Going to a party can often change your life. You may find
someone to fall in love with, someone to fall out of love
with, what you don't usually expect is to discover something
which puts everything you thought you knew about yourself
in doubt. When Clary finds herself at Pandemonium, it's just
another night, another night of teenage fights with her mother,
of wrestling with the mating habits of your peers, that is
until Clary witnesses a murder. But this is no ordinary murder,
the corpse vanishes and it appears that only Clary can see
City of Bones is the first novel in a trilogy by Cassandra
Clare. It is an urban gothic horror story, which delivers
chills and spills but little in the way of actual horror.
There's nothing wrong with this as the book is marketed for
twelve and above, so what actual horror there exists is placed
at a level perfect for this age group.
read the whole four hundred and forty-four pages in a couple
of nights, which for me is a general indication that the story
had me hooked. At the end all I wanted to do was pick up the
next in the series, City of Ashes but sadly I discovered
that it doesn't even come out until next year (2008). Personally
I feel that an author who writes such narrative has a duty
to her readership and should refuse all offers of a personal
life and be chained to their typewriter.
The structure behind the story is the usual one of a child
who, with the help of various agencies, discovers that they
have both power and a destiny. Nothing particularly new there,
but stories are like jokes, it's the way you tell them that
matters. Written with a clarity of style and a pace, that
barely allows you to catch your breath, this is not an author
who is talking down to her audience - in fact Clare has delivered
a book that should appeal to all ages, regardless of the fact
that her main protagonists are teenagers. Other authors who
purport to write for this age group would do well in picking
up a copy of the book to see how it's really done.
One of the things which I had to disagree with was the publicity
blurb on the back cover, which was trying to sell the book
as Buffy for a new generation. No offence to Joss Whedon,
great write that he is, but I thought that the mythic world
that Clare creates was potentially much richer than that.
Certainly on the surface there are similarities, both follow
beings that fight demons, and the book contains werewolves,
magic and vampires, but rather than a vanilla look at good
and evil Clare has produced something more akin to a Lukyanenko
book for teenagers, which is no mean feat considering the
popularity of the Night Watch books.
has produced characters which are both strong and flawed,
allowing for shifting allegiances and a hell of a narrative.
For a little less than eight quid, there are few better ways
of spending your time. If you feel this might be a guilty
pleasure then do a Harry Potter if you like, buy it
for the kids but don't forget to steal it for a read.