Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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This is one of the dumbest books I've read in a while.  And that's saying something.

Clary is a normal 15-year-old girl.  Then, one night at a club, she witnesses a murder.  Turns out the murderers are Nephilim or Shadowhunters, and the murderee was a demon.  The Shadowhunters kill demons to save humanity, or mundanes, from their (demons') evil ways.  But mundanes aren't supposed to see Shadowhunters or mundanes, so Clary is obviously not the normal human girl she thought she was.  Then her mom goes missing and Clary discovers a whole mess of stuff as she befriends the trio of Shadowhunters (one of whom bears a striking resemblance to Hayden Christensen) that live in NYC.

After I started reading this book, I found out the author, Cassandra Clare, is famous in certain circles as a fan fiction writer.  Her most well-known work was The Draco Trilogy--which, it turns out, was actually plagarized (side note:  how lame do you have to be to plagarize fan fiction?).  After reading The City of Bones, I have to say I'm not surprised--with the charges of plagarism or with the fact that she wrote fan fiction.  Originality, thy name is not Cassandra Clare.  I don't think I'm giving anything away here, since it's obvious twenty pages into the novel, that the story is a total rip-off of Star Wars and Harry Potter, with a little Buffy the Vampire Slayer thrown in.  And by rip-off I do not mean "inspired by."  All of the plot twists in this book are taken directly from those movies and books, thus making them not very twisty at all.


In addition to being completely derivative, the book has continuity and pacing problems.  There are times when the actions of the characters seem totally random, and at some point there was a paragraph-long description of earl grey tea (because god knows there's a lot of 15-year-old tea afficionados out there--wtf?).  The quality of the writing is also really uneven.

It wasn't all bad.  The book was mostly entertaining, I'll give it that; and the world that Clare creates is definitely one that you feel like you can jump right into (which makes Stephenie Meyer's quote on the cover of this book not only true, but diplomatic--she doesn't say it's a good book, now does she?  Good play, Meyer *golf clap*).  Actually, this book would be totally awesome in manga format.  And my mom liked this book, so someone liked it.  But not me.

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