Friday, May 16, 2014

City of Bones Discussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! I'm here with another summer reading challenge post! I've now started into The Mortal Instruments series. The first four books of the series are re-reads for me, while the 5th and 6th books will be first-time reads. I'd actually already read City of Bones twice before this re-read, so out of the books, this is the one I'm the most familiar with.  As usual, I'll give a non-spoilery summary and overall thoughts/rating before jumping into a spoilery discussion and my favorite quotes.

Book Summary
Our main character, Clary Fray, is a fifteen year old girl from New York City. One night, while out with her best friend, Simon, she realizes that she can see people that no one else is able to see. The next day, her mother goes missing, and when Clary returns home, she's attacked by a creature. Clary finds herself sucked into the world of demon hunters called Shadowhunters, and while trying to discover what happened to her mom, she realizes that she may be a bigger part of the Shadowhunter world than she originally thought.

Overall Thoughts

Non-spoiler section!

I'm going to try my hardest not to compare this to the Infernal Devices very much. I'm going to try to save that for the end of the month wrap-up. I do know that there will be some small comparisons, but I'm going to keep it to a minimum.

Right off the bat, I do have a comparison. Reading Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare's newest book, and then going straight into City of Bones, her first book, was a bit troublesome for me. It shows how much Clare has improved as a writer, but it also made it a bit difficult to really get into City of Bones, because it seemed a little childish in comparison. Once I got into it, however, I found myself enjoying it again. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first time, but that might be because I knew what was happening already.

There were a couple things that upset me because of some inconsistency between TMI and the ID. In City of Bones, Jace says that the Mortal Cup can only be used on children. Yet, we know from the ID that it was used on someone who was not a child. I doubt Jace doesn't know what he's talking about, so I'm not sure what Cassandra Clare was thinking with that.

Ok, so Clary. She bothered me this time. It wasn't overwhelming by any means, but there were definitely moments where I just wanted to smack her. There were several times when she could have figured something out just by thinking about it, but she was so oblivious that it wasn't even funny. There were also a couple times where she kinda just stood around and let everyone else do the work, and I wish she would've just done something.

OK, enough of the complaints. On to the good stuff. JACE. I had begun to doubt if I'd like Jace as much as I did the first and second reads... but I loved him, as always. There's one scene where I got mad at him, but I've always been annoyed in that scene. Overall, he's definitely my favorite character in the book.

This next part is based on past times I've read it rather than this time. So, clearly since this is the third time I've read this book, I already knew everything that was going to happen and therefore I didn't have that urge to keep reading to find out what was going on. However, the first time I read this book, that urge was there so strongly that I finished it in a day. There only a few books that I've read in a single day (on the first read). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Divergent, and (most recently) Clockwork Princess are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head. Typically, I prefer to read chunks at a time, but when I'm really, really enjoying a book, I can't stand to put it down no matter what. Because of this, I think that plot-wise, this was a really great opener. There's a nice handful of action scenes, but also that on-going mystery there to keep the reader curious and wanting to continue to figure out what's going on.

So, rating. Although it kinda sounds like I have several complaints about the book, I really do like it. I think the main things that bothered me were Clary and the fact that I didn't think that the writing was quite up to par with some of Clare's other books. I'm going to [tentatively] give City of Bones 4.5 stars out of 5. I'll give my final rating on the series discussion post, but I think that for now, 4.5 is adequate.

Spoilery Discussion!

OK, so addressing one of my Clary problems more in-depth. Given the timeline and the fact that Clary discovered that her mom and Valentine were married, Clary should've deduced that she was Valentine's daughter approximately 200 pages before Luke told her. I mean, Clary has realized that her mom hid her entire past, so would it really be that far of a stretch for her to wonder, "Wait, is it possible that I'm Valentine's daughter?!" She didn't even question it. Plus, the fact that Simon made it incredibly obvious that he liked her, but she was clueless. Really, Clary?

I'm sure, that if you've read City of Bones, you know that the part where I really hated Jace was when we first see him with Valentine. I've always thought that this section was incredibly out of character for him. I guess I could understand him being shocked and therefore acting weird. However, can you imagine Star Wars if, when Darth Vader says "Luke, I am your father," Luke went, "OK, let me help you take lightsabers away from my friends!" I mean, Jace is an incredibly self-sufficient and independent character, and he was acting like an obedient five year old for a while. It's just too out of character.

The rest of the time, I really liked Jace though. I love Jace a lot. I think he's a really fun and interesting character to have around. Where would we be without his sarcasm and witty repartee? I think that if this were real life, I'd hate him, but this isn't real life, and I think he's adorable.

I think that the action and amount of world-building are two of the strongest parts of this book. We get the scene with the vampires, several demons and forsaken, and the battles at the end. It's an action-packed first book, and that makes it really great. I also felt like we got a great sense of the world. It definitely helps that the main character is being introduced to the world at the same time as us. What she understands, we understand. What confuses her, confuses us. It's really helpful.

Overall, I always enjoy getting into Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter world!

Favorite Quotes

Page 6:"Meanwhile," Simon added, "I wanted to tell you that lately I've been cross-dressing. Also, I'm sleeping with your mom. I thought you should know."

Page 83: Alec looked horrified, as if she'd asked him to put on a tutu and execute a perfect pirouette.

Page 153: "It wouldn't be my move," Jace agreed. "First the candy and flowers, then the apology letters, then the ravenous demon hordes. In that order."

Page 179: 'Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234.'

Page 186: "Magnus Bane? But that's not even a name!"

Page 194: "Good idea," said Jace. "I shall be Baron Hotschaft VonHugenstein."

Page 324: "Look. Jammies."

Page 324: "Don't tell me," he [Jace] said. "You've got a drawing emergency. You need a nude model. Well, I'm not in the mood. You could ask Hodge."

Page 341: "True. I'd always hoped that when I finally said 'I love you' to a girl, she'd say 'I know' back, like Lei did to Han in Return of the Jedi."

Page 345: Jace said, "Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself."
Dorothea roared at that. "At least," she said, "you don't have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland."
"Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting."

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! A chapter of The Secret Lightning Scar should be up on Saturday. Sometime after that, I should have a City of Ashes post up. Hopefully on Monday.

Thanks for reading this! If you like my posts, don't forget to subscribe/follow, since it lets me know that you're enjoying what I'm doing. See y'all tomorrow!

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