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City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments, Book 1 Audible – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 4,072 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 14 hours and 11 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: March 20, 2007
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OXEPWM

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This review was written for my blog, so the hyperlinks and strikethrough text got erased when I posted it here, but I think you get the gist.
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I'm finally getting around to reading Cassandra Clare's City of Bones (first book in the "Mortal Instruments" series) and I have so many conflicted feelings about it, I'm actually having a hard time just reading it. Nevertheless, this post is actually a review of City of Bones. IT HAS SOME SPOILERS. Not that there's much to spoil.

First of all, I've been familiar with Cassandra Clare's work for quite a few years now...of course, what I mean is that like thousands of other people, I knew her from her LOTR and Harry Potter fanfiction days, under the penname "Cassandra Claire." She would probably be the most stellar example of what's known as a BNF, or a Big Name Fan. She wrote the "Very Secret Dairies" for LOTR and the "Draco Trilogy" (Draco Dormiens, Sinister, and Veritas) for Harry Potter. They've been translated into various languages and most likely if you read any Harry Potter fanfiction at all, you've probably heard of Cassandra Clare. Unsurprisingly, there was also some controversy and accusations of plagiarism involved, since she paraphrased or "forgot to cite" a lot of phrases and quotes that she used in her stories, which she'd taken from other famous works/fandoms. You can read all about it at her very own Fanlore page <here>. As I recall, she may or may not have been gifted a laptop by fans when hers was stolen - though this is apparently one of the myths that got deleted off websites like Fanlore.

Anyway, all this is just background context, but it's important context, and you'll see why.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, a word about the rating. This deserves five stars for understanding its audience and delivering exactly what that audience wants to see. This deserves one star for its execution and style. So I gave it three.

Cassandra Clare understands teenagers. She knows what they want: ordinary heroines with a special destiny, attractive, caustic boys with a burning urge to protect said heroines, love triangles, monsters, magic, and so much more. She gets teenagers in a way that few of her YA compatriots do, and for that she deserves all of her success.

As an author, however, she is middling. City of Bones, her first novel, is embarrassingly purple and overlong. It succeeds in understanding its core demographic, in creating an interesting mythology, and in constructing a couple of very memorable characters (Magnus Bane, etc.) It fails in its language, its style, which careens from painfully hipper-than-thou to melodramatic and back again, and its two leads.

Quick word about the story: this is the tale of sixteen year old Clary Fray, an ordinary girl who one night stumbles upon a group of Shadowhunters, demon killers if you will, as they dispatch a hellspawn. Before long, she and her best friend Simon are on the run with the Shadowhunters, including closeted Alec, haughty Isabelle, and the dreamiest dreamboat snarky angel tortured soul Adonis wot is dreamy, Jace. Clary runs around with these folks looking for her kidnapped mother, discovers a world of supernatural creatures and a surprising heritage she never suspected, and engages in a 'love triangle' that holds no tension because we know whom she'll pick. Though there is a nice twist at the end. More on that later.

The good: I felt like a teenager again while reading this.
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Format: Hardcover
In an underage Goth club where kids openly are handing out pills without fear of conveniently missing bouncers, the "shy" fifteen-year-old NYC native Clary charges unarmed and alone into a confrontation where strangers with knives are trying to kill each other, where she intends to stop them by talking them down. Some may call this suicidal; the reader is supposed to see it as heroic. This scene is exemplary of what you're getting into if you pick this book up.

This isn't Clary's first stupid action: she makes a habit of putting herself in harm's way by doing things she has little or no reason to, especially when there's others around telling her to stop. Other characters also do unreasonable things, if only to further the plot. A character is caught hiding in someone's bushes because he decided THEY were suspicious while he was sneaking around their house, but never gives a reason for his initial trespassing. He later drinks a magical potion with unknown effects for no good reason whatsoever, despite having someone who'd know better at his side telling him not to.

The book has no sense of continuity. Characters' eye colors, voices, abilities, and builds change, sometimes within paragraphs of their initial descriptions. (Clary's mother goes from "compact" to "tall and willowy" in paragraphs on page 24; Madame Dorothea's voice goes from familiarly "shrill" to familiarly "gravelly" on page 95; Alec's eyes go from blue to black and back again throughout the course of the book; Isabelle's skin is as "unblemished as the surface of a bowl of cream" on page 58, but all Shadowhunters are later described as covered in scars from their Marks.
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