City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published March 27, 2007
When fifteen-year-old Clary witnesses a murder, she is determined to find out what’s happening. Unfortunately, she’s the only person who can see the perpetrators and the victim literally disappeared post-mortem. As she tries to reconcile herself to the strange happenings, she encounters one of the vicious youths again, only to discover that he belongs to an elite and mysterious group called Shadowhunters who protect ordinary mortals (which they call mundies, or mundanes) from demons. What they still aren’t sure about is why Clary can see them.
Before they can figure it out, however, Clary’s mother is kidnapped, and Clary is wounded by a poisonous demon. Jace, Clary’s newfound demon-hunting friend rescues her and brings her back to the Institute. There Clary learns about the history of Shadowhunters and about the ruthless former Shadowhunter who will torture her mother until she reveals the location of the Mortal Cup. The only way to stop him is to find the Cup first, but the location is buried in memories Clary has been forced to forget. Jace and Clary set out in a race to unlock her memories and find the Cup before it’s too late.
In a series opener that’s tough to put down, Clare introduces a hidden world within the familiar landscape of New York City. The story rockets off to a quick start, leaving readers scrambling to turn pages. Snappy dialogue and imaginative creatures spring from nearly every scene. There were a few moments in which characters’ behavior was a little incongruous with the rest of Clare’s descriptions of them, but overall, this is a high-action story of drama and heart worth the time it takes to cross from cover to cover.
Clary battles a strong attraction to the mysterious Jace, and the two share a couple of intense lip-locked moments, but nothing beyond that physically.
Clary and Jace briefly discuss whether Jace believes in God. After all, the existence of Shadowhunters is based on a story involving an angel, and they have been tasked with killing demons. Jace doesn’t think this adds up to the existence of real angels, demons, or God.
One expects a bit of violence in a book about hunting demons, and Clare doesn’t disappoint. Clary and her newfound allies face no shortage of monsters, and a few are not so pretty, but over-all fairly brief in description of their dispatch.
For her birthday, Clary visits a Goth club known for access to drugs and alcohol. She and her best friend Simon do not participate in these activities. At a party filled with supernatural guests, Simon ingests a strange drink with rather catastrophic results.