Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Been There, Done That

City of Bones:  Book One
Written by Cassandra Clare
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
3 Out of 5 Stars

Fifteen year old Clary is different: she can see the real world that's hidden from the rest of humanity. As such, she is the only witness to a murder in a hip nightclub and, when those responsible for this death find out, they have questions for her. Clary's world is turned upside down when she learns that what she witnessed was actually a demon-slaying at the hands of the Shadow Hunters, an elite group created by the Angel to rid the world of demons and protect the world of man. As Clary discovers the truth of her own connection to this world of faeries, vampires, werewolves, wizards, and demons, she comes to realize that she's not the person she thought she was.

This is yet another entry into the teen fantasy category and, as such, you can practically see Clare going down the checklist for popular teen fantasy. Like other books in this genre, it's well over 400 pages. There's also a love triangle between a girl and two guys, one of whom is oh-so-right for her and one of whom is oh-so-wrong (and later we find out just how really, really, really wrong he is). There's a smorgasbord of supernatural creatures and enough twists and turns to qualify for a ride at Six Flags. 

However, for the most part, the story takes some original twists and often veers away from the more predictable scenarios that tend to plague this type of book. There's also a dash of humor that was refreshing. The female character, while not as strong as Katniss in The Hunger Games and not as whiny as Bella, is a nice cross between the two, which makes her a little more realistic. However, the narrative could have been improved if the novel were around 300 pages in length and focused more on the shadow hunter story line (but, no, we must save that for the next two books, as all teenage novels are now required to spawn a trifecta). There is too much filler, which robs the story of any real momentum (the scene with the vampires comes to mind, a completely unnecessary chapter that seems to only exist so the novel can include the popular Supernatural Flavor of the Week).

Despite these weaknesses, it is overall a pretty good book for its ilk and I'm sure I'll read the sequels sometime in the future. The distant future. 

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