I should say first off that I might
be a bit biased here when it comes to this series. I have tried putting off reading these books for the longest of times because of the author.
Before this novel came out, Clare was a fan-fiction writer - she wrote stories based on the LOTR and HP characters, and was quite popular among those circles. At that time, while writing a fan fiction story about Draco Malfoy (The Draco Trilogy), she was implicated in a big cyber scandal involving plagiarism (called 'Cassiegate'). It was found out that she had lifted chunks of material from another book and used them for her own stories, without properly citing the original author, and when confronted about it (with a large amount of concrete proof), she pleaded innocence ("it was a mistake") and absolutely refused to admit the plagiarism, resorting to name-calling and vicious backlash. It is safe to say that I have very little respect for Cassandra Clare as an author.
And so, I was extremely reluctant to dive into this series but after numerous glowing recommendations, I finally decided to give in and see what the deal was all about.
Surprisngly, I didn't hate it. I must admit, Clare can write. While the story wasn't earth-shattering, it was engaging enough to keep me mildly interested. Although, given her reputation, everytime there was a witty one-liner or repartee in the story, I couldn't help but wonder where she might have stolen those lines from.
Speaking of which, there are SO MANY similarities to Harry Potter in this story (I bet Clare couldn't resist), it's ridiculous! Observe -
: Muggles - Someone of the human world; non-magical.City of Bones
: Mundanes - Someone of the human world; non-magical.
: Squibs - Witch or a Wizard who cannot do magic.City of Bones
: Ifrits - Warlock who cannot do magic.
: Voldemort - Evil overlord who wants to rid the Magical world of mudbloods (someone of non-magic ancestry) and wants it to consist solely of purebloods (someone of magic ancestry)City of Bones
: Valentine - Evil overlord who wants to rid the world of downworlders (vampires, werewolves, faeries etc. etc.) and wants it to consist solely of human beings.
: Death Eaters - Supporters of Voldemort, some who flee when he is destroyed and resurface claiming innocence, and some who abandon the group beforehand, realizing his feindishness.City of Bones
: The Circle - Supporters of Valentine, some who flee when he is destroyed and resurface claiming innocence, and some who abandon the group beforehand, realizing his feindishness.
: The Deathly Hallows - The Wand, the Stone and the Cloak. Three, highly powerful magical objects which make one the Master of Death.City of Bones
: The Mortal Instruments - The Cup, the Mirror and the Sword. Three, highly powerful magical objects (whose purpose hasn't been revealed yet, but I'm sure they make one all-powerful or something like that).
The protagonist, Clary (could the author BE more self-obsessed?) is thankfully nothing like Bella (though she gets dangerously close to becoming her by the end), but then again, she doesn't come across as anybody much. Throughout the book, we are told pretty much nothing about her except that she likes to paint and can't raise an eyebrow even if her life depends on it - I, honestly, couldn't see any qualities in her which would make two, extremely different guys fall in love with her. The male romantic interest, Jace, is a broody, angsty guy with a deep, dark, secret-filled past (CAN THIS CLICHE BE BANNED ALREADY?!). Except for Simon, Clary's BFF, none of the other characters are given any "screen time" so they come across as superfluous.
The shocker of a twist at the end was...interesting. I hadn't come across something like it before, but I felt it was poorly handled. Clary's and Jace's reaction to it was ridiculous - their whole life has been turned upside down and they go "WHAT? NO! Really? Oh, well. Hey, wanna go for a bike ride?"
Mildly engaging. Pick it up only if there's nothing better to read.