Yes, after countless people have recommended The Mortal Instruments to me, I finally got around to reading City of Bones.
And it's pretty fantastic. It's one of those books where I could say I like the story better than the writing style, but the story is good enough to kind of overshadow most of the issues I have with the writing (ie. the slightly irritating overuse of the word "glitter"). And in the first few chapters I started to worry that the interesting story would be ruined by a love triangle (I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES), but then the end... it became very uncomfortable while at the same time being a huge relief. But it was only uncomfortable because of how uncomfortable it was for the characters--in other words, Cassandra Clare is one of those authors who are quite good at making the reader feel what the characters are feeling.
My favourite characters are Luke and Simon, and my favourite part was definitely when Simon appeared to save the day. I was a little bit annoyed with Clary from the start; she's got a bit of a damsel-in-distress quality about her which can be bothersome, but I think I warmed up to her as a protagonist by the end.
The whole last few chapters were brilliant from a storytelling point of view. As well as being a page-turner. I gained an... appreciation... for all of the characters by the end, and it makes me willing to read the next one.
I guess my feelings about this book can basically be summed in how I feel about continuing the series: I'm willing--I'm interested--in reading the rest of the series. But at the same time, I'm not desperately in need of it, or hankering to know what happens next, as in, say, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Chaos Walking, and others... I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY.
So I'll just shut up and quote you some lovely quotes I bookmarked...
"Clary, you're an artist, like your mother. That means you see the world in ways that other people don't. It's your gift, to see the beauty and the horror in ordinary things. It doesn't make you crazy--just different. There's nothing wrong with being different." --pg. 23
"If you were half as funny as you thought you were, my boy, you'd be twice as funny as you are." --pg. 102
"If there was such a thing as terminal literalism, you'd have died in childhood." --pg. 232
She felt as if her life had been built on a sheet of ice as thin as paper, and now the ice was beginning to crack, threatening to plunge her into the icy darkness below. Down into the dark water, she thought, where all her mother's secrets drifted in the currents, the forgotten remains of a shipwrecked life. --pg. 403
You know what I think part of the reason is that I say I have a problem with the writing style? I think my perception is being influenced by my creative writing class--and while that is a good thing in some ways, it can be unfortunate in times like these, when I read a book that I know I would have loved before noticing little imperfections like telling-rather-than-showing and occasional copious adjectives. There are moments in this book where the writing is stunning, and surprising, and entertaining, but then there are other moments that take me out of the story and into the frame of mind I use when we do class critiques--WHICH IS NOT A FRAME OF MIND I WANT TO BE IN WHEN I'M READING FOR PLEASURE, but I can't get out of it when certain things pop up. Does that even make sense?
I guess I can just hope that either a) the other books in the series have more of those stunning-surprising-entertaining moments than the distraction-from-the-story moments, or b) I figure out some way of shutting down my critical mind while reading...
All of this is just me being my weird self though, so ignore it! If you like urban fantasies with realistic and full characters in a complex and beautiful world, read it! I forgot the other thing I was going to mention--one of the things I really like about this book is the moral ambiguity... it reminds me--vaguely, but somewhat--of The Farsala Trilogy, only in the sense that I sometimes found myself unable to choose a side: we are presented with the flaws of both sides, as well as the motivation behind and justification of what they're doing (sidenote--I just typed "motification" by accident), and then we can choose for ourselves whether we agree with the main characters or their enemies, or neither. Often I find myself disagreeing with both sides, and I feel like that might be what Clary and the others really feel as well... the Clave or the Circle? What about neither? I think I've rambled enough.
[ENDNOTE: Can I just point out how COMPLETELY FREAKING ANNOYING IT IS to see Stephanie Meyer's name and floofy-blah comment on the front cover of a book that deserves to be promoted by someone who can actually WRITE?? I'm glad I read the book despite the cover, because seeing that often makes me NOT want to read it at all.]
[ENDNOTE 2: "floofy-blah" is a term, recently coined by yours-truly, which refers to gag-worthy writing, especially writing that uses a lot of flowery words but doesn't actually say anything, let alone anything interesting or significant.]
[ENDNOTE 3: I just realized that I may seem very bitter to you today. Perhaps I am in a mood. I apologize for that.]
I JUST NOTICED THAT THE IMAGE I JUST FOUND HAS A QUOTE FROM HOLLY BLACK ON THE FRONT INSTEAD OF STEPHANIE MEYER. That's it, when I decide to add this series to my library, I am definitely looking for this version.