City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
This is the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, in which an ordinary girl. Clary Fray, discovers the world of Shadowhunters and demons in her New York neighborhood. I already read the prequel series, The Infernal Devices, in which the ancestors of the current cast fights demons in steampunk Victorian London. Like that series, City of Bones is fast-paced, with action moving quickly from one exciting encounter to the next. The uncovering of the backstory of the main characters’ parents is the source of drama and mystery.
The love story, which was shaping up to be a triangle, generally seemed a bit clunky and obvious. The romantic lead, Jace, is supposed to be super hot, but I just found him petulant and annoying. I don’t understand why arrogant guys who mouth off to everyone are so often presented as the epitome of sexiness. Jerks are not attractive. It seemed a clumsy attempt to craft a Byronic hero. He is inferior in every way to Will, the hero of the Infernal Devices books. When Will acts like a jerk it’s because he feels he has to drive others away from him to keep them safe. When Jace acts like a jerk, it’s just who he is.
I also found the heroine, Clary, annoying sometimes for her self-righteousness and her tendency to run toward danger without thinking. Maybe it was the immature protagonist or the contemporary setting, but I felt this writing was less interesting and well-crafted than in the prequel series. Maybe Clare has improved since this book’s 2007 release. Maybe her writing is the kind that needs several volumes of a series to build to a satisfying ending. In that case, I look forward to the later books in the series. In the meantime, the movie adaptation seems to have been a bust; its reviews were terrible.