Wednesday, November 18, 2009

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: March 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover, 485 pages
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Mortal Instruments (Book 1)

What would you do if you witnessed a murder committed by kids no one else could see and the body simply vanishes? Clary Fray has just discovered a world within our own that she didn't know existed. Now she must learn all she can about this world and her place in it, especially since her mother is now missing.

I started out really enjoying City of Bones. Unfortunately, when I was about halfway through I realized how similar the storyline and characters are to some of the Harry Potter books. Once I noticed this similarity I could not help but compare the two series and that resulted in my picking apart City of Bones much more than I normally would have.

Here are just a few of the similarities I noticed:

Main character Clary Fray knows nothing of demons, Shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires or any other fairy creature, although they apparently live alongside us hidden by a glamor. Harry Potter knows nothing of the magical, wizarding world of Hogwarts even though it exists alongside us hidden by a glamor. Both characters also have difficult family histories that they do not fully understand and learning about their family is central to the story lines of the books.

In City of Bones the bad guy, Valentine, has loyal followers, the Circle, and is presumed dead. In the Harry Potter books, Voldemort has loyal followers, the Deatheaters, and is presumed dead.

Even some of the character names in City of Bones reminded me of names in the Harry Potter books. Of course, both series also revolve around children facing dangers and truths that the adults are not willing to face.

I think that I would have enjoyed City of Bones much more if I'd not read the Harry Potter books because then I wouldn't have been constantly comparing them after I first started picking out the similarities. However, I also feel that Cassandra Clare tried to pack a bit too much information into this first book in the series. There were too many subplots and it was easy to get distracted by them.

With all of that said, I do plan to read the next book in the series to see if Clare can take the series in its own direction and tighten up her writing.

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  1. I've been hesitant about picking up this series, but I might soon enough although, like you, I might find myself comparing it too much with HP, which I love :)

  2. I remember finding a lot of similarities with other fantasy series. As far as I know, the author started off as a fanfic writer, so probably the influences remain. It does take a slightly different route in the rest of the books, though.


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