DNF: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title:  City of Bones
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Series:  The Mortal Instruments #1
Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
Publication Date:  March 27, 2007
Pages:  485
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy, Paranormal

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .(Cover and synopsis from Goodreads)

Okay, so I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for this review because tons of my friends LOVE City of Bones and I wanted to throw it a lot of the time. But wait, first, before you start getting all worked up, let me just say that I really tried to go into this book as unbiased as possible.  I had heard the stories about Cassandra Clare’s fan fiction and supposed plagiarism and I won’t even go into that.  That, to me, is all hearsay.  I wasn’t there, I didn’t see it happen or know about it at the time, so I can not for sure say if it indeed happened or not.

HOWEVER, I did hear that the first three books in The Mortal Instruments series were A LOT like her fan fiction Draco Trilogy.  I myself never read that trilogy but I did read that people who read (and loved!) that trilogy read The Mortal Instruments and said that it was really the same story.  SO.  That being said, it does kind of back up my feelings on the story, but once again, I very much went into this story with as little bias as possible.  I wanted to like this series.  I wanted to love it!  I wanted to go with my friends to the movie on the opening weekend and get wrapped up in the world.  Alas, I didn’t even get through the whole book.

So, because I didn’t finish the book (I got to page 294–over half!), I won’t rate it.  I just don’t do that.  I feel like if I don’t finish a book, I can’t rate it. There are things that I didn’t read that might change that rating!  But with these DNF reviews I like to at least let you know why I didn’t finish the book. So here are some of those reasons:

  • The writing style.  Too many similes.  I am not the most wonderful writer in the world but I’m a stickler for similes.  A well-crafted simile is hard and can be very beautiful, but most similes are dull to me.
  • A lot of the story was pretty obvious.  There were “reveals” at the end of chapters that I saw coming from the get-go.
  • I really just didn’t like a lot of the characters.  Clary was rude and quite dumb a lot of the time. (Hello! You go over to your mom’s best friend’s house to find out information about your missing mom, and you hear the friend and some guys talking about a woman with your mom’s name and you think, “Can they be talking about my mother?” YES. YES THEY ARE. Things like this happened A LOT.)  And Jace.  Oh, Jace.  Clary calls him “charming” but I just found him conceited and obnoxious.  I did like Simon, but he wasn’t in much of the half of the book that I read.
  • There was a lot of repetition, redundancies, inconsistencies and contradictions.
  • In a lot of the dire situations that they got themselves into in the parts that I read, Clary and Jace would kind of stop and have these little banter moments.  I’m like, “DUDE! Shut up and get the hell out of there!”

And the #1 reason I had to stop reading this book:  All the similarities between this book and the Harry Potter series.  Now I know there are plenty of people out there who disagree, and I DID go into this book treating it as its own story.  And yes, it does have its own story.  But there were waaayyy too many similarities, and it just got to be too much.  Out of the 294 pages that I read, I wrote down 23 different things that were very similar to Harry Potter scenes, characters, etc.  23!  That’s too much for me.  And I wasn’t looking for them.  They were just so similar that they jumped out at me.

So, yes, I know there is a lot of controversy around this series and this author, and I want to avoid all that.  I’m not accusing Cassandra Clare of plagiarism.  I’m NOT.  But there are still too many similarities for me to enjoy this book.  But be sure to check out the other reviews that I’ve listed below; they all enjoyed City of Bones!
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Simon & Schuster

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.


  1. fakesteph

    August 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    I think I missed the plagerism scandal. I read this back before the trilogy was completed, way back before there were infernal devices. I really loved it, although I couldn't get into book 4. I want to go back and finish the series.

  2. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    August 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I think that if I were to read this series now, it's be a dnf for me too. I really want that list of 23!

  3. Jessie Marie

    August 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Maybe I'm oblivious but I didn't catch the HP similarities from this. I mean, I didn't love this book like the world seems to, either, but I didn't like it for a bunch of reasons, most of which I can't exactly coherently describe. The ending pissed me off, but obviously, we can't talk about that. : ) At any rate, sorry you didn't like this but I commend you for scratching it in lieu of some better options.

  4. Jillyn

    August 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I agree there were a lot of similarities to HP and in my opinion, Star Wars. I actually enjoyed it though, despite the rampant similarities. I'm sorry to here that you didn't like it :)

  5. Bittner

    September 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Well, we've already talked about all this so I don't have much to write here. But I was just going to say that your post was written very well. I know that these kinds of post can be tricky especially if you are trying to avoid bringing up past controversies…job well done!

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