28.141 ratings and an average of 4.16. I can only ask one question: what am I missing? As Jane Austen said, one half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. But now seriously, it can only be explained by age. When I was 16 I was reading Tolstoy and Zola and didn’t even know there was such as genre as fantasy or a whole range of books just targeting young adults. Now, almost the same period of time later, I’m reading the likes of City of Bones and wondering if all the 13.146 people who gave it 5 stars read the same book I did. It wasn’t exactly the worst book of the year since I didn’t give it up, it was just extremely weak and unsatisfying.
I’ve been reading a lot of children’s and YA lately and I think I need to give it a rest for a while. After the RIP Challenge I’ll also take a break from anything supernatural.
Shortly, City of Bones is the first book of the widely popular Mortal Instruments series. It’s about Clary, an apparently normal 15-year-old who started seeing invisible people. Right about that time her mother disappears, seemingly captured by horrific demons. That event triggers Clary’s search for clues about the disappearance, backed-up by a team of Shadowhunters (demon police).
The whole thing felt like a mix and match of all the supernatural and fantastic books and movies you can think of. You got glimpses of Harry Potter, Star Wars (“Luke, I am your father!”), Buffy, Twilight… Sometimes, the similarities are almost to close for comfort: mortal instruments = deathly hallows, mundanes = muggles, girl & boy best friends sleeping together without sleeping together = Dawson’s Creek
And the similes! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many per sentence. Bad ones too (“His voice was as oily as steel greased with butter.”, “She deflated like a balloon pricked with a pin”.) Look at this example:
In the half-light of the big empty rooms they passed through on their way to the roof looked as deserted as stage sets, the white-draped furniture looming up out of the dimness like icebergs through fog.
When Jace opened the greenhouse door, the scent hit Clary, soft as the padded blow of a cat’s paw: the rich dark smell of earth and the stronger, soapy scent of night-blooming flowers–moonflowers, white angel’s trumpet, four-o’clocks–and some she didn’t recognize, like a plant bearing a star-shaped yellow blossom whose petals were medallioned with golden pollen. Through the glass walls of the enclosure she could see the lights of Manhattan burning like cold jewels.
Now a disclaimer: the problem might have been less about the book and more about the audiobook. It was like being trapped inside Clueless. All sentences felt as if they would end with a “As if!” or “Hellouuuu?!”. Maybe Cassandra Clare wanted to go for teen-speak and just pushed it too hard. Or maybe, her vocabulary was just as bad as, like, whatever.