Monday, February 28, 2011

A Book Review: City of Bones

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Urban Fantasy (YA)
Length: 485

Quality Rating: 9
Content Rating: PG-13

When I picked up City of Bones, the first of The Mortal Instruments series, I wasn't expecting an awesome book. To be honest, I was sort of expecting a paranormal romance of the Twilight variety: stalkerish, hot paranormal boys. The cover sort of made me think that to. So why did I pick it up? Well, I've heard great things about it and as a writer I like to keep up with awesome SF/F--regardless of the age level it finds in. So reluctantly I picked up this shiny covered book, expecting to find vampires (and I really really hate vampires).

But I was so wrong.

City of Bones isn't about vampires. It's about demon hunters. It's not about a girl being strangely and inexplicably drawn to a mysterious and dangerous boy. It's about a girl who seems to see things that aren't there, whose mother is kidnapped, and she must throw her lot in with the only people who seem to know what's going on. That's right--I said people. Not one lone boy. But three teenagers and their adult tutor. But she isn't stupid about it. She lets her normal (non demon hunter) best friend know what's going on. A main character who has common sense??? I know! My mind was blown.

Of course, there is a hot boy. It's not YA without that. But this romance subplot does not resolve in a way you would expect. Let's just say, this isn't a girl meets boy, and they live happily ever after story. The characters in this story have depth, a depth that is realistic, and their relationship is equally realistic. It has ups and downs, complete misunderstandings, subtle hints, and one doozy of a twist.

I loved all the characters, for their depth and realism. And I loved the plot. Oh, it had its predictable twists (what doesn't?) and I saw a lot of things coming, but I loved the way the characters handled these plot points. I loved their human and realistic reactions.

And I loved the urban fantasy world that Ms. Clare built. A world of angels, werewolves, demons, and yes even vampires. I could image this world hidden within our own. I could imagine this secret society of demon hunters and the mind set they developed being real. And in the end that is a big part of what I look for in urban fantasy. Not just a fantastical earth--but an earth that I could believe is our own.

This book will make you want to read the next one and will leave you wishing Cassandra Clare would write faster.

This book is PG-13 for violence, death, kidnapping, demons (which are extra points for generally just freaking me out), and some sexual situations.

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