I spend a lot of time in the young adult section at my local bookstore. I will be the first one to admit to a fantasy addiction – all kinds of fantasy but lately I’ve become rather partial to the urban fantasy that has made such a splash with teens across the United States.
There are many names out there producing some great fairy adventure at the moment. And a new name has joined the ranks – Cassandra Clare, author of City of Bones, her first book as well as being the first in The Mortal Instruments trilogy.
A blurb on the back of the book from Justine Larbalestier, Magic of Maddness, claims that City of Bones has it all. While Holly Black, Valiant, says this book is ‘Funny. Dark. And sexy.’ Can one book live up to all this great press? Yes it can.
Clary Fray, short for Clarissa, is a normal girl in a normal world. When she sees a blue-haired boy in a night club attacked and killed by a group of three strange-looking teenagers, things change. But when a bouncer is called and no one can see the three but her, Clary starts to wonder what exactly is happening.
When Clary receives a strange phone call from her mom she rushes home to make sure that everything is alright. What she finds is an apartment in ruins and a demon waiting to eat her. But Clary isn’t a normal girl and she is able to, barely, hold her own against the demon. Soon enough she is rescued by one of the strange teenagers. Jace takes her to the Institute, a place of safety for his kind.
What is happening is that Clary is starting to regain her ‘Sight’, the power that enables her to see the world, and the things in the world, as it really is. Soon she learns that the three teenagers are Shadowhunters: men, women, and teenagers created by mixing the blood of angels with that of men so that they can hunt and kill demons. Alec and Isabelle, the other two strangers from the club, are brother and sister, and Jace came to live with their family when he was ten years old, after the horrific death of his father.
There is a lot happening in City of Bones. Featuring a full cast of characters, twists jump out with every turn of the page as Clary moves through the discovery of herself and the truth that is locked in her memories. Clary’s best friend Simon is one of the more human and believable characters in this novel; his awkwardness is easily recognized from any boy you went to high school with, making him even more lovable.
The Shadowhunters and their world is fantastic. Clear and all too believable, next time I go to a club I know I will be searching the dark corners for the things that go bump in the night. I might even find them.
If any of you are fans of the Modern Faerie Tales of Holly Black, Cassandra Clare’s writing group buddy, you will instantly recognize the small cameo some of her characters have in chapter ten of ‘City of Bones.’
- Clary saw a girl about her own age with a smoothly shaved head leaning against a brown-skinned boy with dreadlocks, his face adorned with a dozen piercings. He turned his head as the carriage rolled by as if he could see it, and she caught the gleam of his eyes. One of them was clouded, as though it had no pupil. (page 174)
The appearance was totally unexpected and completely wonderful. I was thrilled to come across this small bit that ties a world of several authors I love into one.
But there are many things to love about City of Bones, including a cat by the name of Chairman Meow. The adventure can only get better as this trilogy progresses and I will be waiting eagerly for the next installment.