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City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

Title: City of Bones (#1 The Mortal Instruments)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: 27th of March 2007 – Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardback – 485 pages

“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.” – City of Bones

Hello Hello! How are you?

I can’t believe it’s already Saturday, and I can’t believe we’ve already finished our first Shadowhunter book EEK! I think we both had a slow start with this book. Both Fiona and I have been busy lately and have been a bit behind on reading this first book in our massive mission to read all the Shadowhunter books! But we both ended up finishing it last night and this morning and I think we both really enjoyed it! I’m going to be doing a mini-review and a larger spoilery discussion with Fiona today, so stay tuned to read our thoughts!


When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is the first book in the Shadowhunter Collection and the first book in the first trilogy of The Mortal Instruments. This collection has nearly 20 books currently and is still growing, I’ve wanted to read them for ages and I’m so glad that Fiona asked me if I wanted to read them with her because I was missing the motivation to do so alone! This is a young adult fantasy series with paranormal and urban fantasy elements, so it’s definitely my type of book.

I started reading this first book last year. On the cover of my book, Entertainment Weekly said: “Prepare to be hooked.” I saw that when I started it, and I was quite underwhelmed and put it down after about 5 chapters. I picked it up again 3 weeks ago to start again with Fiona, and I will admit that for about 200 pages, I was feeling the same as my first time trying it. I wasn’t really invested, I found Clary to be very immature and I hated how she treated Simon, I thought that some of the things she said or did were too convenient and I had many eye-roll moments. But then suddenly, something happened (see below for spoiler from Fiona!) and both Fiona and I were hooked from that point on and our enjoyment shot up.

The first thoughts I had were that Clary was very young and very immature, she was ignoring Simon a lot and that bothered me, there were also some instances of girl hate between her and Isabelle that we thought were not very nice, but after the “event” that all seemed to shift and I couldn’t read fast enough. This is definitely quite a controversial book, Fiona and I have been calling this book a “cheeseburger book”, it’s the type of thing that isn’t necessarily good, in itself or for you, but you can’t stay away and you inevitably enjoy, and I think it’s a great way to describe this book!

There were a few things that happened in this book that I was really not expecting and I definitely reacted with “OMGs” and gasps! One of these reveals completely yucked-me-out (not a word but I need this word to explain it aha!), and I was expecting the author to be like “I was joking, it’s not true”, but then it was, and… GAHHH!! I’m sorry I don’t make much sense, but if you haven’t read this book yet, pick it up lol!

I’m not sure I can say much about the world-building because it didn’t feel like there was much, Clary was very trusting of the Shadowhunters she meets and follows them around and takes what she hears from them as truth, like something clicks for her and makes sense. I did find all the other creatures interesting though and even though I thought that explanations about some things were lacking and their absence bothered me, I do think that it’s a good first book, it’s not overly complex, but I do like how we both reacted to a few things and just got hooked!

“Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.” – City of Bones


It’s a bit hard to talk about this book without spoiling you if you haven’t read it yet, but, after about 200 pages of not really enjoying it or understanding the hype, something shifted and it became un-put-down-able, like Really! It did! Believe me!

I wouldn’t say I loved this book, because I didn’t, I found things to be really bothersome, some things were lacking, I wanted to throttle a few of the characters at times and Clary’s behaviour was immature and eye-roll-worthy. But, it was definitely enjoyable and I suppose that it set the scene well, it had a great mission, a team of – although mostly annoying teenagers – characters that get to know one another over the course of the book and seem to grow up, thankfully and I must say that I’m really looking forward to the next book, I’m sure it’s all going to get better on a whole over the course of the series, I just didn’t personally think I enjoyed it on a 5-star level.

I’m giving this book 3.5 stars, I want to know more, I want to keep reading this series and I do get the hype, because past the 200-page point, I was hooked and couldn’t help but keep turning the pages as fast as I could. This review probably didn’t make much sense, but if you are still unsure about reading this book, I would say give it a go, I’m sure you will enjoy it and I’m sure the next books will be better, so I’m excited to read more!

“It means ‘Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234’.” – City of Bones

3.5-star rating

Now that I’ve given my thoughts on City of Bones in my mini-review, we are going to do a little something different! We decided to answer some generic questions first and then some more spoilery ones, but instead of giving our own answers, we are going to swap! Keep reading to find out what Fiona thought of everything in more detail, and head over to her own post to find out what I thought! Happy reading and don’t forget, past this point THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!!!!

Here are Fiona’s answers for the more generic questions about the book!

 Who was your favourite character? Why?

“I have to be controversial and say I really liked Jace. I kinda liked how snarky and self-assured he was but that most of the time it was just to mess with people. He seemed to deeply care about people. I also really liked Simon and he really isn’t treated very well at all through the book.”

What character would you like to see more of in the series?

“I really want more from Magnus! He played such a big role in the plot but wasn’t on page for very long. I want to know what it means to be High Warlock of Brooklyn and why Isabelle was so keen for Magnus to meet Alec. I think there is a lot more too Magnus’ story.”

What was your favourite moment?

“It has to be what happens to Simon at Magnus’ party. Just the line: “Who cares about the stupid Law?….My best friend is a rat!”

I had to admit, despite him not deserving it, I laughed. Its just such a stupid thing to happen basically to introduce the vampires and the Werewolves into the world. I felt really sorry for him in the end especially with everything that came after it all.”

What do you think is going to happen next?

“They have to go find the cup don’t they? I am sure Clary’s mum will make up but i don’t know how she will react to Jace. That is going to be interesting. The change in dynamic between Clary and Jace is really interesting and I am interested in seeing how that plays out. Also after Simon’s declaration I am interested to see if Clary gives him a chance. But I think we are probably going to get a few mini missions, maybe Clary actually training to be a Shadowhunter! That would be fun.”

What did you think of the romance?

“This was one of the only plot points I remembered from the first time I read it years ago and I have to admit I was still rooting for them, which is weird. I think I just like Jace more than Simon as I think Simon can be a bit too much of a doormat sometimes and lets Clary walk all over him. I do think Clary either needs to be honest with Simon either she likes him as a friend or she sees something more.”

And now for more spoilery, in-depth discussions about some of the plotlines!!

Clary finding out she is a Shadowhunter:

“I do think it was fairly obvious that she wasn’t a mundane but I do think how it unfolded, her mother protecting her from the world etc. was rather interesting. Clary was far, far too accepting of it all. Especially how she just seemed to follow everything Jace said. This definitely was the most cheeseburger bit of the book. Clary was very “ooo handsome man I will follow him without question”.”

Luke abandoning her:

“This seemed really cruel, even though we hadn’t learnt that much about Luke at this point in time it really gave the impression that Clary and Luke had a very close almost father-daughter relationship so for him to step away from that seemed rather mean, but I also saw it as some foreshadowing that he may have been trying to protect her too, hoping she would be sheltered by Simon.”

Simon becomes a rat:

“Probably one of my favourite parts of the book. I really feel horrible for laughing but it was just so out of the blue and random that I really kind of enjoyed Simon’s discomfort. I totally felt the same as Ellie, where up until this point I was groaning at the cheese dialogue, rolling my eyes at the girl-hate then this happened and I was hooked. It was the point where it went from mildly interesting to entertaining.”

Kissing Jace:

“Again this romance was the part I remembered but I didn’t remember how kinda cute this scene was. They are both so bloody awkward that it goes from being eye-roll and cheesy dialogue to kinda sweet. I was rooting for them again until the whole incest plotline came into it!!!!!!”

Finding the Cup:

“I do think it was a kind of fun way for the cup to be hidden. I think it was inventive that it was just right under everyone’s nose and that Clary actually had it in her hand a lot earlier in the book. However,  I think they are grade A idiots for pulling it out in front of everyone, surely a paper card is a lot easier to protect and hide. Also, it did seem a bit easy that Clary just knew how to use the runes etc.”

Hodge’s betrayal:

“This  was an interesting twist. He had been so quiet and teacherly the whole book for him to suddenly turn selfish was interesting, especially (not to sound snide) a lot of the characters don’t have that much depth to them and this gave Hodge a lot of depth.”

Luke is a werewolf:

“Again another twist I completely forgot about. I am glad it really gives Luke a strong story line. I really wish we got more time with his pack. I really liked the little snippets we got and I think they would have been really interesting. Hopefully we will get to find out more about them.”

Clary kissed her Brother!!! – incest plotline?!?:

“I remembered this plot twist from when I attempted to start this series a few years ago and I was kinda waiting for it. As I had got more invested this time round it still had to “Oh Damn!” effect I think Clare was going for. It is a really strange Twist to set up the romance even hint at a couple of love triangles and then to just pull the rug out and now we don’t just have awkward teenage lust  chat but full-on awkward attraction to their sibling thing going on and that is just god damn weird.”

Her mother getting kidnapped and Clary going after her – when is she going to wake up?:

“I do think that Clary did get a bit distracted by all the Jace hunkiness and then Simon the rat and I think both Jace and Simon forgot that she was looking for her mother too. So having Luke reappear to pull Clary back.

I think that Jocelyn waking up will probably play a big part in the next book. Maybe put an end to the awkward “I think my brother is sexy “thing that Clary has going on. I do like that it wasn’t a happy ending, it didn’t really end at all more set up for the next book. As even though Clary got her goal of getting her mum back she is still unconscious, Valentine is still at large, the cup is now with him. I think it could be quite interesting.”

Well, I really enjoyed writing this post, it was so hard to keep the review part non-spoilery and then be able to talk all about everything in the spoiler discussion! If you want to find out what I thought, head over to Fiona’s post here to read it!

I really enjoyed reading this book and I really like the discussion type questions we were able to come up with we definitely had a lot to talk about. We were both reading it last night and reacting to everything with gifs and “OMGs” aha! It was a great experience and I’m really looking forward to the next book, and the next, and the next, hehehe!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon USWaterstonesBarnes and NobleAudible UKScrib’dKobo

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  1. Yes Clary is very immature in the first book but she’s also just turning sixteen, and has a very sheltered life. So… I can see it. I can’t wait to see your reaction to the future books in this series 🙂
    ♥ Mae

  2. This was really fun to read! I’ve not read this series for years and now there’s so many books! I’m really looking forward to reading your opinions on future books, and I really enjoyed reading both your and Fiona’s opinions 🙂

    1. There are SO many aren’t there? When we saw the list we were like “wow, that’s a lot of Shadowhunter Saturdays aha! I can’t wait to read the next one, we are really into this world now and want to know what happens next! Aww thank you! 🙂

  3. I’ve read this book for the first time not too long ago and plan to read the series, although I never did in the past 🙂 Love your review and thoughts on it. I agree Clary is a bit immature and I didn’t like the dynamic between her and poor Simon, but that plot twist with Jace is one i have to admit I didn’t see coming and I loved it as it was a coplete surprise to me! 😀 😮

    1. I hope you can continue the series on soon, I’m so excited for the next book! Thank you so much! Yes, it shocked us as well too! 🙂

  4. I read this last summer and I really wanted to like it but I just couldn’t deal with the immaturity (granted I am a lot older than the target age) and the yuck plotline I just couldn’t keep going.

    1. I can completely understand that! Fiona and I were shocked and we just really want to find out why there is so much hype cause we both rated it 3-3.5 stars and the yucky plotline shocked me so much, I’m still thinking about it 🙈

    1. AHAH! You absolutely need to read it, it was so fun, and I can’t wait for you to give me your thoughts on some things we discussed in this post!

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