Last night I finished City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. A while ago someone retweeted something by @Cassieclare and I started following her. As an author she interacts with her fans quite a bit via Twitter with fairly regular Q & A sessions. Anyway, I figured I should go ahead and actually read some of her work!
I started with City of Bones which is the first in the Mortal Instruments series. This is a Young Adult novel in the paranormal or supernatural genre (I have no idea if there’s a proper category). The main character is Clary, a 15-year-old girl who lives alone with her mother. One night while out partying she sees people no one else can; the next day, stuff happens & then her mom gets kidnapped. I’m not going to go over the plot for you but the gist is that her mom is a (former) Shadowhunter (i.e. demon hunter) and Clary might be too. Turns out those invisible people she saw were Shadowhunters as well and they might be the ones who can help Clary get her mom back. Things get complicated.
There were a few things I liked about this book. One was the treatment of queerness. I.e. a couple of the minor characters are homosexual and it’s no big deal (well at least not for one of them or for some of the other characters). There is a discussion between a couple of characters on why another is not out, “what’s the big deal?” is essentially Clary’s point. Anyway, I liked how it’s not a big issue in the book but sort of just there like it is in our real lives.
The author is also pretty good at writing dialogue (a point of view shared by someone else I follow in Twitter who happened to be reading the book at the same time as me). The dialogue just fit and in particular Jace (one of the Shadowhunters helping Clary) has some excellent lines. Most of the main characters are teenagers, but that apparently was no hindrance to the author; my adult brain thought she really showed the different personalities of the teens. I definitely had a couple of moments when I thought “yeah, I know what *that* feels like”. Ah, flashbacks to high school (not that there were demons in school, well not literally anyhow). Of course, just like in high school though, I just wasn’t that into the romance bits. It wasn’t a turn off but it’s just not my favourite bit of the book. The ending felt a little weak too, but maybe that’s because it is just the first of a trilogy. If it was a stand alone novel, I would be annoyed since there are at least three issues unresolved that I want to know more about.
I will definitely continue the series though I am not in a huge rush to get to them. I may just wait until I can get a public library card and check them out.