Book Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

city of bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: January 1st, 2007

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Yound Adult

485 pages

Although there are already so many Fantasy novels about Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and all those creatures, this book had something interesting about it. And I have read a lot things in the Internet about this book being a cheap Harry Potter/ Star Wars/ XMen/ Buffy rip-off, but guys, if you try to compare every work of fantasy to another one, then there are always similarities. Everything we read today is intertextual. Everything has already appeared in a similar form before. If The City of Bones is a cheap rip-off of Harry Potter, then Harry Potter is a cheap rip-off of The Chronicles of Narnia. Or A Game of Thrones is a cheap rip-off of the Lord of the Rings. Stop complaining about novels being so similar to each other, or else we won’t have any new books to read anymore.

Well, for me, the whole story about the Shadowhunters was quite interesting. It was the first time I have read about something like that. For me, the atmosphere of the book also reminded me of Anime, especially the club Pandemonium and the way it was described. It was a dark atmosphere, but with a twisted humour. I liked that. Clare’s writing style is quite good, and that’s why this book is of course different from other fantasy novels.

Another thing that I liked were the different characters. My favorite characters were Jace, Magnus Bane and Simon. I am not sure if I like Clary. I pity her a bit, and the fact that she only stands around without being able to fight is a bit disappointing. Of course she is no Katniss, but I wished that she would have a training at the beginning of the book. I mean, there are 3 skilled Shadowhunters who could have shown her how to defend herself at least. But well, else there would be less opportunities for Jace to save her.

Oh, here another thing many people ranted about, namely the fact that Jace and Clary turn out to be siblings. I mean, of course I am not a fan of incest, but it is a recurring motive in literature (and in real life). I do not only mean Star Wars (since many people tend to compare the characters from this book with the ones in Star Wars which doesn’t make any sense to me at all!). Before Star Wars, there were many motives of incest in literature, even in on of the earliest ones, namely the greet mythology. In Sisyphos, he falls in love with his mother- unknowingly of course. And in Max Frisch’s “Homo Faber” the main character falls in love with his daughter, also not knowing that she is his daughter. There is even a manga in which there is incest between brother and sister, namely in “Angel’s Sanctuary”. If City of Bones is a rip-off of something, then it is probably of that manga, since it is also about angels. So, is this also a cheap rip-off of Star Wars? But then, all the literature we read today is a cheap rip-off of the greek mythology. And that’s what I mean, most of the things we read today, have already existed, and there is really no need to rant about it.

Okay, so much about Intertextuality. Now back to the novel. The reason I liked this novel was for me that it was so intertextual. A lot of different elements from different fantastic novels/stories could be found in here. It showed that literature and fiction really has no boundaries. The whole story with Shadowhunter killing demons and searching for the Mortal Instruments, with the background of an almost religious subject of angels really was very clever. When reading a book, you should never try to compare it to your favorite books and stories. And if you do, don’t judge, because authors are also just humans who get inspired by different stories.

I will definitely try to read the second book. And everyone who wants to read this, just try it for yourself before reading negative things about it.

Final rating – 4/5: A minus for the poor main character. Still, the book is enjoyable and has many other good things to offer.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

  1. Good review! totally agree on the intertextuality, it’s so annoying how every dystopian fiction is being compared to the Hunger Games these days as well. And having read The Mortal Instruments I can assure you that it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting ;)


  2. Hmm I wasn’t sure if I was going to give this series a try, but now you have me thinking that maybe I should haha! Great review, and you’re so right about everything basically ripping everything else off, every story has already been told, it’s up to the author/creator to tell it in a new and interesting way! ;)


    1. Yes, exactly! I also wasn’t sure whether to read that book at first, but a friend of me told me about it and that he liked it, so I gave it a try :) There definitely are better books, but I liked this as well. The good thing about this is that there is something happening all the time throughout the novel, so it won’t get boring :)


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