City of Bones — Cassandra Clare
With the movie coming out next year, I finally decided to plunge headfirst into the Mortal Instruments craze. Being my cynical self, I was hesitant at first to join the solid-rock bandwagon it has already created. Teeming with all the urban legends one could think of, forcibly thrown into the story line, and with the additional encouragements from Goodreads friends that praised the said book, I was ultimately convinced and eventually embraced the steamy premise of the City of Bones with open arms.
The story opens up when Clary saw a good-looking, blue-haired boy get killed by a bunch of unusual teenagers and the sudden disappearance of her mother. These mysterious occurrences has drawn her to the somewhat ludicrous-to-be-real world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders—to name a few—and especially the arrogant, vain persona of an enigmatic Shadowhunter, Jace.
Just like the majority of YA fantasy novels, City of Bones‘ idea was evidently plucked from a myriad of urban fantasy sources. Not only did it spur from various roots, but collectively mingled to fabricate a widely jam-packed plot characterization. Vampires, werewolves, Nephils, faeries, demons, angels—name it—you can find them all here. Every page, in addition, brims with never-ending action and promises breathtaking possibilities. Skipping a single page means missing out on huge chunks of the story as well as alienating yourself with the genuine picture of the world-building so vividly portrayed. The idea of weaving all sorts of supernatural creatures was pretty interesting and definitely knocks on every readers locked curiosity.
That pretty sums up why the City of Bones has already accumulated an amassing number of fans from every corner of the world. However, just like every literary work, being spared from the lavish world of criticisms is an impossible undertaking.
Before the debut of her first novel, Cassandra Clare was already making a name within the confines of the internet with her famous fan fiction works The Draco Trilogy based from the Harry Potter series and The Very Secret Diaries based from The Lord of The Rings. She was actually Holly Black‘s reading buddy back in college (correct me if I’m wrong), the author of the Curse Workers series, which I admittedly haven’t read yet. So anyways, people are saying that almost everything in the City of Bones were taken from her Draco Trilogy, but not in the same league of brilliancy. But, can an author even plagiarize her own work? Or do you call that inspiration?
Indeed, though the City of Bones is a riveting example of a literary work, one cannot simply praise its exuberance without noting its downfalls. In my case, I cannot compare it to her fan fiction because I haven’t read them yet. However, I’ve observed quite a few ideas from the City of Bones apparently copied from a wide array of notable works. I’ll just cite a few here so as not to discourage you from reading it. *winks*
1. Love interest within siblings. Yep. Just like in Star Wars.
2. Harry Potter-esque. Triumvirate. Distinctive term for humans. The good-turned-evil villain. Magical portals. Wand/stele.
3. Just like every YA novel. Perfect-looking guy. Hero. Pretty girl but unaware of it. Damsel in distress.
The bottom line? I did enjoy reading the City of Bones. It was truly special in a way and definitely satisfies a fantasy buff’s need for something different, something worth gasping for, and something fascinatingly-driven. Despite some of its unappealing elements, it was still worth the read, especially in line with the movie adaptation coming up in a few month’s time.