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. 

April 2007: InBrief

Hightlights:

NYC Trip

The magic of allergy season: 30 fun-filled days of ear pain and headaches.

Field Trip to the Capital with the daughterling’s class

Took a 5-week Intro to Modern Dance Class.

 

Books Finished:

***    Forever in Blue, The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood, by Ann Brashares

***   Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality, by Jared Diamond

 

Veronica Mars Fanfic Read:

****    Standing by the Ocean’s Roar (Remix)

****    The Beach, Boys

****    Nightfall

***      The Date (Death By Chocolate Remix)

***      Written Out

 

Movies Seen:

***      Cote D’Azur

****    Departed

 

Music I Listened To:

Wicked

 

Sub Jobs:

April 11- Sub Day Sampler

 

TV Watched:

****    Friday Night Lights- Please let this show be renewed!

***      Gilmore Girls

***      Heroes

**        Gonzales Hearings- Okay, they’re no longer fun to watch.  I can only hear “I don’t recall” so many times. Now that Peter Gabriel tune plays continuously in my head and it won’t stop.

 

October 2006 InBrief

Quote of the Month:

 “You’re a very nice person when you’re not being stupid and annoying.”  

-Some very nice teen I live with when he’s not…

 

Outings: SCBWI DC conference

 

Books Finished:

***      Lion Boy: The Chase, by Zizou Corder

****   German Boy, by Wolfgang W.E. Samuel

 

Fanfic Read:

****    Neptune Navigator Online– Just the fix I need on Mondays

****    Holding the Curve – (reread parts) one of the best Logan-Veronica fanfics to feed romantic cravings

****    Fish Out of Water – (reread parts) one of the best fanfics to feed your season 1 Logan cravings (with some gothic horror mixed in)

 

Movies Seen:

None – too much good TV on right now


Music I Listened To:

Straight Outta Lynwood, by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Folklore, Loose, and Whoa, Nelly!, by Nelly Furtado

 

Sub Jobs:

2 ½ days in two different second grades

1 day in first grade

1 day substitute sampler (2 hours each in: 1st, Kindergarten, 2nd)

 

Favorite TV:

****    Supernatural– This show keeps getting better and better. Who would ever think I’d say that about a horror show?

****    Battlestar Galactica– Awesomely dark this season

****    Friday Night Lights – I love this show.  It’s realistic, moody, sweet, and has me cheering for the football team while at the same time thinking, “This town really needs to get a life.” 

*** ½  Veronica Mars – No, it’s not up to season two quality, let alone season one quality, but they have to deal with a new network, new setting, new characters, and the fact that they only have most of their actors for only 16 out of 22 episodes, so I’m patiently waiting for the story to build to something like my old show.

***     Gilmore Girls– I know I’m in the minority but I never bought Lorelai and Luke as a couple and I like her with Chris.  * Ducks *

September 2006: InBrief

Quote of the Month:

“There are murderous murders out there, with nothing but murder on their minds, and they’ll stop at nothing—even mur-der.” John Oliver on the Daily Show 9-11-06

Highlights: School’s started.  I have time to write.  The fall TV season is starting and I’ve been healthy all month. Wow.

[sings] It’s the most wonderful time of the year. [/sings]

Books Finished:

Looking for Alaska, by John Green ****

Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, by Amy Sutherland ***

Fanfic Read:

Neptune Navigator Online ****

Movies Seen:

Rent (on DVD) ****
The Motorcycle Diaries (on DVD) **

Music I Listened To:

Rent CD (movie version)  ****

Sub Jobs: 

2 half days in the same kindergarten class ****

TV Watched:

Battlestar Galatica (last half of season 2) ****

Bones (new season) ***

Colbert Report ****

Daily Show ****

Gilmore Girls (season premiere) ****

How I Met Your Mother (new season) **

Scrubs (finished the last of the Tivoed episodes from last season) ***

Supernatural (season premiere) ****

Veronica Mars (rewatched parts of season 2 episodes) ****

 

July & August 2006: In Brief

Movies Seen:

An Inconvenient Truth

Pirates of the Caribbean II

Serenity (on cable)

Books Finished:

The Wing and the Wall, by Laura Ruby

The Midwife’s Tale, by Gretchen Moran Laskas

Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar

Still Reading:

American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips


Fanfic Read: 
None

TV I Enjoyed:

Battlestar Galactica (season 1 and mid-season 2)- I’m completely addicted to this show.

Buffy (seasons 2 & 3 dubbed French with English subtitles – otherwise I don’t get all the jokes)

Scrubs

Supernatural

Entourage

The “L” Word– Pretty much your typical soap except most everyone’s gay, as entertaining as most soaps but nothing special. 

Music I Listened To:   

O.C. Mix 5

Sub Jobs: 

None, it’s summer

Other Highlights:  
-Blasted returning ear and sinus infections with meds again.  I seem to be fine now.  Think I just need to stay on allergies medicine forever.

 
-Went to the MD/DE/WV SCBWI conference (local children’s writer’s conf.)

Vacations:

Weekend in Atlanta w/ the kids- saw the brand new Georgia Aquarium, the Stone Mountain laser show, the Olympic Fountain, and hung out with my sister and her family.

Week in Washington State w/ Martin and the kids– saw Orcas on a whale-watching cruise, went kayaking, walked around Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park, visited the Music Experience Museum in Seattle, saw my cousin and her family at the International Fountain—coolest fountain ever—and got the full guided tour of the Olympic Peninsula from my other sister and her family. Washington State goes on my list of “Places I might like to live some day” – along with Los Angeles – pretty scenery and laid-back feel. 

June 2006: In Brief

“Rabbit, Rabbit” Details: My head was so filled with mucus that I’m not even sure.

 

Movies Seen: None.  At some point I’m going to see An Inconvenient Truth.  No really; I am.


Books Finished:

Lion Boy, by Zizou Corder

The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco, by Janice Repka

 

Books Still Reading:

American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips

Moon Handbooks Guide to Washington State

Techniques of the Selling Writer, by Dwight V. Swain (rereading this one)

 

Fanfic Read: none

 

TV I Enjoyed: 
Supernatural– I don’t usually like horror but the two guys in this show are so very, very cute, they’re converting me.

 

Battlestar Galatica (the new version -the mini series and first part of season 1) – Wow! This is every bit as good as I’d read about.  My new addiction.

 

Le Journal– I found this French news show (with English subtitles) on some obscure channel.  It’s fun to see how much I understand and to see the news from another country’s perspective.  They even got me following the World Cup now. Heh.

 

Plaza Sesamo

Firefly (rewatched all 13 episodes)

Scrubs (still catching up on this past season)

 

 

Music I Listened To: Really need some new music 

 

Sub Jobs:  1st grade class

 

Other Highlights:  Sick with an incredibly annoying sinus/ear infection that zapped every ounce of energy and happiness from my system for the first half of the month.  I finally broke down and took antibiotics, steroids, and decongestants for a couple weeks. Then came the week of miracles:  “Look!  I can make my bed.  It’s a miracle!  I can read books!  It’s a miracle.  I can breath!  It’s a miracle.  I can cook.  It’s a miracle!”  Sadly I’m back to the status quo and just making my bed doesn’t seem nearly as miraculous as it used to. Sigh.

 

 

May 2006: In Brief

“Rabbit, Rabbit” Details: 
I taped a note to my alarm clock, said “Rabbit, Rabbit”, and wished that I would write.  Did it work?  Well, sort of.  I made a bunch of notes on a story I’m going to revise, wrote a crappy 14 page summary of my New York trip that I need to reduce to 4 decent pages, and wrote a crappy short story.  Crappy writing is better than no writing. I’ll consider the wish granted.

 

Movies Seen: 
none.  I should get out more.

 
Books Read:

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Empress of the World, by Sarah Ryan

 

Fanfic Read:

Neptune Navigator Online – Fun and well written

 Excerpts from Logan’s Feelings Journal– Fun distraction therapy

 

TV I Enjoyed:

Veronica Mars: Although I thought there was a big plot hole in the murder mystery this season, the characters and emotional stuff were so strong I’m willing to pretend I didn’t notice.  Never thought I’d feel sorry for a murderer.

 

Daily Show: Excellent therapy.

 

Colbert Report:  Truthiness cracks me up.

 

Supernatural: Just started watching this series.  It’s scary, but growing on me.

 

The L-Word: Just started watching this on Netflix. The pilot was very pretty porn.  Luckily, the characters and plots are slowly developing and it seems worth watching, except the plot with Jenny makes me want to pull my hair out. 

 

Big Love: I started watching because of all the crossover between actors from Veronica Mars but kept watching because the characters are interesting and layered.  I like how I’m actually rooting for all the wives to stay together. Never thought that would happen.

TV I Watched:

Alias:  Jack and Sloane’s ending was perfect.  Irina’s end fell flat for me.

 

Gilmore Girls: liked some of the finale, but unsure about the turn the Luke-Lorelei story is taking.

 

Lost: We got answers!  Yay!  Too bad I could care less if any of these characters live or die.

 

Grey’s Anatomy: mighty entertaining for a good chunk of the second season until the writers seemed hell bent on destroying each and every character I liked. Anything I liked about them? Gone. Then they gave me the hope that Meredith could actually learn something and slapped my face with that hope.

Music I Listened To: 
The O.C. Mixed Tape 2

 

Fun Things I Did:

Does distracting myself from allergies count?  I spent most of this month reading or watching TV, trying make my body forget it felt like crap.  It worked mostly.  TV is the best drug ever. (When used in carefully controlled hourly doses.)


 Sub Jobs:

Day in first and second grade classes.

Day in kindergarten.

 

Word of the Month: Crappy.  For some reason I love this word.