As I’ve often stated on this blog, I have a weakness for great covers. They’re often the first selling point for me when it nterscomes to books, which is why it should come as no surprise that I picked up this book when I saw the striking cover at the bookstore. What captured me most were the markings on the male’s body. I have a ‘thing’ for markings, as anyone who’s read my book, Zerah’s Chosen, knows (mini-plug!).
The storyline was simple enough: when Clary Fray witnesses a punkish blue haired boy get murdered by three teens (who have weird silver markings and fight as comfortably as they breathe), she is hurled into the world of the Shadowhunters, which oddly enough are called Nephilim. Now, this book seems to be a down is up kind of book, because according to the Bible, the Nephilim were human/angel hybrids who wreaked havoc and caused terrible violence in the world, while in Clare’s world, they’re the heroes, saving the world from ‘demons’. These demons are from another dimension and occassionally form human crossbreeds that live as vampires, werewolves, and other magical supernatural creatures.
There were some things I feel Clare really got right. The mythology she created is fascinating. In particular the very memorable Silent Brothers, the visual of the City of Bones being below a populated metropolis like Manhattan, and the history of the war and the mortal instruments. It made for interesting reading and made the world feel pre-existent, rather than it all suddenly starting with the heroine’s discovery of her Sight. Clary’s best friend, Simon, was also a wonderful anchor to reality amidst all the new paranormality. He made me smile and he melted my heart a few times. His loyalty to her made him a very sympathetic character. And Jace, despite being unnecessarily obnoxious most times, had great chemistry with Clary, so the tension kept me reading.
Despite these pluses, the book suffered from one very MAJOR minus. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it is, as it’s a huge spoiler of the ending. Ha ha. Terrible, aren’t I? I’ll just tell you this: I became invested in the story, started to cheer on the characters, and then was so blindsided (and not in a “wow, that’s clever” way) that I actually ended up giving away the book. I still haven’t been able to pick up any of the sequels. While it might have been about a B+ before the ending, it turned into a C-.
Harsh? Maybe. But I don’t seem to be the only person who feels this way. In fact, from the reviews on Goodreads, this is one of those love or hate books. No real inbetweens. From what I understand, Clare borrowed heavily from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and pulled lines from some of her old Harry Potter fanfiction, which has pissed off LOTS of people. But you know what? You can’t go by other people’s reviews. In the end, you have to read for yourself.