Monsters have existed in oral and written literature for centuries. Do they exist? How accurate are the stories about supernatural beings and the invisible world?

(Warning: Minor spoilers ahead)

Clary Fray is a 15-year-old girl living in New York City who thought she was normal as normal gets. After her mother disappears and gets attacked by a demon, Clary becomes entangled in a supernatural world of monsters that she has only read about and of Shadowhunters, a group of half-angel warriors whose mission is to purge demons and other evil forces from the earth. Clary sets out to find her mother and what is called the Mortal Cup, discovering secrets along the way about her family and her own identity that she would have never imagined to be possible. This novel keeps readers guessing with several twists and betrayals. "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare is the first book of six in "The Mortal Instruments," a young adult fantasy series.

I like the world-building in "City of Bones" because of how it develops the somewhat strained coexistence of a number of beings like the Shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, warlocks, and demons, among others. I also like that Clary is bold and strong-willed because she can survive harsh battles, corruption and psychological trauma this way.

As to be expected of many young adult novels and one of my favorite parts about them, there is a love triangle between Clary, her best friend Simon, and a mysterious Shadowhunter named Jace who saves Clary's life on multiple occasions. Clary is, of course, dense and unaware of her best friend's crush on her. Her relationship with Jace becomes closer and more romantic until a plot twist keeps them apart for good. I like how naturally the author weaves the romance into the story, and she knows how to play out the dramatic irony and Clary's confusion well.

A memorable scene from the novel was when Clary went back to her home shortly after being attacked by a demon. She encountered a Forsaken, a former human or mundane who was given marks that were too powerful for them to handle and who had gone insane as a result. There were many vivid descriptions and actions in this scene that exposed the supernatural world's dark side and pushed the story along.

Though I liked reading the book, I wished that there was more closure at the end. There was one point where it felt like the story veered off toward an unexpected route that was a little random to me, but I assumed the other books would give more context later. And since this book is the first of a series, I can understand why the conclusion was not decisive. While the heroes did not catch the villain just yet, they learned a lot about themselves that seriously changed their dynamic moving forward.

This was my first time reading it, and I missed its wave of popularity when it was published back in 2007. I enjoyed the story, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy novels with good world-building and romance or anyone who enjoys young adult novels. No one is "too old" to read young adult literature.



book cover



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