Series: Mortal Instruments #1
Genres: Young Adult
As I mentioned in my Clockwork Angel review, I had problems getting into City of Bones. I have now read it all, or rather listened on Audible, and I have to say my initial reactions have not really altered much.
What I liked
The worldbuilding. This, for me, is the highlight of the book, and probably what will keep my coming back for more. Clare has done an excellent job in defining her world and the history and beings in it. I loved hearing about the Nephalim, the Moon’s Children and Night’s Children and look forward to hearing more about them.
The pacing. This was something I thought worked better than in Clockwork Angel. The plot setup was done efficiently and well, and the narrative tension was well maintained. It’s amazing how well the old trusted and true “good guys need to prevent the bad guys from getting their hands on the McGuffin” works! However, it does depend on the execution though, and I felt Clare did this excellently. The importance of this particular McGuffin, the Mortal Cup, was clearly defined as were the consequences of its falling into the wrong hands.
What I didn’t like
The main characters. I’m sorry, but I struggled to like Clary and Jace. Clary I found often immature and whiny, whereas Jace comes across as just plain arrogant, even more so than a Nephalim has a right to be. I believe that a good judge of a person’s character is how he treats those he feels are inferior to him, and Jace failed that test time and time again. On the positive side, it does leave a lot of scope for character development for later in the series, and I do see definite signs of it, which is encouraging.
The narration. I didn’t enjoy Ari Graynor’s narration as much as that of Jennifer Ehle for of Clockwork Angel. I found it lacked inflection and at times I struggled to retain interest. It should be noted that Ms Graynor doesn’t narrate the other books in the Mortal Instrument series.
In summary, although I didn’t find City of Bones itself compelling reading, I felt that some strong seeds had been sown for a very interesting series. I will likely read more of the series at some point, even if it is not immediately.
I gave City of Bones three and a half stars out of five
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Edited to add:
Last weekend I went to see the City of Bones movie and I must say I found it a lot of fun. The script and Jamie Campbell Bower’s interpretation made Jace a lot less annoying than in the book, and to a certain extent likewise with Lily Collins’ Clary. I felt the script put across the main points and themes of the book very well, and the visuals were superb.