Monday, March 29, 2010

Mortal Instruments Like A Drug - and I Need Another Hit

Pandemonium is a trip. As New York City's hottest all-ages club, the place guarantees a spectacle - garish tattoos, candy-colored hair, intricate costumes, mind-dulling trance music - there's always something new to see, taste or try. It's a colorful, dizzying, dream-like world so different from Clary Fray's usual humdrum existence, that the 15-year-old just can't get enough. Even when she witnesses what appears to be a murder, it's tainted with the strangeness that suffuses every square inch of Pandemonium. Her sudden appearance in a deserted storeroom stuns the would-be killers, her boldness saving a blue-haired boy - at least momentarily - but the assassins seem unconcerned with Clary's presence. They're talking about demons, Shadowhunters and some weirdo named Valentine. Are the "murderers" acting out some crazy role play game? Are they hopped up on drugs? Or has Pandemonium completely warped her mind? Even outside the club, she can barely think clearly. She's seeing things that aren't there, knowing things she's never learned, remembering events that never occurred. What's happening to her?

When Clary's mother goes missing, apparently at the hands (well, claws) of a demon, Clary must face the fact that everything she's ever known - about her parents, her home, herself - is a lie. The "killers" from Pandemonium seem to be the only ones with any clue as to what's going on. The teenagers claim to be Shadowhunters, beings created to track and kill demons. Whatever they really are, Clary is drawn to their energy, their powerful convictions, their sexy confidence. And the fact that they're the only ones who can help find her mother. Jace, an especially fine specimen of - well, whatever he is - helps Clary see the dark, fantastical underbelly of New York society, a strange, nightmare land that holds her mother somewhere in its clutches.

Clearly, Jace belongs in this bizarre alternate world, but what does it have to do with Clary and her mother, the most boring "mundies" on the planet? As she desperately searches for her mom, Clary realizes the person she really has to find is herself. Who is she, truly? What are the Shadowhunters really after? What do the demons want with her mother? What will Clary have to do - to accept - to save herself and those she loves?

Just when I was really getting sick of demons, vampires, werewolves and the whole crazy, copycat genre of YA urban fantasy, Cassandra Clare creates a series that finally pumps some life (so to speak) back into this tired category. Although City of Bones doesn't quite live up to its hype, it's still an imaginative, engrossing debut that will leave readers clamoring for more. It's sexy, funny, addicting - and I sorely need another hit.

(Readalikes: Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer; a little like Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)

Grade: B

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for language, sexual innuendo and violence

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

5 comments:

  1. I'm a huge Mortal Instruments fan. Love Clare's stuff.

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  2. I love this series as well!:)

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  3. One of my favorite series. I really enjoyed it.

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  4. will look into this one,thanks

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  5. I LOVED the mortal instrument series and the infernal devices!!!!!!!! the city of bones is becoming a movie releasing 8/23/13 :D FILMED IN TORONTO
    oh.....
    ArieL Lola Goldberg (name difficulties grrrrrr)

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