13 January 2011
Books 5 & 6: City of Bones (and Ashes)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse / 2008
Date Finished: 11 and 12 January 2011
Source/Format: Swap / Print
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Challenges: TBR Dare, Steampunk Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge, GLBT(Q) Challenge, 101 Fantasy Reading
The Short and Sweet of It
Clary finds herself immersed in a world of Shadowhunters, demons, vampires, werewolves, and one really evil dude after following a hot boy into a deserted room. Soon she is flying around the city, getting into fights with supernatural creatures, trying to thwart said evil dude, and flirting with a totally different hot boy. Hooked. Like a shark after chum, I devoured these two books and have already weaseled my way into getting the third.
A Bit of a Ramble
Why, oh why, have I put off reading this series for so long? The first two books have been languishing on my shelves, and I have ignorantly ignored them. Then, in a spurt of spontaneous reading, I picked up City of Bones. And read the whole thing plus over half of the second book in one night. I read for like five hours straight. It was awesome.
The lead character, Clary, may be one of my favorite teen heroines in quite some time. Heather from Book Addiction said it best when she wrote: "I thought she was a bad-ass heroine, very strong and intelligent and also very teenager-like, which is perfectly okay for a teenager". While I didn't love Clary as I found some of her blindness and choices frustrating, I realized that this obliviousness and those strange decisions were perfectly appropriate for a teenager. She was refreshingly young adultish.
The world building is excellently done in my opinion with the perfect amount of "Let Me Tell You a Story" moments where a character tells a story about the past to another character in order to get back story in. This tactic can be heavily abused, but in these first two Mortal Instruments books readers primarily get the history through current events and brief references in dialogue. I much prefer this method as too much character storytelling (aka jabbering) interrupts the flow of the narrative. And it can sound like a List of Things Readers Need to Know which is very blah.
I try to steer clear of the Harry Potter fault-finding mission that seems to pervade YAL these days. It seems that everywhere I turn people are saying that some author ripped material from the HP series. Any similarity is seen as some sort of criminal activity by the author. When I read Harry Potter, I do not see a purely original work with no influence from other SFF novels. And I don't mind. As such, when an author writes a story that seems influenced by HP, I don't mind. The natural flow of ideas and progression of common tropes and themes and situations and characters is just a part of literature. I did, however, have a momentary "Where's Harry? Oh, there he is" moment while reading. Instead of discussing it though, I am just going to point you to Clare's review at The Literary Omnivore as she has done a good job of pointing out some of the sameness.
Overall, the books impressed me with there adherence to some of the conventions I adore in my YAL: badassery, supernatural beings, steamy love, etc. But as Carrie from Books and Movies says, "it’s always a nice surprise to read a fantasy that is more richly imagined and intricately drawn" than the typical. And I did feel that the world created in this series is 'richly imagined and intricately drawn'; this is the type of story I want to bleed into, a world I want to live in (well, in my mind at least...I mean, it's really nice not having anyone out there who wants to kill me...).
Question: I hear there is to be a fourth book in the series, an unexpected fourth book. How do you guys feel about the random inclusion of an extra installment after a series has wrapped up? And I totally did not mean for that to come out in such an obviously biased way.... I really haven't solidified my thoughts on the issue yet I swear!