Clary Fray Is Not My Bae (City of Bones Review)

I finally started ‘The Mortal Instruments’… and I hate it.

Name: City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: 2007

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments): 1: Clare ...

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Maybe hate is a bit harsh, but at the best I’m bordering on strong dislike.

Story time. After a few month of being ganged up on by booktok, book tube and my friends, I finally decided to read ‘The Mortal Instruments’. Because, you know what to do when you have an overwhelming amount of books in your TBR pile? Buy a six book series! So, when I was next in The Entertainer to stock up on overpriced fluffy pencils, I found the whole series half price (you have to love that shop). They sat on my shelf for a few weeks while I admired how the spines created a pretty picture, and struggled to identify the supposed hottie of the series, one Mr Jace McDemonslayer. Then, I realised that it might be easier to figure out who the characters are if I read the book… so I did.

SPOILER ALERT: I still can’t figure out which drawing is Jace.

Personally, characters make or break a book. No matter how effective your world building is, or how beautiful your descriptions are, if the people are 2D then the whole book is going to fall flat. I’ve been struggling to find a specific reason why this book didn’t work for me. The whole Shadow Hunters idea isn’t the most amazing I’ve ever read, but I thought it was interesting and demons are so rarely done. However, the majority of creatures we meet are just extras in Twilight. It just didn’t feel original – people have told me that it’s because this is the original; I’m not sure though. Werewolves and vampires have certainly appeared in literature before 2007, but maybe Bram Stoker copied Dracula from the City of Bones? Cassandra Clare’s take on them just felt very un-special (I’m running out of words for original). But world building aside, let me introduce you to my other major problem… drumroll please….

Miss Clary Fray

  • First of all, the girl’s name almost rhymes. While this might not be the most pressing concern; you have to pick a good name for your main character! No? Just me? Never mind…
  • Second, Clary understands this world more easily than me… and I’m reading a book about it. She accepts that there’s this magical world underneath NY so quickly, that she’s using all of their terminology by the time I’ve managed to figure out what the hell a ‘stele’ is.
  • SHE GOES AROUND SLAPPING PEOPLE FOR NO REASON. One of the first things she does when she meets Jace (not as fit as tumblr had made me believe. Sensitivity and swishy hair don’t make up for personality) is hit him across the face. Now, there are of course scenarios that might call for violence, but he wasn’t doing anything wrong! Little actions like that could be so controversial if their roles were reversed, it made me really uncomfortable.
  • She’s a little useless. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I would be too if I was dumped in the middle of a fight against demons, its just that she doesn’t try. So many sentences begin with ‘Clary had never done this before’; I feel as if Clare wrote her pretty weak compared to the other characters and I really hope it’s not just because of her pronoun.
  • Homosexuality isn’t dealt with particularly positively. In fact, after Clary (quite viciously) outs one of the characters, her only thoughts are if they’ll hate her and how it will make her look. I thought a lot of the romances were cliched, more on that in a moment, this one especially. The age difference was a little weird if you think about it (I’m trying so hard not to spoil anything!) although Magnus Bane is the bookish embodiment of Klaus from the Umbrella Academy. That’s the only reason I might try The Bane Chronicles.

A Moment Has Passed

I have a lot of thoughts on this book (don’t know if you can tell) but I’m nearly finished!

There wasn’t a set plot. Often, it felt more like a series of (unfortunate 😉 ) events than a cohesive book and Clare’s writing didn’t really flow. The main love triangle was blatantly obvious (Yes , I’m talking to you Clary) and personally, Simon deserved better. More importantly, PLEASE DON’T MAKE US UNCOMFORTABLE JUST FOR THE SAKE OF A PLOT TWIST. I’m not sure how their relationship will/can progress. It was very strange. I’ll just hope you know what I’m on about.

Finally, I know that lots of people adore The Mortal Instruments. This is just my opinion, so please don’t hate me. City of Bones lacked the humour, wit and and amazing characters I’ve heard Clare writes, but hopefully they’ll be in the next books. I am going to continue with the series… but only because I stupidly bought them all. Plus, the spines look cool and I want them on my bookshelf (priorities, you know?).

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Are you not sure what books to read for summer? Would you like to take part in a really simple and fun Reading Challenge?

Find the prompts here, and then borrow, buy, steal or ebook books to fit them. I’d love for as many people as possible to take part in my first original book tag. Happy Reading!

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager (and a Hufflepuff) from Manchester. I like oversized jumpers, music that isn't on the radio anymore and books. Pretty much any book I can get my hands on but my favourites are Young Adult, fantasy and science fiction. One day, I decided to share some of my opinions on some great - and not so great - books to people around the world. And here it is! I really enjoy it and I hope you do too. The aim is hundreds and thousands of book reviews (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite up to that. Yet.

17 thoughts on “Clary Fray Is Not My Bae (City of Bones Review)

  1. Oof, I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this! I had the same thoughts too as I recently read City of Bones (even though I’m perfectly aware that I’m so late lol).

    I hated the main characters so much! But I did appreciate the world-building (not so much on how it was all told through info dumps). I felt like I would have love the Shadowhunters series if I read it when I was a teenager 😂

    I also relate so much because I (stupidly) bought a boxed set of the series because it was on sale. So yeah, I have no choice but to read them all 😂


  2. Yeah having read 3 books from the series now, Clare does suffer with fleshing out her male characters a lot more than her female ones. Which is shit for so many reasons. I always go into them with the mindset that I’m reading something trashy, knowing that I’m doing that (rather than trying to rate it as a well written work) makes it a lot more enjoyable! I obviously still see all the rubbish parts but because I went in expecting them they don’t feel so bad? If that makes sense? Haha


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