Book Review #3: The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This review is for the audiobook version of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bonesread Mae Whitman.

Title: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Written by: Cassandra Clare
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Year:  2007 (2014)

This book exceeded my expectations – I had little expectations to begin with and was set on disliking it. So enjoying this book was a really nice surprise for me. I had previously watched the movie adaptation which was quite okay, actually, and I am currently watching the TV show Shadowhunters which is based on the Mortal Instruments book series.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones tells the story of Clary Fray, a 15-year-old girl who discovers a world beyond our own: the Shadow World. On a night out in the local club Pandemonium with her best friend Simon, Clary witnesses what she thinks is a murder. It turns out that she is the only one able to see the three Shadowhunters who killed what they claim to be a demon. That same night, Clary’s mother is kidnapped from their house, leaving Clary a voice mail on her phone, begging her to stay away from their appartment. Panicked, Clary rushes to their home to find it in ruins. It turns out her mother was kidnapped by a man who is searching for the Mortal Cup, an instrument that is used to create more Shadowhunters. Clary’s mother stole the Cup and hid it. Thus begins Clary’s journey into the Shadow World…

Clary finds out about her origin, the truth her mother tried so hard to shield her from: she is a Shadowhunter, a creature half-angel, half-human. Together with Jace, Alec and Isabelle, the three Shadowhunters from the Pandemonium, she tries to find the Cup and exchange it for her mother. In order to do that, Clary has to get back her memories, which were taken by the flamboyant warlock Magnus Bane in order to protect her.

The world Cassandra Clare created is full of angels, demons and magic. It is also a world full of emotions: family and friends are as important as the magnificent creatures the reader encounters. While the writing style isn’t neccessarily a strong point of this novel for me, the story is very engaging and the characters are endearing. This novel was originally intended to be published as a fantasy novel, not a young adult novel. This, I think, can be perceived in the detailed world-building that Clare undertook. The focus isn’t on the teenage protagonists but on the world they live in. The politics that govern it, the society that surrounds them and the powers they have to face.

Neither the movie adaptation nor the current TV series get close to what the novel has to offer. It is the details, the relationships, the various places and creatures that make the novel the success that it has become. If you enjoy audiobooks, I am sure you will like this version, read by Mae Whitman. She manages beautifully to give life to each and every character. It is a joy to listen to her voice. All in all, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is a book worth reading. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy reading fantasy novels.

My rating: 4/5

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