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City of Bones & City of Ashes

by Cassandra Clare

genre: YA, urban fantasy, paranormal

How did it start off okay only to crash and burn? Find out why I gave Book #1 a 3.5 and Book #2 a 1 out of 5 stars!

Summary


(Taken from Goodreads)

Book 1:
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. . . .

Review

SPOILERS INCLUDED

I feel like making a review about this series because people keep talking about them, The Mortal Instruments. I read the 1st book, City Of Bones, nearly 4 years ago. I hadn’t heard too much about it but people had reviewed it well. I remember finishing it and enjoying the book overall, loving the twist at the end. Jace being Clary’s brother, who was originally the love interest.

I found it such a great twist because I was like “wow! They actually included this in a book”. Certain themes, such as incest, are usually tiptoed around or discarded, especially for a book aimed at youth. I can’t really give a good review about Book #1, since I read it so long ago, so I’m going to give it a 3.5 but feel free to discard the number.

It’s book #2 that I tried to get into when I was on my holidays in Spain at the beginning of this year. I wanted to because I remembered vaguely enjoying the first. But I couldn’t. The descriptions seemed rather tedious, describing more than needed. The plot kept splitting and it didn’t read particularly realistic, but then again, most YA don’t (Hunger Games as the wonderful exception). Jace is the most arrogant jackass in the fictional universe. I knew he was meant to be arrogant in the first but it felt intensified in this book (or maybe I had just grown to hate douchebags more in the past 4 years :P). Clary is such a push over and a hopeless romantic. I have NEVER understood the bad boy thing, because it is usually an abusive relationship thing.

I was forcing myself through the book, skipping parts here and there but then there was a scene in the book that stopped it for me. It was small but I think Clary said something like how she wanted him to hurt her, show his strength or some crap, to see what it’d feel like, if it’d feel good (he was angry or something). But their half relationship (because they can’t be together since they’re siblings) is just so abusive. I hated twilight for its abusive relationship and I couldn’t stand this. I put the book to the side, never to pick it up again.

I understand that there is an allure of a mysterious man (and woman) who is strong but has a mysterious, possibly sinister, side. I’ve read/watched great couples where there is a “dangerous side”. But as soon as he starts to control or there is a desire to be physically/verbally “hurt” by them, it’s not romantic. It’s just abusive. While no physical abuse in the book was recorded (as far as I read along) I had no idea why she was so infatuated with him, he was such a jackass, so arrogant, and self-centered. Naturally, the nice guy gets pushed away by Clary.

I’m going to stop before I go into a massive rant about ridiculously abusive (in all kinds of way, usually emotionally/verbally in the case of books) relationships that are romanticized. I didn’t really care about the sibling thing, I thought it would be interesting to see how the story would play out. I wasn’t disgusted (okay, maybe a little), I was enthralled. What disgusts me is abusive relationships (and complete arrogant douchebags) written to be attractive to impressionable readers such as those teenagers in the YA audience.

Reminder: this is only my opinion and you are entitled to your own. I had just seen too many luridly positive reviews, I had to vent. 🙂 I’m probably the only one who really disliked the second book and stopped reading after it.

This book is for you if:

  • Enjoyed Twilight.

This book is not for you if:

  • Detest arrogant male heroes and irritating heroines.
  • Are uncomfortable with romantic sibling relationships.
  • Hate potentially abusive relationships that are meant to be seen as “romantic”.

Ermisenda Alvarez

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