Sunday, June 7, 2020

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

CITY OF BONES is a very interesting book. When I began reading it, half my friends were like, "Oh my God, it is the best thing ever, I love Malec!!!!, this series is TEH BEST." And the other half were like, "Oh my God, this book is the putrescent dump that the spawn of Book Satan took after 'all you can eat chili night' at the God It Sucks Cafe, and did you know that it started off as fanficion probably? FUCK THIS BOOK!!!"

So obviously, I was intrigued. *monocle emoji*

CITY OF THE BONES was... ok. I'm not sure if this was fanfic or just inspired by the author's fic, but it definitely has the same breathless "fan service-y" tone as fic, and the author seems to try to cram as many "witty" one-liners in here as possible to be put on mugs, stationery, and Tumblr profiles (much as how other authors Who Shall Not Be Named seem to spend inordinate amounts of time describing various characters' attire as if envisioning the fanart that will be drawn for them).

Clary is an ordinary girl with a Cool Mom™ and a Secretly Hot Geeky Best Friend™. One day, after going to a club, she sees a group of Hot Goth Kids™ who end up capturing someone they say is a vampire. Shortly afterwards, Cool Mom™ gets kidnapped and Clary finds out that she isn't an ordinary girl after all-- no, she's one of the chosen ones, daughter of one of the Hot Goth Kids Queens™, and her mother has just blocked out all of her ability to detect this with Hot Goth Kid Magic™. Also there's a Magic Hot Goth Kid Cup™ that everyone wants for some reason, and did you know that werewolves are just demon plagues and vampires are just demon plagues, and they hate each other, and also faeries are half angel, half demon, and wizards are also half demon, and Hot Goth Kids™ aren't wizards but they can do magic, and everyone likes to go clubbing???

Well now you do.

Because I am bored now, here's the other stuff you need to know in bullet format.

✨ Lots of similarities to Harry Potter, which I guess supports the "this is fic" theory. J.K. Rowling kind of sucks right now, though, so it's hard to be mad on her behalf, and it seems like if it was fic, Clare changed enough up that it only feels derivative and not like an outright copy anyway. I feel like Clare wins for having actual LGBT+ characters who are out, instead of just ret-conning people's sexualities after the fact, like it's behind the scenes commentary and not, you know, in-book canon.

✨ World-building is very confusing. The "everyone is half of something or a demon plague" mythology had my head spinning. I'm still not really sure what the difference is between a wizard and a Shadowhunter, except that Shadowhunters seem to like clubbing and knives more than wizards.

✨ The Silent Brothers were fucking creepy. They reminded me a little of the Inquisitors from the Mistborn trilogy.

✨ I don't ship Clary x Jace. They're both whiny, moody twats and Jace starts to get REALLY inconsistent as a character as soon as the ship begins to sail. Malec, on the other hand, I'm more inclined to ship because I actually felt pretty bad for Alec and Magnus was cool.

✨ Things get a little "Shadowhunters in the Attic-y" if you know what I mean.

✨ Teen Nenia probably would have liked this more than Adult Nenia, because everyone in this book likes to get crunk and go clubbing, when they're not zooming around on Flying Vampire Motorbikes™, stuffing Chinese food into their mouth, or playing with pointy objects. It just felt like a little much, although I did end up finishing it and liking more parts of it than I thought it would.

So, sorry to disappoint anyone who was hoping that I'd take a strong stance one way or another, but I'm giving this three stars. I appreciated what I understood of the world-building, was entertained enough to read it to the end (all 480-something pages of it), and didn't get too annoyed with any of the teen characters, even though at times it felt like a magical version of Saved by the Bell.

Will I read more of these? Only if you make me. And you probably will.

But I love you anyway.

3 out of 5 stars

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