I'm not lying when I said that I was very apprehensive about reading the book City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It seemed to fall too much into the whole supernatural-romance-Twilight genre and I did not, in any way, want to read yet another one of those. I picked it up eventually after much pestering from my friends, and to my great surprise, I loved it.
The City of Bones is a story about a teenage girl named Clary living in Brookland, New York who seems to be an absolutely normal person until she starts seeing things that her best friend, Simon, can’t – specifically, a murder. Her mother disappears, she finds out she isn't human and is instead a Shadowhunter (Nephilim), and life as she knew it completely changes. The book ends with a twist that unless you've seen the movie or someone has spoiled it for you, leaves you sitting there in shock (or in my case, so frustrated to the point where you nearly threw the book at the wall).
Despite the fact that this book uses a fairly overused plot (I'm now starting to see similarities between the plot summary of CoB and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan), it’s well executed. This book follows fairly true to the original myths of creatures (or Downworlders, as they’re called in the books), such as vampires, fairies, and werewolves, a nice change from all these Twilight-esque books that are finally falling out of popularity. Vampires in this series can’t go out in the sun and sleep during the day. Werewolves are made up of those infected with Lycanthropy and they change on the full moon. Fairies aren't the innocent creatures that Disney makes them out to be. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw these details in the book, and so I applaud Cassandra for doing her research.
The thing that struck me the most out of this book was the societal aspect of it. This book was written in 2007, right around the time that people started to get riled up about the fact that gays couldn't get married. This is one of the few books that I've read that actually includes gay characters and I couldn't be happier about this (other books include Harry Potter and Perks of Being a Wallflower). Many authors (not naming any names), are insistent in not including characters that have any differing sexualities, so when I came across the characters Alec and Magnus in this book, to say I was surprised is an understatement. And it isn't just that she included the character in the books, but she also included it as a more major part of the Shadowhunter society (or rather, the way that the Clave was very much against gays). Going back to my original statement of society, Cassandra also created a separate society for the Shadowhunters called the Clave, which plays a huge role in this book. It was a very well thought out idea.
Now onto characterisation. The main character, Clary, is a very round, dynamic character. She starts the book as a girl who loved art and didn't always get along with her mum. She ended the book more independent and with a new perspective of the world around her. The downside is that I have seen this exact character before, both in personality (artistic, sassy, and confused all at the same time), as well as her physical description (ginger hair and green eyes). Besides this, mostly all of the main characters go through a deep change somewhere in this book (or in later books, for the sake of Simon and Alec).
Overall, I'd give the book a 4 out of 5 rating. I like the way it was written and I love the characters. The reason why I won't give it a 5 is because I have seen similar characters and a similar plot line before. If it had been just a bit more original, it would have been even better.