Before I begin my rant/review of City of Bones, I would like to share the blurb that's on the cover of my edition of City of Bones:
"The Mortal Instruments series is a story world I would love to live in. Beautiful!" Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight.
This brings me to my first writer's tip:
Writer Tip #1:
NEVER, for any reason, allow Stephenie Meyer to be involved with any portion of your novel.
Reading CoB is like losing your virginity to a 55-year-old hooker. At first, you enjoyed the experience, you paid your money, and then you go about your day. But then the shame kicks in and you regret the entire thing.
I'm not saying that Cassandra Clare shouldn't write (although, having read CoFA, she really shouldn't). I'm just saying that her book sucks.
I've divided my review into the five biggest problems I have with CoB: The I-Don't-Give-A-$#!+ Problem, Jace and Clary, Harry Potter, Incest, and Other.
1) The I-Don't-Give-A-$#!+ Problem
Let me start this off by saying one thing: I don't give a $#!+ about anything in this book. The characters, the plot, the world, anything (except for Alec). What happens in CoB is: Clary's mom is kidnapped by some evil dude named Valentine, Jace acts like an a-hole, Clary and the Shadowhunters have to find her, Jace and Clary are in love, Jace is an a-hole, they find Valentine, Valentine is Jace and Clary's dad, and Jace is an a-hole.
Apparently, Valentine wants to kill all downworlders and mess up the Clave. Make me care, Clare. I'm not all that upset that some guy wants to kill the downworlders when you haven't made the downworlders actual people/characters as opposed to just some group that Valentine wants dead. Make me care. Also, Valentine is a pretty pathetic villain. He just seems like a little kid who didn't get his way and is throwing a little tantrum.
Also, are we really supposed to support the main characters? One, they're a-holes. Two, the ones that aren't a-holes are dull. Plus, they are just as evil as Valentine when it comes to downworlders. I know you want to make a world with gray morality, Cassandra Clare. But you fail. And for one very important reason: We have to care about your characters if you want a Gray vs. Grey type of book.
One of the biggest victims is the Clave. Clare wants us to think the Clave is really a good group of people in need of change. The only problem is we aren't introduced to any people in the Clave who aren't dicks. So how are we supposed to see them as anything other than dicks?
Writer Tip # 2 and 3
1)Make sure your readers actually care about what goes on in your novel.
2) When making a Gray vs. Grey world, develop your characters. Actually, develop your characters regardless of the type of book you're writing.
2) Jace and Clary
Yes, these two get their own section of hate. And hate them I do. I'll start with Jace.
Jace is an a-hole. He insults Simon and Clary; He's too snarky; He tries to be this deep guy (what depth?)He is the worst type of character ever written. Jace Wayland/Morgentstern/Herondale/Lightwood, whatever the @&*% his name is, is what I call the Angsty-Hot-Guy-With-A-Dark-Past-Who's-Hiding-A-Deep-Side. Why are these the only type of love interests female YA authors can write? For some reason, the heroine can't help but fall in love with him even though he treats her like crap. The worst part is the fact that very often, the heroine has the chance to choose a nice guy who isn't an a-hole.
Not only do I hate them because the heroine always falls in love with them, but they play into the stereotype of guys with tragic pasts. Not all guy with TP's are AH's. Like Yuki Sohma from Fruits Basket: nice, polite, would never treat Clary or Simon the way Jace does.
And what about poor Simon himself? His dad dies, he gets turned into a vampire, and worst of all, his best friend is Clary. Why can't Clary love Simon?
Which brings me to Clarissa (Clary) Fray/Morgenstern. Clarissa, explain to me why you're so useless. I'm not saying this because I hate her. I'm saying this because she serves little to no purpose in this story. If you take her out of this book, the same stuff will still happen. Instead of having to find Clary's mother, the Shadowhunters just need to find Valentine's missing wife. Everything happens all the same, with a few changes.
Writer Tip #4
When writing a novel that features multiple viewpoints, be careful because you run the risk of a few of those viewpoints being thought of as useless. This is due to the fact that you are showing the reader that the story can be told by different people, unlike with a single viewpoint character. With SVPC, it is their story and no one else can tell that particular story.
Clary's problem is that she's supposed to be one of the main characters. If she were a secondary character I wouldn't have as much of a problem with her.
Another Clary problem: She is dumb. Lifetime-Movie-of-the-Week-Heroine dumb. At the beginning of CoB, Clary sees a group of kids kill another kid. What does she do? She jumps out and tells them it's wrong to kill someone. Fortunately for her, they're the Shadowhunters and they let her live. Who sees someone kill another person and then jumps out and tells them it's wrong?
3) Harry Potter
Clave=Order of the Phoenix
And so on. Cassandra Clare, stop trying to be like J.K Rowling! Stop trying to recreate the grayish world that she created(your character suck too much for it to work). You fail.
Writer Tip #5:
When taking inspiration from another work, at least switch some things up. Don't give the characters the same personality/gender. If you have a group/organization don't make the members carbon copies of the other group/organization. Change it up.
At the end of City of Bones, we find out that Jace and Clary are bother and sister. This totally-not-a-rip-off-of-Star-Wars-my-arse event carries over into the next two books. I don't have a problem with incest in fiction, as long as it's taken seriously. If it serves nothing more than shock value and drawn out angst, it needs to GTF out.
And even though they've only known each other for at most a month, Jace and Clary are so in Twoo-Wuv that it overrides the fact that they're related.
In fact, the only reason they don't have sex in the third book is because Clary thinks that Jace is using her to prove that he's evil.
You read that right. Clary doesn't want to have sex with Jace because he's using her and not because they're related.
By the way, did anyone really believe that they were related? We all knew that in the end Clare would make it so that they're not. Thanks for wasting our time.
Writer Tip #6:
Make sure you have a reason for including something other than for shock value. It lessens the impact it will have on the reader and makes you look like a hack. Take it seriously, writers!
5) Other Issues
1. Clary is said to be clumsy, yet when has she ever been clumsy.
2. Simon is supposed to have siblings. Why aren't they mentioned?
3. What's up with Clare's weird similes? Black as velvet? Ithough velvet came in many colors.
4. I understand that Clary's an "artist" but does she have to go on about the way she would draw people when describing them?
5. Am I the only one who felt like they were reading a tv show while reading this? It's not plagiarism or subject matter. It's how the thing is written.
So concludes my rant/review of City of Bones/The Mortal Instruments Saga (I know no one calls it a saga, but Clare steals so much I might as well steal the Twilight name.)
I would like to leave you with my final writer tip:
Writer Tip #7:
Don't write like Cassandra Clare.