Monday, August 2, 2010

I've Got a Bone to Pick

Yes, I've finally gotten ahold of and started reading Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.

Though my normal pattern of series is to group them together, I'll be taking these one-at-a-time. Why? Well, there's length, for one. And for another, with the revelations given in the first book, keeping a series review completely spoiler free is beyond me. Therefore, I'll be writing them book-by-book, with each review assuming you've read the previous.

So...without further adieu...

City of Bones
~City of Bones~
The Mortal Instruments
Book 1
By Cassandra Clare
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Clary is a normal 15-year-old girl, dealing with normal 15-year-old girl problems. She has a best friend who wants to upgrade to boyfriend, her mom is making decisions for her without her input, oh, and she just saw a boy get murdered.

Or was it a demon?

She doesn't know, and frankly she's ready to put the murder, and the strange tattooed kids behind her. After all, if no one else saw them, even when they were right in front of them, then they can't be real. Right?

But when her mom suddenly goes missing, and one of the tattooed kids reappears to save her, she's got no choice but to enter the world of the Shadowhunters, where vampires, werewolves and demons are real. And if she ever wants to see her mom again, she'll have to accept fantasy as fact, and truth as lies...

I have to admit, I wasn't sold on this book for a long time. The plot seemed fairly obvious and slow, I didn't like the romance, and I found the writing style a bit lame at times. When you find phrases like "a shiver went through her blood" and "burning like cold jewels" you kinda have to stop and think a moment about how they don't make sense.

There were a couple side-quests that didn't seem important to the main storyline at all. I mean, I sorta understood the characters' reasons for taking them, they weren't completely thrown in outta left field. But from a structural standpoint, they didn't seem to offer anything but an excuse for character building and extending the book.

The almost-required YA romance grated on my nerves. Clary has a best friend, Simon, who clearly has feelings for her. It's obvious on page 39. But, of course, Clary has to develop feelings for her rescuer and near-guardian, the cocky, gorgeous Shadowhunter named Jace. What's worse is I normally love the cocky, always joking, but also strong types. I wanted to like Jace, but already found myself loving and rooting for Simon (yes, even at page 39). Thus, the continued romantic build-up between Clary and Jace was just irksome.

I was stuck at Chapter 17 for 5 days. Now, that's partly because I was in the middle of a computer crisis. But I have to say, I didn't really mind being distracted away from the book.

Luckily, I made it to Chapter 18 where things really took off. After that, I couldn't put the book down. Everything (well, nearly everything) from before started to make sense. And what I thought was true was, in fact, far from it. To say there's a twist is an understatement. Just like Clary, we must throw aside our preconceived notions of what's true and where the plot is moving. I, for one, was amazed and intrigued.

Ultimately, I love the story, and I'm eager to continue. The secondary characters are fairly well crafted, though no one is as focused as Clary and Jace. The writing style is a bit green—strange descriptions (see above) and 2 sudden jumps in POV—but it's passable and doesn't detract from the plot. I'd definitely recommend this book for fantasy lovers who don't mind a little YA angst.

Approximate Reading Time: 7 Hours