City of Bones (Mortal Instruments Book 1)
Typically I stay away from the “teen” section of the book store, but on a recent trip to my local Barnes and Noble I was having a hard time finding a book whose back cover’s synopsis captured my attention enough to get me to sample it (shallow, no?). I ended up calling a friend of mine and asking her for a book recommendation, and after some thought she suggested that I read City of Bones. I had seen her reading the book and it had looked interesting enough, so I gave in and headed over to the teen section in search of City of Bones under her recommendation.
Upon review of the inside flap of the book I found that the synopsis was sufficiently appetizing for my fiction hungry palate to digest. What I soon found was that the book, both well written but not verbose and with an original plot, held my attention enough to get me to finish it in one day.
City of Bones is written by Cassandra Clare, an author whose writing is neither flowery, nor tantalizingly descriptive, and although her writing style leaves many things to be desired(like more background or description of elements), she still has enough talent to write an amply descriptive novel while keeping the simplicity that designates this as a “teen” book. The characters of the book, aside from the protagonist, are rather two dimensional. They are likable enough and along with Clare’s simple writing style they move the plot along in a way that keeps you from noticing that they are two dimensional.
One thing I must say that I particularly enjoyed about City of Bones was the novelty of the plot elements, which revolve around a world of mysticism, demons, and angels. While these things do not seem particularly profound or innovating at their core, it is their nature that make them so unique.
Magic does indeed exist in the protagonist Clary’s world (unbeknownst to her), as do demons and apparently angels; but magic as used by the main characters is not really magic in the strictest sense of the word, instead it comes in the form of various “runes” that take the appearance of strange tattoos plastered all over the bodies of the characters. The idea of tattooed runes is one that I would have love to have seen developed beyond the background role that it takes in the book, but who knows? It might begin to play more of a role in the next two books.
The plot is simple to understand and fun to read, it is not filled with the twists and turns of a psychological thriller, but it varies enough from the prolific plethora of pedantry that is so often found in the Teen section of the book store as to distinguish itself as a well written, intelligent, and page-turning novel.
Cassandra Clare write to entertain and keeps the reader holding on until the very end, not because of fantastical character design, intense verbiage, or chapter long descriptions of scenery, but because of an genuinely enjoyable plot. Through the intense imagination of a good reader, one can immerse themselves in the story, and not feel as though there was anything missing.