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Review: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments): 1

city of bones review


This is a series I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, following a girl who finds out she’s a Shadowhunter after her mum is kidnapped. The world is full of vampires and demons, and she needs to figure out who has her mum and why.

Along the way she discovers the darkness of New York, and meets a team of new friends.

What I liked

The world created and the story telling is great fun. Honestly, I had a blast getting to know this world, and some of the ideas are really good. When this story actually tells its own stuff, that’s when it shines.

There isn’t too much hand holding throughout, with new ideas and monsters just showing up without too much to bog them down. This keeps the pace flowing very nicely throughout.

Speaking of pace, that’s one of the strong points. The story doesn’t really get bogged down trying to be something it’s not which really helps the flow.

What I disliked

The characters. Honestly, if they’d have been just a few years older then some of the themes and ‘romances’ wouldn’t have been an issue, but as it is, these seemed wildly inappropriate. These characters seemed so sexually frustrated that it just didn’t fit, and like I said, they needed to be older for this to feel OK.

Throughout it just felt creepy, and really took away from the story. Throw in the fact that almost every single character is crazy sassy, all, the, time, things just get a bit tedious.

As much fun as the story is, this book really struggles when it ‘borrows’ (and I use that word lightly) from other stories. There is enough of a world created to have some fun in, but the author relies heavily on tropes established elsewhere, outright replicating other very well known stories. It really takes you out of the story she’s trying to tell.

Combine that with the fact that every ‘twist’ really isn’t. Any surprise that is built up is so obvious that it left me groaning when it is revealed. This might be because they are straight out of other stories that we all know, but again, they really take away from what could be a good story.

Audible Narration

The narration is actually pretty good and the performance is well done. The quality was definitely there, but the one thing that really lets it down is the narrator constantly playing every character with so much sass. There are scenes where it doesn’t seem at all needed, but every character comes across as petulant and sassy throughout.

Apart from that, the audio book is well worth giving a go.


This really was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the world and the story telling, but the characters lack depth and come off as creepy. I keep hearing that this book is dark and sexy, but we are talking about minors in some cases, so where people get the idea that this is a good thing I’ll never know!

I did have enough fun with the story to carry on to the next book, and hopefully these characters will grow a little more, and fingers crossed we don’t get more borrowed stories.

This book was at its best when it was telling its own story, and adding to the world created. Where it lacked was when it borrowed to heavily from other places.

All in all it’s an OK starting point, but I’m not sure how much things will improve…

The Mortal Instruments:

City of Bones:

Audio Book:

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