Uta Hagen--

"We must overcome the notion that we must be regular...it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I am going to skip around a little bit and review this book because I just finished it today and really want to do an in-depth review of this book.

I started reading this book with pretty high expectations after hearing friend after friend telling me how AWESOME the Mortal Instruments series was and how I HAD to read this book.  Usually the people that told me that and I shared a lot of common interest in books and we usually loved a lot of the same books - new or old - and the characters from these stories.

This book, however, was different.

I had started this book probably back in April of this year and got about half way through it.  At that point, another book that I really wanted to read came out so I put CoB on hold.  Mind you, half way through CoB is about 200 pages in.  I knew then that this book wasn't going to make my favorites list.  I sat it down 200 pages in.  I found that I had no want to go back to this story, I occasionally remembered that I should finish it and wondered what would happen between Jace and Clary and if Jace would finally kiss Clary, but it wasn't a strong enough drive to get me to pick it up again.

Recently, I got an Advanced Reader Copy of "Sweetly" by Jackson Pearce (coming out this August) and I was also preparing to read my book for class ("A Separate Peace" by John Knowles).  I decided that I wanted to have "Sweetly" to read on the beach because it seemed like it would be a good book to read on the beach.  So I decided I'd break up ASP into sections to read each day, but I also knew that I needed to tie up some loose ends with Jace and Clary.  So I sectioned off the rest of the book so that I would finish by the time I left for vacation.  I found myself sometimes reading more than just that day's section and getting ahead of my schedule.  Which was good - but it took me until about page 300 to really care what happened. 

I think sometimes I would get distracted by the way that Clare wrote.  Maybe I just notices changes of "voice" more because I write, but it seemed to me that she was trying to mix two different eras together - the Victorian and modern - one of which wasn't even the era in which the oldest characters lived.  At one point, she had Jace speaking like Hodge, his mentor/tutor, and it didn't work for Jace.  Jace was always a modern, sarcastic character who was probably the most realistic character to me, and having him speak like he was some Old English professor didn't work.

I also struggled to relate to the main character.  And while I know that it's often hard to relate to characters based on what they're going through, in such a fantastical story I think it is essential that the reader connects to the character through whose eyes we see.  With Clary I felt that she was pretty quick to accept the Shadow World, that she saw things that others didn't, that her mother had been taken by demons, that Jace and his friends fought demons and down worlders.  She seemed quick to learn things, without us really remembering her learning them.  She was just really okay with the whole change, and that kind of bothered me.  She didn't give a reason for her justifying this new world, not even that believing in it could mean saving her mother.  She just kind of went with it like vampires, werewolves, fairies, and the like were completely normal things.  Granted, Clary did get freaked out by some of it, but only when it confronted her.

I also really had a problem with the way this book was spaced.  It all seemed like it took forever for them to accomplish their mission, when it only took two weeks.  The characters hardly slept or ate or took a shower.  Sometimes I felt like it was one thing after another and that I, too, was tired.  They didn't really seem to slow down.  I don't know if that was for the sake of the plot line or what, but it seemed a bit of a stretch for me.  Not to mention that Clary was away from her mother for two weeks and yet she rarely thought about her.  She didn't cry for her, didn't miss her as much as I expected.  She didn't know if her mother was alive or dead and yet she focused on Jace and Simon and other things.  If I were her, I think my attention would have been focused on my mother the whole time.

I was really taken aback by the ending, because at that point I did care about the characters, or at least about what happened to them.  I didn't like the ending at all.  It kind of ruined the whole book for me.  I will admit, this book wasn't as bad as this review makes it sound.  I did laugh a lot while reading it, and I did have times where I didn't want to put it down - but I just wish it hadn't taken me 300 pages to get to that level in our relationship.  I don't see myself reading the next books in this series anytime soon. 

I rate this book a 3/5 stars.  Not the worst book I've ever read, but definitely not one of my favorites.

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