Book Review for City of Bones

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Year: 2007
Rating: ** 1/2
Format: Listened to audiobook from Audible.com
For: 7th graders and up

Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is just a regular teenager hoping to find a little excitement at an all-ages dance club in New York City.  Instead she witnesses a life-changing incident that looks a lot like a murder, except the victim didn’t die, he exploded and vanished.  The teens at the scene are surprised Clary could even see them.  They’re not regular people, they’re shadow hunters; regular people aren’t supposed to be able to see shadow hunters or the demon they just killed.  So why could Clary see them?

I wanted to read City of Bones because of its controversial history.  The author started out as a fan fiction writer and wrote a popular series of fan fiction stories about the Harry Potter character Draco Malfoy.  City of Bones is a revision of that fan fiction story into something original on its own. It’s quite clear which character in the story is based on Draco, though the rest of the characters bear little resemblance to anyone in the Harry Potter world.

There are some entertaining details and fun soapy elements to the story. Overall though, City of the Bones taught me a lot about writing.  I knew the meaning of derivative– a story that seems a lot like other original stories– but it was only after reading this Harry Potter/Buffy the Vampire Slayer  knock-off that I truly understood what derivative feels like in an actual story. It’s also a good education on how many similes are too many and why a writer shouldn’t rely on adverbs or helping verbs. 

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