City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) – Cassandra Clare

To be honest, for a long time I’ve been trying to avoid popular Young Adult books, and especially series and then in partical series that aren’t finished. I read Harry Potter, which I start just before The Goblet of Fire came out, and loved it. I read Twilight, after all of them were released, and I was disappointed. And I picked up The Hunger games, again after all books were released, and really liked them (except for the ending). However, with all kinds of YA series going around, being popular and being made into movies I was hesitant to start *another* YA series which has magic, vampires and paranormal stuff in it. But after recommendations of both a friend of my sister and from people on my ebook forum and a need to read something quick and easy (not meant as a negative!) I caved and got the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, and I’m glad I did.

City of Bones tells the story of Clary, who lives in New York with her mother, her father having died in a car crash when she was young. Clary’s only real friend is Simon, a nerd and novel starts when they are going to a club (which Simon of course hates but goes along because Clary likes it). There Clary sees a group of three young people lure another boy into a maintenance room and kill him. It turns out that the victim was a demon and the three murders are demon hunters, or a Shadowhunter. A couple of days later one of the three, Jace, catches up with Clary and when she receives a call from her mother, who is obviously being attacked and tells her not to come home, takes her with him to the Instute after he finds her, hurt, in her apartment after she did go home and was attacked by a demon. The Institute is one of several scattered around the world where Shadowhunters can go and the one in New York is ran by the parents of the other two Shadowhunters, Isabelle and Alec who also live there.

It turns out that a bad Shadowhunter, Valentine, isn’t dead. Fifteen years earlier he almost destroyed the Shadowhunters and thought to have commited suicide. Clary’s mum, who is kidnapped by Valentine, turns out to be a Shadowhunter gone into hiding and has taken with her and hid the Mortal Cup, which can turn normal humans in Shadowhunters, from Valentine who wanted to create and army with it. With the help of not only the three young Shadowhunter but also Simon Clary is on a mission not only to find and rescue her mother but also to retrieve the Mortal Cup and bring it to safety.

Of course there are a lot of elements that you can find in Harry Potter and many other YA novels; a teenager that never felt to fit in with her peers turns out to be special, the quest for an important and dangerous artifact, the return of a Big Baddy thought to have died after trying to destroy his society, the Big Baddy wanting a “pure”  society and not to forget betrayal and the importance of friendship.

That said, it was a quick and very entertaining read. Whilst reading I thought, occasionally, about the similarities between this book and the Harry Potter series but it didn’t really bother me. The book had a good pace, with a lot of action, and during the more introspective moment I did want to smack Cary in the head at times (how can she be so blind?!). It certainly isn’t the best book, or even YA book I’ve read, but it does what I like in books: entertain. It’s a nice and easy summer read in my opinion. Hopefully the next books won’t disappoint.

The film of this book is released in cinema on the 22nd of August in the Netherlands, the trailer looking promising.