just can't stomach more of this. I never understand how some of these books sell so well; they are so many really good young adult urban fantasy books out there. Check out Holly Black's Modern Fairy Tale series for some truly high quality young adult urban fantasy.

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