It is time for another edition of Best Friend Guest Review with my lovely best friend JTR! If you missed the earlier ones check them out here and as always leave her lots of love and encouragement so she comes back for more.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments: Book One
I picked up this book on the recommendation of a girl I met once, so I really had no idea what her taste of books was like (although we had briefly bonded over our mutual love of the Harry Potter series so I knew that was a good sign) and I had no idea what this series was about.
It turns out it’s about a bunch of my favorite things: unrequited teen love, vampires and supernatural worlds, kick-butt (Erika Lynn interjecting here: this is why she is my best friend, I would have said kick-ass) evil vanquishers, New York City, boys with daddy issues. What’s not to like?
It was a slow burn for me at first getting into the world of Clary, a teenage girl who thinks she leads a normal life in Brooklyn by dragging her side-kick best friend Simon to dance clubs and hanging out at hipster poetry cafés. Everything changes once Clary witnesses a bizarre murder/demon slaying, her mother is kidnapped and a mysterious, arrogant boy named Jace opens her eyes further to the supernatural world around her.
I admit I still feel the story is a bit predictable, and the background of the Shadowhunters is definitely reflective of a number of other fantasy novels, but it is the strength of Cassandra Clare’s characters that keep me reading. As Clary, Jace, Simon and Jace’s adopted brother and sister Alec and Isabelle gallivant across Manhattan to try to discover what’s happened to Clary’s mom, it is the incestuous (in at least one case literally) relationships and teen angst that drive their motivations as much as their Shadowhunter training and demon prejudices. As the pentagonal love situation tries to work itself out, I find I have also become fully invested in the fantasy of this hidden world that exists in the shadows of our reality. And I want to continue following Clary and Jace as they hunt down the mysterious Valentine and uncover more about the secret lives and connection they both never knew they had.
And for the record, I now know that most people seem to be all about Team Jace – but I am for Simon all the way. I guess I’m just a sucker for the nice best friend whose love will probably always be unrequited, but he continues to express it anyway. (If you couldn’t guess I’m also a firm supporter of Team Jacob in that other little known series about vampires or something.)
The quote that solidified me being a fan of this book:
Clary: “All my life I’ve felt like there was something wrong with me. Something missing or damaged. Now I know-”
Magnus (a warlock): “I didn’t damaged you … every teenager in the world feels like that, feels broken or out of place, different somehow, royalty mistakenly born into a family of peasants. The difference in your case is that it’s true. You are different. Maybe not better – but different. And it’s no picnic being different.”
P.S. I read this and City of Ashes virtually back-to-back. In fact I had a little difficulty separating them out, but you definitely will be hearing from me about the second in this series soon. If it’s any indication I immediately put the third book in the series on hold at my library after Erika Lynn (barely) talked me out of spending $25 to get the hardcover at the bookstore. Paperback is out in August, I might still be tempted to buy.
Erika Lynn again, after hearing how much JTR loved this series I went and got the first one from the library, I am about to see what all the fuss is about.